Family On A Dime

The Marz Fam

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So, you just found out you are pregnant. What will your baby need? Well, there are several necessities your baby must have and then there are items you can purchase as your baby grows. Many parents start out buying little outfits and burping cloths. Whether or not this is your first child, you should sign up for a baby registry, if you haven’t already, and to programs where you can receive free samples from companies.

Baby Registry and Samples

Clothing

shoes child clothing pregnancy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Babies grow extremely quickly. Even if you have small babies, like I did, they won’t be fitting in newborn clothing for long. Possibly 1- 2 weeks at best. Unless your baby is measuring large, then they might not fit in them at all. Newborns don’t soil there clothing very much. If you use bibs and burping cloths, it will help keep their clothes clean. It also takes a while to pass all their meconium and have larger bowl movements, so big blowouts won’t happen until around 1-2 months old. At least, this has been my experience. I would highly suggest skipping newborn clothing and going straight to 0-3 months. If you are worried, you can always purchase 5 newborn diaper shirts, just in case you need them. For the first few weeks, your newborn will spend much of their time swaddled. I just put diaper shirts and hats on my littles ones, then swaddled them up. The following is a list of items you should definitely have on hand for babies arrival.

  • Sleepers x 10 (size 0-3 months)
  • Diaper shirts x 10 (size 0-3 months)
  • Pants x 5 (size 0-3 months)
  • Hats and mitts x 5 pairs
  • Socks x 5 pairs
  • Bibs x 10 (these save your time doing laundry. Why dirty a whole outfit with spit up? when you can easily catch it on a bib.)
  • Receiving blankets x 10
  • Infant laundry detergent (Like Ivory)

Diapering

white blue orange and yellow drawstring bag
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com
  • Disposable diapers (if you decide to go this route), 2 boxes x newborn, 2 x size 1. The newborn diapers have a special cut out for the umbilical stump. If buying in advance, I went through about two large boxes of each size before moving onto the next. In total I purchased 2x newborn, 2x size 1 and 2 x size 2. Once we got to size 3 my babes stayed in the following sizes longer.
  • Cloth diapers (if you choose to go this route check out this link), several dozen, 24-48 diapers.
  • Change pad
  • Change table (this will save your back)
  • Disposable wipes x 1 box refill packs, or several dozen wash cloths
  • Diaper cream or other ointment to prevent rashes (I prefer The PC Diaper Rash Cream, or Zincofax they are amazing!)
  • Corn starch or baby powder to keep babies bottom dry
  • Diaper pale or Diaper Genie (I loved mine!)

Bathing

baby inside white bathtub with water
Photo by Henley Design Studio on Pexels.com
  • Wash clothes x 10
  • Sponge or dish to rinse baby off with
  • Towels x 3
  • Infant bath soap ( I use Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo, It is great for littles ones with sensitive skin)
  • Infant moisturizing lotion (I use Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion, also great for sensitive skin)
  • Infant bathtub, with sponge insert (I loved this, but you may not use this right away. I started bathing my little ones in the sink)

Feeding

© Kristyna Griffiths-Marzo, Family On A Dime and The Marz Fam

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed you will need the following:

  • Nursing Pillow. This will save your arms and your back
  • Burping clothes x 10
  • Bottles, one set to start, with newborn 0-3 month nipples. (Even if you are breastfeeding, you won’t know for sure if you’ll need them or not. If there are any issues your baby may need to be fed by bottle)
    • Bottle and nipple cleaning brush

If you are breastfeeding:

Checkout my articles on ‘Breastfeeding 101: Latching’ and ‘Breastfeeding 101:
Increasing Supply’ under my ‘Breastfeeding Category’.

  • Breast pads, one box. I prefer Johnson & Johnson. I also have reusable pads by KeaBabies that you can wash
  • Nipple lanolin cream, I like Lansinoh.
  • Nursing bras, buy several, you will need them. Buy a cup size larger than your normal size, as your breast size will increase once your milk comes in.
  • Milk storage containers
  • Breast Pump

Invest in a good one. I have a hospital grade breast pump from Medela and it was worth every penny!

If you are Formula Feeding:

  • 4-ounce bottles x 5-10, with newborn 0-3 month nipples. Or buy a set to get you started. I prefer Philips Avent Natural Bottles. The nipples are so soft and the only ones my children would take. You may need to try several different brands before you find a bottle that works though, some babies are picky.
  • Bottle warmer, my go to is the Philips Avent Fast Bottle Warmer.
  • Formula. If buying in advance check expiry dates, so it doesn’t expire before you use it.

Sleeping

Choosing where your baby sleeps can be a hard decision. Check out this article that explains the difference between Bassinets vs. Cribs.

  • Bassinets are great. They are easily transported from room to room and allow you to keep baby close to you. When babies are small you want to sleep in the same room, so you can keep a watchful eye. However, bassinets do have weight limits, so make sure you find out what the limits are if you plan to purchase one.

The Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper is a fantastic option, as it allows you to lower one of the side rails for easy access. It can also be a cheaper option if you don’t have the money to shell out for a crib right away.

  • Cribs are great as your baby gets older and you want to transition them into their own room. Many cribs grow with your child, even converting into toddler beds

A great option is Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible crib. It is sleek and modern, converting into a twin bed.

  • Sleep sack x 5. These are great for babies born in cooler months. It keeps them nice and warm. You should not use blankets with a newborn or young baby. Check out this article on When can baby sleep with a blanket?
  • Footed pajamas x 5, for cooler weather.

Car Seats

No matter who you are or where you live in Canada, it required by Law that parents have a car seat for their newborn to leave the hospital and travel in. There are many options to choose from. I have made this short list of the safest seats available in 2020. I believe safety should come first, before size, weight, and brand.

The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant car seat is rated #1 for safety

  • Light weight
  • Most recommended by neonatal nurses for it’s safety features
  • Designed for infants 4-30lbs

Graco SnugRide 35 comes in second place for it’s safety rating

  • Light weight
  • designed for 4-30lbs
  • meets or exceeds government safety standards, with proven crash test studies

Maxi Cosi Mico Max Plus

  • Designed for babies 4-35lbs
  • Anti-rotation stability for base, minimizing back and forth movement
  • Fully loaded safety features

Travel Systems

No matter where you go with your infant, having a good stroller is a hands down necessity. I really like travel systems because they often give you more bang for your buck. Here is a list of my top three picks for both value and safety, in a low, mid and higher price range.

#1 Schwinn Interval Jogger Travel System – with Safety 1st on Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat Features, Royal Night

#2 Graco Trail Rider Jogging Travel System with Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Infant Car Seat, Tenley

#3 Maxi Cosi Zelia 5-in-1 Modular Travel System with Mico 30 Infant Car Seat, Night Black

Baby Swing

I highly recommend getting a baby swing or a bouncer. Mine were an absolute godsend. I have one of each lol. We can’t always hold our little ones and sometimes mom just needs a break. Having a safe place, that offers soothing features like motion, vibration and music is a great help. Remember, infants should never be left unattended.

I have the Graco Glider LX Gliding Swing and absolutely love it! I really like how many speeds it has and the vibration is wonderful.

I also have the Fisher-Price Deluxe Infant-to-Toddler Rocker. My favorite feature is the sunshade. Great for when we go out in the backyard.

Wrapping Things Up

All this being said, if your little one decided to make a quick entrance and you were not able to prepare for your baby the list can be much smaller. The following is a list you could give to a loved one, so they can pick them up for you. These are the bare essentials that will help you get home from the hospital and through a couple days until you can get all the supplies you need. Your baby really won’t need much the first few days.

The Bare Essentials

  • Onesies x 1 package (3 per pack)
  • Diaper shirts x 1 package (3 per pack)
  • Hats x 1 pack 1 (3 per pack)
  • Mittens x 1 pack 1 (3 per pack)
  • Receiving blankets x 1 package (3 per pack)
  • Newborn diapers x 1 box
  • Wipes x 1 package
  • Diaper cream x 1
  • Bottles and formula (if formula feeding)
  • Breast pads
  • Car seat
  • Bassinet

I hope you have found my list helpful. My recommendations are based on being a mom 3 times over, purchasing numerous products for my children. Actual safety standards on products vary from province to province, be sure to check what your local provincial regulations are on car seats. No matter what purchases you make for your little one, always remember to keep things simple. It is so easy to overspend, buying copious amounts of clothing and luxury items you may not use. I like to think quality over quantity. Especially if you plan on having more than one child. You want your items to last. There are plenty of other products you can buy. I tried to include all of the items I know I couldn’t live without. If you have any suggestions or must have items, please leave your suggestions in the comments. As always, please like, comment, and share this post. Have you subscribed to my blog? Subscribe, so you can be notified when a new post is up. I wish you all well, until next time. TTFN 🙂

Categories: Baby

Thanksgiving comes once a year, but being thankful should happen all year long. There are so many things I am thankful for, family, friends, a home and so many others. It is so easy to take these things for granted. Some of us may feel entitled to have even the most basic necessities, forgetting how truly precious they are. We also get caught up, wanting all the new and shiniest things, like a new iPhone or name brand clothing. We forget there are many people around the world who don’t even have clean drinking water.

What am I thankful for?

Family

Family is a very precious gift. Sometimes we wish we could choose our family, other times we simply take them for granted. We all have mothers and fathers. Some are with us. Some are not. Whether they have passed on from this world, or are not involved, they made us. For the fortunate ones, parents nurtured and raised us. Taught us how to be independent successful adults. To think for ourselves and make the right choices. How to be goods parents. To love and be loved. Parents showed us the true meaning of sacrifice. I am so blessed to have both my parents in my life. They have set the ultimate example for how one should live their life. Their support, guidance and love could never be repaid, even if I had 1000 lives to live. Thank you, Lord, for my parents.

My Children

My children are my whole world. They give so much purpose to my life. Watching them grow is one of the most magical things I have ever experienced. I always wanted children, there was never a doubt in my mind. Some people may not want children and that is their choice. Some may not be able to have children, but there are plenty of ways you can still be a parent. I am thankful for the miracle of children and the joy they bring me.

My Sibling

Siblings, if you have them, are friends for life. Sometimes there will be sibling rivalry, but they are a precious gift given to us by our parents. My sibling has taught me how to be a friend. How to be a good mother. She is an ear when I need advice or a shoulder when I need to vent. A constant support in all thing’s life brings. She is someone to laugh with. To make memories with and share my ups and downs. I am so thankful for my sister.

Grandparents

Grandparents are a gift that not everyone gets. There is nothing quite like the love of a grandparent. Their love is unconditional. All they want to do is spoil and adore you. Both my grandfathers had passed away long before I was born, so I never got to feel the love of a grandfather firsthand, but I see this relationship in how my father and my children. My grandmother on my mother’s side passed when I was two years old. She gave me a monkey which I have kept all my life as a special reminder of her. My father’s mother died when I was pregnant with my daughter. She was always warm and loving and I feel so lucky to have had her in my life. I am thankful for my grandparents and everything they did so that I could be here today.

My Friends

Friendships may not always be perfect. We can have disputes. We can disagree. They are two-way street with give and take. Friendships are so important and need to be held dear. Friends can be there to support you. They may understand you differently than your family does. They can play devils advocate and encourage you to take more risks. If you have some good ones, your friends may even become family. I am so thankful for my friends and everything we share together.

My Spouse

Spouses are partners in crime. They are on the same path as us. They understand us, care for us, and help us navigate lives’ many twists and turns. I am so blessed to have my husband in my life. We have our ups and downs. More up than down. He is my best friend, my biggest supporter and makes me feel stronger when I feel weak. No matter what, he always has faith in me. To him I can do no wrong. With him by my side I know I will never be alone. I am so thankful for the life I have with my husband.

Necessities and Comforts

Food, water, and a roof over our heads are gifts that are not available to all people, but they should be. I am so thankful that I have clean water to drink, I eat 3 meals a day, have cleans clothes, a place to call home, a safe neighborhood, good schools for my children, electricity, heat and A/C to keep us comfortable, vehicles to transport us from A to B, freedom to practice our religion, and for the many other freedoms offered by our country. I know life would tell a much different story if even a few of these items were not attainable. These gifts are not something that I have gotten on my own. I know the only reason I have them, is because they are gifts from God. So finally, I thank God for providing for us and always watching over us.

Have you given thanks?

While it is one thing to be thankful, it is another to thank others. Have you told your parents, siblings, spouse, children, friends, or other people in your life you are thankful for them? Now is the time to share. Let me know who or what you are thankful for, and why? Please follow, comment, like and share this post. Until next time, stay safe and take care!

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Growing up I knew my father was color blind. I always wondered what it was like to see the world through his eyes. I remember feeling sad when I thought about him not being able to see colors the way I could. There are so many different shades, tones, and hues of colors. Color can make our world seem magical. I came to realize; this was how my father always saw the world. He didn’t know anything else and learnt how to function without full color vision. As a young adult I went to the optometrist because I thought I might be short sited. Sure, enough I needed a mild prescription. I didn’t mention my family history of color blindness to my doctor. Later, I met and married my husband. As it turned out, my husband was also color blind. I didn’t understand how a person came to be color blind in the first place. My father had said something about a gene, but I thought only men could be color blind. It turns out, color blindness, for many cases, is hereditary. For others, it can be caused by diseases like diabetes, or simply caused by aging.

words in dictionary
Photo by Ian Panelo on Pexels.com

Finding out I carried the gene

It had been several years since I last visited my Optometrist, so I went in for a check up. I brought my husband and our son to the appointment. Our daughter was in school at the time. My husband’s color blindness came up during our visit, and I shared that my father was also color blind. This was when the Optometrist explained that I carried the gene. She said, color blindness is a common hereditary condition. My father’s X chromosome contained the Red/Green type of color blindness. If a father has this, it is automatically passed onto his daughter, since a female’s sex is determined by receiving an X chromosome from both mother and father. As a carrier, it means any of my children, male or female, have a 50% chance of being color blind. They will either receive my ‘X’ I inherited from my father or the one from my mother. We know the ‘X’ I received from my mother didn’t contain the gene. If it had, I would have been one, of the less than 1% of color-blind females. It is extremely rare for woman to be color blind, because both the father and mother must pass on the ‘X’ containing the gene. For an in depth explanation of how this works, check out this article.

Looking For Signs of Color Deficiency

Once we knew there was an increased likelihood any of our children could be color blind, it made us more aware. We would often test them on their colors, and they seemed to do very well. Our daughter could see a multitude of colors and different shades. Our son on the other hand made it difficult to know if he had colorblindness or simply memory issues. Sometimes he would mix up certain colors, while others he would get spot on. I honestly can’t tell you how we missed it for so long. It took until our son was 7 years old to realize he was color blind.

In kindergarten, they teach our children their colors by showing each individual color. This apple is red. The sky is blue. The grass is green. You get my point. Children can memorize what they are taught. My son never had a multitude of colors in front if him at school, where he had to discern between them. Even if they had done this, they likely would have used the same objects used to teach the colors individually. We made this mistake at home as well. When we were out and about, we would quiz him on his colors. We would say, “Hey Mr. D, (our nickname for our son) what color is that stop sign?”, his reply, “Red and white”, us, “Great”. We would say, “What color are the traffic lights?”, his reply “Red, green and yellow”, “Fantastic!” we would praise him. No problem with his color identification, right? We did this all the time when we were out, so how did we miss it? Our son had memorized the common objects and their colors that we quizzed him on. This unintentionally hid his condition from us.

Our Sons Diagnosis

Before this school year started, I went all out for the kids, buying all new school supplies. I bought both my school age kids the big variety packs of pencil crayons and markers. The ones with over 40 different shades. My daughter was super excited. She loves to draw, so she knew she would be able to draw amazing pictures. My son seemed just as excited. One day, my son’s teacher, who also taught him in kindergarten, pulled me aside after school. Something had happened during class. She had asked the students to take out a ‘green’ pencil crayon for their next activity. Poor Mr. D sat their and scoured through his pencil crayons. He was getting anxious. He didn’t know what to pick. His teacher saw him frantically searching and asked what was wrong. He said, he couldn’t find green. He asked, “Is this green?”, “Is that one green?”, she replied, “That one is brown and the other is green”. She tested him with a few more pencil crayons. He was mixing up his greens and browns. Once we got home, we did an online color blindness test and it showed my little boy was color blind after all.

We went to our Optometrist, so she could confirm this and give us a proper diagnosis, stating what type of color blindness he had, and how severe it was. As it turned out, he was “Deutan” or Red/Green colorblind. The Optometrist said his was not so severe, because he could still see some shades. He had the most difficult time differentiating camouflage colors, like greens, browns, and grays. He could see reds and blues easily. It’s the shades in between that are troublesome, like pink, purple and gray shades.

Living with A Color Deficiency

So here we are. I feel terrible for not finding out sooner. He must have struggled in silence for so many years. In school, teachers often use colors to organize activities, group things or even in writing exorcises. He told me he thought he wasn’t smart and that’s why he couldn’t tell colors apart or struggled in certain activities. Imagine going from JK-grade 2, thinking you were dumb? It’s honestly heartbreaking. I think he was so relieved to finally know and understand what was happening. I was able to share this news with his teacher and his school, so they will use other methods of teaching. Instead of using the common color code methods. The Optometrist said he may experience some difficulties growing up. He may have trouble learning, for example, a subject like chemistry, which requires color sightedness. He may have trouble driving and limited career choices. Many things taken for granted by color sighted people. Check out this link on “Living with Color Vision Deficiency“.

crop field under rainbow and cloudy skies at dayime
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Advancements have been made by different companies, offering eyewear that helps with certain type of color blindness. I have read both positive and negative reviews on many of these glasses. I believe results vary based on the type, and level of color blindness. Two major competitors are Pilestone and Enchroma. Enchroma being a more “high-end” product. Many reviews, said Enchroma is quite expensive, when you can purchase a comparable version for less money from Pilestone. Pilestone also has a great return policy. If you don’t get the right pair, you can exchange them. In any case, you must purchase glasses specific to your type of color deficiency or they won’t work for you. To that end, I did a bit of research and found several pairs that had decent reviews.

I plan on purchasing this pair below for my son. They work for red/green moderate to severe color blindness. They had good reviews. I will let you know how they work out.

For Adults, I found this pair for red/green moderate to severe color blindness. It was both cost effective and had positive reviews. My husband might get a pair for Christmas 😉

With all of this in mind we will continue to work closely with our son and his school to ensure he has the best chances life has to offer. While this is a little scary and we don’t know what may arise in the future, I know we will always be there for our son. I am hopeful, regardless of Mr. D’s diagnosis, that he will have a wonderful life. Our youngest son is only 4 months old, so it’s still to soon to tell if he has full color vision or not. We will say our prayers and hope for the best. They both have two of the most amazing men in their lives they can look up to, who are living with color blindness. My father was a Program Analyst, for the government of Canada, since retired. And, my husband is a Manager, baker by trade. Both have found success, married, had children, and are living amazing lives. No matter what happens, I know the same will hold true for all my children.

Do you know anyone who is color blind? What have their experiences been like? Do you know of anything that can be done to help someone who is color blind? Or do you have any resources you can share? Please comment, like and share this post. I wish you all well 🙂

2020-10-13T12:01:00

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Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon Prime day is coming on Tuesday, October 13th and will run through Wednesday October 14th. It’s a 48-hour event with amazing deals and offers exclusive to Prime Members. The added bonus, Amazon, is offering a free 30-day trial. You can take part in the event without worrying about being locked into a subscription.

You can find deals on more than a million products. Many of which, are Amazon’s own devices, like *Fire Tablets and Fire TV Sticks. Or products like: *Lap tops, head phones, speakers, TVs and home appliances.

I became an Amazon Prime member two years ago. My buying habits changed, and I realized I was buying more products online. I spent a lot of money on shipping and it took forever to get my products when choosing the cheapest shipping method. My friend told me about a free trial for Amazon Prime, so I signed up. I didn’t realize there were so many Benefits to being a Prime member.

Membership Benefits, as listed on Amazon.ca*

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items. Note: If the item you’re ordering is out of stock or unavailable to ship, we’ll get it to you two days after it’s back in stock. Remember to check the cut-off time shown on the detail page. Orders over $1,300 may require a signature.
  • FREE Same-Day and One-Day Delivery on eligible items in select areas (see if you are in an eligible postal code).
  • Free Standard Shipping on eligible items.
  • Discounted One-Day and Same-Day Shipping where eligible.
  • No minimum purchase for shipping benefits.
  • Prime Video: Unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial members. For more information, go to What’s Prime Video?
  • Prime Music: Ad-free and on-demand access to curated playlists and stations for members in Canada. For more information, go to About Prime Music
  • Prime Reading: You can borrow books, comics, and more from the Prime Reading catalog and read them on your Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader, or the Kindle reading apps for iOS and Android. For more information, go to Borrow Titles from Amazon Prime Reading.
  • Amazon Photos: Secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Photos. For more information, go to About Amazon Photos.
  • Prime Gaming: Every month, get free games, in-game content, and a free channel subscription on Twitch.tv. Some content is provided by third parties and is subject to their terms; you will need to link your Prime account to your third-party account. For more information, go to Prime Gaming. For more information, go to Prime Gaming.
  • Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals on Amazon.ca. For more information, go to About Prime Early Access.

Since I joined, I haven’t looked back. It has been a very worth while investment. I started off by reaping the benefits of the free one- and two-day shipping methods, and took advantage of some of the early access Lightning deals.

Then we started watching on Prime Video. They have a lot of movies and TV shows, plus you can rent or buy movies that haven’t been released yet/are no longer on Netflix or Disney+. This comes in very handy when you have kids that want to watch their favorite show that just got taken off Netflix. My kids always watch the same movies repeatedly. Imagine, you go in to put it on, and it is no longer there. Parents you know what I mean! This is no longer an issue, when you can simply login to your Prime Video and search for the show. They don’t have every tv show or movie every made, but they have a great selection, and we have found many of our favorites.

I had family members that were not interested in shopping online because they hated paying for shipping. When they found out I had a Prime membership they would ask me to order products for them online. I found myself talking up Prime Memberships. I was literally free marketing for Amazon Prime. In the end, after seeing all the value a Prime membership offered, they wound up subscribing.

I look at it like this. How many people have Costco memberships? I’m also a member there lol. My point is, you sign up because they offer you value. The Prime Membership is cheaper than an Executive Membership at Costco and you will have access to a lot more products, and features.

If you register for Amazon Prime today, you can start your 30-day free trial. If you aren’t happy with it in the end, you can simply opt out before your trial ends. I have a feeling you won’t though 🙂 Give it a try you have nothing to lose!

Click the link below to sign up for your free trial now.f

Similarly, to Costco’s cash back program, through their credit lender, you can also sign up for the Amazon Rewards Mastercard, which yields added benefits like cash back. For offer details click here, pricing & terms click here.

Amazon Rewards Mastercard Benefits

  • No annual fee.
  • 1.5% cashback at amazon.ca and Whole Foods Market stores.
  • Get 1% back on eligible purchases everywhere else, including foreign currency transactions

*Benefits borrowed from Amazon Prime website for accuracy. Links contained in this blog do not reflect Amazon Prime day deals, products or prices. Actual deals will only be revealed on Prime Day.

Are you newly pregnant or thinking of starting a family? It can seem daunting, thinking of bringing a baby into the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. My husband and I had wanted a third child for a long time, but life kept getting in the way. I’m sure many of you can understand that. Our first two are 18 months apart and the plan was to have them all back-to-back-to-back, but it didn’t work out that way. We were finally ready to have our third and I got pregnant in September 2019. Then COVID-19 happened. To say I was a little worried is an understatement. I was nervous about my doctor’s appointments. Would my number of OB appointments be limited? or would they be changed to over the phone? What about my ultrasounds? Would my husband be allowed to come? I was worried I might have to give birth alone if restrictions got tighter. It was scary!

OB Appointments and Ultrasounds

During my first trimester everything was business as usual. I went to my OB appointments once a month and had the standard blood work done. Pretty normal. In February, I had my first ultrasound which my husband attended. In March, the state of emergency came into affect for our Province. Then Bam! Just like that, our whole world as we knew it changed. Due to the high restrictions in place, my OB appointments remained monthly during my second trimester, instead of changing to bi-weekly. My husband was not allowed to come with me to medical appointments. Which is still the case for anyone receiving care through any of the Ottawa Hospitals. The mask bylaw wasn’t in affect yet, so it was scary going to appointments. Was I going to catch the virus? I go to the Family Medical Centre, Civic Campus. Being in a facility that was not only connected to the hospital, but also close to the emergency entrance was unnerving. I was given masks from my work, so I wore them to my appointments even though I wasn’t ‘legally’ required to. I was doing everything I could to minimize the risk of exposure.

In April, I had the anatomy ultrasound. The results of the scan showed that I had marginal cord insertion. I know! What the heck is that!? I had never heard of it. This happens when the umbilical cord does not insert into the right spot of the placenta. Normally, the umbilical cord will insert in the center of the placenta or slightly off center. Where it gets riskier, is when it inserts less than 2cm from the edge of the placenta. My case was not so severe, I was just on the edge of the 2cm mark, but it did put me into a higher risk category. After finding this out I had ultrasounds and OB appointments every two weeks until the day I delivered. Hubby still wasn’t allowed to accompany me. A couple times I had to bring my two oldest children with me because I didn’t have anyone to watch them. Luckily, my doctor’s office allowed them to come with me. Some might not have.

Between 24 and 28 weeks I was supposed to get the gestational diabetes test. I got the requisition at 24 weeks and put off going to get the test done. I was still working throughout all of this, so I told myself “I’ll get it done after work”. I was nearing my 28th week when I finally went to the lab to get the test done. When I arrived, they told me they were not allowed to perform the test because it would require me to wait inside the facility for 2 hours. With the current bylaws in place they couldn’t allow me to stay. I started to freak out inside my head. I told them I needed this blood work and test done. They apologized and gave me the name of another lab where I could get the test done. I quickly drove over to the other lab and thankfully they agreed to perform the test and do the blood work. The very next week this lab stopped performing these tests as well. I just made it in time. If I waited one more week then I would have had to go to the hospital via emergency to get the tests done. Go to the hospital 28 weeks pregnant? Uh, no thanks! However, this was the case for many women who needed this test done after the restrictions went into place.

So, there I was, my due date looming closer and closer. With my first two deliveries I was nervous, but excited. This time, I had this overwhelming feeling of impending doom. But why? I had already delivered my two oldest children at the same hospital. I knew where to go. I did a virtual tour and met the team of OBs who might deliver my baby. So, what was the big deal? Well, with COVD-19 restrictions, when the day came for me to deliver, I knew things were going to be more complicated than they used to be. You used to just walk in through any entrance, walk on up to labor and delivery and get checked. If you weren’t dilated enough, you could go walk around the hospital or get something to eat in the cafeteria. You didn’t have to worry if you forgot something in the car, because you could just go back to get it. Not this time!

Arriving At The Hospital

  • When you first arrive at the hospital the mother must go in to get checked by herself. Partners or spouses are allowed in, until the mother gets admitted to the hospital. Meaning she must be at least 4 cm dilated.
  • The mother and partner must also be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entering the hospital, then again when you get to labour and delivery.
  • You were only allowed one birthing partner.

My husband is amazing! And was my partner of choice. He’s my best friend. But imagine if you had to choose between the father of your child being there for the birth. Versus someone who might be able to help you get through the labor. Like, you love your husband, but know he won’t be overly helpful? Sadly, I know this is the case in many women’s situations. You might desperately want your mother by your side, your sibling, your best friend or even a doula. However, you only get one person, so you must choose. I was sad because I desperately wanted my sister to be there. I thought of her many times during my labor.

I had false labor for 3 days. Contractions would start up, get quite regular, then just abruptly stop. I had an anterior, but not low, lying placenta. My baby was facing my placenta. His spine, to my spine. I think he had more room that way. Finally, I woke up the morning prior to my son’s birth and was in the real early stages of labour. We went to the hospital at 6pm. My husband had to wait in the car while I got checked. I had to go up to labor and delivery, register, then get checked. I was there for over two hours, only to be sent home because I was only 2cm dilated. What the heck was going on? This didn’t happen with my two previous deliveries. They were quick. In and out of the hospital in 16 hours or less. I was experiencing back labor and it caused my labor to progress slowly. We walked and drove around until 2am. My contractions got closer together and strong, so we drove back to the hospital and I went in to get checked again. The whole time worried I would have the baby before my husband could get to me. Finally, they admitted me, and I was able to call my husband to tell him he could now come up. It took him about 30 minutes to get to me, so it was lucky my labor wasn’t progressing quickly.

Labor and Delivery

  • You must stay in the birthing once you are admitted. Make sure you bring everything you need for the birth, your hospital stay and for the drive home. You cannot leave the room, and neither can your birthing partner.

This made me nervous and made going in to get checked very cumbersome. Keep in mind the whole time I am in labor and having contractions. The labor and delivery unit were all the way across the hospital and up to the 4th floor. I had to lug my luggage up with me, all by myself while in labor, each time I got checked. I knew my husband couldn’t carry all the other stuff we had to bring by himself. We had my luggage, my purse, diaper bag, a bag of snacks and drinks, my laptop, and the car seat.

  • You and your partner must always wear your masks, even in the birthing unit. As if it wasn’t hard enough laboring and trying to catch your breath. Now you must keep a mask on the whole time!?!

The doctor said I could remove the mask when I was pushing. However, I had to remove it earlier. When my contractions got a lot stronger, I took my mask off. I felt like I couldn’t breath. The nurses didn’t say anything and changed into different PPE. It is a strange thing to experience. Seeing a friendly smile and other facial expressions really help when you are laboring. I couldn’t even see my husbands face to feel reassured I was ok. A kiss on the cheek or forehead for comfort, happened through a mask.

  • Nitrous Oxide is off the table. You guessed it! Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, you were not allowed to use it.

I gave birth to my two previous children naturally. No drugs. No epidural. The only thing I used was nitrous oxide. It helped manage my pain while providing me with extra oxygen. Well, this time around I had to go without. It was extremely tough, to say the least. With the back labor I felt extreme pain at 6cm dilated. This same amount of pain I normally felt after I had reached 9cm dilated. It took 7 hours to progress from 3cm to 10cm. The whole time in sheer agony. I held my ground even though the nurses kept offering me an epidural. I thought deep down. I can do it; I can do it! I was so wrong. The pain was unbearable and I’m a pretty tough cookie. Especially after already giving birth naturally twice before. I got stuck at 9 cm for 3 hours, I finally caved, asking for something for the pain. I didn’t want the epidural, so they gave me fentanyl through the IV in my wrist. It helped take the edge off, but I was still in a lot of pain. I hated myself for caving. I know it was ok, but I do not like taking drugs of any kind while pregnant.

The time came for me to start pushing. During this stage with my two previous births, pushing felt like a great relief. The painful contractions would go away with every push. Well, not this time. Thanks to the back labor, it was excruciating. I felt everything. The pain of the contractions, along with the stretching as my baby came down the birth canal. I pushed for 30 minutes. It felt like a lifetime. I was scared I couldn’t do it, but the pain was so bad, and I knew it would end once the baby came out. I pushed harder and harder until finally our sweet baby boy entered the world. I had a second-degree tear which needed to be repaired. I held my little boy in my arms as the doctor’s stitched me up. I tore with my two prior births as well, so it wasn’t that bad. The worst part is when they freeze the area with local anesthetic. Once we left the birthing unit, we went to my hospital room where we had to stay inside.

  • We were not allowed to leave our room. My husband had to stay in the room with me. If he decided to leave, he couldn’t come back. Thankfully, the hospital provided meals for myself and my birthing partner.

One of my worries going into all of this, was that food wouldn’t be provided for my partner. As was the case in the past. Food was only provided for the mother. However, with the current restrictions in place, hospitals had to provide food for the partners. They could no longer leave to purchase food or go home to eat and come back. If your partner decides to leave at any point, they aren’t getting back in. The nurses were wonderful. They asked if we needed anything and were very attentive.

Leaving The Hospital Early

I wanted to leave as soon as possible because I didn’t want my baby, myself or my husband to be infected with the virus. I had heard there was a COVID-19 outbreak on the floor above us. Of course, it only takes one case to institute an outbreak. I still wasn’t taking any chances. You are required to stay at the hospital for 24 hours, following the birth of your child. This way the hospital can [perform all the necessary testing your baby requires. However, if you choose to leave early, you must go back 24 hours later to get the testing done. Normally, this testing happens at the hospital, but again, thanks to COVID-19 you cannot go back to the hospital after you leave. Unless of course there is a medical issue, then obviously you have to go back through emergency.

The hospitals outsourced the out patient care to “The Monarch Centre“. They booked us an appointment to get our newborn’s testing and final screening done. I was incredibly happy with the care they provided and felt safer being there, rather than if we had stayed in the hospital. The only people we were exposed to were other parents with their newborns. Whom all went through the same screening procedures we did.

  • Hearing screening tests are no longer performed in the hospital or by the Monarch Centre.

We received a phone call from the Hearing Screening Test Centre. They notified us that due to the current restrictions they weren’t currently operating. They told us that the screening must take place within the babies first 8 weeks of life and that they would call us to make an appointment. Restrictions were not lifted in time and my little one was not able to get the testing done. Instead, we did a little research and performed our own tests at home. I think he hears perfectly well, but we may decide to take him for testing in the future. It is my understanding that some childcare facilities require a copy of your child’s hearing test. Fortunately for us, and thanks to family support, we have never had to place our child in a daycare setting.

I know that was a long read and if you have stayed with me through this whole account of my experience, I thank you. I hope that you found it informative, as it’s an accurate telling of what it was like for me to be pregnant and give birth during these uncertain times. If you like what you read please like and share this post with someone you know. Maybe you have a family member or friend that is worried about this issue and it might help them hearing my story. If you had a different experience or have something to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from other moms who are pregnant or have given birth during the pandemic. Take care and God bless!

When I first started breastfeeding I expected my milk to come in right away. I didn’t realize that first, my breasts would produce colostrum. It is a nutrient-rich fluid the mother produces right afterbirth. It is full of antibodies that help develop immunity in newborns. This will keep baby nourished until your milk comes in, which can take several days. At first, your baby may lose weight, which can worry most parents. However, once your milk comes in your baby will start gaining weight. They should be back to their birth weight within 10-14 days, following their birth. Your milk is customized for your baby. It passes along antibodies to protect your little one against pathogens. The protein, fat and sugar content also changes to meet your babies dietary needs as they grow. As a newcomer to breastfeeding you might worry you aren’t producing enough milk, or if you are one of the lucky ones maybe you won’t. As long as your baby is still gaining weight you have nothing to fear.

Now, as if it wasn’t hard enough trying to learn how to get baby to latch and figuring out a feeding schedule, then comes the welcome, not so welcome advice from others. I had my fair share of comments from family and friends during my breastfeeding journey. Some gave helpful advice. While others said things like “your feeding the baby too much!” or “the baby is eating again!?!”. They simply didn’t understand. Every woman’s breasts are different. You may hold 2 or 3 ounces per breast. While another’s may hold up to 4 ounces per breast. We are all unique. Suckling is how your baby increases your milk supply. Think, supply and demand! The more your baby suckles at your breasts, the more they will produce. Sometimes it might seem like your babe is constantly at the breast, but it is so worth it. Your baby should completely drain your breast before moving onto the next one. If baby is still hungry, place them back on the other breast to suckle. This increased demand will signal your body to produce more milk. You should see an increase within 1-3 days.

Building Up Demand and Boosting Milk Supply

I got scared with my first baby thinking she wasn’t getting enough milk. I thought she was starving. She still seemed so hungry after feeds and was constantly at my breast. I didn’t stop to think. I should have known I was producing enough, because she was gaining weight. Being a first time mom I just didn’t know, so I started supplementing with formula. However, by doing so, she got full and wasn’t suckling at my breast as often as she could have been. I then struggled to produce enough milk until I realized what I was doing wrong. Some mothers may have a low milk supply and that is ok. I have some tips and tricks for helping boost milk supply, however If you need to supplement with formula, don’t hesitate. A fed baby is best.

  • Breastfeed your newborn baby every 2 to 3 hours, for 15-20 minutes per side. Ensure each breast is completely drained before switching sides. However, it is important they eat from both sides each feed.
  • Completely drain each breast. If baby didn’t drain the last breast you offered at the last feed, start feeding with that breast first at the next feed. (ex. my baby drained my left breast. I began offering my right breast and baby was full part way through. The next feed, I offered my right breast first.)
  • Pumping is a great way to increase supply. You can pump after every feed, ensuring your breasts are completely empty, or pump in between feeds. If you do this consistently you will see an increase. You can store your extra milk in a deep freezer for up to 6 months, leaving extra milk to use if you need to return to work or have someone else look after your little one.
  • Feed your baby often. Even if you don’t think there is any milk. You need the demand in order to fill it. Cluster feeding happens during growth spurts. Your baby will seem hungry after feeds and want to stay at the breast. Allow them to suckle and switch between breasts ensuring they are completely drained. You should see an increase within 1 to 3 days.
  • Stay hydrated! It is very important to drink plenty of fluids. Water is best. Keep a filled water bottle with you at all times. You don’t necessarily need to drink more water, but you should never feel thirsty. Thirst is a sign of dehydration. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water per pound that you weigh.
  • Eat a balanced diet with all five food groups. Getting proper nutrition can really help with supply issues. Make sure you are eating a well balanced diet and getting all the nutrients you need. If your body isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs, it might think you are starving, decreasing your milk supply. It can also cause your body to start storing fat. This happens to me every time I start breastfeeding. Immediately following delivery I gain a tone of weight eating all the wrong foods I couldn’t eat while pregnant.
  • Stress can negatively affect your milk production. When your body produces cortisol in response to stress it can decrease your milk supply. Try to remain calm and get as much rest as you can. I know it’s easier said than done with a newborn, but try. Sleep when baby sleeps. The housework can wait!

Galactagogue Rich Foods For Boosting Milk Production

If you are still having issues with your milk supply there are many foods and supplements you can take that contain galactagogues, which are thought to help boost milk production. There is not a lot of proven research out there. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that shows these help increase production and I can personally attest that these worked for me. You have nothing to lose by trying them. If you choose to use herbal supplements, make sure to discuss this with your Physician or Lactation Consultant because even natural products can have adverse side affects. My go-to is eating oatmeal every morning. I drink Mother’s Milk Tea and take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle supplements three times a day. I also made my own lactation cookies using this recipe, or you can buy them ready made from Milkmakers. They are a great snack when you are on the go.

  • Oats contain many nutrients, they are one of natures ‘Super Foods’. They are high in iron which is very important for nursing mothers. You can eat oatmeal for breakfast. steal cut oats are the best in my opinion. They are not as processed. If you’re short on time using quick oats is fine. You can bake with them as well. Use them in your favorite cookie or muffin recipe. Or switch out dairy/soy milk for oat milk.
  • Fenugreek is thought to have very potent galactagoques. You can find it in your local spice aisle or in a health food store. Make some tea or use it to add flavor to your meals. Fenugreek is used in a lot of dishes from the Indian subcontinent. Talk to a physician first. Caution should be taken with those who suffer from asthma, as Fenugreek can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Blessed Thistle, often used alongside Fenugreek, helps to increase the flow of milk. It has many other benefits as it is thought to be a natural anti-inflammatory, and is used to treat fevers, colds and bacterial infections.
  • Fennel is an amazingly fragrant plant. You can find fresh whole fennel, fennel seeds or fennel seed capsules at your local grocery stores. It is actually a member of the carrot family. It has a round bulbous portion at the bottom and produces seeds. Use it in your favorite dish or boil some water and make some tea. Fennel has phytoestrogens, which are similar to human estrogens and are thought to help boost milk supply.
  • Brewers Yeast is considered a ‘Super Food’ for it’s high protein content, vitamin B, minerals, amino acids and chromium. They are thought to support a healthy milk supply by providing key nutrients.

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. As always, I am not a medical professional. Just a mom sharing what works for me. Before taking any form of supplement you should always speak with your Physician or a lactation Consultant. If you like what you’re reading please share it with your friends and family.

I am going to lead this post off by saying I am “pro breastfeeding”. I have breastfed all three of my children. However, I also believe that fed is best. I had my first child, a daughter, 8 years ago. I wanted to breastfeed for many reasons. I was breastfed by my mother and my sister also breastfed her children, so I had this overwhelming feeling I had to as well. I thought, it’s so natural. They did it and so can I. They said it would take some time to learn how to breastfeed, find a comfortable feeding position and for baby to learn to latch. They weren’t kidding. It took a lot of practice.

Within my babies first few minutes of life, I had her in my arms and began trying to get her latched on. The first time she latched I jumped up a little. I honestly didn’t think a tiny baby good suck so hard. It was like a Dyson vacuum on overdrive lol. Every 2 to 3 hours I was breastfeeding my baby 15 to 20 minutes on each breast. Fast forward, 3 days later my nipples were so sore. I cringed every time I put her to my breast because I knew it was going to hurt. She wasn’t latching properly. I always had large nipples and they were too large for my little girl’s mouth. My go to resource for advice was no surprise, my mom and sister. With their advice and a bit of research, I was able to get my baby to latch.

Baby latched correctly

Latching Tips

  • Find a comfortable position to hold baby (ex. Cradle hold, football hold, side lying or koala position to name a few. You can also try laid-back position for those who may have had a c-section).
  • Make sure babies body is as close to you as possible. Hold them flush to your body.
  • Holding your baby with your opposite arm, firmly hold your breast with the arm on the same side as your breast, with your thumb high on the breast and your forefingers below, but on your breast.
  • Bring your baby to your breast, angling your nipple to the roof of their mouth. Allow baby to come to the breast and latch on.
  • You want your baby to get as much of your areola in their mouth as possible, with their chin resting on the breast. See picture at beginning of tips.
  • If the baby latches onto just the nipple, using clean hands, gently put your pinky finger inside the corner of babies mouth to break the seal and try again.

Now, even after getting a good latch, I still had my fair share of troubles. It takes your nipples anywhere from 2-5 weeks to “toughen up”. Which means they will still be a little sore until they do. To help combat this, get yourself a good lanolin nipple cream and apply it after every feed. You can also use some of your own breast milk to help heal your nipples. Express a little milk and dab it onto your nipples. Allow it to air dry before covering it up. You will also want to get some breast pads to keep your breasts dry and comfortable. My favorite are the Johnson & Johnson brand. You can also by reusable breast pads. It generates less waste and can be very cost effective in the long run. Something no one tells you is that your nipples will leak milk. They leak when they are full, if you get emotional, if your baby brushes up against them, if your baby cries and for a number of other reasons. Both your breasts will leak during let down, so make sure your opposite breast is covered. I use Milksavers to catch the run off milk while breastfeeding and store it in the freezer. You can also use a Haaka to collect your milk. Save that precious gold mommas!

It is not as easy as it looks, but it is worth it. Breastfeeding will create a strong bond between you and your baby and there are numerous health benefits. Breast milk contains antibodies that are produced by the mother. These antibodies protect your baby and build up their immune system. The best part is, it protects against the current pathogens the mother has been exposed to. Mother’s milk also contains the exact amount of protein, fat, sugars and vitamins that most babies need. It adjusts to meet your babies needs as they grow. You can’t get more customized than that! Although, you will need to give vitamin D supplements, as it is not found in breast milk. Breastfeeding can also offer mom additional benefits, burning up to 500 calories per day, helping contract the uterus back to normal size, lowering the risk of postpartum bleeding and depression. The moral of this story, is stick to it and try not to get discouraged. No matter what happens, just try your best. If in the end you are not able to breast feed or find it to challenging, just remember that a fed baby is the best baby and it is ok to give them formula. Many advancements have been made and many formulas offer complete nutrition for babe. Unfortunately, without the added health benefits breast milk provides. I am not a health professional. Just one mom trying to share what has worked for me. Good luck latching! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them here.