The Best Ways to Prepare for Life with a Baby

The other evening I had the pleasure of attending a Better Beginnings Night at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. This was an event that reached out to any person looking for more information about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum resources here in Ottawa. We saw women very close to their due dates, as well as women and their partners planning for pregnancy. There were birth doulas, postpartum doulas, chiropractors, and various businesses offering information and free samples.

This got me thinking – what are the best ways to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum? I think we all know the more obvious ways to get ready: prep the baby’s room, attend regular prenatal appointments with your healthcare provider, and purchase baby supplies. But research has shown that women and partners who are well prepared for the reality of postpartum life tend to fare better in terms of adjustment issues and perinatal mood disorders.

So as your “in-house” doula, I present to you the top tips for preparing for life with a baby (hint….this involves a lot of classes!):

1. Take a prenatal class – one with an actual live teacher. The City of Ottawa now offers a free online course, but research has shown that your interaction with a teacher and/or classmates will enhance your learning. You also want to make sure that the class you choose focuses primarily on labour and birth – stages/phases, physiology, comfort measures for pain and  unexpected outcomes.

2. Take a yoga class – start in early pregnancy, and continue practicing as much as possible throughout each trimester. You not only prepare your body for the physical rigor of labour, but you teach yourself relaxation skills (the KEY to having a healthy birth)

3. Take a baby/newborn preparation class – most of us have absolutely no experience with newborns before we decide to get pregnant. In order to be comfortable with all the challenges you will face as a new parent, you need to understand newborn behaviours, sleep patterns (no, newborn babies do not sleep through the night!), and diaper, feed and carry your child.

4. Make a postpartum plan – it sounds silly, I know. “I need a PLAN to parent my child?” Yes, you do…at least in the beginning. You will be shocked at all the little details you hadn’t thought of once baby arrives. Who is nearby to give you support? How will you get breaks? Who will cook and clean the house? Walk the dog? If you take time to think about these things before you enter the postpartum phase, you’ll feel less overwhelmed.

5. Take time to hang with your friends who have become parents. Ask them questions. Hold a baby, and offer to babysit several times.

The clients I work with who adjust the easiest to postpartum life are the ones who have:

- a lot of family nearby
- husbands/partners that can stay home on paternal leave (if this isn’t possible due to financial reasons, plan who else you can call on for assistance)
- lots of experience with newborns
- taken prenatal classes
- lower anxiety due to proper physical activity, meditation or relaxation skills, and yoga

Did you adjust well to the postpartum phase? What made it easier on you?

Welcome to Sponsor Tumblers Gymnastics

We’re so lucky here in Ottawa to have a great selection of gymnastics centres. Some are recreational, while other combine both recreational and competitive options – which means that anyone can participate, regardless of ability (wouldn’t it be cool to have an adult gymnastics class? I’ll admit I’m rather jealous of my 2 year-old tumbling around on the mats!)

Tumblers Gymnastics Centre has been around for 25 years, incorporating in 1989 as a not-for-profit organization. It’s now one of the largest gymnastics clubs in the province. Recreational classes follow the CanGym program, and specialty classes include Introductory Rhythmic Gymnastics, recreational trampoline, and Acro for Dance.

We had a chance to go and check out Tumblers’ drop-in class, which runs every morning at 10:30 a.m. except Tuesdays.

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The centre is GIANT! My daughter was in awe of all the fun things to check out – she had access to all the equipment during the drop-in. For a two year-old, it’s better to be free to run around :) Her favourite things to do were jump on the trampoline and walk on the balance beams!

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Staff were welcoming and friendly, and interacted with all the kids on the bars, trampoline and balance beams. A viewing area in the lobby is available for parents to watch their child’s progress in kinder and recreational classes (a.k.a quiet time for Mommy to drink coffee ;) )

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Check out the Fall schedule now for drop-in times, kinder and recreational programs – children can participate from as young as one year in parent-assisted classes.

If you’re in the East end (or anywhere for that matter!), come by and check out Tumblers Gymnastics Centre – my daughter is already asking when we can go again!

Flashback: Falling for Fall

This post was originally published on my personal blog – three years ago! We still love the Orleans Fruit Farm, and yes, I still love that kale salad :)

 

Although we officially have five more days to go, I’m going to jump the gun and call it: Autumn is Here. The nights are cold, the mornings are chilly (and in many parts of this world, frosty!), and the days are clear and bright. As Stuart McLean said on the Vinyl Cafe, the sky is a different kind of blue now than it is in July and August.

What better way to kick off our first fall weekend than with a visit to the local apple orchard:

The sunflowers welcomed us as though we were royalty

Her Highness was all too willing to oblige

The bees were busy this weekend – they know the end is near

A curious little elf hid amongst the towering flowers…

But emerged to bite into every apple she could find – whether they be on the ground or in the trees

“How do you like them apples!?”

 

 A warm dinner of curried carrot soup – thanks to the sweet roots we had growing in our garden this year

And freshly baked whole wheat bread, with flour from Castor River Farm

To finish off, a salad with garden tomatoes and local purple kale

Tonight I’m hoping for dreams as vivid as the fall colours….