BioGaia® ProTectis® – Review

This review was written by Britt T., mother to a 9- month-old

Since starting solids at 6 months, my daughter’s poops have become more irregular and she’s had some constipation issues. I hate seeing her uncomfortable like that, so I was thrilled when I offered the opportunity to try BioGaia® ProTectis®. After looking at the ingredient list, I felt comfortable with trying BioGaia® ProTectis®. It is free of many common allergens, including dairy, gluten, and nuts, making it easier to pinpoint food reactions, as we are still introducing new foods.

Within a week of using the product, my daughter had noticeably less stomache distress. I’m happy to report that her poops are becoming more regular (I know, moms talk about poop a lot) and she has less constipation. I’m thrilled that something so simple can make such a huge difference.

I would recommend this product to any parent looking for a safe, quality probiotic. We plan to continue using this product daily to keep our daughter’s gut health optimal.

Here’s some extra information about the product:

BioGaia® ProTectis® is an evidence-based probiotic that’s been proven to soothe these common tummy issues in newborns and older children:

For colic and digestive health:

 

Finding the perfect parented activity for your toddler is no easy feat. Unparented activities for children 3 and up seem to be in huge supply, but parented classes for children under 2 are a bit tougher to find. So, I’ve compiled a list of the best activities and classes for children 2 and under in Edmonton and St. Albert.

Art and Pottery

4Cats

4Cats Art Studios are a great place for birthday parties, family workshops, and their Kittens classes for children 2 – 4 years, accompanied by an adult. Locations: Fort Road and Summerside

Creation Space

This locally-owned art studio is located on Whyte Avenue in the Roots on Whyte building. This is the perfect place to get messy, explore, and create. Creation Space offers parented “Art Play” classes for children 16 months – 5 years. They also offer collaborate family workshops and Open Play on Thursday mornings.

Glazing Pot Studio

Glazing Pot Studio in St. Albert offers a variety of weekly and monthly themed pottery workshops for babies, tots, and preschoolers.

Preschool Painter with Glazing Pot Studio

Dance

Dance Theme

Dance Theme, located in Northeast Edmonton, offers programs for your tiny dancer, including Tiny Stars for babies 3 – 10 months and Baby Stars for 11 – 18 months and 18 months to 3 years.

Griesbach Dance Company

Griesbach Dance Company is located in North Edmonton and offers their Little Performers Ballet or Hip Hop Class for children as young as 2 years.

Intellidance

Intellidance was created right here in Edmonton and is now offered globally. They offer classes for several different age groupings including Intellidance Babies for 3 – 11 months, Intellidance Tykes for 12 – 23 months, and Intellidance Tots for 2 – 4 years. Find a class nearest you.

Intellidance!

Gymnastics

Capital City Gymnastics

Capital City Gymnastics is located in South Edmonton and offers Tumblebugs, a parented class for children 12 – 24 months, and Parent & Tot for children 2 – 3 years.

Dynamyx Gymnastics

Dynamyx Gymnastics is located in St. Albert and offers an Inchworms class for chidlren 12 – 24 months and Caterpillars class for children 2 – 3 years. We love Dynamyx!

Caterpillars with Dynamyx Gymnastics

Gymboree Play and Music

Gymboree is located in Southwest Edmonton and offers play and music classes for a variety of age groupings including 0 – 6 months, 6 – 10 months, 10 – 16 months, and 16 – 22 months, and 12 – 28  months.

Little Gym

Little Gym is located in Southwest Edmonton and offers a Perfect Start, a parented class for children 4 months – 3 years.

MyGym

MyGym is located in South Edmonton and offers a variety of classes for children as young as 6 months. The neat thing about MyGym is that they keep the age range of each class quite small, so your children will truly be with others their own age.

St. Albert Gymnastics Club

St. Albert Gymnastics club offers Caterpillars for children 18 months – 2 years and Butterflies for children 2 – 3 years.

Martial Arts

Hayabusa Training Centre

Hayabusa Training Centre in St. Albert offers a parented Little Ninjas class for children 2-4 years.

Tien Lung Taekwon-do

Tien Lung Taekwon-do on 124 Street offers Mini Dragons, a fun parented taekwon-do class for children 2 – 3 years, accompanied by an adult.

Mini Dragons with Tien Lung Taekwon-do

Music

Baby Steps Giant Leaps

Owned by one of favourite ladies, Angela Flatekval, Baby Steps Giant Leaps is located in North Edmonton and offers Kindermusik Music and Movement classes for all ages.

Dominelli School of Music

This locally-owned music studio offers Rock Your Socks Off, a music class for 1 – 2-year-olds focused on Rock N’ Roll! The program is offered at both their North Edmonton and St. Albert location.

Music Together of the Northern Lights

With classes in St. Albert and all over Edmonton, Music Together’s Mixed Age classes are fun for the whole family, especially when you have a toddler and a baby. We’ve personally attended three Music Together sessions over the years.

Visionary Centre for Performing Arts

With two locations, one in South Edmonton and one in St. Albert, Visionary Centre for Performing Arts offers both Kindermusik for babies and toddlers and Music Funtime for children 2 – 3 years.

Zumbini

Zumbini is a relatively new program to Edmonton, with several local instructors offering the program in Edmonton and area. The program is for 0 – 4 years and combines music, dance, and education.

Kindermusik with Baby Steps Giant Leaps

Sports

Little Kickers

Little Kickers is a soccer program for young children, but  and is quite new to Edmonton and area. Their Little Kicks class is for children 1. 5 – 2.5 years and is offered in many parts of Edmonton and St. Albert.

Sportball

We love Sportball! Sportball Edmonton (and area) offers their Multisport class for children 16 months to 2 years that explores eight different sports.

Sensory Play and Open Play

Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre

Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre is a Parent Link Centre with multiple sites in Edmonton that offer free registered and drop-in programs, including their popular Stay & Play Program and Art & Sensory Play Program (and much more)!

St. Albert Family Resource Centre

St. Albert Family Resource Centre offers affordable programs and workshops for all ages, everything from cooking and sensory play to art and music.

Yoga

Little Lotus

Little Lotus is located just south of Whyte Avenue and offers a variety of yoga classes for the whole family, including Family Yoga, Baby Yoga, Toddler Yoga, and Preschool Yoga.

Mommy Connections North Edmonton & St. Albert

Of course, we also offer awesome parented classes for children 2 and under. So, if you’re looking for a class for your busy, on-the-move baby or toddler that offers a variety of activities, like gymnastics, music, dance, and martial arts, and helps connect you to other moms, check out our Mini Movers Program for mobile babies 9 – 18 months (younger is okay too) and our Travelling Tots Program for toddlers 1.5 – 3 years. Learn more.

All photos above are from our past Mini Movers and Travelling Tots Programs! Ask us about them.

There’s a new, one-of-a-kind program in town for babies and we think you’re going to love it! Hosted by the St. Albert Children’s Theatre, Let’s StArt! is a parent and me program designed for babies 0 – 12 months. Every 60-minute class will allow you and your baby to explore the arts through music, storytelling, dance, sensory play, puppetry, and more!

Taught by a local actor, theatre major, and mom, this class will feature a little bit of everything to help you foster your child’s imagination and creativity. Learn how play can support your baby’s cognitive development and take home useful tools to help you stay present and playful at home, despite the distractions of modern-day life. After each class, stick around for some open and honest talk with the rest of the parents on a different topic each week.

Learn more about their 5-week spring session on Tuesday afternoons starting April 17 at St. Albert Children’s Theatre: https://stalbert.ca/exp/sact/classes/lets-start/ 

Register online or over the phone at 780-459-1585.

Did you know? Two years ago, Mommy Connections began offering a Dad & Baby Program for dads and babies in North Edmonton and St. Albert! Our 6-week Dad & Baby Program is a great way for new dads to connect with other new dads in their community while getting some one-on-one time with their babies.

Over the years us gals at Mommy Connections have talked about ways to include dads in our programming, but we have struggled to find a way that made sense for modern families. We know that many Canadian mothers enjoy a year of maternity leave, which is why we offer weekday programs for moms and babies in their first year. Our programs are a great way for new moms to find their village, bond with their babies, and learn all about what their community has to off them. But what about dads?

We also know that there are some dads who work from home, have flexible work hours, or share in the parental leave. And that means that over the years I’ve had some rad dads join our Mini Movers and Travelling Tots Programs held during the week. For most dads though, a weekday program isn’t feasible.

craig and lennox newborn resized

As a society we talk a great deal about the transition into motherhood and the challenges and joys that go along with that. But somehow along the way we’ve forgotten that becoming a dad is a big deal too! Dads should have a place to meet, spend time with their babies, and find their village, just like moms do.

As the pioneer of the Dad & Baby Program, I sincerely hope that this can be the start of something amazing. The response to our first Dad & Baby Program in St. Albert was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. My dream is that the success of this program will lead all Mommy Connections locations nationwide to offer programs for dads. Because dads are awesome too! Here’s a picture of our first Dad & Baby group from spring of 2017 (two dads missing):

Our next Dad & Baby Program will be held at Sublime Health & Family Chiropractic Clinic in St. Albert on Sunday afternoons 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.,  beginning September 15, 2019. This awesome 6-week program will be lead by a super rad local dad and each week will have plenty of time to talk about the challenges and joys of fatherhood while bonding with your baby and a presentation or activity for dad and baby including Kindermusik, Infant Massage, Dad & Baby photos, and more!

If you think offering a program for dads and babies is awesome, then please help us spread the word by sharing the program!

Be the first to know about our events and programs by signing up for our free bi-weekly newsletter. 

No matter where you are on your parenting journey – bump, baby or toddler – we have a class for you!

Are you pregnant? Expecting this Fall or Winter? Check out our fabulous Weekend Mom to Be Prenatal Program!  Get your labour and birth prep, maternity photos, and preparation for everything pregnancy and baby!

baby class picAre you a new mom or second or third time mom on maternity leave? Check out our Mom & Baby Programs for babies up to 12 months happening in North and Downtown Edmonton. Choose from our Classic Mom & Baby Program or our new Mom & Baby Active Summer Program. Join us once a week for 8 weeks for fun demos, informative presentations and crafts! We reserve plenty of time each week to discuss the latest parenting challenges, baby’s development and anything else happening in our lives!

Gazebo Tot Group 1Have a toddler at home? Off on maternity leave for the second or third time with your baby and tot? Or working during the week and looking for something to do with your tot on Saturdays? Join us for our Tuesday Mom & Tot Program or our Saturday Mom & Tot Program. In this 6 week session you will get to experience a variety of different interactive and fun programs with your toddler. You’ll try everything from music class to creative movement, sports activities to gymnastics and much more! Every activity is lead by a local business, giving you the chance to sample amazing tot programs available in North Edmonton.

Current class dates don’t work for your schedule right now? Be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep up to date with what is happening, current classes, and any special promos!

Email chelsey@mommyconnections.ca with any questions!

No matter where you are on your parenting journey – bump, baby or toddler – we have a class for you!

Are you pregnant? Expecting this Fall or Summer? Check out our fabulous 3 week Mom to Be Prenatal Program!  Get your labour and birth prep, maternity photos, and preparation for everything pregnancy and baby!

Are you a new mom or second or third time mom on maternity leave? Check out our Mom & Baby Programs for babies up to 9 months happening in North Edmonton and Downtown Edmonton. Join us once a week for 8 weeks for fun demos, informative presentations and crafts! We reserve plenty of time each week to discuss the latest parenting challenges, baby’s development and anything else happening in our lives!

Have a toddler at home? Off on maternity leave for the second or third time with your baby and tot? Or working during the week and looking for something to do with your tot on Saturdays? Join us for our Tuesday Mom & Tot Program or our Saturday Mom & Tot Program. Each week we try a different class designed for your toddler including Taekwon-do, Art, Ceramics, Dance, Music and more! Dads are welcome too!

Check out our brand new Mom & Mini Tot Program in North Edmonton for moms and babies 9-18 months starting on April 8th! There are only three spots left!

We are also offering an Infant/Child CPR workshop perfect for parents and caregivers with or without previous First Aid experience. Learn how to clear airway obstructions on a choking baby and when to perform CPR.

Current class dates don’t work for your schedule right now? Be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep up to date with what is happening, current classes, and any special promos!

Email chelsey@mommyconnections.ca with any questions!

Are you, or is someone you know expecting or have recently had a baby, these awesome FREE deals come out a few times a year, all you have to pay is the shipping.

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Pillow

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I cannot quite figure out why so many of us women are eager to share our pregnancy and birth experiences, but anything that comes after baby is born, mum’s the word.

There is so much pressure, misinformation and missing information when it comes to what being a new mom or a mom in general is really like.

I remember texting my three girlfriends who had had babies a few weeks and months before me, asking about bed-sharing, postpartum bleeding, sleep, anxiety . . . I could go on. I was desperate to know if what I was feeling and thinking and experiencing was normal. Why when my baby was finally sleeping was I wide awake? Was it safe to sleep in the same bed as my daughter or would I squish her? Why won’t she sleep longer than 1 hour at a time? Will I always feel this anxious?

First baby wear 5 days oldThese questions and more were running through my head and in frantic texts to my girlfriends. I was desperate and I felt utterly alone. Being a mother was scary, challenging, and so so new to me.  I really began to realize that I was not prepared – even though I had truly thought I was. I had no idea what I was doing or what to do next. The feeling was terrifying.

In motherhood, is it possible to ever feel prepared? I really don’t think so. But why we don’t talk more about these things, I’m really not sure. Is it because so many of us women have the mentality, intentional or not, that we must be Supermoms, that we shouldn’t ask for help, and that if we do, we are a failure?

Well, I’m going to tell you, you cannot do it all and you should not do it all. You are not a failure if you ask for help. Being a mother is tough work.

Something I don’t think we talk enough about is our bodies after baby. I think many of us assume that getting our pre-baby bodies back will be effortless as long as we continue healthy eating and exercising. No one really talks about the stretch marks, widened hips, changed breasts.  It is entirely possible to return to the same weight, but almost a guarantee that your body will be markedly different. Your body changed its shape; it widened, loosened and stretched to make sure you grew the healthiest baby (or babies you could) – it’s silly to think that our bodies won’t be altered slightly.

We need to start a dialogue and keep it open, removing shame and ridiculous comparisons.

The immense pressure and expectations put upon mothers by themselves, others and society is ludicrous. Add to that the absurd comparison between “regular mothers” and “celebrity mothers” and you have a recipe for failure.

We all have friends who seem to be back to their pre-pregnancy bodies, who may even be slimmer and stronger than ever. Try not to assume that their bodies are perfect and unchanged. Their changes may be less visible, hidden beneath clothing. Mothers are the only ones who truly know how much their bodies have changed.

I believed with all of my being that my body would return to its original form before my baby had turned a year old.  Like so many others, the myth of getting my pre-baby body back pervaded my mind and set me up for failure.

I knew some women didn’t return to their original shapes, sizes and fitness levels after baby, but I honestly assumed it was because they weren’t being healthy or exercising enough. I had no idea that I could eat well, and exercise and still be nowhere near my pre-pregnancy body and weight.

Please don’t use your pre-pregnancy shape and weight as a measure of success.

Some of us will forever wear the reminders of the time our babies spent inside of us, growing each day. And while change is difficult – tighter clothing, bulging veins, wider hips and stretch marks – the journey to accepting yourself and acknowledging your new role and new body is key.

Please don’t be discouraged by your new body.  Your journey is unique. Your body is unique. You are unique.

So continue to be the healthy awesome you that you are. Exercise often, eat well, but do not shame yourself because your body is different now than it was before baby.

 Love yourself unconditionally.

~chelsey

Before becoming pregnant, I was the fittest I had ever been. I was teaching full-time, and would spend 1-2 hours at the gym a minimum of 5 days a week. Even after becoming pregnant, I maintained my routine, with minimal changes – no hot yoga and less running due to SI joint troubles – and maintained my fitness level.

It did not even occur to me that my body could or would change after having a baby.  After all, I was one of those women who only looked pregnant from the side. I had no idea how much my body would change, how difficult those first few weeks and months would be, and how hard it would be to leave my baby and make time for myself.

Before our daughter was born, it went without saying that I would wake up refreshed after a wonderful night’s sleep, workout for an hour in the basement, have a shower and be ready for the day before my baby had even awoke.

Boy was I wrong!

It took several months to get a decent night’s sleep and even after that, I had such a sleep deficit that I was always exhausted. My energy levels were even lower due to inconsistent nonexistent exercise.  I also had a heck of a time keeping myself properly fed in those first few months.

Our daughter will be two at the end of January, and only now am I learning how to carve out time for myself to exercise and spend time on me. Over the past almost two years I have tried. I cancelled my gym membership and we invested in some Bowflex Weights and an indoor cycling bike. I tried waking up early and working out, running outside in the summer, going to yoga. But for some reason I was never able to keep up a routine. It took me until a few weeks ago to finally realize why.

Before the end of my maternity leave I decided to become the North Edmonton Mommy Connections Director. I also started subbing a few months after my mat leave ended. I was offered a part-time teaching position in the summer for the start of the 2013 school year and decided to take it. Any chance at a routine and time for myself officially went out the window. My husband was working even longer hours than ever before and I was running a business and teaching part-time but needing to be there every day of the week. I had no idea how to run a business, teach, spend time with our daughter, my partner and family, and carve out time for myself.

Those first few months going back to teaching were really tough. It’s been over four months now and I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do, but I’ve managed to learn how to incorporate my own personal wellness goals into my life. Here’s what I needed:

1. A Reason. What I needed to really get motivated and keep motivated was why I wanted to exercise in the first place. It was a combination of things, really. I needed time for myself. I was unhappy with my body and how tight my clothing had become. I really wanted to feel great about myself again and I knew those endorphins would be an added bonus. Most of all, I wanted my daughter to look up to me, to see that I didn’t put my life on hold to become a mom, that I hadn’t given up on myself or placed myself at the bottom of the priority list.mommy and zoey

2. Realistic Goals.  I have extremely lofty goals in almost every aspect of my life. I’m also a terrible estimator, especially when it comes to how long something will take. So I have had to really sit back and be honest with myself. What is manageable in my new life? How much time can I allot myself and what can I do to make the most of that time?  For me it has been carving out 30 minutes each day, 6 days a week. Upon a colleague’s recommendation, I started doing Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution workouts. I already had the weights and resistance band and more than enough space in our basement. I will admit it took me a while to really stay consistent – and it’s only been 2 weeks – but that’s because I was missing a few other key factors needed.

3. Schedule/Plan. In addition to my daily workouts, I have decided to go to Hot Yoga twice a week. This has definitely been the most challenging, due to the inconsistent nature of my husband’s schedule. What I have found is setting a schedule at the beginning of the week makes the most sense. My husband and I are notorious for forgetting to tell each other things, like when I have Parent-Teacher Interviews or when he has ball hockey games. So I’ve put a calendar on the fridge and we update that as often as possible. Without a plan, and a realistic one at that, regular exercise is almost impossible.

4. Support. My husband is a supportive guy, but he wasn’t really getting that I needed help to stay motivated, that I needed him to make a concerted effort to help me to go to yoga and that if I did, I would be happy and in turn, so would he. So I decided to tell him what I needed.

Support can come in many different forms. It may be a co-worker, friend, partner, sibling, or parent. Make sure that you have support in place before you begin. You are amazing and incredible and you shouldn’t have to do it alone.

It’s also extremely challenging trying to fit workouts in when I am home with my daughter. If she is awake when I need to workout, she will do them with me. They are only 30 minutes long and because I am not on a treadmill or bike, I can stay near her the whole time. It’s actually turned into a bit of a bonding experience for us both and she gets to see mommy making time for herself. A win-win.

It’s so easy to get down on yourself after having a baby. Nobody really talks about how difficult it can be mentally, emotionally and physically. Let’s share our experiences, our joys and our struggles, to remind ourselves that we are not alone.

Wherever you are in your pre or postpartum journey, be gentle with yourself. Your body and your mind are capable of amazing feats. Just remember to be realistic, make a plan and seek the support you need.

~chelsey

I had an astounding pregnancy. I felt amazing except for some minor nausea early on and some SI Joint dysfunction. I exercised almost daily at the gym, lifting weights, doing cardio and feeling downright awesome. I loved the attention friends, family and strangers paid me. Doors were held open, people were always checking in with me to see how I felt. I was on cloud nine.

preg pic

I was more excited than nervous to go into labour. I had planned a quiet home birth with only my husband and our doula and midwives present. I worked tirelessly throughout my pregnancy to ensure that everything would go according to plan. I did everything I could to ensure my baby would be anterior facing and head down: I saw my chiropractor weekly, went for massages often, I never slouched on the couch or in a chair. I read every Ina May Gaskin book I could and hired an amazing doula. Mentally and physically I was ready.

I was 40 weeks and 5 days when my labour finally began. We were out shopping for a new duvet cover that I insisted we needed. During our drive all over the city for the perfect duvet cover (which I returned when our daughter was a few weeks old) I started feeling some cramping, comparable to menstrual cramps. I barely noticed it and we continued shopping. It was late January of 2012 and the weather was beautiful so I insisted that we walk as much as possible, not even realizing that this was likely helping speed along my labour. We then went for dinner to one of our favourite Indian restaurants, again not realizing that the spicy food would likely help my labour along.

About 3/4 of the way through our dinner I rushed to the bathroom and lost my mucus plug. My cramps were no longer cramps, but increasingly intense contractions. I ordered my husband to take his Naan bread to go and we rushed home.

My contractions went from zero to sixty in a matter of hours and at first I did not think I could manage it. However I quickly found my groove and remained in control of my labour and birth magnificently. I gave birth to our beautiful daughter at 1:02 am on January 30th a mere 10 hours after feeling those first cramps. It was picturesque, me in the pool holding our newborn daughter, covered in darkness, save for the light cast by scattered candles across the room, soft jazz music playing in the background, my husband watching in awe from our bed.

The birth could not have gone better. I felt glorious and empowered.  I had a snack waiting for me, my daughter in my arms, help breastfeeding and our warm bed to relax in.

baby z

 

Everything was perfect. And yet for nearly two weeks, I did not feel like myself. I could not understand why I would feel so anxious and upset and unable to eat when I had had the perfect pregnancy, the perfect birth, the perfect family. I admit that it was several days before I finally got out of bed.

No one really talks about how difficult those first few nights, weeks and months can be. How utterly alone and helpless a new mother can feel. We often forget how much healing our bodies require, even when our birth goes according to “plan”. How completely exhausted you can feel, waking every hour or half hour each night, desperately clutching your baby to your breast, willing her to latch on just this once. How much a huge drop in hormones can affect you.

Perhaps no one talks about it because it is downright scary. But we need to start talking about it.

I’m still not sure if it was the baby blues or a form of depression or something else entirely. I remember feeling so angry at myself for feeling the way I felt, for not having the energy to go for walks every day, to feed myself, to have visitors.

I am so incredibly grateful for my family, doula, midwife and a few awesome mommy friends who calmly helped me through those first weeks.

Once I started feeling like myself again I started getting out of the house as much as I could. I joined my local Mommy Connections Mom & Baby class and later the Birthing into Motherhood Program with Mother Haven. It was so important for me to surround myself with women who understood what I was going through and who I knew wouldn’t judge me.

So many women suffer alone with postpartum depression, afraid and ashamed to admit to others how they are feeling. We need to change this. And it needs to change now.  We need to talk about how amazing, difficult, breathtaking and utterly miserable motherhood can be. We need not be ashamed of our feelings – our exhaustion, our anger, our fear, or our anxiety.

z and i 5 days

 

There is immense cultural pressure for mothers to do it all. But I am telling you, you do not need to do it alone. You may feel like the world is on your shoulders, but it doesn’t have to be.

We mothers are the solution. We must band together and support one another. Share our feelings and experiences. Listen.

We cannot lose another mother to postpartum depression.

Please share your story. Please tell someone how you feel. Please ask for help. You are strong and incredible and brave.

Never forget that.

~chelsey

 

Postpartum Depression Awareness (PPDA) has a Virtual Perinatal Mood Support Group, a place where mothers can seek support from their peers.The Edmonton Postpartum Depression Awareness Chapter is another great place to start.

 

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