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:

 

Most friends and family mean well. They are so excited about the birth of a baby that they buy the cutest outfits they can find and gift them to new moms. While these gifts are lovely gestures, what moms need most isn’t really stuff for baby, but services for themselves that will help make life just a little bit easier. So much attention is paid to the baby, we often forget to check in and see how mom is doing. Her life has changed suddenly and adjusting isn’t always easy, nor is asking for help. Here’s our list of Christmas and shower gifts perfect for the new or veteran Edmonton and area mom in your life:

What would you add to this list?

Happy shopping!

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.

**Updated July 29, 2018**

Whether you’re on your first or fifth maternity leave, a stay-at-home mom, or a work-at-home mom like me, finding time for a workout once you’ve had kids can be challenging. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best baby and kid-friendly fitness classes in Edmonton and surrounding areas. If you’re home during the week with your baby, toddler, or both, then keep reading to find out where you can work out with your little ones!

Please remember that your postpartum body is not the same as your pre-baby body. Your core and pelvic floor often require gentle rehabilitation and many fitness classes with high impact exercises like burpees and jumping jacks may not be appropriate. Always listen to your body and make modifications when necessary. Avoid sit ups and crunches until you know that your core and pelvic floor are completely healed or according to my physiotherapist, never do them again. Haha.

After giving birth, it is not uncommon to have abdominal separation and pelvic floor weakness, including incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. These often go undiagnosed and will likely worsen without proper treatment and exercise modifications. Your doctor or midwife may have given you the go-ahead at your 6-week check-up to begin exercising again. However, I strongly recommend that you see a physiotherapist or specialist to have your core and pelvic floor assessed before commencing any exercise.

These physiotherapists and specialists come highly recommended:

Core Love Fitness, West Edmonton *My own personal review of her rehabilitation services is coming soon!

CURA Physical Therapies, West Edmonton

Mother Nurture Physiotherapy, North Edmonton

Nurture Her, West Edmonton

The Classes

North Edmonton

Castle Downs YMCA

The Castle Downs YMCA offer childcare for members Monday – Saturday while they work out (hours vary)! They offer a variety of fitness classes you can do while your children are in childcare. Check out their current program schedule here. They will be re-launching several postnatal programs this fall including Baby & Me Aquafit, Stroller Fitness, and Mom & Baby Yoga.

Momentum Health & Wellness

A home studio owned by Rachelle, pre and postnatal fitness specialist and mother of three. She offers Stroll It Out Classes twice a week and Mom’s Return to Fitness once a week, all baby and kid-friendly.

West Edmonton

Core Love Fitness

All sessions are focused on connecting and strengthening the core and pelvic floor as well as coordinating all movement with the strength that comes from the core. Core Love offers private, semi-private, and group sessions in a kid-friendly space. You can get your workout in while the kids play, do puzzles or “work out” alongside you!

Fit for You

Caroline offers a Mom & Me Kid Fit class on Monday mornings in the Meadowlark area. She is passionate about safe postnatal fitness and you should definitely check it out!

Jamie Platz YMCA

The Jamie Platz YMCA offers childcare for members Monday – Saturday while they work out (hours vary)! They offer everything from yoga and cycling to tai chi and zumba. Find their current program and childcare schedule here.

Barre Body Studio, Holland Plaza

Barre is a great fitness option for new mamas. Their Mommy & Me class is offered on Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. is designed for babies to be worn in carriers. Older children are welcome in the room as well.

Don Wheaton YMCA

Don Wheaton offers Baby & Me Aquafit on Monday mornings!

South Edmonton

Barre Body Studio, Whitemud Crossing

We love barre! This Mommy & Me class is designed for babies to be worn in carriers. Older children are welcome in the room as well. Offered on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m.

Fit Your Life

A fun full-body workout combining toning and cardio where your little ones can play! The positive and challenging atmosphere of these classes is amazing! They offer classes all week at their studio and, weather permitting, offer outdoor classes in the summer months. All classes are kid-friendly and perfect for the whole family!

J’Adore Dance 

This awesome dance studio offers classes for everyone in the family, including a Wednesday morning JFit Mama class designed for moms to do while their babies are in carriers.

The Surf Studio,

I LOVE this place! Studio owner Natasha makes all fitness levels feel welcome in her unique classes that take place on a surf board – a great way to rebuild core strength and stability after pregnancy! Babies can hang out in car seats or a blanket nearby and big kids can play in the lounging area or in the surf room with a plethora of colouring supplies and stickers to keep them occupied. Kid-friendly classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays!

William Lutsky YMCA

The William Lutsky YMCA offers childcare Monday – Saturday for members while they exercise. Choose from a variety of fitness classes. Check out the current schedule here. Postnatal fitness classes will likely resume this fall.

Xtend Barre

This gorgeous studio – owned by my AMAZING friend Jeanette – is nestled in the heart of Old Strathcona and offers four baby and kid-friendly classes each week. Wear your baby in a baby carrier and let your toddler or preschooler hang out with the amazing front desk staff in the lounging area while you get your sweat on. They’ll stay occupied with the latest episode of Paw Patrol and the many toys and puzzles available. Offered four mornings a week.

St. Albert

30-Minute Hit

This welcoming St. Albert studio offers a 30-minute kickboxing circuit, Mondays – Saturdays. And babies and children are welcome. When it comes to your workout, come anytime during regular hours and start your circuit.

Salsa Babies

With little ones snuggled into baby carriers, new moms learn basic steps to popular Latin Dances, while babies shake maracas and bounce along to the Salsa beat. Classes resume this fall.

Servus Place

Servus Place in St. Albert offers childminding Mondays – Saturdays so you can enjoy a workout. Servus Place also offers a variety of postnatal fitness classes including Postnatal Stroller Fitness as well as Baby and Me Aquafit, Baby and Mama Pilates, Postnatal Spin and Strength, Yoga for Mom and Baby, Fit Moms, Mom and Baby Barre, and Mom and Muscle.

Sturgeon Valley Athletic Club

This incredible facility offers personal training and group fitness classes, including yoga, cycling, and barre! The best part? They have on-site childcare in their Playcare facility offered every day of the week. Enjoy your workout or a treatment at their on-site spa while you work out.

Sherwood Park

Spinunity

This studio will rock your socks off! You will leave feeling invigorated after a heart-pumping full-on indoor cycling class and full-body workout, as you pick up your kids from the childcare room! Drop-in childcare is $7 per child or you have the option to buy a punch pass for 5 visits at $30 or 10 visits at $50. Onsite childcare for the win! Childcare classes offered 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Monday – Friday.

Edmonton, St. Albert, & Sherwood Park

Aradia Fitness

Aradia Fitness offers an array of pole fitness classes at their Kingsway, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, and Whyte Ave locations. Babies and kids are welcome to all classes!  Babies can chill in their car seats or on blankets during class. Older siblings are welcome!
 

Hot Mama Health & Fitness

These baby and child-friendly fitness classes are offered in various locations in and around Edmonton.

Many City of Edmonton Recreation Centres offer an array of postnatal fitness classes as well as childcare while you work out.

For many new moms, it can be difficult to love their new bodies. They often look, feel, and perform differently. Your body created life and it is incredible. Please try to focus on the incredible strength of your body and be gentle with yourself as your begin to pursue exercise.

Love always,

~chelsey

Inevitably it seems, a new mom’s main concern, aside from her baby, is how to get her pre-baby body back, how to lose just a few more pounds. The message communicated to her isn’t to take it easy or to nurture herself, but to diet and begin exercising as soon as possible. She’s bombarded by media artillery depicting new and veteran “fit moms” in sports bras, flexing their muscles and showing off their abs. This in itself isn’t the issue. And censoring these fit women is not the answer, but reframing the message moms are receiving and how new moms are treated, is.

Almost every new mom I’ve encountered, myself included, is eager to resume her fitness routine, so she can lose weight and fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. She is exhausted from her shocking lack of sleep, breast or bottle feeding a baby multiple times a day and night, and dealing with a plethora of new feelings, anxieties, and hormonal changes. Women in North America give birth to their babies and are sent on their way, hours or days later, often with little to no support or guidance. Spouses and partners may have additional time off, but for many new moms, family isn’t available during the day. And so, many new moms are left completely alone, with their babies, with their bodies, and with their thoughts. In North America, new moms are left to do it alone and told that having a baby is no big deal, that getting back to their pre-baby body is easy and attainable and should be high on the priority-list.

It’s all bullshit. Every bit of it. Motherhood is hard as hell. It is isolating. It is exhausting. It is alienating. New moms are at their most vulnerable in those early days, weeks, and months, spending more time online than ever before, trying to grapple with their new identity, their new role. It’s in these moments when new moms are most vulnerable, most susceptible to believing the bullshit that is out there. To believing that their bodies are failures because they can’t fit into their jeans. In these moments, many new moms begin to doubt themselves, to believe the bullshit. And many begin punishing themselves, commencing exercise way too soon and way too intensely. Many start dieting, restricting calories, avoiding fats. This hurts my heart.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of seeing ads talking about blasting your fat, getting rid of love handles or muffin tops or mommy tummy. This is predatory marketing. Preying on new moms’ vulnerability is sickening. I was so incredibly thin before I had my kids and even then, I thought I was fat. Fat! And what is fat anyways? Are you fat if you have a body fat percentage of this or that? Are you fat if you don’t have a flat tummy or thigh gap? Are you fat if you are bigger than a size 8? The word fat needs to piss off!

My perfect "mommy tummy" is soft, squishy, and streaked with stretch marks.

My perfect “mommy tummy” is soft, squishy, and streaked with stretch marks after having my two children.

Something is seriously wrong with the message that women are receiving. The message seems to be that you will never be good enough, that you need to buy this product, do this exercise, eat this food, wax this, shave that, and maybe, just maybe, you might be palatable, tolerable, decent. No. Fucking. Way.

Here’s the message I want you to hear. Loud. And. Clear. Your body is perfect. I see you at the grocery store, the mall, the farmers’ market. I see you at barre class, the swimming pool, the park. I see you. I see all of you. I see the sum of all your parts. I see your strong arms that hold and comfort your children. I see your forehead that creases when you’re worried and your laugh lines from all your giggles. I see your legs that hold you and your family up, that would climb mountains for your children, for anyone’s children. I see your stomach, the one that grew, nurtured, and carried babies, and that has cushioned them earthside. I see your eyes sparkle when you’re with your children and narrow as you scold them. I see your hands that hold tiny hands, that change diapers, make meals, fold laundry. I see your lips that kiss boo-boos, sing lullabies, and speak love and kindness. I see you for all that you are. Magnificent. Powerful. Awe-Inspiring.

Next time you pass by a mirror, stop and see yourself. Really see yourself. See the beauty, power, and strength that is you. You are worthy.

With so much love,

chelsey

fancy-red-wine-and-bottleSo. I’m drinking a gorgeous red wine and I”m gonna get a little passionate and a little sarcastic. Just warning you.

Now, one of the most amazing things about the world is that each and every one of us is unique, with diverse experiences, values and opinions. I just couldn’t have new moms out there reading this article and having more reason not to get out of the house, more reason to feel isolated and lonely. I couldn’t let the negative, narrow-minded viewpoint of 12 Reasons Baby Groups Suck to be the only opinion out there. And so, I bring to you, 12 Reasons Mom Groups Rock!

1. You have to get dressed.

This is a good thing. Why? Because it’s so easy as a new, shell-shocked mom to stay in your frumpy pajamas all day listening to Bon Iver drinking cold coffee. Having a date once a week where you are encouraged to put on real clothes, or at least your nice sweat pants, is great. And let’s be honest, if you come to a class in your pajamas with no makeup on, covered in spit-up, no one will bat an eye. Why? Because they’ve been there. They know you, even if they don’t know you. They are you. Plus it’s healthy to wash your face, brush your teeth and change your underwear every once in a while.

2. You’ll probably screw up their naps.

This is true. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a mom and baby class that fits perfectly around your little angel’s nap schedule. Or you’ll find one and then your child’s nap routine will change. But this is real life. I understand that naps are an integral part of a baby and toddler’s development and to every mother’s sanity, but some days your kids will need to nap earlier or later or have a shorter nap, because, well, real life. Sometimes we have appointments and other responsibilities that inevitably trump nap time. And sometimes babies who learn to nap on the go end up being more flexible with their sleep, which is most certainly a good thing.

3. They’ll sleep through it all.

Hell yes! There was nothing better than my baby sleeping through it all. This is the dream! Mom and baby groups are more for moms than babies and since babies sleep ALL THE DAMN TIME, it doesn’t matter where you go or what you’re doing. I repeat: mom groups are for moms, not for babies.

4. Germs

It’s impossible to avoid germs, unless you plan on quarantining your baby. Germs are in your home, at the grocery store, your in-law’s house, the doctor’s office, no more so than in a mom and baby group. And as moms we know being sick or having a sick kid is the worst. Moms don’t come to their mom and baby group if they’re sick or their little ones are sick. That’s common sense y’all. I can only guess that gradually exposing kids to germs, i.e., other kids, is good for their little immune systems.

5. Making small talk can be painful.

What? Talking with another adult is exactly what every exhausted mother wants and needs. A year alone with your baby can feel like ten if you’re stuck in the house all day. Before you realize it, you’ve replaced real words with “goo goo gaa gaa” and you’ve started speaking in the third person. Socializing with other moms IS essential. And most moms don’t make small talk, because they have a real connection: the universality of motherhood. So they end up talking about real shit, about their postpartum bodies, the impact of having a baby on their relationships, societal pressures on moms.

6. It’s impossible to hold a conversation anyway.

Yes. It’s impossible. But that doesn’t mean you should stop talking altogether. That’s just silly. If motherhood has taught me anything it’s my own ability to adapt, to carry on a conversation while being tugged on, climbed on, screeched at, poked at, you name it. Bring it, kids!

7. There will probably be messy play there.

Hell yeah! You mean my kid will be engaged in sensory play and the mess isn’t in my house? I’m in!

8. You may have to sing in front of strangers.

Well, I sing in my car all the time, so I say bring it. Of course there will be rhymes and songs and actions, but getting involved in these things entertains our babies and lets us have a laugh while we do it. And if you don’t want to sing or twirl or hop, then don’t, you’re your own damn woman. I for one will do just about anything to make my kids laugh.

9. At some point you feel shame.

Of course. But I’m not going to avoid public places and groups just in case my kid might do something that embarrasses me. After all, how can kids learn right and wrong unless they’re exposed to diverse situations and other children? It’s great to be around other moms and other kids to really get the bigger picture, that no parent or child is perfect.  And sure, there might be one asshole mom who’s judging your kid for pulling that other kid’s hair, but most moms will relate to you, sharing that moment her baby took off his diaper and rubbed poop all over the place or when he bit another kid.

10. Everyone else’s kids.

Everyone else’s kids are awesome! I love seeing babies grow up together and watching their unique personalities bloom. It’s amazing seeing kids become and stay friends because of the relationship their mothers have. Avoiding other moms and babies because someone else’s kid might misbehave is just silly. I want my kids exposed to the real world, not some fantasy void of germs, conflict and songs. It’s impossible to shelter your kids from everyone. Eventually they will meet someone they don’t get along with and it’s better that they have experience with this beforehand. I want my kids to appreciate people for their differences and not always be looking for sameness.

11. Hard floors.

Yeah, um, they’re everywhere. Bring a pillow, blanket or yoga mat and get comfortable. Come on now! Moms are resourceful; figure that shit out.

12. The inevitable self-comparison.

This isn’t something that only happens in mom and baby groups. It happens while you’re scrolling through Facebook, when you see old friends or other moms out in public. It’s just not reason enough to avoid social situations, to not put yourself out there. What I love so much about mom and baby groups is the diversity and the fact that it doesn’t matter how you feed your baby or where your baby sleeps, it’s about sharing this one common experience, this life-altering, mind-blowing, unbelievably rewarding and challenging job.

new-group-picture-moms-and-babies-2016I can’t know for sure who the author of the article is. And of course, she’s entitled to her opinion. I just can’t help but think there’s a reason why mom and baby groups don’t suit her. And that’s okay. The reality is that most moms join a mom and baby class to meet other new moms and they usually leave their petty, judgmental shit at the door.

If motherhood has taught me anything it’s that you can’t do it alone; it must be shared. Finding a tribe, a group of other moms you can curse, cry and celebrate with is so important. I found mine in a Mommy Connections Mom & Baby Program over 4 years ago when my firstborn was 6 weeks old. And I’ve continued to add to that village. I love other moms. I love talking to other moms. I love learning about other moms. I love other people’s kids. I just love it all.

If you’re considering joining a mom and baby group, please do it. Even if you learn one thing, or meet one other awesome mom it will be worth it. And if it isn’t, at least you put yourself out there.

I had a calm, gentle homebirth with my daughter almost 3 years ago. I did not think for a second that I would have so much trouble keeping my energy stores filled and myself fed. Whether I was low on iron, not getting enough calories to balance out what was being used to breastfeed or just being plain old exhausted, I really struggled to keep myself properly fed. I survived on apples and almond butter and bowls of mini wheats (and I hate cereal, especially sugar-coated ones). I was desperate and focused completely on my baby.

Fruit BowlNow expecting my second baby in approximately three months, and with an almost three-year-old at home, I know I need to be prepared. Perhaps for most of you mamas and mamas-to-be, this will a no-brainer, but it wasn’t for me.

So in case you need a bit of inspiration like me, here are some simple, quick, and healthy snack and meal ideas to keep yourself (and your toddler) fed during the demanding early weeks with your newborn and beyond!

*You can easily change these snack and meal ideas to cater to food allergies, sensitivities, or special diets.

Other than the above mentioned, cut up veggies and fruit for quick access and if you have time before baby arrives or while baby is sleeping (in a baby carrier even) make homemade granola bars, breads, muffins, etc., packed with nutrients and good food. Better yet, ask visitors to bring homemade food and baked goods!

Whenever possible make enough food at supper for leftovers for the next day. Do not be afraid to use your crockpot.

Of course it is virtually impossible to survive without some processed food and/or take-out. That being said, you will feel better and have way more energy the more whole foods and less processed, refined and low-fat foods you eat. Try not worrying about calories and fats – whole foods closest to nature that have had the least amount of processing are always best!

Don’t forget to keep taking your prenatal vitamin, a great fish oil, probiotic, iron (if necessary), and anything else you need. I would definitely recommend seeing a Naturopath for help in that department.

What are your favourite postpartum snacks?

~chelsey

My name is Efuru Chrest and I am a wife and mother to three beautiful girls and have been a stay at home mom for the past almost six years. I myself have gained weight for each of my pregnancies and have had to work hard at getting back in shape.

I have been where you are and know how it feels to have the excess baby weight and not wanting to workout with people around and feeling self conscious. So I did my workouts  in the comfort of my home with various DVDs and body weight training. With my last two pregnancies I gained 40 lbs plus and took a good 5-6 months of hard work to get back in shape and feel good again. I am now certified personal trainer for Fitness on the Go and I train clients in their homes. I have a love and passion for fitness and I was able to motivate and push myself to be physically active and take care of my body. I am here to help and motive other moms who are struggling with weight issues and who need that extra push/help in the right direction.

1236965_10151644998874007_656295072_n-16

Family photo (Summer 2013). Aaliyah (6) top, Alayna (3 1/2) bottom left and

Alyssa (2) bottom right, and my husband Andrew.

Newborn Photo Shoot 2012
Newborn Photo Shoot 2012

Few Months Post-Baby Body, December 2012, 172 lbs  Few months Post-Baby, December 2012, 172 lbs

June 2013, 6 months Post-Baby, 128 lbs

 June 2013, 6 months Post-Baby. 128 lbs

 

Summer 2014

Summer 2014

 

Here are a few health and fitness tips for moms:

-For new moms before starting any form of exercise make sure to not only have your 6 week checkup with your OBGYN but to also see a pelvic floor therapist (for C-section or vaginal deliveries) to make sure everything healed right and no prolapse.

-Start slow (depends on how many months post delivery) every mom is different and has their own unique experience so listen to your body. Three days a week doing a mix of cardio and strength exercises (body weight, light weights, resistance bands, stability ball) is a good start.

-Drink lots water and eat small healthy meals (5-6) throughout the day. I usually eat out of bowls or small plates as it portions out the meals great.

-Have a day where you can do a meal prep for the upcoming week and cook a variety of meats, whole grains, veggies, and snacks before hand so you’re prepared with good choices that will help with fat loss.

-Eating lean protein will aid in fat loss and keeps you fuller for longer as well as lots of fresh veggies and whole grains.

-Getting at least 7-9 hrs of sleep per night preferably but being a new mom or mom of a toddler can be challenging.  I slept with my girls (still do on occasion) for nap times as at night was tough as I was nighttime feeding.

All you can do is your best and try to incorporate a healthy lifestyle in your daily schedule. There will be times when your overwhelmed or exhausted with caring for your family but  if you can take some time out for yourself and make the decision to be a fit healthy mom and be consistent with it the rewards will be great. Not only will you look and feel amazing but you will be a role model for your children and spouse.

Get in contact with me and I will guide you in the new year towards a healthier you.

efuru@fitnessonthego.ca

Cell 780-668-4167

www.facebook.com/Efuru M.Chrest

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!

As expectant mothers you have a very large task of bringing new life into the world! It’s an amazing experience that will change your life forever but in order to stay vibrant through pregnancy and beyond, you must have all your nutritional ducks in a row.

Pregnancy Nutrition

When you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you have special nutritional needs. When you are pregnant, you have a higher need for vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid that helps with neurological development in your baby.

While nursing, you require more calories to sustain your own body processes but also those of your baby, but all calories are not created equal; making choices that are high in empty calories is always a mistake. Empty calories are the calories from added sugars and solid fats in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. And beware of choices that are low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no added-sugars; despite not having calories, sugar or fat, they are generally full of junk filler to replace what has been removed; whole foods, such as nuts, seed, proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats have fewer or no “empty calories.”

Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot replace a healthy diet.  Most doctors recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement every day to SUPPORT eating a healthy diet. Taking a supplement ensures that you and your baby are getting enough important nutrients like folic acid and iron. But don’t overdo it. Taking more than the recommended amount can be harmful for you and your baby; as some of these vitamins and minerals are fat soluble, meaning they are stored in fat and therefore do not come out with your pee. By overdoing it, you can create unhealthy levels in your body.

Protein

Protein is essential to all cellular development, it’s what our bodies use to regenerate and rebuild cells and since you are building a human being at the cellular level, taking in adequate sources of protein is essential.

The source of your protein is crucial. It’s important that if you eat meat, that you are eating high quality sources; grass fed, organic meat and wild fish are the best out there. They are raised without hormones and antibiotics, and because they are allowed to roam and swim freely, consuming a natural diet, their meat is higher in clean protein.

Plant-based sources of protein are great because they are generally devoid of saturated fats; hemp seeds, chia seeds, vegan protein powder (such as Vega), almonds and the like are great sources of plant-based protein. You can even make almond, hemp seed or chia seed milk to boost your protein intake.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are the body’s energy source. As we burn calories retrieved from complex carbohydrates we give our bodies the energy it needs to thrive. And as you enter into your third trimester and beyond, energy is ever so important.

Complex carbohydrates are derived from foods such as quinoa (which is also a complete protein), oats, barley, buckwheat, brown rice and the like; they are what I call slow burn foods, meaning our bodies digest them slowly so we have sustained energy, unlike simple carbohydrates found in cakes, cookies, pastries, white pasta and more, which burn fast and lead to an energy crash. Avoid them at all costs, as they lead to blood sugar spikes and when you are pregnant you want to avoid any kind of messing with your blood sugar, which can lead to gestational diabetes- and nobody wants that.

Healthy Fats

There was once a time when all fat was labeled bad, but now we are coming to understand that not all fat is made equal. High quality sources of fat, such as avocado, coconut oil and olive oil, help with the development of cells. The outer layer of every cell in our body is covered by a thin layer of fat to protect them; when we omit healthy fats from our diet, our cells become vulnerable to oxidization. When you are growing a human being from a cellular level, healthy fats are integral to process.

Healthy fats are also important for brain development, and as your baby is growing a brain inside of you, giving your unborn baby the tools to effectively develop is essential.

Beware of Trans fats and hydrogenated oils found in margarine and commercially baked goods; these fats have been altered for shelf stability and the process renders them useless and harmful. Also, when you are purchasing coconut oil look for cold-pressed organic varieties.

In regards to postpartum, women who consumed a whole food diet high in healthy saturated fats report less instances and severity of postpartum depression; the reasons have yet to verified, however, seeing the role that fats play in brain development, I cannot say I am surprised.

Water

Water is important for everyone, not just those gestating and when we are dehydrated our blood gets thick and viscous making it far more challenging to carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. You blood is carrying life-giving nutrients to your baby and if you are under hydrated then your body isn’t able to effectively transport the nutrients your baby needs. Drink water, and lots of it- end of story.

Smoothies

Smoothies are a fantastic way to infuse lots of nutrients into your body without a whole lot of effort. Smoothies can boast all the aforementioned nutritional components; such as healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates and water.

Here is a list of things to add to your smoothies:

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Hemp seeds

Chia seeds

Protein powder

Almonds

Kale

 

Carbohydrates

Hemp seeds

Chia seeds

Cooked, unsweetened quinoa

Cooked unsweetened oats

Fruits

 

Water

Water

Coconut Water

 

Healthy Fats

Coconut Oil

Coconut Milk

Avocado

 


Hemp Seed and Mango Smoothie Recipe

1 cup spinach

½ cup frozen mango

1 tbsp unhulled hemp seeds

1 ¼ cup coconut water

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

To make smoothies even more convenient, make a whole heap of them now, and freeze them in ice cube tray; store your smoothie cubes in the freezer for after baby when time is tight.

Pesto

Pesto is highly underrated. Being able to make a sauce that is nutritionally balanced is perfection after baby. Kale pesto is lovely because you can jam it with the dynamo that is kale, nuts brimming with good fats, and olive oil which is also an incredible source of healthy fats.

Kale and Walnut Pesto Recipe

1 small bunch Tuscan/lacinato kale

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts (substitute for any other nut you like)

Handful fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Juice of one lemon

3 Tbsp. water

Sea salt and pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all the ingredients except the olive to a food processor and power on; slowly add the olive while the machine is running, until the desired consistency is achieved.

Freeze your pesto in ice cube trays. After baby is born, all you’ll need for a quick and healthy dinner is to defrost your kale cubes and toss with hot quinoa or brown rice pasta!”

 

“Bianca Osbourne is an Edmonton-based chef and culinary nutritionist; her company The Vitality Kitchen shows people how to harness vitality, one bite at a time. Through hands on cooking classes and workshops, Bianca empowers people to get back in the kitchen, while her customized meal plans offer the convenience of takeout, with benefits of homemade!”

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