We All Stand Together – #ISUPPORTYOU

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Now I haven’t blogged in a while (I hope you noticed) and this was just the kind of thing I needed to be part of to get off my ass to blog again.  November 1st  – 7th 2014 is the inaugural week of the #ISUPPORTYOU Movement started by Suzanne Barston of Fearless Formula Feeder and ISY partner, Kim Simon, of Mama By The Bay

I have a real passion for mom to mom support, especially for new moms and the increased pressure to breastfeed. (And get it right)

See I was one of those mom’s that sat in the prenatal classes being told how everyone could breastfeed, and yes it might be tough but it will get easier. My husband and I made our minds up that it was the ONLY way to go. I was waaayyyy up there on my little pedestal looking down on the formula feeding mom’s convinced they had not tried hard enough or that they should be making more of an effort. My mom has a saying “Oh how the mighty have fallen”. I didn’t just fall off that judgemental pedestal I was perch on, I came crashing down, hit every-single-obstacle and was finally crushed by the chair.

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See my plan didn’t include 36 hours of induced labour followed by an emergency C-section. It also didn’t include the PPD I suffered and the fussy baby.

I can close my eyes and see my husband and I in the hospital desperately trying to get mini me latched on and her crying because she was hungry. A young nurse came in and offered me formula. Her kind eyes pleading for me to check my ego and feed my child. I didn’t see it that way.

“I was a formula fed baby,” she told me. “It doesn’t mean I would have been a doctor if I was breast fed.”

I heard her words but was still fogged up in my own world of how and what I should be doing. (The start of endless mama guilt)

So we finger fed her the formula to avoid potential nipple confusion so she would eat.

The next nurse was equally as kind with her advice and told me should she have another baby she would go straight to formula to save herself. Still. I persisted. What did these bitches know right?

So she taught me how to tube feed from the breast and advised me to get a breast pump.

Once I got home the wheels fell off. It was exhausting trying to breastfeed a baby with a tube taped to my breast giving her formula.  I also started pumping and that was equally discouraging as I was hardly producing anything, and I had no time to rest as I was constantly cleaning and disinfecting my equipment.

In my mind I was a failure. My nipples bled. I was tired exhausted. I was beginning to resent feeding this helpless little mini me. I was resenting being a mother and my PPD demons started growing. Still I persisted. I persisted until I just couldn’t anymore.

Deciding to bottle feed my child was a very humbling experience.

I had to put my pride deep in my pocket and do what was best for my mini me and for me (mentally).

You can see why I wanted to be part of the I SUPPORT YOU movement. I have been there. I have tried everything. I have walked in those uncomfortable tight shoes with 9 inch heels.

So dear mama who might happen on this post.

I support you! 

I support your decision to breastfeed and bottle feed.
I support your decision to tube and finger feed.
I support your decision to formula feed and to pump.
I support your decision to give cow’s milk, almond milk, soy and goat milk.
I support your right to breast feed in public and to bravely face the public while bottle feeding your baby.

Congratulations for taking whatever it takes to feed your baby. You are an excellent mom. You are doing a great job.

In the wise words of Sir Paul McCartney – We all stand together.

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Win Or Lose, Sink Or Swim
One Thing Is Certain We’ll Never Give In
Side By Side, Hand In Hand
We All Stand Together

Play The Game, Fight The Fight
But What’s The Point On A Beautiful Night?
Arm In Arm, Hand In Hand
We All Stand Together

Keeping Us Warm In The Night
La La La La
Walk In The Night
You’ll Get It Right

Win Or Lose, Sink Or Swim
One Thing Is Certain We’ll Never Give In
Side By Side, Hand In Hand
We All Stand Together

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The Layover – Mini Me’s Trip to Greece Continues

Part 2

Toronto Pearson International Airport
The Layover 2pm – 5:00pm 7:30pm

So far we have had an hour flight from Ottawa to Toronto where we planned to spend (and spent) around 2 hours in the Premium Plaza Lounge. It was a great opportunity to feed, water, confine and entertain Mini Me.  (Refer end of Part One)

Afterward we headed for the boarding gate and were greeted with a sign that no one wants to see.

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THE ACTUAL LOOK I GAVE!

Would have been nice to have known earlier ….

Like BEFORE leaving the lounge.

So there we all are, looking up at the flight status board.

Day-269-Delayed-840x627And. The gate number changes.   (Proceeded by what looks to be an exodus of biblical proportions taking place to the next gate.)

biblmosestroubleWe literally moved from one side of the terminal to the other and waited, after all it was only a half an hour delay. (At this stage)

Half an hour later and we were informed of  another delay and gate change, and another great trek across the airport. We decided to stay in one place after that, at least until the boarding sign was displayed, just as well as there was an additional 2 hours wait with 2 gate changes. (Charming)

Luckily we had the following things handy to keep Mini Me happy during what felt like eternity.

1. Paint with water
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2. Stickers

3. Ball

We weren’t the only ones travelling with a toddler and the ball kept all the kids busy and playing together while we waited.  In my perfect plan of how this trip was going to go, we should have been eating dinner on the plane by now not playing ball at the boarding gate.  I offered Mini Me snacks and bought her a small meal to keep her away from the melt down zone but, in true toddler style, she pulled her nose up at everything. I decided now was not the time for a battle as we were running on no nap. I let it be. And she ran wild with the other over tired tots.

Finally and I mean F-I-N-A-L-L-Y at 7:30 we had the call to begin boarding.

The angels sang and we all sighed a sigh of relief.

Our family had survived layover that went from 3 hours to 5 and a half.

I survive it going less than perfect.

Mini Me survive going with out a nap

And my dear husband survived being spoken to in Greek and being hit on by the old Greek ladies (clearly they mistook him for Hercules).images (1)

 

This all in the name of international travel.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures.

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Mini Me’s First Flight

Part 1

Ottawa to Toronto
1pm – 2pm

The day finally arrives and we 3 were off to the airport to start our travels to Greece.

You could smell the excitement and nerves.

(Or maybe that was just me sweating like I was about to commit a crime.)

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Our first hurdle came when we were checking in.

Turns out we were OVER WEIGHT on our luggage.

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I assumed (wrongly of course) that they would take the total of all 3 bags. They (Air Canada) didn’t and we I was stuck in front of the check-in counter transferring clothes and other items between bags trying to make them balance.

Honestly, I felt like a contestant on a game show . Close your eyes and imagine me trading maple syrup for sandles in one bag, diapers for formula in another. Hauling each (overweight) bag on the scale everytime a switch was made, the check in ladies chanting:

“TWO MORE POUNDS! TWO MORE POUNDS!”

After about 20 minutes and a bottle of vodka water later, the bags were balanced and I was like….giphy

As it was close to lunch time we stopped for something to eat and watched the planes from the restaurant window.

Our flight was right at nap time and it was starting to show, the cranky pants were being put on one leg at a time and I could feel we might be heading into trouble.  Thankfully we stumbled on a miracle sent straight from the Motherhood Angels themselves.

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Nothing says distraction quiet like a water feature. (Unless you are seeing it on arrival after 2 flights and 14 hours later and the kid remembers it and nearly loses her shit wanting to play there again – yeah not so much fun that time)

It kept her busy until the announcement for our flight to board came.

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So we joined the line of parents and boarded. Mini Me was a little miffed other people got on the plane before her, but if that the worst reaction we got, well I will take it.

Once on the plane she greeted everyone, sat in her seat, buckled her seatbelt (then unbuckled it…then buckled it…..then unbuckled it….then buckled it).

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Finally, it was time to take off and still I panicked. A thousand thoughts racing through my mind. Was she going to freak out about the sound, confined space, would her ears hurt or would she demand to get out “RIGHT. NOW. MOMMY”.

She managed to surprise the hell out of me and took it as if she was a seasoned traveller. (She clearly inherited the travel genes)

The highlight of her flight had to be the built-in monitors on the seats where she watched an episode of Calliou while snacking on a cookie.

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We arrived in Toronto an hour later and after disembarking were off to the international departures. A long walk and a quick stop to make sure we were going the right way and we made it through security and passport control to the international departure lounge.

We had a long layover in TO before leaving for Athens and through all the searching on-line I did before the trip I found that there was a Plaza Premium Lounge that we could buy into. For 3 hours access we paid $35 each (Mini Me was free) and had unlimited access to food, drink, toilets and a space that we confine Mini Me in. You didn’t need to be some fancy first class ticket holder to get in. We literally took our shoes off and relaxed.

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The dollar store treats we bought before our trip were really most useful here. We were able to keep Mini Me busy for the duration of our time there, and although we were worried about her disturbing other passengers, we went with the attitude that we were paying clients too. The most bothering she did was talk to EVERYONE and pretend talk on ALL the phones there. Well worth the money in my opinion.

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So that’s how the first leg went.
Stay tuned for more of our adventures.

PART 2 – The Layover 

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The Jet Setting Toddler – Travel Tips

Here are a couple of my personal tips for travelling with a toddler.
(Work in progress)

• Don’t over pack – remember you on vacation not immigrating.
Let me repeat – YOU ARE NOT IMMIGRATING!
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• Don’t be tempted to take OVERSIZED luggage – More space just means you have more space to pack shit you don’t really need
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• Weigh EACH bag and ensure they are not overweight.
Even if you are travelling as a family – check in counters will take the weight of each bag and not pool them together. We stood at the check in counter and had to balance the bags weights. People were able to see everything from my underwear to the bottle of maple syrup I was taking as a gift. Humbling!

NOTE – This is not me. How I wish I looked this awesome doing it though.

• Carry-on Bags – I had a HUGE carry on for Mini Me – but it also contained the essentials for flying with a 2 year old.
– Diapers (They said one for every hour you are on the plane)
– Bottles and Formula (pre-measure in a smaller container, pack the large can in your check luggage)
– Change of clothes (for all of us)
– Medication for all (Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, Gravol etc)
– Snacks
– Dollar Store Treats (paint books, play doh, a new doll, some lego etc)
– Favorite toy, blankie etc

We actually used a bag just like this

• The Stroller - If your kid hates a stroller – don’t bother. Your kid is not suddenly going to be like “Oh wow – this is awesome”. If they prefer to be carried, walk, run  or enjoy a sling – use what works. Don’t doubt yourself or your child. In the end it was more of a pain in the ass than a help. Sure it helped carry our carry-on bags – but it also kept tipping over from the unbalanced weight – which was more annoying and really just ended up being one more thing to worry about.

We used a stroller like this

• The Long Layover – If you can find a lounge in the airport you can buy into. Not only can you be confined in once place with your little one. You also get food, drinks and really clean washrooms.

Here are some links I found useful in tracking a paying lounge.  Some airlines and rewards programs also have access to certain lounges.

Plaza Premium Lounge
Priority Pass
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To be Continued…..

PLEASE ALSO CHECK OUT THIS AMAZING SITE FOR MORE GREAT TIPS -

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The start – Looking back on our trip to Greece

I have been a little MIA on the blogging front.
And I have had some seriously awesome things to write about – it’s just been the getting around to it.

Today I feel inspired and have to take a few steps back to be able to move forward.

Last year June we 3 embarked on a trip to Greece and although I wrote a piece on preparing to travel, I never did get around to actually telling you how it went.

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I must be honest I was scared shitless of how it was going to go with Mini Me on a plane for 10 hours, skipping naps and just generally taking her out of her comfort zone!
I spent copious amount of time Googling travel tips and had a binder full of lists and information.
What helped me the most was this mantra

Lower your expectations
Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best.
Have a drink.

Vodka

 

Honestly it all went better than we expected. We had a few bumps here and there but Mini Me did well and I never lost my shit half as much as I could (or should) have.

I will be posting on how our Greece trip went over the next few days (or weeks – you never know)
It serves not only as encouraging for those about to embark on their first trip, but it will also as a reminder to me that it has and can be done.

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Climb out of the darkness – OTTAWA

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I am proud to be joining the amazing Katherine Stone from Postpartum Progress on her annual Climb out of the Darkness taking place GLOBALLY on the 21 June 2014.

Now for anyone that knows me, getting off my ass and actually committing to physical activity means this is serious shit!

I feel compelled to help break the stigma and bring awareness to moms who have suffered with or do suffer with PPD (Post Partum Depression).
I am urging and encouraging my international friends to get up and do a walk of their own and I am asking my local friends to walk with me.

I need this.
We need this.

And here’s why
•Because more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, and epilepsy.
•Because only 15% of the million women who get these illnesses in the US alone each year ever get treated.
•Because suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the first year postpartum.
•Because there’s very little funding to raise awareness, and most of the time we’re not even on the women’s health radar screen

REGISTER to walk with me or contribute to a really GREAT cause.

And if its the actual walk / climb that scares you – never fear.
Support us from your couch! You can still register as a couch climber!
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We all don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference.
I am literally taking the first step to do it!
Lets be the difference together. Mom to Mom.

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No Mother escapes “Those” moments of mommy madness

Not too long ago I witnessed what most of us encounter on a daily basis.
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The mom had the olympic rings tattood on her ankle and was attempting to fold up a stroller and put it into the back of a minivan
(side note – the stroller was winning)
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Her husband was putting a screaming child into the car seat and the older two children were bickering in the back.
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You could see the look of defeat on his face and the look of annoyance on hers.

As I drove away from the woman and her family they began getting more and more impatient with each other, and I smiled. None of us escapes, or are immune to these moments.

It was comforting to watch as even a seemingly successful woman – who at one stage could have had it all and lived the dream – was going through a “normal mommy moment of madness”.
I wonder if this is how she thought it was going to be!

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