Monday, April 26, 2010

Organizing for Baby & Beyond

Have you ever gone into someone’s home and heard “Ignore the mess ... I have kids”. It’s no surprise that having a baby is a significant life change, but do you have to sacrifice organization and order in your home when you have kids? Clare Kumar of Streamlife ( joined us recently and taught us these elements can co-exist. Streamlife helps people at home or office better manage time, space, information and all of the “stuff” associated with it. The result? - You have the freedom and time to focus on the things that are important.

Listen to the complete interview here:

With respect to parenthood and getting your home ready, there’s no doubt you’ll have to make room for a new baby. Perhaps you need to create baby’s room in what is now the home office. That means transitioning the office to another area of the home and creating a welcoming room for baby.

Clare can plan and maximize the space so that it’s functional and comfortable to be in. After understanding your preferences, Clare will guide you as to what should be in the room and where should it go.

Next, Clare suggests having your hospital bag ready a few weeks in advance even if you’re planning a home birth. This will give you peace of mind that everything you need is clean, organized and ready to go!

How does organization benefit Moms?
Have you ever noticed how much “stuff” a little baby comes with? Clare spoke with us about how to plan your space so that you’re maximizing your time and maintaining an efficient process. Each new activity or process such as feeding the baby, changing the baby, bathing the baby, etc. has multiple steps associated with it. These include planning, performing and cleaning up afterwards.

Clare identifies the process and recognizes the key elements that need to be grouped together. For example, changing the baby requires a change table, wipes, diapers, vaseline/diaper cream, and diaper pail for starters. These items should be within arms reach so that you’re attentive to your baby at all times. How else will you use the change table? Perhaps you will use it to dress the baby, apply lotions after bath time, etc. so you need to think beyond the initial activity and ensure that you have everything you need within close proximity.

How do you manage guests?
In the early days, don’t be afraid to speak up and set boundaries on your time. Outline the expectations of your guests and let them know that you may need to step out of the room or cut your visit short for any given reason. If guests offer to bring something – let them! Also, having some ready-made goodies and snacks on hand is helpful so that you have something to offer guests without much fuss. TIP: Add some hand sanitizer on the counter/entry way so that it’s readily available to guests without creating a parade to the bathroom sink.

How do you organize the baby’s closet for a range of sizes? Should you organize clothing by sizes, colours or seasons?
In many homes, closet real estate is scarce. In baby’s room Clare suggests that the prime real estate should be reserved for clothes that are actually being worn at any given time and grouped by size. If you receive clothing in bigger sizes, pack those away or put them in the bottom drawers. TIP: When a baby is between sizes, take a onesie that fits your child now and use this as a measuring guide when shopping for baby clothes. This will help you avoid buying clothes that are either too small or too big.

Is it better to hang clothes or to use drawers?
Hanging vs. folding really depends on your space and gender (girls often hang more items because of dresses whereas boys usually require more drawers). Drawers should be organized by size and type of clothing. In your closet, it’s advisable to add shelves inside the closet if possible, either with built-in or a hanging organizer, as this will give you greater flexibility and maximize your space.

Use containers to group like items: Shoe boxes or organizing bins that can be pulled out easily will save you time from rooting around for items. When thinking about how to store something, ask yourself “how do I want to find it?” and this will guide you to the correct storage solution.

What is the best way to organize our children’s toys?
As toys vary by age, it’s important to find a storage container that suits the size and function of the toys. Avoid lumping all toys together in one large container as you’ll never find the missing puzzle piece under a pile of stuffed animals.

Other Tips and Suggestions from our expert:
Board books – normally you have books on a shelf, but this is not practical for little children. Clare suggests putting them in a shallow basket so that children can easily access them.

Baby Room – the most under utilized space is the back of closet door. This is great space for an organizer! You can choose from a pocket or drawer style which extends from the door but still allows you to easily open/close the door.

Organizing Drawers by using smaller containers is a minor investment with a big return. Save your old shoe boxes and decorate them yourself with paper so that you can put them on display. (This would be a great craft project for children!). Ikea has several containers in varying sizes and materials, with or without lids etc.

At the end of each segment we are happy to share our "Mommy-Sentials" with you:

Tidy Toy Labels –
These simple picture and sight word cards enable a child, of any age, to put away their own toys. This organizational tool helps children learn sorting, classifying and early reading skills; while at the same time teaching them how to tidy-up after themselves.

Family/Mommy Calendar – this tool helps your family manage their time more effectively as it clearly illustrates activities and appointments for all parties in your home (parents, children, care-givers, and even your pets!).

Spring Cleaning – Many moms will hang on to baby clothes if they are expecting another child but as you pack your clothing away for storage, separate it by gender and only hang on to what’s important. Give your gently used items to charity where possible, whether it is Value Village, Good Will, or Pillage in the Village etc. The Canadian Diabetes Association will even come and pick it up for you! To learn more, visit

Thursday, April 22, 2010


If you’re pregnant or a new mom and your body is starting to go through some changes and nothing fits right anymore you’ll be glad to know there is “SUPPORT” out there. Today we interviewed Sarah Kaplan, proud owner of Evymama maternity clothing boutique. Evymama specializes in maternity clothing that will make you feel comfortable and stylish in your new body. They are Toronto’s only breastfeeding boutique and have the best selection of nursingwear.

Nursing bras are available in 32A all the way to 50M?! Yes, M!
Pictured here: Rita & Aria, Selin & Sienna, Sarah (owner of Evymama)
holding a K bra, and Karen & Ashley holding the infamous M bra.

From sleep bras, comfort bras, and even your sexiest lace and diamond embellished bras (with matching panties of course) they have it all. The same holds true for maternity clothing. Evymama carries something for everyone whether it be yoga wear, swim wear, blue jeans, dresses or a complete corporate uniform you're sure to find something to suit the needs of your inner-diva.

Once we stepped into Evymama we immediately realized this was not your ordinary maternity store. We were presently surprised by the quality and vast selection of fashionable maternal wear. Most women believe that once their pregnant they must resort to the typical baggy shirt and loose pants ensemble. Evymama is everything but. Don’t be foolish by wasting your time and money in buying clothes that aren’t right for your body, this will leave you with two wardrobes. Sarah suggests sticking to your pre-pregnancy size when buying clothes.

Not only does Evymama speciazlize in maternity clothing but also their employees are trained in lactation management. Come in, stop by have a look around and/or get some helpful advice on breastfeeding. Evymama is a strong supporter of La Leche League whom assist mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support. Karen had contacted them when she was having her own breastfeeding issues and found that they had great advice to offer her. Be sure to speak to an IBCLC (international board certified lacataction consultant) for all your breastfeeding needs in order to ensure the proper advice.

Evymama is located at 266 Jane Street in the lovely Toronto neighbourhood of Bloor West Village. Check out Evymama on the web at There you will be able to browse through their complete inventory of maternal wear. However one bra you just have to see in person is the un-imaginable size “M” over shoulder boulder holder Bra.

We hope that the information we shared with you today about nursing wear will help assist you make the “BREAST” choice!


The brand new Cache Coeur "Lisa" nursing bra with underwire pairs beautifully with the new "Lisa" thong, french knicker or bikini. Soft grey vintage and pink satin and french lace.
Cache Coeur breastfeeding and maternity lingerie from France is beautiful, practical, and innovative. Soft, sumptuous French lace, and gorgeous detailing to add beauty to the happiest days of your life! Nighties, bras and camisoles have clever magnetic clips for nursing to make your life easier.

The jet black lace and microfibre of this new HOTmilk bra are decadently lined with a deep purple cotton, giving a richness and depth to the overall colouring. Embellished with a jet satin bow and diamante drop at the centre front, this set is exquisite. This bra provides excellent support without wire, and has easy, one handed nursing clips, and 6 hooks at the back to accommodate changes during pregnancy and after baby is born. Cups are fully lined with soft cotton.

Bella Materna ‘Anytime’ - Evymama's favourite Maternity & Nursing Bra offers the best support available without underwire! Easy pull-aside nursing access. This bralet is great for your last trimester and is a perfect first nursing bra! Wide set adjustable straps & ballet back give you great support and a sexy silhouette. 4-stage hook and eye closure at center back. Crafted in the USA from cool and quick drying Imported Italian Meryl, the fabric won’t fade or pill.

Mother love herbal company – Motherlove's best selling product for safely and effectively increasing breast milk. This product does not contain any milk, dairy, soy, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or gluten.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boobs and Bottles: Feeding your Newborn

Is there a right or wrong way to feed your newborn? I've recently read a few articles that weigh in on this topic so I took it to the Mom Posse and we discussed breastfeeding vs. bottle (formula) feeding. Of the 5 moms, I am the only one who has exclusively formula fed my baby. Selin has recently introduced Sienna to formula however she did breastfeed for the first 6-8 months.

I didn't plan to bottle feed Ashley. I had all of the best intentions to breastfeeding her for the first 8-10 months however I had a lot of issues. I'll be the first to tell you that breastfeeding is not as natural as you may think. I had a c-section and it was almost 8 days before my milk actually came in - which I thought was a long time, however I have since learned that this is normal. But those 8 days were the most excrutiating of my life - I was blistered, cracked, bruised and bleeding while trying to feed Ashley. I was beyond stressed out and was in tears every time she wanted to feed which is not healthy for you or your baby. So, after 2 and a half weeks, I decided to switch to formula and had a huge weight lifted off my shoulder. My baby was happy, she was gaining weight, and I was much more at ease.

In those first few days, I was also tube feeding Ashley in the hospital since she wasn't gaining enough weight. Erin had a similar experience in the hospital as Emme was born prematurely. Emme had a nose tube and Erin had to save each diaper so that the nurses could check the weight to ensure that Emme was eating enough. However Erin was fortunate that Emme was able to make the switch from nose tubes and finger feeding to being breastfed.

As all of the girls will attest - you need to do what's right for you! A happy mom is a happy baby. The ladies weighed in on some of the benefits and highlights that we've found with both breastfeeding and bottle feeding. In our case, all of the girls are beautiful and healthy and hitting all of their milestones.


  • Nutrition - this is the best source of nutrients for your baby however we are not nutritional experts so we can't comment entirely. However, formula has come a long way - the formula that I give Ashley is Nestle Good Start with Omega 3 and 6 (which breastfed babies don't necessarily receive from breast milk)
  • Burning Calories - breastfeeding moms burn LOTS of calories while breastfeeding!
  • Convenience - a breastfeeding mother will always have a supply of food for their baby no matter where they are
  • Bond - there's a very special bond between a mother and baby during the breastfeeding experience
  • No cost

Bottle (Formula) Feeding:

  • Nutrition - see above. Formula has come a long way.
  • Bond - bottle feeding your baby gives others the opportunity to bond with the baby as well. In our case, my husband was able to feed Ashley during the night which allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep while being able to bond with her.
  • Cost Effective - based on Ashley's consumption in the first few months it was approx. $5/day for her formula
  • Sleep - babies who are formula fed tend to sleep a bit longer than breastfed babies as formula keeps babies fuller for a longer period of time
  • Nipple confusion - there's a lot of talk about nipple confusion but I don't think there's anything official that says it actually exists. In the hospital, the pediatrician told me that the only statement published on that topic is that "there is no concrete evidence for or against the notion of nipple confusion"

Again, you need to do what's right for you. Here is a interesting article from Canadian Family that certainly hit home for me, Sticking Up for Baby Formula:

Some other tips from the moms:

  • If you're having difficulty with breastfeeding seek help. It's likely that your local hospital has a lactation consultant who can offer support/resources. If not, La Leche League is a very reputable service.
  • At the very least, try to give your baby the colostrum - your liquid gold which is the most nutritious form of breast milk. It's the first stage of breastmilk before your milk actually comes in
  • Try to periodically introduce your baby to a bottle with breast milk or formula to assist with the transition from boob to bottle when the time comes

As someone once said to me "There's no special spot in heaven for mothers who breastfeed, so if you're bottle feeding ... it's OK!".

At the end of each segment we are happy to share a "Mommy-Sential" with you:

  • Baby Wrappers - - Wash Cloth Mit
  • Mally Bibs - - Leather Bibs with Magnetic Closures
  • Baby D Drops
  • The Breast Experience, Breastfeeding Clinic in Brampton (if you would like more information on this service, please contact us)
  • Breast Pads - there are several brands available to help with leakage, over-active let down etc.
  • The Breast Friend Pillow - - an excellent nursing pillow that straps on so that you are not fussing with the position of the pillow when trying to nurse your wee one.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Diaper Drama Part 2

There are so many things to consider when diapering your baby - not just how to avoid being peed on. Whether choosing cloth or disposables, you need to find which products best suit your baby's tush.

Jenny is the only mom to have tried cloth diapering. She used the bumgenius brand that grows with your baby. You add liners to the diaper to increase absorbency; however, this also creates bulk that can make fitting into clothing an issue. Jenny made sure to purchase twelve diapers to "test drive" them first before making an even larger financial investment. She also suggests buying a tester kit from Parenting by Nature that has multiple brands of cloth diapers. This way you can find out which diaper is best for you and your baby.

Karen has tried a variety of brands of disposable diapers from Kirkland Lake to Pampers. Since Ashley is quite the mover she has opted for the Pampers Cruisers due to their ability to keep everything in check while her baby is on the go.

Wipes are also a product to investigate. Jenny is now making her own wipes, while the rest of us buy either Pampers or Huggies wipes. While Selin and Karen did not use their wipe warmers all that much, Rita found she can change Aria while Aria sleeps if she uses a warm wipe.


The J.J. Cole Diaper Caddy

Pampers Cruisers

Parenting by Nature and the Diaper Pin