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Spring 2019 / theholisticparent.ca

MARKETPLACE Etsy Local Market ‘19 May 4, 10am-4pm RIM Park, Waterloo $2 admission etsywaterlooregion.com

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Local Typographic Maps & Custom Birth Announcements!



IRONWOOD NORTH DESIGN www.ironwoodnorthdesign.com

The Holistic Parent is thrilled to be working with Etsy Waterloo Region to help promote local makers and their products. If you are a member of EtsyWR or a vendor at an EtsyWR show and would like to be included on this page in a future issue, please contact Elaine Kapogines at elaine@wiltshiremedia.ca.

A GRAND CONNECTION Multi-generational attachment BY JANE HOBSON PAGE 16


CONTRIBUTORS Meet the people who made this issue awesome PAGE 4

RECIPE Cauliflower Comfort PAGE 6

PRODUCTS Treat someone special: You! PAGE 8


BIRTH Skating through Anxiety PAGE 10

BABY Milk & Meds PAGE 12

BEYOND More than Tired PAGE 14




Cannabis use during pregnancy PAGE 21 m

E u! E yo R e with







Let’s bust some sleepy, old myths PAGE 25


Examining emotions around health Spring 2019 / theholisticparent.ca

HolisticParent_Spring2019_COVER_056.indd 1

2019-02-15 5:05 PM


ON THE COVER Brent Swartzentruber with granddaughter Merit (submitted by Jennie Agnew). Photo above, “Nonno” with baby Julia (submitted by Gillian Laudano).





MARIA ANDRUSIAK, KIM KUNG & JENNIFER LAKE Oral Health Experts Maria is a doula and breastfeeding counsellor running Not Another Sleep Consultant and Helping Hand Doula and Peer Counselling. Jennifer Lake is an occupational therapist running PossibilOT. Kim King is an orofacial myofunctional therapist running FaceForward OMT. Together they co-wrote Tired Parents on PAGE 25.

MAGGIE HILTON Nurse | Childbirth & Early Parenting Educator Maggie works as a labour and delivery nurse in Kitchener, teaches maternity nursing courses at the local community college, and is the co-owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby (balancingbirthbaby.com), a prenatal, early parenting education and doula service. Read her artcile, Weed in the Womb on PAGE 21.

Volume 05, Issue 01 | Spring 2019

PUBLISHER | EDITOR Elaine Kapogines elaine@wiltshiremedia.ca ART DIRECTION

www.madebyemblem.com Erik Mohr (Creative Director) Ian Sullivan Cant (Associate Art Director) Sally Tan Soriano (Production) Sarah Ellis (Intern) ADVERTISING DESIGNER

Elizabeth Wise

KIM HOLMES Personal Trainer | Online Fitness Coach Kim Holmes is an online fitness coach and founder of My Fit Coach (myfitcoach.ca). She helps busy working moms care for their bodies (and minds) through online fitness, nutrition and mindset coaching. Her “real life” coaching approach helps moms achieve amazing results without adding a ton onto their already full plates. See her article Fitness, food & feelings on PAGE 28.

ANDREA MONDOUX Holistic Coach Through her work as the owner of Balance + Bliss (balancebliss.blog), Andrea, a certified holistic nutrition and health coach, guides clients along their own individual journeys to wellness by building confidence and helping them harness their motivation for health. Find Andrea’s recipe Cauliflower Comfort on PAGE 6 (and a bonus recipe, Roasted Yam and Kale Salad, on theholisticparent.ca/blog).



Maria Andrusiak, Dr. Sarah Hawthorn, Tania Heinemann, Maggie Hilton, Kim Holmes, Kim Kung, Jennifer Lake, Andrea Mondoux, Bina Moore, AmandaMuse PROOFREADER

Lesley Wiltshire


Wiltshire Media The Holistic Parent magazine is published three times per year. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher © 2019 Copies are available for free at one of our 90+ community partners in the Waterloo Region, Wellington County and surrounding areas. Visit theholisticparent.ca for a list of distributors. ISSN 2368-6790 Publications Mail Agreement No. 42845523

THE BLOG For more fabulous content including recipes, news, articles and contests, check out our blog space at







A nutritional powerhouse — in a pie Story by ANDREA MONDOUX

Shepherd’s pie is widely known as a wonderful comfort food. As a casserole that has all it’s goodness in one spoonful, it’s often a recipe we reach for because it’s a crowd pleaser. This recipe takes the warm and gooey dish you’re used to but adds a rich, nutrient-dense twist! Cauliflower doesn’t get enough credit. A highly nutritious, antioxidant-packed and fibre-filled vegetable, it’s something you should been incorporating into your diet weekly. It’s also high in choline and rich is sulforaphane (which is known in cancer prevention). This cauliflower shepherd’s pie is sure to please, while slipping some extra value to your dinner plate!

CAULIFLOWER SHEPHERD’S PIE 1 head of cauliflower, steamed

cut up the cauliflower and set it to steam

1 pound of extra lean ground beef

until tender enough to mash with a fork.

1 can of creamed corn 1 cup of frozen peas and chopped carrots

½ medium yellow onion, diced Seasoning Mixture (this I do not measure, instead it’s prepared in a ramekin to pour over the meat when it is cooked)

› Worcestershire Sauce

cook the ground beef. Once cooked, add in the onions and sauté until they are translucent.

add the peas and carrots and simmer

cracked black pepper.

layer on the top of the creamed corn.

until cooked.

cover and bake for 30 minutes add pre-made seasoning to coat meat and veggie mixture.

› Tomato paste

place meat at the bottom of

› Sea salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme

a 2.5 quart round baking dish.

and garlic powder

› For a bit of kick, you can also add

spread the creamed corn on top of the

cayenne pepper and/or chili flakes

meat layer.


season with Himalayan salt and

spread cauliflower into an even

› Almond or Whole Wheat Flour


mash the cauliflower with a fork or with an electric hand mixer.

at 350 degrees C.

serve warm.

BONUS RECIPE! Roasted Yam and Kale Salad at



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BINA MOORE is a registered social worker (MSW, RSW) with the Ontario College of Social Workers, maternal mental health advocate and counsellor offering services through Embrace Counselling Services. She’s also an infant and pregnancy loss doula with Home Hospice Association and a labour doula student with DOULAs Inc. www.embracecounsellingservices.com

Skating Through Anxiety Tips for navigating anxiety in pregnancy Story by BINA MOORE


downs of pregnancy, coupled with anxiety, can make for an awfully long and uncomfortable nine months. It all begins with a confirmation of pregnancy, automatically catapulting a pregnant person into a world of unknowns, inconsistencies, and case-by-case scenarios. Navigating this unpredictable pregnancy journey can elicit symptoms of anxiety, often spontaneously, typically brought on by an upcoming appointment or ultrasound. Changing our anxious mind and behaviour, and managing our anxious body is genuinely a difficult practice, similar to learning a new skill. LEARNING HOW TO SKATE Skating is a skill that you can learn at almost any age. Aerobic benefits aside, skating improves balance and

coordination, and with time and practice, strengthens muscles, joint flexibility and endurance. Similarly, anxiety skill building requires the same level of time and practice to achieve the same level of strength, flexibility, and endurance. FINDING THE RIGHT SKATES: COURAGE With any anxiety management strategy, we may be skeptical as to whether the strategy will “fit,” and without even trying we can immediately discount the possible benefits. Strategies will feel different as they begin to assist with calming brain activity and consequently, minimizing arousal in the body. Ultimately, the calmer our brain is, the less you will feel unpleasant mind and body symptoms. Here are a few places to begin: 1) Ditch the Media: Turn off alerts on social media. Choose a specific time of day, with a time limit to “catch up.” Limit time spent searching pregnancy symptoms and exposure to online pregnancy forums. 2) Protect your Space: Reduce the need to respond instantaneously to communication. Provide updates surrounding appointments and progress after you have had time to process the information yourself. 3) Modify your Environment: Reduce stimulation. Keep a favourite photo handy. Close your eyes and try taking a oneminute vacation. Integrate time to care for your body. STEPPING AWAY FROM THE BOARDS Breathing is the single most effective technique to manage



Spring 2019

the anxious mind and body. This practice will help keep the body calm and over time will reduce panic. 1) Plan breath breaks: One minute per day, eyes open or closed, and simply breathe. Revisit after one week. Assess whether you are ready to increase. Let go of that railing and glide. 2) Count your way to centre ice: Pace your breathing. Inhale to the count of two. Exhale to the count of two. Increase by increments of two, four, six, etc. SKATING FROM ONE BLUE LINE TO THE NEXT: EMBRACING FEAR The anxious mind shows itself in a variety of different ways. Fear can inhibit our willingness, confidence, and belief that we are able. 1) Keep a worry diary: Confine worries to this specific place. Track emotion trends. Monitor possible triggers or events that could have preceded the panic or worry. 2) Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: Try a scripture passage, an affirmation, poem, or song lyric. Recite often, and out loud if possible. 3) Change the filter: Enhance awareness to experiences or feelings during your pregnancy that have been positive. Remind yourself that you are brave. Pregnancy, for some, will challenge and ignite the most frightening fears and worries. Tighten up those skates, breathe, pace yourself and glide on that bumpy ice. Believe in your ability to skate through the unknowns. It’s never too late to learn how to skate.


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TANIA HEINEMANN is a registered holistic nutritionist and lactation consultant (IBCLC) specializing in digestion issues, thyroid imbalances, infant and children’s health, and pre and postnatal concerns. She is the owner of Yellowood Nutrition (yellowood.ca), and co-owner of Wellness Team on Queen (wellnessteamonqueen.com).

Milk & Meds Assessing the risk of medications while nursing Story by TANIA HEINEMANN


Is medication safe while breastfeeding? Most mothers are given inappropriate information and told to stop nursing when considering the use of medication during breastfeeding. Medications commonly prescribed in the postpartum period include birth control, acid reflux medications, and medications for anxiety, depression and fertility. Educating ourselves with the latest evidence-based research and advocating for ourselves is really important and critical to change the stigma that medication isn’t safe while nursing. There are so many great resources online for breastfeeding and medication, however, the gold standard remains LactMed. Women want to know why a good majority of healthcare practitioners are still unaware of this research and free

resource that would be a helpful tool as a desktop icon on the computer of every practitioner who works with expectant and nursing mothers. Dr. Jack Newman, pediatrician and Canadian breastfeeding expert, says this on his website, “The decision about continuing breastfeeding when the mother takes a drug, for example, is far more involved than whether the baby will get any of the drug in the milk. It also involves taking into consideration the risks of not breastfeeding, for the mother, the baby and the family, as well as society. And there are plenty of risks in not breastfeeding, so the question essentially boils down to: Does the addition of a small amount of medication to the mother’s milk make breastfeeding more hazardous than formula feeding? The answer is almost never. Breastfeeding with a little drug

Deciding to use a medication during breastfeeding is not a decision most women take lightly.

in the milk is almost always safer. In other words ‘being careful’ means continuing breastfeeding, not stopping.” Deciding to use a medication during breastfeeding is not a decision most women take lightly. Factors to consider for yourself include the baby’s age, how long will I be on the medication for, how often will I be on it for? Dr. Thomas Hale of the Infant Risk Center, part of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (www.infantrisk.com) conducts the world’s leading research for medication safety during pregnancy and lactation. His research is found on LactMed, the gold standard for information around medication and breastfeeding. However, there are a few medications that are not safe while nursing, for example, chemotherapy drugs and fentynal. What you can do to help make an informed decision? - Refer to evidence-based research websites, such as KellyMom.com and Dr. Jack Newman’s International Breastfeeding Centre (www. breastfeedinginc.ca). - Educate yourself and share resources with your healthcare practitioner and community. - Get a second opinion. - Seek out a local IBCLC lactation consultant. - Listen to your intuition and stand up for yourself. - Attend a local La Leche League meeting (www.lllc.ca). Together, sharing resources and having open conversations will help spread the word that breastfeeding with medication can be safe.



Spring 2019


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DR. SARAH HAWTHORN is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, mom of three, and

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More than Tired Identifying adrenal fatigue Story by DR. SARAH HAWTHORN

ARE YOU feeling overwhelmed

or like you’re running on empty? You’re certainly not alone. If this is happening to you, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. You may also notice that you can’t sleep (tired, but wired), feel anxious or depressed, crave sweets and carbs, get sick often, experience brain fog, gain weight especially around the middle and fatigue at 3pm daily amongst other symptoms). Unfortunately, this is all too common, especially for parents and caregivers. Your adrenal glands are two nickel-sized organs above your kidneys. They’re responsible for producing cortisol (our stress hormone) and adrenaline. The adrenal glands act as shock absorbers to our system and they help us bounce back after life’s stressors. However, when we are under too much constant stress, the adrenals get tired of

working and overtime this can cause adrenal fatigue. When cortisol levels are off, it can lead to increases in blood sugar and cholesterol, disruptions in sleep, fatigue and mood changes, decreased immunity, decreased thyroid function, increased inflammation and changes in blood pressure. Stress is an inevitable part of life and parenting, but listed below are some ideas on how to effectively manage the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. 1) Have support systems in place. Seek help and accept help when it’s offered. 2) Make relaxation, including meditation, a way of life. 3) Remember to do fun things. Try not to overschedule. Dance in the kitchen. Spend time with friends and laugh! 4) Have routines in place to help you to feel more organized and less chaotic.

The adrenal glands act as shock absorbers to our system and they help us bounce back after life’s stressors.

*As always, it’s recommended that you consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any herbs or supplements.



5) Decrease caffeine. 6) Eat small meals and at the same times daily (preferably every two to four hours). Eat breakfast before 10am. 7) Get enough sleep. Going to bed at the same time nightly, before 10pm, can be very effective. 8) Exercise. Staying fit with adrenal fatigue often includes more restorative exercise to not increase the feeling of burn out. This can include walking, yoga, gentle cycling, pilates, qigong, stretching and swimming. 9) Increase water intake. Start each morning with a pinch of sea salt in your water. 10) Decrease intake of refined foods, sweets and chocolate. Focus on increased protein and whole foods. 11) Try a massage, reflexology, acupuncture, aromatherapy and counselling. 12) Spend less time on electronics and more time outside. 13) Learn how to say no and create healthy boundaries. 14) Consider vitamin B and magnesium supplements*. 15) Consider adaptogenic herbs such as, rhodiola, ashwagandha, L-theanine, eleutherococcus and holy basil which all specifically support, nourish, and heal the adrenals.* If you suspect you may have adrenal fatigue and would like a diagnosis, 24-hour cortisol testing can be done through your MD or ND. The results will give a comprehensive overview of how your adrenals are responding to the stress throughout your day. Remember, if you are struggling, it’s important to identify the stressors in your life so you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly and live your best life.










Multi-generational attachment Story By JANE HOBSON


o-sleeping, breastfeeding and baby-wearing are not new behaviours for mothers. In fact, these instinctive actions have been standards of child-rearing across many cultures for centuries. But it’s more recently that they’re considered keystones of attachment parenting. Derived from attachment theory, an idea coined by British psychologist John Bowlby in the late 1950s, attachment parenting is the philosophy that these close physical activities foster a deep emotional connection and sense of security between child and mother. How grandparents fit into the attachment parenting model, however, is a more recent topic of conversation. “Attachment theory is the idea that our attachments are formed from our earliest stages and shape whether we will have securely attached or insecurely attached relationships later on in life,” says Ashley Mariani, a registered psychotherapist and creator of Mind Online, a web-based mental health support resource for new parents. “Attachment parenting is about being available when your child needs you to let them know they can trust you.” Children who are securely attached to their parents tend to have some distinct behaviours, Mariani explains. For example, the child is social in toddler playgroups and is willing to wander away from mom to mingle with other children. The child explores the unfamiliar and knows mom is still there; she can look at mom or walk over when she needs to reconnect with her safe base. In a new environment, such as daycare, a securely attached child is upset when mom leaves, but eventually calms down and engages in activities; she is excited to see mom when she arrives at the end of the day. A secure attachment manifests as a secure partnership later in life, too, adds Mariani. A securely attached adult partner tends to be trustworthy, is able to make decisions on their own and doesn’t have anxiety about being apart from their significant other. When it comes to grandparenting, Mariani reminds parents that every family is different — and that’s completely okay. An attachment approach may not suit all grandparents even if it’s the child-rearing method that resonates with parents. She recommends that parents and grandparents sit down together for a conversation about the boundaries and expectations they have as caregivers, and then follow-through by respecting these boundaries on both sides. “As long as the child has a consistent attachment with a parent and isn’t witnessing conflicts between


the two parties, it doesn’t really matter if the grandparent practices attachment or not,” Mariani says. For parents who adhere to schedules beyond the nine to five workday, setting boundaries with grandparents who are primary caregivers is even more crucial, agrees Dana Greenlaw. Greenlaw is a telecommuting lawyer. Her husband is a musician. They often enlist the support of Greenlaw’s parents to look after their children since it’s a challenge to find a childcare program that suits their unpredictable weekly schedule. After talking to other parents and discovering many were on daycare waitlists or couldn’t find flexible childcare for their lifestyle, Greenlaw opened Coworking Parents Studio in Guelph. It’s a shared workspace that offers on-site supervised childcare at flexible hours for an annual membership fee. The studio is open to parents who work from home or need to get paperwork done with their little ones close by but don’t have the support of additional caregivers such as grandparents, like Greenlaw does. “At first [my parents] were shocked about my 26-month breastfeeding journey with my son, but now they understand the long-term benefits for him. They see that I have happy babies — and that it might be because of attachment parenting,” says Greenlaw, who openly discussed her philosophies to help her parents understand. She says they continue to learn and ask lots of questions. She has even noticed her parents are more responsive to their grandkid’s crying than they used to be, even though this is not how they raised her. “When you become a parent, your relationship with your own parents changes. For me, it strengthened our bond. It has made my parenting experience very positive. It’s easier to ask for help when I need it because I know they support me,” says Greenlaw. While her own journey has been mostly conflict-free, she recognizes that everyone’s relationship with their parents is unique. “Parents sometimes think it’s a judgment on their own parenting when their kids decide to do it differently. But through patience, explanation and standing your ground, they’ll hopefully start to understand,” Greenlaw says. Letting your child raise their kids the way they want is both the most challenging and rewarding part of grandparenting, agrees Jennie Agnew, an attachment parent who is now an attachment grandparent. Agnew was adopted and grew up in an abusive




household. She cut ties to her adoptive family when she became pregnant in her late-20s. “I knew that no child of mine would feel the way that I did growing up. I parented from scratch, really. All I knew was how not to parent,” Agnew says. After giving birth she joined La Leche League, an international non-profit organization that educates and offers support to breastfeeding mothers. “The group fiercely advocates for attachment parenting which was something I already felt in my gut, but the local League helped me confirm it. Seeing other people model attachment parenting was so helpful because I knew I wasn’t the only person who did it.” Fast-forward 19 years and Agnew’s daughter also chose the route of midwives, breastfeeding, homebirth and co-sleeping when she gave birth to her first child. Her daughter moved in with Agnew and her husband when the baby was born. As grandparents, they co-slept, did babywearing and spent lots of physical time with the newborn. “Now when we go pick her from preschool, she runs over and launches herself into grandpa’s arms,” laughs Agnew. “We have a very close attachment with our grandchildren.” Despite the similarities, she notices some differences in her daughter’s approach to mothering. She is much less patient and not as gentle. “It’s interesting to see your kids do something that you wouldn’t do. But I respect that choice when her kids are at my house. I respect that these are not my kids. My kids are adults and they make their own choices,” says Agnew. Looking back, Agnew thinks it was the secure relationship she had with her adoptive grandparents that helped cement what kind of grandparent she wanted to be. “[My grandparents] took me as often as they could. All of my childhood photos are at their house or their cottage. They really were my lifeline. I think as long as a child has one positive caregiver in their life who loves them unconditionally, they will make it out.” Agnew added that she’s proud of all the counseling she did when she was pregnant. “I was horrified of repeating my [adoptive] parents’ patterns. You deal with history or it deals with you. That’s what I always say.” She says this wisdom comes from lived experience. “Any kind of nervousness about the way I was raising my kids when I was younger is gone because I see the way it plays out with my grandkids.



above and left (submitted by Jennie Agnew): Brent Swartzentruber and Jennie with granddaughers Merit, 3, and Erza, 8. Below (submitted by Gillian

Laudano): Family at Lion’s Head; baby Sophia with Grandma and Grandpa at her baptism.



Above and right

(submitted by Dana Greenlaw): Dana with Sebastian. Dana with Oliver. Grandma Delia Suvagau with grandson Oliver. Below (submitted by

Gillian Laudano): Nonna and Nonno with their grandchildren; Nonno with baby Julia.

I have no regrets now. Plus, the more society normalizes it, the less women have to stress and worry. Everything about having children is normal.” Similar to Agnew, Gillian Laudano was also involved with La Leche League in the late-80s and early-90s when her mother was a leader with the organization. Now attachment parenting her own children with her husband, Laudano says both her parents and in-laws are super supportive of their child-rearing philosophies. “They support my tandem-breastfeeding journey, they lay down with our children to help them get to sleep when they babysit and they’re just very supportive. It makes it very easy to be involved with them because there’s no tension in the relationship,” says Laudano, who is also a doula. “It’s very validating to have two sets of parents supporting us and applauding our efforts. That’s huge. I guess it’s because we have really positive relationships with our own parents and we’ve remained close whereas maybe you wouldn’t [without attachment parenting].” Her advice for other parents seeking the same grandparent relationship is to approach it lightly and be open to other people’s concerns. “Their questions are probably coming from a place of genuine love. They have their own biases and fears and that’s okay.” While attachment parenting includes responsiveness to crying, room-sharing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing and other behaviours, parents and grandparents can subscribe to some or all of these activities without labeling it. “We’re so bombarded with new data and research as parents that we sometimes start to freak ourselves out and overthink things. It’s important not to completely dismiss or become extremely obsessed with what we read,” Mariani says. “Children should be treated with the same respect and kindness we expect from others. After all, our kids mimic everything that we do, so if we mentor kindness for them, they’ll project that onto others in their world.” PODCAST ALERT! Continue the conversation with Episode 4: Attachment with Lesley Talking with Grown Ups Podcast Available at theholisticparent.ca/podcast

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s cannabis safe during pregnancy is certainly a question that causes many to ponder. We know, and have known, for many years that alcohol use is strongly discouraged during pregnancy. Lots of retroactive studies have undoubtably proven the association of alcohol use in pregnancy and developmental delays, behaviour disorders and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. But now that cannabis is legal to buy and use in Canada, many women are asking: Is it safe for me to smoke/vape or ingest a tasty edible during pregnancy? Seemingly harmless since it is a plant, after all, which causes many to think, “Doesn’t that mean it’s natural and therefore safe?” I mean, it must be better than smoking cigarettes or using illegal drugs, like meth and heroin. But you would be surprised at how difficult a question this is to answer. It’s really hard to study the affects of cannabis use on mothers and their unborn babies. Although legal now, until October of last year it wasn’t, so who would ever admit that they used cannabis at a party, or to combat morning sickness or relieve anxiety when they were expecting for fear of having their children taken away by Family and Children’s Services (F&CS) and being labeled as a druggie or an addict. Even now after legalization, a strong stigma exists for those who admit cannabis use. Not many women were willing to admit they use cannabis during pregnancy, even if their use is rare, so it becomes difficult to gather a lot of data. We can’t study what we don’t know. As a nurse in a busy labour and delivery unit, I have encountered patients who have used pretty much everything. It used to be, years ago, that if a mom admitted she had smoked weed in her pregnancy we had to call F&CS. As the years have gone by, most social workers would tell you that marijuana was the least of their worries and not to bother. How things have changed. That being said, there are a few good studies, that although have limited data, the data they produced seems to hold up.


Cannabis use during pregnancy Story by: MAGGIE HILTON


FACT Cannabis is the second most common substance used in Canada, falling number two to alcohol.

FACT One study reported that 70% of women when asked, thought infrequent use of cannabis in pregnancy would have little or no harm to their baby.

FACT 16.9% of women in Canada self report cannabis use in pregnancy: 10% in the first trimester 2.5% in the second trimester 2.3% in the third trimester We suspect these numbers may be quite a bit higher because some women opt not to disclose their use.

FACT In 2017, the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health in Ontario added questions specifically about marijuana use to the Ontario Perinatal Record. The document used by all pregnancy care providers in the province to specifically address increased reported use.




“If you choose to use cannabis during or throughout your pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider. Don’t hide your use or be ashamed.” What we also know about cannabis use in pregnancy and its effects on neonates is that cannabis does cross the placenta. Meaning that if you smoke, vape or ingest it, it will eventually enter your baby’s blood stream and their body. Health Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) have released data that states cannabis effects the brain of adults and adolescents (this has been well studied). Health Canada recommends adolescents avoid cannabis use as it can affect the rapidly developing brain of a teenager and cause mental health and behaviour issues. Theoretically, apply that same science to a rapidly growing fetal brain, producing millions of new cells a day. Use of cannabis could then affect the growth and development of a baby’s brain. The cells of the human brain are lipophilic, meaning they are made up mostly of lipids or fat. We know that THC deposits easily into fat cells and can stay there for long periods of time. Use of cannabis has been linked to poor birth outcomes in infants. A few studies have cited low birth weight in infants of mothers who self reported cannabis use. Having a slightly



smaller baby might sound somewhat appealing to some (I myself had a nine-pound baby and could have done with a wee bit smaller personally), but having a baby with low birth weight has been strongly associated with long-term health effects, such as an increased risk of respiratory issues in infancy and adulthood, increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and long-term decreased academic achievement. The same studies also looked deeper at the long-term consequences and noted infants whose mothers used cannabis daily at 0-3 years of age had difficulty being calmed, had exaggerated startle reflexes and notable sleep problems. At 3-6 years of age researches noted poor memory, increased impulsive behaviours and decreased ability to focus and maintain attention. Lastly at 6-10 years of age an increase in reports of hyperactivity, learning difficulties, increased incidence of depression, anxiety, difficulty with decision making and attention issues. All that being said, what the studies also state is that most mothers in the study, used cannabis daily, also smoked

cigarettes, were of lower socioeconomic status, had poor nutrition and poor physical and mental health. So, its hard to know, if these were healthy, middle-class women, who smoked or vaped occasionally, would the effects on the baby or child have been the same? What all this means really, is it’s hard to draw a final conclusion. Should you or shouldn’t you use cannabis if you are pregnant? Could you harm your baby? We really don’t have enough solid evidence to say. Health Canada and SOGC caution women against cannabis use in pregnancy, and if they do choose to use that they decrease their use if possible. My final advice as a nurse and childbirth educator is that more research needs to be done. We don’t definitively know if or what amount of cannabis use is safe in pregnancy. If you choose to use cannabis during or throughout your pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider. Don’t hide your use or be ashamed. By letting your obstetrician, family doctor or midwife know, they can help you if you need assistance decreasing your use, discuss safer options for use (smoking vs. vaping) and help you decide what is best for you, your situation and your baby.


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LET’S BUST SOME SLEEPY, OLD MYTHS Three key ingredients that actually affect sleep Co-written by MARIA ANDRUSIAK, JENNIFER LAKE & KIM KUNG


leep is what we all worry about. Are our children getting enough? The right “kind’? The right amount? The right length? The right number of wakings? What if none of that mattered as much as we think, and we could stop counting, and support our children in the one way that mattered, by throwing out the myths surrounding sleep, and focusing on a few topics that can actually affect sleep. We are Maria Andrusiak, a breastfeeding counsellor and sleep educator, Jennifer Lake, an occupational therapist, and Kim Kung, an orofacial


myofunctional therapist. We all work with children struggling with sleep as a sign of something that is going on somewhere else in their body. We often see families that notice concerns with sleep first, but on digging deeper, realize that sleep is disturbed only because something else is going on. However, what we notice most is all the myths that surround sleep. There is research to support rocking or feeding a baby to sleep every single time, there is research that says that there are many optimal lengths of sleep, and there is research that says that wakings don’t contribute

to a worse quality of sleep. What the research shows is that different babies and children sleep different lengths of time based on personality, body structure, and genetics. That rocking or feeding them to sleep only helps them grow the skill of self-regulating sleep, earlier in their lives, not later. That quality of sleep can’t be measured by wakings, length of time, or whether they fell asleep in a baby carrier or a crib. Every single one of these is a myth, brought to you by blogs, books, and society looking for answers to getting more sleep. Why? Because parents are tired. In

our practices, we see many clients whose children don’t have an issue, but the parents themselves are so tired that they are worried that the children do. However, we also see families who really are struggling. Finding more sleep for parents and for those children who truly do have concerns has become an important part of what we do each day. Once we dispel the myths of what doesn’t affect sleep, we can find some of the things that do truly have an impact on sleep, and we can decide if these things are affecting our children (or ourselves) or not.




“help your child take in some early morning light. a disorganized circadian rhythm can make a child less able to deal with the sensations in their body.”

LIGHT AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS One of the elements that has the biggest effect on how well a child sleeps is whether they are getting enough sunlight, and enough subsequent vitamin D from that sunlight. Most of us in Canada are not getting enough sunlight at all to keep our retinal light and vitamin D stores supporting positive sleep for our children, and for ourselves. One of the reason we may be so tired while nighttime parenting our children is our own lack of daytime sunlight, and the effect it is having on our own ability to fall asleep, and back to sleep at night. Many parents express being tired all day, and then being wide awake at bedtime, both in themselves and in their children. This circadian rhythm concern could be from lack of sunlight and lack of vitamin D. A favourite way to support this need for light is to have families look at the brightest point on the horizon as early in the morning as they are able. Make a game out of it looking at the tree tops, or houses, and help your child take in some early morning light. A disorganized circadian rhythm can make a child less able to deal with the sensations in their body.



SENSORY NEEDS A child can also have a high need for, or a low tolerance of a bodily sensation and this can interfere with sleep. Touches, sounds, smells, sights, motion, pressure, and tastes can all both regulate, as well as confuse sleep. The behaviours a child might show at bedtime can be a means of communicating that “something doesn’t feel right inside of me and I need help”. It’s our job to tease out why they don’t feel right, and give them the sensations that can help their body settle. Babies and children with overload can seem too tired, or too awake, too bouncy or too sleepy, too wiggly or too slow. Similar to how you might have felt after having your baby - tired beyond belief and not functioning correctly. Such is the feeling of a person with sensory processing difficulties. Sensory difficulties are like a traffic jam. When there is high volume, parts are going both too fast and too slow, and a bunch of “rubber-necking” occurs (something isn’t working right - everything else slows down too). Deep pressure and deep breathing orient a child’s body within itself and in space and turn on the calming hormones that affect heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and muscle tension. When they are

Spring 2019

oriented in their body, they are calmer, and therefore better able to process all the sensory information coming at them because they are processing the sensory information coming from inside their body.

SLEEP DISORDERED BREATHING When a child has sleep disordered breathing, it also throws their sensory system out of whack. Neurons aren’t firing like they should, and the traffic jam on the highway begins. Sleep disordered breathing(SDB) is an umbrella term used to describe breathing difficulties that occur during sleep. SDB can range from frequent snoring to obstructive sleep apnea(OSA), a condition involving repeated episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep, and can drastically affect the quality of your child’s sleep. The most common and obvious signs of childhood SDB are frequent snoring, teeth grinding and/or mouth breathing during sleep. In more severe cases, pauses in breathing or gasping during sleep may also be observed. Other symptoms that have been linked to childhood SDB include disturbed or restless sleep, behavioural problems, hyperactivity, anxiety, growth impairment, bedwetting,

frequent nightmares and daytime mouth breathing. The good news is that recognizing the early warning signs of childhood SDB can help to prevent life- long disease and chronic health conditions for your child. An airway-focused professional can evaluate a child’s airway and oral function. Finding a breastfeeding counsellor, occupational therapist, or orofacial myofunctional therapist can help screen your child for oral restrictions, including tongue tie, a physical condition that restricts the mobility of the tongue preventing a child from using the mouth properly. Breastfeeding difficulties and speech delays are the most well known symptoms of tongue tie however many other consequences have also been linked, such as, bottle feeding challenges, reflux, ear infections, trouble with solid foods, teeth grinding, mouth breathing, and poor sleep. If none of these seem to be an issue for you or your baby, it’s possible that they’re sleeping exactly the way they’re supposed to be, and maybe you just need good support and better information about your normal baby! Join the facebook group Sleep without Sleep Training (link) for gentle, normative sleep support.



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Fitness, food & feelings Story by KIM HOLMES

You want to be a fit, strong, healthy mom. You want to be a good role model for your kids. And you may have even set some personal goals around fitness and nutrition. But you then you find yourself a few weeks into some “New Healthy Me” program and you’re getting frustrated and overwhelmed with all the change. Naturally, you decide you it’s all too much and you just can’t do it anymore — call the pizza place! As a women’s fitness trainer for the past 16 years, I’ve seen it time and time again. So many women want to do a complete health makeover but they don’t take into account the emotional aspect of the whole thing. As women we have a lot of feelings around food and our bodies that can get in the way of our health goals. And when we break it down, a lot of these thoughts are just big, old, unhelpful myths. So here are a few of the common myths I hear from moms every day that I would like to dispel for you right here and now. It’s time we shift our mindset! MYTH #1:

I should be able to follow this meal plan/exercise plan. TRUTH:

You are not a robot. Listen up. In all my years of training women and mothers, nobody has ever followed my meal plan or fitness plans to the letter. Not one. Want to know why? Because we’re far more complex than that. We have feeling and emotions that affect our food choices. We also have busy schedules and time constraints not to mention dealing with a picky eating kid. It’s not that cut and dry. So what does work? I teach my clients a loose guideline of how to fuel and move their bodies to feel their best. It’s more of teach-a-man-to-fish approach than a militant eat-this-not-eat-that approach. For a busy, overwhelmed mom, this approach lets them take the reins and feel empowered to make their own choices when it comes to fitness and exercise.

MYTH #2:

MYTH #3:

I have no willpower. I need to be more disciplined.

If I can’t do it perfectly, there’s no point.



You need self-compassion.

You deserve to feel good.

This comment recently popped up in my Facebook group, The Fit Mama Club, and it broke my heart. We often think that beating ourselves up will motivate us into change. Fun fact: This kind of negative self-talk does the complete opposite. It can cause us to spiral into a hole of guilt, shame and unworthiness. What if the next time you found yourself eating a food that was not on the “meal plan” you responded with selfcompassion. What would you say to your daughter who told you she’d eaten too many cookies and felt fat? Probably not that she needed to have more discipline and get it together. Try speaking to yourself the same way you would speak to her. It takes a lot of practice and it won’t happen overnight. But stick with this one — it’s so worth it!

We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms to be perfect in every area of our life. Can’t do a 60-minute workout six days a week? Forget it! Can’t eat chicken and vegetables six times a day? Peace out, food plan! But what if the process of caring for your body wasn’t actually about reaching a certain goal? What if the goal was just to treat your body with care and kindness through regular movement and nourishing foods. It sounds cliché, but what if you actually just enjoyed the journey and stopped worrying about the destination. When you give yourself permission to let go of perfection, it gives you freedom. And once you stop focusing on perfection as the goal, you’ll notice all the amazing ways you’re improving and feeling better along the way.

Trust yourself. So, to the mama out there feeling frustrated that she just can’t seem to eat right, exercise enough or do all the healthy things, to you I say: You’re doing your best. You don’t need to aim for perfection. You’re already pretty awesome. And I’m pretty sure you’re an awesome mom, too. Cut yourself some slack. Treat your body with kindness and love every single day. Move your body in a way that feels good to you. Eat foods with nutrients and leave some room for the food that fills your soul. That’s it. Trust yourself here. You’ve totally got this! 28


Spring 2019


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AMANDA MUSE is a true OG in the world of YouTube. Since joining YouTube in 2012, she’s amassed a massive following that includes 60K subscribers and 12-million views. She also lights up Instagram (and her 24K followers) with her radiant positivity and unapologetic realness. Oh, and she has a “little” podcast entitled The Sandwich that recently hit 50K downloads on iTunes.

Sassy AF


Getting real with AmandaMuse Tell us a bit about yourself I’m Amanda, and I always start with “I’m a mom” because it’s my life’s greatest and hardest work to date! I have a daughter (7) and a son (4), and I’m married to one heck of a man, celebrating 15 years together this year. I also happen to be a person of the internet. I create lifestyle content as AmandaMuse on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, traditional media and, most recently, a podcast called “The Sandwich.” I also speak at conferences and events around North America about being a creator in the online space. How did you get started in the world of YouTube? In 2010, my husband and I moved from Canada to Malaysia for his work in aviation. We started our family in Penang, and when my daughter was six months old, I decided to start my own YouTube channel to document this season of life. I wanted to connect with women around the world on a similar path and share all of it — the good, the bad, everything. I had been watching YouTube, and kept coming back to the same channels and thought of the creators as friends. It was a lonely time as a new mom and expatriate, and then I had a little moment thinking, “I could totally do this too!” So I did! Do you identify with the term “influencer”? No. We all have influence. “Influencer” seems so...easy. I work hard creating content with value for my audience in the form of videos, daily posts on Instagram, engaging live videos, podcast episodes, and the list goes on. All of it takes dedication, serious work ethic and time. I’m the producer, videographer, editor and



more. I feel so privileged that this is my job — it’s the most fun and very rewarding, but I kinda wish there was one extra day a week so I could catch up on sleep! How do you feel about the attention (positive or negative) you get from being a public figure? It’s great! It’s part of the deal. I’m fortunate to have a mature audience, so there isn’t much negativity. I also have boundaries in place as to how/what I film to ensure my family’s safety. That said, I’m a strong, independent and opinionated woman, and that can attract some unwanted attention. So I use the old “ignore, block, delete” method. It’s my house, and if you’re rude, you’re out! What does your family feel about your career choice? How do they influence the type of content you produce? Seven years ago when I first started and it was considered a hobby, I felt like I was constantly educating people on what I was creating and why, especially when I wasn’t making any money, but wanted to take time away from my family to build my business. It was a delicate dance in those early motherhood years. Now, it’s just how we do life, and they’re very supportive. In fact, I’m pretty sure I give them some extra street cred for being a “YouTuber”! My family directly impacts the type of content I create as I build my content around the season of life I’m currently in. That said, I’m respectful of their privacy and am very conscious of how my being so transparent online may impact them in future.

A tiny sample of all the AmandaMuse Instagram goodness, featuting husband, Dean, and kiddos, Esmé and Jack. To see the full interview, vist




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