I will never forget the moment we decided to give our son formula for the first time.
After days of trying to breastfeed without luck, my midwife told me it was time to consider supplementing. It was questionable whether or not I’d be able to breastfeed to begin with, given that I’d had two breast reduction surgeries, but I was optimistic. However, there was no more optimism left in me. My big 9 pound 7 oz baby boy had dropped too much weight, and waiting any longer to nourish him would compromise his health.
After the midwife left, my husband and I looked at each other, puzzled, unsure where to begin. No one had taught us how to prepare formula. No one talked to us about bottles or sterilization. While I was nursing I had swarms of people around me willing to help, but as soon as we made the choice to formula feed, everyone was gone.
Everything was so unknown. I didn’t know what to expect and I felt very alone in that moment. Hurtful words from a few of my mommy friends lingered in my mind. Sweeping generalizations about the “dangers” of formula feeding ran through my head like a broken record. I suddenly felt like a terrible mother.
Because I literally didn’t know where else to turn, I reached out to a friend who I knew formula fed her children. I cried as I explained to her our situation, and she graciously came alongside me and supported me as I began my formula feeding journey.
I can honestly say that she was my only true supporter during this time, other than my husband (who was absolutely amazing!) She came over to my house and showed me how to prepare formula. She told me the brands she liked, which ones had worked for her. She showed me how to properly sterilize bottles with an amazing invention called a microwave steam sterilizer. She told me stories about her own journey, and how bottle feeding had given her a bond with her son that she never felt when she’d nursed him. She celebrated with me when my son took his first sips from the bottle. She was my doula through that tough time. She was a huge source of comfort for me and my husband, and I will forever be grateful to her for what she did for us.
After a few weeks, we’d gotten the hang of bottle feeding and I won’t lie… it was awesome! It just worked for our family and my son thrived! I realized that all those scary generalizations about formula feeding were just that… generalizations (many of them not founded on any actual, concrete evidence.) They didn’t hold weight or bearing in my life. My son was going to show me who he was and what he was capable of.
I learned a few more things during this time. I learned that, contrary to my original thinking, I was NOT a terrible mother for giving my son formula. I was, in fact, the exact opposite. I was a loving mother. A providing mother. I was being wise. I did the right thing for me in my situation and to this day, I have no regrets.
I also learned that everyone needs someone when the going gets tough. We humans need support, we aren’t meant to do this life alone. Thankfully, I did have my amazing husband, but he didn’t know a lick more about formula feeding than I did back then (we have since both become pros!) My friend (who I affectionately refer as my “formula feeding doula”) was exactly the kind of support a new, young mom needs in those rough times in motherhood. She was non-judgmental, knowledgeable, kind and understanding. I wanted so badly for more mothers to experience the support I had received through her, so I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to support other mothers in their various parenting decisions. And so I became a doula.
It is now my absolute pleasure to be able to help mothers achieve their feeding goals - whether breast OR bottle. I am happily pro-mom, meaning that I believe it is the mother’s right to receive non-judgmental support for all her parenting choices (whether with feeding, birthing or other!)
Fast forward almost three years later. My son will be three in July. He is smart, tall, kind, healthy, and he talks as well as the average 5 year old. He is everything he should be and more. My bond with him is like nothing I have ever experienced before. We are closer than close. He loves me and needs me. I couldn’t imagine being more in love. He now has a brother. A smart, tall, kind, healthy brother. I nursed his younger brother for much longer than I did him, but my bond with them both is the same. Strong.
Summertime in Orillia, Barrie and Muskoka is always busy with tons of fun family events to enjoy! To ensure you’re aware of all the exciting things taking place in our region this summer, Lake Country Doulas has put together a helpful list of events for your reference.
Every Saturday - The Orillia Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday at the Orillia Public Library. The Market is a perfect spot to purchase locally made goods and foods, including farm fresh produce, gift items and more! Lake Country Doulas plans to host a booth at the Market sometime this summer, so stay tuned for more details about that in the weeks to come! For more information about the Orillia Farmers’ Market, click here.
Here in Orillia we are fortunate to have two farmers markets on Saturday mornings! Our families often make a morning of it and check out both. The other Saturday market is located at ODAS Park. More information about that market can be found here.
Saturday, June 10 and 17 - Lake Country Doulas will be hosting our Dive Deep Into Birth childbirth class. This class is perfect for couples considering a natural childbirth, and costs $150 for the weekend. For more information on this class, click here.
Friday, June 9 - Saturday, June 10 - Spring Boat, Cottage and Outdoors Show is an exciting festival for every outdoor enthusiast! Taking place at the Port of Orillia, this is a show you won’t want to miss!
Saturday, June 24 - A tribute to the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas in June! Boats decorated in Christmas gear? Sign us up!
Saturday, June 24- Canada and Orillia's 150th Birthday Celebration at ODAS Park! This FREE event is from 11am-3pm and will involve children's activities, a free BBQ, free roller skating and more!
Saturday, July 1 - Happy 150th birthday, Canada! Enjoy live entertainment, free cake and parade at the Orillia Canada Day Celebration!
Friday, July 14 - Sunday, July 16 - 40th Annual Orillia Scottish Festival is a celebration of Scottish culture and heritage. Enjoy a parade through downtown, pipe and drum competition, live entertainment, vendors and more! Taking place at Couchiching Park.
Saturday, July 29 - A street festival like no other featuring food food, shopping, live music and more at Downtown Orillia’s Summer Block Party!
Friday, August 4 - Monday, August 7 - Celebrate the long weekend by taking the kids to Rotary-Lions Annual Funfest featuring midway, games and vendors!
Friday, August 11 - Sunday, August 13 - Orillia’s Waterfront Festival has lots to see and do, including an in-water boat show and lots of great shopping. Taking place at Couchiching Park.
Saturday, August 19 - The Annual Classic Car Show is a great event for car lovers of all ages, with over 400 classic cars on display!
Friday, August 25 - Sunday, August 27 - The 3rd Annual Orillia Rib Fest has a lot to offer: live music, great shopping and, of course, some of the world's most delicious ribs. (Oh, and try “The Blooming Onion”, you’ll be glad you did!)
For more information on any of these events, click here.
Sunday, June 25 - Kids Fishing Day is hosted by Kempenfelt Rotary Club and is a day devoted to teaching kids to fish! It's free and lots of fun, so be sure to check it out!
Wednesday, June 28- In Celebration of Canada 150, there will be a FREE Air Show featuring the Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet over Kempenfelt Bay. Canadian Forces Base Borden will be set up all day in Heritage Park with displays and a kiddie commando course. The air show will take place at approximately 6pm.
Sunday, July 1 - Canada Day festivities taking place at Barrie's waterfront!
Friday, August 5 - Sunday, August 7 - Kempenfest is a Barrie long weekend tradition and features something for everyone, with over 300 artisans, an antique show, food vendors, midway, children's activities, and an amazing line-up of live entertainment.
For more information on these exciting events, click here.
One of our favourite farmers markets is located in Gravenhurst every Wednesday from 9am to 2pm down at the Wharf.
Sunday, July 1 - Canada Day celebrations are taking place all around Muskoka. To check out the celebration taking place in your city, click here.
Saturday, July 22 - Santa Fest is coming to Bracebridge! A celebration of Christmas taking place in July, enjoy a Santa Claus parade, food vendors, entertainment and, of course, photos with Old Saint Nick himself!
Saturday, August 5 - The Urban Slide is coming to Huntsville! Register ahead of time by clicking here and ride this amazing 1000 foot Slip N' Slide down main street Huntsville!
Something to enjoy anywhere is the 2017 Parks Canada Discover Pass! To celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday you can enjoy free admission to national parks and historic sites across the country. To get your pass visit the government site here.
Any other exciting family events and festivals happening this summer? Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list!
Mother's Day is right around the corner. And if you are like me (or my husband!) you probably procrastinate on getting gifts for most occasions. Not to worry! This year we have lots of ideas perfect for families with little ones! These ideas aren't too challenging and won't break the bank, but will have the sweet mom in your life saying "awwww".
First let's talk about the DIY projects. Moms of young children love getting homemade presents. I am particularly fond of ones involving the little kids hands and feet. Those sweet little toes are only that size once, so creating a keepsake for mom is priceless. This is also a way to involve even the tiniest, newest members of your family. So even if you are a new family with only a baby please still do something for Mother's Day! Even though your baby will have no idea what is going on, Mom definitely will appreciate the thought and time you put in.
To save on cost check out the dollar stores! You can buy paint, canvases and most other basic crafting supplies for a fraction of the cost of the craft store.
Here are some wonderful craft ideas. All pictures link to the original tutorials:
This sign would also look great on a canvas!
This mom used a rainbow stamp pad. If you don't have one you can just paint your baby's feet whatever colours you would like!
I found this photo on Pinterest. You can use hands or feet like shown, or with older toddlers and kids you can just let them decorate it however they want. Small flowers for planting are readily available this time of year at many grocery stores, Walmart, or local garden centres.
Here is a fabulous idea if you have older kids that can be trusted with glass. Help them paint a wine glass and buy Mom a bottle of her favourite wine to go with it!
If painting isn't your thing, here are some other ideas Mom will love:
Just remember this day is all about making sure Mom feels loved and appreciated for all she does while letting her just enjoy a day of the "fun" parts of being a mom (you'll get your day next month!). Allow her to rest and get in some kid snuggles by helping a little extra around the house, crossing off a couple items on the "honey-do" list, and skipping going to your buddy's house to watch the hockey game. I promise you will totally make her day!