Little People, Big Eaters

How do we get our kids to love food and be healthy eaters for life?

That’s one of my personal missions and part of raising healthy, happy & hearty kids.

I recently spoke at Food Revolution Barrie about kids and nutrition. Here is the presentation I did. I’d love to hear what your biggest health issues are when it comes to kids.


Talk soon,

Whitney

Our Future: Foggy but Hopeful

One of the things that makes me so sad is thinking about my family in the future.

All the dreams and plans we had for our family of 4 were shattered and scattered on the floor the day my husband, Steve, died a year and a half ago.

Just days before, we had celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and we toasted and asked each other what we hoped for for the next 4 years. We talked of what we wished for each other and for our beautiful young daughters. We dreamed of vacation plans and a trip that Thursday to the local zoo. I couldn’t listen to the song “Mommy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow” for months.

Despite the ending to our story, our anniversary dinner by the lake was a beautiful moment in time and I’ll treasure it always.

Now, what makes my heart ache the most is what won’t be. The family trips, the walks to the park, the family bike rides or just movie nights all cuddled together. These will never be exactly as I had imagined. My world was turned upside down and for a long time, I couldn’t look more than 2 weeks into the future. It hurt too much and was too scary.

A friend recently brought something to my attention… now I can start to see a future for us again. I can look longer into the distance.

I’m learning that life is not the fairy tale I was lead to believe it was. That there are happy endings to chapters but then a new chapter begins. I didn’t want that chapter with Steve to end..

I also know that many people have lives that aren’t turning out the way they expected. That I’m not the only one who’s had suffering. Illness, divorce, infertility, and death can affect us all and change the way our family looks. It doesn’t matter if we are “good people” or “deserve” happiness.

I’m still saddened by the fact my girls’ Daddy won’t be there every step of the way in the little moments and the big ones.

But I’m not alone as we watch these young girls grow. I have amazing family and friends who love and support us and are thrilled to be there for those moments.

And now, through the fog I can start to dream that I may love again and this new person may walk with me and my girls as we go forward. However, if I love again, it won’t be my “happily ever after.” You need to have “happily now, in this moment, in this chapter.”

So I want to acknowledge all you moms out there who are making it work. Who are making memories with your children with the cards you’ve been dealt. Life may not be turning out exactly as you planned but we can still be hopeful through the fog while we are enjoying our kids right now.

Dr. Whitney

For more about living our lives while raising our kids, join me and other moms as we raise happy, healthy, & hearty kids without the Mommy Guilt in my private group called Guiltless Grace.

I Found More Rope

This week has been a bit crazy.

My oldest has been home sick for a couple days with a fever and bad cough.

The night times have been rough. I’m sure you can relate – no matter what age your kids are now. There are just some of those nights.

At the end of 2016, I made a list of all my “wins” and accomplishments. 

One of them was that I got up every night and night-time parented my kids. WIN!

I got up and comforted, cuddled and reassured either of them or both of them. Sometimes at the same time (those times are super hard!).

But there were times that it was really, really hard. There were times that I was at the end of my rope. That I felt like I didn’t have it in me.

Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would leave the room, let them cry while I took a time out to regroup and go back in and try again. Sometimes I needed some late night texts with my sister to get me through.

Somehow, I always found more rope.

I know we’ve all been there. When you’re exhausted and feel all alone and briefly hopeless. When you’re at the end of your rope, what do you do to find more rope?

The ability to bounce back….that’s called resilience.

And how do we build resilience in our children??

The #1 way is for those children to have one (or more) consistently supportive adult in their lives. A person who is their cheerleader and will be there no matter what.

So, if you’ve found more rope…and you keep on finding more rope when you’re at the end of it…you’re being that person to your child and building resilience in them.

Keep it going. One step, one night, one moment at a time. Sometimes those nights can be hard…but the cuddles are worth it.

Talk soon,

Whitney

p.s. join me over at Guiltless Grace on Facebook with some other supportive moms as we get through this together with grace and poise but without the mommy guilt.

“You actually spend time with your kids?!”

I was recently at my doctors office with both my daughters. The receptionist wanted to show them the dancing snowman she had on her desk. It was really sweet to watch my girls in awe of this magical snowman.

Then she said to me that the girls behaved so well and she could tell that someone actually spends time with them!

I was shocked. What did she mean?

She said it was obvious when she saw the children where the parent doesn’t spend much time with their child. Language is not as developed and behaviour is a bit worse.

I have been doing some research for my upcoming book. So I wanted to look into this further.

We all assume that spending time with our children is a good idea. But how much? What do we do during that time? What are the benefits?

  • talking with children helps develop language skills and stimulates brain development
  • the more words your baby is exposed to the better they are prepared to read on their own
  • children who were read to as newborns have a bigger vocabulary and more advanced math skills
  • the number of words a baby hears is directly related to her language skills
  • babies who’s parents spoke to them a lot had higher test scores at age 3 than those who weren’t as verbal
  • reading to them teaches them about emotions early on
  • reading shows her that reading is fun and not a chore, she will develop lifelong love of learning

Steps You Can Take:

  1. Do a Mommy Cooking Show – when you are in the kitchen and your baby is in her high chair, face her towards you and describe everything you’re doing. It will help her vocabulary and you’ll be spending time together!
  2. Visit your Local Library – I know I get bored of the books we have at home. They might too! If you keep switching up the books, this keeps her brain growing and learning new words, shapes, colours and emotions.
  3. Discuss the Emotional Situations in Books – studies have found that babies aged 19-21 months know the difference between right and wrong. Use their story books to explain different situations e.g. how to treat one another, feeling compassion for the sad elephant and happiness towards the animals playing nicely together. This gives her context to real life situations so she will start to develop empathy and a good conscience.

I’d love to hear about your favourite books!

One of my favourites is “Sometimes I like to Curl Up in a Ball” by by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge. It has lots of good fun and emotions, about playing fair, not always winning the race, and coming home for a snuggle at night. 

Dr. Whitney Young, ND. Super Baby Coach.

I’d love for you to join me in my moms group on Facebook called Guiltless Grace – how to raise a happy, healthy, & hearty kid without the Mommy Guilt. We share lots of things about food, exercise, play and overall raising healthy kids.

Resources:

www.parents.com/baby/development/intellectual/benefits-of-reading-to-your-newborn

Leaving the Kids & Letting Go

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On my second last night in Hawaii, Stephanie, the beautiful Australian wife of one of my business coaches, asked if I missed the girls and then she said, “it’s ok if you say no.” We both laughed out loud. The permission she gave me was simple but so great.

She, being a mom of 3 totally understood that it was ok to have your time away from the kids. That enjoying myself, didn’t make me appreciate them less or that I was a bad mom. I didn’t feel regretful about my life or them in it. But I was just enjoying my time away from them.

I had permission to just appreciate my “me time.” That I had the opportunity to go away and do something just for me. To enjoy the sun, sand, friends, work, and totally immerse myself in my own needs. That it was okay to let go of taking care of my little people and of taking care of others in my practice just for a little while.

For these 10 days, I could just concentrate on what I wanted in the immediate moments of wanting sleep, snacks, to dance, to swim, to cry, to remember, to laugh.

For these 10 days, I could also concentrate on what I want for the future. Who am I, what do I want? What do I want for the girls? For our life together? For my work and my impact on the world? To “dream big, little pig,” as one of Jillian’s bedtime stories says.

I made the conscious and real decision to use my time away to become refreshed, reenergized and refocused.

3 Tips for Leaving the Kids and Letting Go.

  1. Remember they are in good but different hands. Grandma, Auntie or Daddy won’t do it the exact same way as you would. They might feed them food you normally wouldn’t or put them to bed later than you would, but your kids will be just fine. And they might even have good memories from it. I remember when my parents went away to New Zealand when my little sister and I were young. My grandparents took us to McDonalds for pancake breakfast. I’d never done that before and now I have a special memory to treasure.
  2. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. You left for a reason. To visit a friend, attend a conference, go on vacation. So be present and enjoy yourself. Your baby won’t have a better time knowing that you’re miserable. They don’t even understand the concept of time and how long you’re going to be away! So, give yourself permission to have fun. And savour each bite of every uninterrupted meal.
  3. Let go of the Mommy Guilt. It surrounds us in every area of our lives. We feel guilty for working and putting them in daycare. Or if we stay home with them, we feel guilty for not giving them the social experiences of other kids. We feel guilty for not putting them in as many activities as others do or not feeding them all organic food. We’ve gotta put aside the mommy guilt. It’s not worth it. I decided before we left, that I wasn’t going to feel guilty and that I was going to enjoy myself. My family made sacrifices to take care of the kids for me while I was gone, so I chose to honour them and be thankful and really soak up my work-cation.

So, go ahead, book that girls night away, go on a romantic getaway or even an afternoon away as the first “baby step” away from your baby. You deserve it and your kids will be happy when Mommy comes back happy and refreshed.

Talk soon,

Whitney

 

Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Superbaby Coach. She sees moms and babies in her local practice and via Skype. She also is the creator of the solid food introduction course: The 30 Day Super Baby Program

The Breastfed Brain

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I’ve been doing some baby research for my upcoming book and I’m focusing on brain development this week.  I found a great study that I wanted to share with you.

Brown University actually used baby-friendly MRI testing to look at the baby’s brain development over time and how it related to breastfeeding.

Breastfed babies had 20-30% more white matter than babies who were formula fed.

The white matter helps the brain communicate with itself to different parts of the brain. It includes the myelin which insulates the nerve fibres to allow for the electrical signals to go quickly.

The growth in these areas of the brain that deal with language, emotional function, and cognition.

What they also found was that even just a little bit of breastmilk helped improve the brain function. Exclusively breastfeeding had the best results followed by a combination of formula and breastmilk. Just formula had the least amount of growth.

Does this mean that your baby is doomed if they just got formula?

Not at all! There are so many other ways to improve your baby’s brain development including all the love and care and attention you are giving them. Maybe those breastfed babies have a slight advantage while we are creating The Super Baby, but building a Super Baby has many aspects.

So let go of the mommy guilt if you could just do formula and breastfeeding didn’t work out for you.

And if you breastfeed – keep going! The longer the better, the study found. Do it for as long as it works for you, your baby and your life.

Talk soon!

Dr. Whitney