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Mom Squad with Michelle Tirmandi (Holistic Nutritionist)

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October 2, 2017
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I met Michelle last year when she was pregnant and launching her Nourish & Glow her meal planning website. Nowadays she’s taking care of her little girl, running her empire, and making all the meals on her Instagram look completely delicious. I believe that children thrive when mom thrives – and an easy way to do that is through eating healthy! Which is why I enlisted a holistic nutritionist to explain why eating healthy is so critical. 

What problem are you solving?

As a holistic nutritionist, I help busy women (especially new mamas and mamapreneurs) help to plan and prepare healthy and simple meals.

I also specialize in teaching women about the best foods to eat for energy and skin, and more importantly, how to actually put it all together to live a more holistic (yet, realistic!) lifestyle. 

When should a woman access your services?

Most of us already know that eating a healthy diet will help us to feel better and more energized. However, with such busy lives, it can be hard to prioritize meal planning and to always prepare healthy food. If you are feeling ready and willing to make changes to your diet but are not sure exactly where to begin, or if you are looking for meal planning help and inspiration, I provide the practical steps in moving forward towards a more holistic lifestyle.

What’s your personal or professional motto?

Every day is a new day full of possibility.
You do not need to be perfect. 
Enjoy the moment. 

Do you have one kitchen tool that you can’t live without?

Hands down, my Vitamix. 

What’s the one meal that is consistently part of your routine?

Smooothies! I make a new smoothie almost every day!

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day off right?

The first thing I do when I wake up is drink a giant glass of water from beside my bed. Then I go downstairs to make smoothies for my hubby and daughter, Isla. 

What’s your favourite self-care practice?

I love yoga and wine – depending on mood 🙂

How can moms connect with you?

Website: www.michellenutrition.ca and www.nourishandglow.ca 

Instagram: @michellenutrition @nourishandglow_

On your way out

Join Mom Squad’s Facebook Group AND sign up here to receive the official monthly Mom Squad newsletter!

Other #MomSquad members: Angelique Montano-BresolinOlivia Scobie, Beth Yarzab, Stephanie Kishimoto, Lindsay Forsey and Rhondda Smiley!

Mom Squad with Lindsay Forsey (Tenth Moon Mothercare)

September 5, 2017
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A few months ago, I stumbled across Tenth Moon Mothercare on Instagram and fell down the rabbit hole. It’s a company that promotes self care for mom in the postpartum period and covers all aspects of discomforts after childbirth! While I don’t have a baby registry (nor a baby), when that time comes this package is going to be first on my list! Blend up a bulletproof coffee and learn why Lindsay of Tenth Moon Mothercare cares so much about your postpartum experience, and why you should too!

What inspired you to start this company?

Let’s face it: in most of Western culture, nearly all attention falls to preparing for and caring for our babies. A new mom’s wellbeing is so often overlooked, but the reality is that it’s absolutely essential to the wellbeing of her family, and her newborn. (That’s not just my opinion; there are studies that prove it.)  

Tenth Moon Mothercare is Canada’s first postnatal care package company. In different cultures around the world, there are beautiful traditions of mothering the mother and making sure that women are taken care of so that they’re best able to thrive and care for their newborn. I find this hugely inspiring and want to create a new tradition of care for moms in Canada.

My postpartum experience with my first baby was nothing like what I had imagined. I’d ended up having an emergency caesarean and found myself physical and emotionally depleted in a way I didn’t know was possible. Even though I was a doula, I was prepared for how challenging new motherhood would be. I had tons of support from my husband and my mum, and I remember thinking, “How would I possibly be surviving right now without this encouragement and care?” A few months later, the idea for Tenth Moon started to blossom. I started making small care packages for friends, and getting requests from friends of friends. Eventually I began connecting with suppliers and fine-tuning the details and I was seven months pregnant with my second baby with I officially launched Tenth Moon Mothercare.

The business is and always has been about maternal health and wellness, with a vision to change the way we think about postpartum care in Canada. The heart-warming feedback I get from women who receive Tenth Moon packages is an amazing source of inspiration for me now.

What was your favourite product to create?

I love all of the products in our packages, but when it comes to “creation” I’d say my favourite is our Yummy Mama granola. It’s addictively delicious. It’s packed with nutrient-dense organic oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut and pecans, and toasted in maple syrup. Oats and pecans are considered galactagogues, or foods that help to promote a healthy breastmilk supply, so it’s perfect for nursing moms. But even if someone isn’t breastfeeding, for whatever reason, it’s a super nutritious, easy snack that’s yummy any time of the day or night. Our mamas love it.   

Which of your packages is the most popular?

Tenth Moon Essentials is our most popular. It includes our Herbal Sitz Bath, Lavender Mineral Soak, Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea, Yummy Mama Organic Granola, Organic Coconut Oil and Shoosha Rescue Nipple Balm. The Essentials are included in all of our bigger packages as well.

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day off right?

My day pretty much always starts with my youngest daughter crawling into our bed for snuggles around 6.30 a.m. Her big sis isn’t an early riser, but she and I have a morning cuddle, too, when she wakes up. We talk about our dreams, if we can remember them. Aside from that, I start the week with sunrise yoga at 6.30 a.m. every Monday.   

What’s your favourite self-care practice?

I try to keep it simple with self-care. For the past few months I’ve been listening to a yoga nidra mediation at bedtime. I love it, because it requires me to do nothing and helps me to fall asleep with a calm mind, rather than rethinking the zillion items on my to-do list.   

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve done a lot of travelling and spent a few years living abroad in different places. In my early twenties, when I was getting ready to leave on my first epic backpacking adventure, my mum gave me a card with this quote by Henry David Thoreau on it:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

It meant so much to me to receive that from her at the time, and I’m still living my life that way. (Thanks, Mum!!)  

What’s your personal or professional motto?

No official motto, but I do love listening to the super quirky 80s one-hit-wonder Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder when I’m working, whether it’s a personal project or Tenth Moon Mothercare.  

Nobody’s gonna break my stride/

Nobody’s gonna slow me down/

Oh, no. I’ve got to keep on moving/

The video features dancers in sparkly green leotards, for extra inspiration. If you’ve ever heard this song before it’ll likely be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I hope that’s a good thing! 

How can moms connect with you?

Website:  tenthmoonmothercare.com
Facebook:  tenthmoonmothercare
Instagram:  @tenthmoonmothercare

On your way out

Join Mom Squad’s Facebook Group AND sign up here to receive the official monthly Mom Squad newsletter!

Other #MomSquad members: Angelique Montano-Bresolin, Olivia Scobie, Beth Yarzab, Stephanie Kishimoto, Rhondda Smiley

Mom Squad with Rhondda Smiley (Doula and Yoga Instructor)

August 1, 2017
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Meeting Rhondda blew my mind! I peppered her with question after question, because she’s just so knowledgeable about birth and catered her practice to truly helping mom in all aspects of her pregnancy. From prenatal yoga to supporting breastfeeding after birth, this woman does it all! Grab yourself a cup of tea and dig in – there are so many great pearls in this interview!

When can a woman begin prenatal yoga?

Whenever she feels like it. During the first trimester, she may choose to be conservative in her practice, watch her energy levels, and avoid twists, inversions, or jumps. Listen to what your body has to tell you. Yoga during pregnancy is a wonderful path to cultivate your own deep inner knowing of what’s right for you, your body, your baby and your pregnancy.

Does every yoga class have the same sequence, or do you modify it based on the yogis?

I don’t teach a set sequence. I like to change things up from class to class.

We do usually begin with some attention to the breath and a short mindfulness practice, to release tension and arrive to our practice. Then there’s a few minutes to check in with each other. Each person has an opportunity to share any news from the pregnancy or how they are feeling, whether they are working with any particular issues in their body and so on. Then I can tailor our practice to accommodate those individual needs.

Every class includes poses to bring the pelvis into healthy balance, movements that flow with the breath, standing postures that build the strength to power you through labour, and of course a yummy svasana or restorative pose to end on a relaxing note.

Is there one universal yoga pose that is beneficial for each trimester?

While there is never one-size-fits-all, a wide kneed child’s pose can be helpful to many during all stages of pregnancy. It helps to keep the pelvis open and relieves low back tension. It allows for a deep breath that moves through the belly, back and pelvic floor. It may encourage baby to move into an optimal position for labour. If it feels too crowded to bring your forehead down to the ground, you can support your upper body by resting on your forearms, a firm cushion or birth ball.

Why is a doula a great support to have during a birth?

There are soooo many reasons! But here are three that are key.

A hallmark of doula care is continuous support. As your doula I’m with you from early labour, through active labour and delivery, straight through until an hour or two after the birth, with no shift changes or extended breaks. I’m usually the only person on your care team who’s with you for the whole journey once labour starts, and that continuity can be just the reassurance you need.

My number one job is to do all that I can to ensure that the birthing person feels safe, nurtured and heard. The rest of your care team – your doctors and nurses or midwives –  have the physical health and safety of you and your baby as their primary role. Good clinical caregivers may also provide emotional support – but it’s not their first priority. When they are called to attend to your clinical needs, I will always be there to support your very real emotional needs. How you feel during your birth experience matters. The mind-body connection means that when you feel safe and at ease, you unleash a physiological response that allows your body to labour efficiently.

And then there’s this. A doula and a birth partner – whether it’s a spouse, parent or friend – make a match made in heaven. Your partner knows you, and I know birth! Partners – I’ll share with you my best tried and true comfort measures to keep her at ease, making you look like a rock star in her eyes! I could never replace you, and in fact do all I can to encourage connection between you. I also know you may be feeling overwhelmed and support you with information, experience, and breaks!

So many of my clients – and especially their partners – tell me after their birth, “I knew it would be great to have you there, but I had no idea how much you would offer me”.

What is a postpartum doula, and what does she do?

Think about a postpartum doula like having your BFF over – but one who knows ALL about babies! As a postpartum doula, I share experience, hands-on help, information and encouragement with parents of new babies. When I arrive to a postpartum visit, I look and listen to find out what is most needed in the household so that everyone can feel as nourished as possible in body, mind and spirit. I follow your lead and support your choices for what works best for your family without judgement.

What does that look like? An old hand who can tell you about normal newborn behaviour and development. Experienced support as you learn the ropes with breastfeeding. Warm arms to soothe your baby while you take a nap or shower. A friendly reminder to keep yourself fed and hydrated while bringing you a drink and nutritious snack. An extra pair of hands while you balance the needs of your new baby and your toddler. A companion who accompanies you to the pediatrician or midwife’s office, or runs a neighbourhood errand for you. An insider who knows all the best local resources. A compassionate ear who will help you process the tremendous changes you and your family are moving through.

Most expectant parents are so focused on the birth that they haven’t given much thought to how they are going to manage once baby is here. Parents who don’t have the support of near-by friends and family can benefit from booking a postpartum doula before the birth, as will any family that is feeling overwhelmed once baby has arrived. As a postpartum doula, I don’t take over the care of your baby. Rather, I share tools and impart confidence as you learn how to satisfy the unique needs of your baby.

Some doulas – yours truly included – even provide overnight support. This can be a lifesaver if you’ve got twins, your partner is away or sick, or just to help you get caught up on some much needed sleep!

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day off right?

Before I get out of bed, when I’m still lying there and thinking about what the day may hold, I try to consider how what I’m going to do may be of service to others. It’s so easy to wake up, map out the day, and think, “what do I have to look forward to today, what am I going to get out of it?” Instead I try to start the day by breaking that self-centred impulse and begin with the most positive motivation I can fire up.

What’s your favourite self-care practice?

Breathing. No, really!

The moments when I pause to take even just a few rounds of full, conscious breath make SUCH a difference. Even just ONE good breath can totally change how I’m feeling in my body, my feelings, my energy level, my state of mind, and how I am in my present situation.

Making time to spend a little longer exploring my breath is like a trip to the spa for my mind and body – delicious! And it’s always available! You don’t need to go anywhere, change your clothes, buy anything, get a partner, be in any particular position… It’s always available to us – right here, right now.

What is your favourite yoga pose?

I’d like to think that I’m like the mother of many children who is when asked, “which one is your favourite?”, replies “which ever one I’m with right now”. But I do really love to spend time in child’s pose.

How can moms connect with you?

Website: www.smileybirthservices.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/smileybirthservices/
Instagram: smileybirth

Because I believe that the best way to get to know someone is face-to-face, I offer a complimentary in-person consultation for moms who’d like to find out more about how doula care can add value to their birth experience. I take the time to listen to what’s important to them, answer any questions about doula care and see if we’re a good fit, because in the end Mom’s comfort level is the first priority. Moms can connect with me at www.smileybirthservices.com to book a session.

On your way out

Join Mom Squad’s Facebook Group AND sign up here to receive the official monthly Mom Squad newsletter!

Other #MomSquad members: Angelique Montano-Bresolin, Olivia Scobie, Beth Yarzab, Stephanie Kishimoto