Support – The Key to Breastfeeding Success


A new year, new happenings! During 2017, Carry Maternity will host a variety of events to bring you information and support you during your process of becoming a parent. We are pleased to say that the first event is a monthly breastfeeding cafe, run by lactation consultant Taya Griffin, who we met through the Healthy Moms Toronto networking group. The cafe will run the 2nd Thursday of every month until June and will feature a variety of speakers brought in by Taya. — Carry Maternity

The March cafe will be on Thursday, March 9th and will feature guest speaker Gina McCubbin from My Smart Hands. She will be talking about Infant Sign Language.

Support – The Key to Breastfeeding Success

by Taya Griffin

“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

As I began my journey to becoming an expert in all things breastfeeding, I was witness to the reality that mothers who felt supported and nurtured by those around them were more likely to persevere through breastfeeding (and mothering) difficulties to reach their breastfeeding (and mothering!) goals. Partners, mothers, mothers in law, other family members and all kinds of friends play a key role in lifting a mother up. Equally midwives, doctors and other “experts” can make or break mothering confidence and breastfeeding success depending on their education, expertise or personal experience and opinion.

The anticipation of the wild ride of motherhood can be overwhelming.  Beginning the most astounding, mind-blowing adventure of your life, often without a map of any sort, can be both exciting and frightening at the same time.

You may find that your un-babied friends won’t quite get it. Your veteran parent friends may have forgotten all the early challenges and sleepless nights. You may also be all alone without support of either kind feeling isolated in your mothering experience.

Let’s admit it, it takes a supportive village to raise a newborn baby.

Our Central Toronto Breastfeeding Café will now be held at Carry Maternity and will support moms with all kinds of breastfeeding goals. Mothers are welcome to share their unique parenting battles and triumphs, ask questions and socialize with mothers going through the same struggles.  Topics change from month to month and guest speakers will be invited.  No matter your breastfeeding goals or what direction your breastfeeding journey has taken you this group will be a safe space for all participants.

Remember that you are not alone in this breastfeeding and mothering journey! Let’s create the village we all need!

Taya Griffin is a Lactation Consultant, Yoga and Pilates Instructor and a Mother.  She teaches prenatal breastfeeding classes and runs a private practice in Toronto helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. RSVP for the Breastfeeding Cafe with Taya at

5 MUST DO’s for exercise and pregnancy

Seems to be that most often you hear about the all things to avoid once you become pregnant. “Don’t do this, don’t do that”, but no one ever tells you what you CAN do during pregnancy when it comes to exercise. My personal opinion?; the information out there is so out-dated and doctors….well let me ask you, how “healthy and fit” does your doctor look?

Nuff said.

So let’s just start by saying that although most doctors are still very far behind with their information, we all do agree that it is now a risk factor to not exercise during pregnancy. This is not the time to hover, put your feet up and “protect” the baby. On the contrary, you are doing more harm than good as the most recent research shows that being sedentary will only increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and gaining too much weight, which is a another issue all it’s own.

Having said that, when do you know whether it’s too much or not enough? You can only be the best gauge of that but there are 5 MUST-DO’s when exercising during pregnancy to ensure the healthiest possible results.

1. If you are just starting to exercise and are newly pregnant, start slooooooww. No, pregnancy is not an illness and I will be the first one to yell it from the rooftops, BUT this is no time to sign yourself up for the first boot-camp you find without knowing what you are doing. Your body is going through A LOT during that first trimester (hence why you feel so “lovely”) so baby steps is your best bet.

2. If you are a seasoned exerciser, please please PLEASE continue doing what you are already used to and enjoy doing. If you are having a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, there is no evidence to support that you should suddenly stop and do “gentle” exercise throughout. If you do, I guarantee you will feel like crap as you’re biting at the bit wondering why you stopped.

3. Make strength training part of your exercise routine! Well this is nothing new coming from me but I stand my ground in defence of building strong pregnant women everywhere! How else do you think you are going to be able to carry around another 25+ pounds without pain or injury?

4. Focus on relaxation and breathing techniques. Although with training clients in building strength, there is always a strong focus on breathing properly through a particular exercise. However, breathing for relaxation is also very important and where yoga and meditation compliment any exercise regime. You will need this type of training to guide you through a (hopefully) speedy labour and delivery.

5. Listen to your body! Believe it or not, there will be a time when you step into the gym and those 10 lb dumbells feel like 50 lbs. It’s amazing the amount of energy that pregnancy requires and it will eventually catch up to you. Don’t push yourself when this happens but don’t stop either! Just scale back your weights and/or repetitions and continue with your exercise routine.

When you’re exercising during pregnancy, the goal to maintain as much strength and cardiovascular training as you can. This is not the time to sign up for a marathon or jump out of a plane – have you ever read my previous post about extreme exercise during pregnancy?

The only “marathon” you’re training for is labour and delivery my friend, so train smart!

Guest blog courtesy of Samantha Montpetit-Huynh from Core Expectations.
Meet Samantha at Carry Maternity on June 4th and June 18th. See our Upcoming Events for more info.

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They’re among the most unusual and (sometimes) dreaded side effects of pregnancy, and once one of them grabs hold, it can be impossible to shake. Cravings, both run of the mill and cringe-worthy, are as mysterious as they are varied, leading some women to pine for strange snacks and leaving others with no unusual hankerings.

In the past, there was no shortage of theories surrounding what cravings for certain foods might mean. One popular old wives’ tale led mothers-to-be that the sweet tooth they developed during pregnancy meant that they’d give birth to a girl.

Today, those beliefs have been widely discarded, even as cravings continue to be an issue for women. Although those cravings are as diverse as the women who have them, there are some that are particularly common, including salty snacks like chips, fries and pickles, and treats like ice cream. One sweet item that always tops lists of most-craved items, though, is chocolate.

It may seem obvious (who needs to be pregnant to long for chocolate?), but the rich confection perennially tops lists of the treats most sought-after by expecting women. Some practitioners of alternative medicine believe that cravings for chocolate might be triggered by a shortage of magnesium, which you can normally find in whole grains, nuts and seeds, and leafy green vegetables.

However, nutritional experts are divided in their opinions on the meaning of women’s pregnancy cravings – or if they have any meaning at all. Many believe that there’s no link between the foods women want, and what their body (or baby) actually needs.

That said, once a pregnant hears the siren call of chocolate-y treats, it can be hard to overcome. While nutritionists discourage women from caving to all of their impulses, sometimes the best way to combat cravings can be to indulge them once in a while.

At Chocolate Brunette, pastry chef Micol Corno knows just how satisfying a small treat – made with only the finest ingredients – can be. Each of her artfully crafted chocolate creations, from her Nutella-based, melt-in-your-mouth Heavenly Bite cookie, to her array of bite-sized truffles, is petite but packed with flavour. The result is a small, but satisfying answer to the chocolate cravings that so often plague soon-to-be mums.

Although absolutely decadent (Micol uses only high grade Belgian chocolate and an exceptional selection of nuts like cashews, pistachios, and hazelnuts), her products aren’t over-the-top. Micol eschews trendy toppings like buttercream, and opts instead for ganache and chocolate drizzles.

Whether you’re expecting, or simply have a desire for chocolate that you just can’t shake, Chocolate Brunette’s ever-changing assortment of freshly baked goods is an easy choice for anyone with a sweet tooth. And, with top of line coffee and espresso playing a supporting role to Micol’s chocolate-based creations, it’s also an ideal spot for new mums to recharge and re-caffeinate.

Saying Goodbye to Harmful Chemicals at Carry Maternity

“It really started when I was a young mother, and I was facing an illness,” she says. “That really motivated a lot of changes, so a big part of my devotion to the store being a clean environment has to do with my own health, and the health of women.”

Although women are expected to drop unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking and even caffeine from their lifestyles, Patknows there are plenty of lesser known factors in our environments that can be just as damaging. Toxins in everything from beauty products to cleaning supplies can all be absorbed through women’s skin, which can be harmful for both soon-to-be mothers and their babies.

“The number one reason we wanted to do all natural is that we’re so much more informed today about pregnancy and our body, the vessel that carries the child, being a clean environment,” Pat says. “Some women actually even prepare before they get pregnant, and really clean up their act.”

Part of that, she says, is eschewing products that let of gases and chemicals that can have a negative effect on the body. In the Carry Maternity store, Pat says she and her staff are “returning to the origins of cleaning,” using basic, natural materials that our mothers and grandmothers might have used, like baking soda and vinegar.

Generally speaking, she says that the women who come into Carry Maternity are well informed, and eager to learn more about how to create healthier conditions for themselves during pregnancy.

“I think it’s natural that women are also looking at what they’re putting on their body, what they’re putting in their body, and what’s in their environment,” she says. “Women are pretty committed these days to not just parenting, but the process of being pregnant as well.”

Some of Pat’s favourite all-natural products include:

J.R. Watkins Naturals Window Cleaner – works on mirrors, windows, glass tabletops, without leaving streaks or residue.

Whip-It Premixed, Ready To Go Formula – plant-based multipurpose “supercleaner”, capable of breaking down tough stains while disinfecting.

Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract – one of nature’s powerful disinfectant, it can be diluted to use on hard surfaces instead of bleach.