Thanks to the lovely Marci Terpsma, this informative blog post was possible! Marci is a Registered Massage Therapist, instructor, and owner at Revive Health and Wellness in Beaumont, Alberta. She is now offering infant massage classes with Full Circle Birth Collective every few months. Check out our Infant Massage page under the classes tab to find out when our next class is offered.
What is Baby Massage and How Does It Work?
Massage will empower the connection you already have with your baby.
TOUCH – this is the simplest form of communication. "Massaging your baby communicates love, releases tension and helps you better understand your baby’s needs,” Vimala McClure, Infant Massage
The first communication a baby receives and the first language of its development, is through the skin.
How does it work? What happens when you massage a baby?
Massage involves 2 types of responses:
Mechanical response – the result of pressure and movement as soft tissues are manipulated
Reflex response – occurs when the nerves respond to stimulation
There are 4 main categories massage effects on the human body – in this case for infants:
Stimulation, Relief, Interaction and Development, and Relaxation
Nervous System and Brain Development – The sensory stimulation of massage may speed up the rate of myelination of the brain and nervous system. This process is incomplete at birth. Skin stimulation (massage) can speed this up “enhancing rapid neural-cell firing” thereby improving brain/body communication (McClure).
Immune System – massage stimulates nerves in the brain that facilitate nutrient absorption and lower stress hormones. This results in improved immune system functioning.
Respiration – The rate of breathing can be regulated or enhanced with massage. This happens as the massage calms and relaxes the baby and the surrounding musculature. The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated to respond and release calming hormones, such as oxytocin and dopamine, into the blood.
Circulation – Massage moves things including blood and lymph. Certain strokes can warm up the feet and increase overall circulation, which leads to a better functioning immune system. It can decrease blood pressure due to the dilatation of capillaries and decrease heart rate simply due to relaxation.
Digestion and Excretion – Specific strokes can create movement in the large intestine by increasing peristalsis. Massage will help the baby to relax and experience a decrease in pain, all of which, allow for more effective digestion.
regular massage can help to relieve pain or discomfort from:
o Emotional stress
INTERACTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Massage can help to increase bonding between any parent or caregiver and the child. This is very intimate, one on one time spent with the baby. Parents learn to read their baby’s cues and to respect them. It teaches them how to stop, observe, and then proceed as opposed to a quick reaction. A new parent gains confidence as they understand their baby and trust their instincts.
The most obvious response to massage is relaxation. Touch can settle a fussy baby, calm an outraged toddler or calm and overstimulated child. Regular massage seems to help babies become more tolerant to stressful situations. While stress is a natural part of our lives, infants are not always able to benefit from it as much as they could. There is growing evidence that cortisol levels in babies who are massaged on a regular basis, with a predictable pattern of massage strokes, are lower than babies who are not massaged. As well, the positive hormones like dopamine and serotonin increase.
There have also been studies showing the mother’s hormone levels are positively affected by massaging her baby. These include increased levels of the “love” hormones oxytocin and prolactin. This, in turn, may have an influence on her feelings of success as a mother, breastfeeding and even post-partum depression.
We hope you found this post informative!
I LOVE FOOD. So why not post about some of my go-to's. Often I stress over the next meal because I don't know what's in the pantry and fridge but know we need nutritious meals to keep our active family going. I hope these ideas help a few families out with some new ideas, or simply an idea for tonight.
These recipes are a few of my favourites for various reasons. I am very conscious of what my kids consume, especially after a few potty training regressions with my almost 5 years old!!!! She was sooooo difficult to poop train and the challenges return at almost 5 years old when she decides to turn super picky and only eat what she likes (cheese, pasta, bread, cheerios). So….here are some of my attempts to get more fibre into our diet and throw together last minute meals when we're so busy making memories.
Turkey couscous veggie muffin cups (from allrecipes.com)
· 2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini (if I don’t have these veggies, I use others. I’ve used mushrooms, carrots, celery in the past)
· 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
· 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
· 1 pound extra lean ground turkey (I use beef if I don’t have turkey!)
· 1/2 cup uncooked couscous (I use oatmeal if I don’t have couscous)
· 2 eggs
· 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
· 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pascals pancakes- from the Disney Princess Cookbook!
Okay, so this next recipe is a complete favourite in our house, but it doesn’t have the nutrition I’d like. We’ve made pancakes for supper before when I just don’t know what else to make. I know they will eat these though!
I keep little tart shells in my freezer for those lunch time rushes that I’m not sure what to make!
Nutritious & creamy “Pudding”
I like this recipe for breakfast because I find it so filling. It’s also great for “dessert” or snack!
Directions: Combine all ingredients and mix well. If I add chia seeds I let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before eating. If you want “ice cream”, place your mixture in the freezer for 5-20 minutes to get the desired consistency.
Oven Roasted ribs
This recipe is super easy and delicious. We used to use rib rub but found the littles were hyper sensitive to the “spice”. Now I was salt & herbs!
In the early days of new parenthood, my phone was my lifeline. I used it to take a million pictures of the little human I had just created and birthed. I endlessly scrolled Facebook while my daughter endlessly nursed. It was a flashlight in the middle of the night to check that she was still breathing. It had apps that allowed me to connect with other new parents and make sure that, yes, that shade of poop was indeed normal. Texted my husband while he was at work with every adorable new thing our kid did. FaceTimed with long distance family and friends. It really was a savior for me in many ways, and had so many great applications. I don't know how people parented before its invention!
But for me, my phone usage started to take on a darker side, too. Once my daughter got a little older, aware, and mobile, I began to realize that I was missing out on some of the new, cute things she was doing because I was still attached to my phone. Now I didn’t just find it a handy distraction for marathon nursing sessions, I needed it, craved it, in my hand before we could sit down and start. As she started walking and talking, I was distracted at the park, and even at play dates. Here are some things I’ve been doing to try to kick my phone habit:
Step 1: Start My Day Off Right
I try not to touch my phone for the first hour after waking up. I feel this helps set the tone for my day, and if I can get involved in the cooking, housework, work, and my daughter’s play right from the beginning of the day, I'm less apt to want to check my phone multiple times. It helps if I keep it plugged in for the night out of reach of my bed. If it’s too close, it’s too easy to roll over and grab it as soon as my eyes open, and once I see I have a few texts, I get sucked in! I also try to end my day right by plugging it in and putting it away for the night at least an hour before I want to go to bed.
Step 2: Keep it Quiet
I usually first spend some time on my phone after I've cleaned up from breakfast, and am sipping on my tea. I return texts or calls, and catch up on Facebook and emails. After my “morning break”, I try to put it out of sight (a drawer or separate room works best for me), and make sure the sound is turned off. If I hear a text come in while I'm playing with my kiddo or doing the dishes, curiosity usually gets the best of me and I interrupt our play or work to go see who it's from. I can’t do this step when I'm on call as a doula for a birth, or expecting an important call, of course, but overall, keeping my phone on silent when possible has helped me the most.
Step 3: Control the Content
When it became second nature to unlock my phone screen and click on the Facebook app, sometimes without even realizing what I was doing or why I was on my phone, I knew something needed to change. So I started deleting apps that were too distracting or that I used too frequently. The never-ending scrolling of some apps is just too tempting! I can still access most things from my phone’s browser, and since it takes a few more clicks to do, it makes me consider for a moment whether I really need to be checking it right then. I also turn off notifications for almost all apps.
Step 4: Leave it at Home
My main reason for taking my phone with me when we went on nature walks or to the park was always that I wanted my camera in case we found something really neat. But then I’d also be tempted to check ‘just one more thing’ while my daughter was exploring or playing. Leaving it at home while we go out and taking our nice camera instead has been a great way to stay connected with nature and my family. And as a bonus, I’ve gotten some really great shots with our “real” camera!
Step 5: Schedule Some Me Time
One of the strongest correlations I found with my phone usage is that it skyrockets when my proverbial cup is empty. When I’m low on sleep, alone time, healthy food, energy and patience (which, let’s face it, as the parent of a toddler is a lot of the time!), I just want to turn off my brain, veg on the couch, and do nothing for a while. While I certainly think I deserve to do that for a little bit each day, for me it’s way too easy to lose track of how long I’m zoning out for, and I end up saying a few too many, “wait just a minute”s and “I’m almost done”s to my toddler. If I can do some things to fill my cup - even a bath, or a tea for myself while we’re running errands - I feel like I have more of myself to dedicate to my family. I also make sure to schedule some zone-out time with my phone for myself every day, too. My morning tea, nap time, and bedtime work well here.
What to do Instead
Since I still need to occupy my brain with something during the day, I’ve found reading (either actual paper books or on my Kindle) to be a great substitute. For some reason, it’s easier for me to put down a book and come back to it than it is my phone. I’ve found that keeping a notebook and pen nearby as I’m sitting and playing with my daughter allows me to jot down notes and make observations that I might have otherwise written on my phone (or missed while I was on my phone). And if it’s your thing you could always try some meditation.
I have found some personal success with these steps, but I am certainly not perfect! If I can do 2 or 3 of them in a day, I give myself a pat on the back and consider it a win. There are days where I’m totally disconnected from technology and in tune with my family, work and house, and then there are days where we all spend way too much time staring at various screens. I also know that I’m able to do most of these things because I work mostly from home. If you’re wanting to cut back on your phone usage because it’s interfering with your family life or work but these steps don’t work for you, here are some apps that might help you on your journey (since you’re on your phone already ;) ).
Break-Free (manages and tracks your phone usage, and notes that the average adult checks their phone 110 times a day!)
Moment (automatically tracks your phone usage and helps you set limits)
Forest (motivates you to put down your phone and focus on what’s important to you by growing trees for the time you spend offline)
Have you ever been too attached to your phone? Let us know in the comments!
DISCLAIMER **If you are high risk pregnancy or have any other medical issues (or new issues arise, ie. your water ruptures), please understand your circumstances, and learn if waiting is an option for you. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER** **This article is applicable to low risk and otherwise healthy pregnancies. **
One of my favourite memories of visits with my midwife was her casualty about everything. When we started getting closer to baby's arrival time, I would tell her something new or that something had changed in my body, and she'd do this big happy smile and say something along the lines of, "awesome!" or "Oooh cool!".
Simple. That was it. Your body is doing exactly what it needs to do. So how 'bout them Oilers? Did you get that Costco trip done yet?
My midwife taught me this as a new-to-be-mother, and now as a doula it's one of the essential things I try to teach my clients. Early labour? Ignore it ☺️
Now by no means do we mean, "Don't pay attention to your body." But what we are saying is don't hyper-focus on all the things. I find this is especially hard to tell a first time mama. It's a common question for them, "But how will I know if I'm in labour," "How will I know when it's time?" ... My sweet girl, I promise you, when things are active... you will know.
Early labour can take a long time. For some women a couple hours, for many women even longer, I'll even go as far to say as a couple days. It's all beautiful, it ALL counts. Every surge, every wave of pressure, every cramp and uncomfortable sensation.. whether it's a Braxton Hicks or a "real" contraction, I don't care, it all counts.
The trick is: don't count it. Don't count it until you can't not count it. I promise you, it will eventually turn in to that. The more you can convince yourself that you're not in labour, the shorter your labour will seem. You'll cope better, truly.
The way I explain it to women is as if you're about to get your period. You're a day or so away, PMS is creeping in, you start to get sore breasts, and a little crampy. Do you go home, refuse to go out, sort out all your tampons and pads on your bathroom counter and wait? Do you cancel your dinner plans or say "screw it!" to your grocery list because you're period will be here in a few days? I mean, that would be nice to retreat in and shut out the world, haha! but nope. You take note of your body, you might swing by the store and pick up a box of pads or Motrin for later... but otherwise you go about your day, grumpy and all!
So do this when you're going to have your baby. This is a process your body is designed to do. It knows exactly what it needs to do, and when to do it. Your job is to find the balance between keeping your brain busy and out of the way, and your body moving but also well rested.
Collect some projects for yourself to do for when early labour starts. I've had clients save their wedding photos to scrapbook, dog park trips, a list of baking to do, book yourself a pedicure, go to the movies. Get out! Because the way you stub your toe at home in front of your partner is not the same way you stub your toe in the middle of the line at Starbucks.
You are strong, you are capable. Your body is wise, your baby is cute and has their perfect timing planned. The more we have you "just rolling with it" ... the easier it's going to roll out.
Learn more about Vanessa by clicking here.
Disclaimer: It is very important to discuss any herbs or medicinal remedies that you plan to use with your primary care provider. Some people with sensitivities to flowers may experience allergic reactions to things such as Chamomile or Chickweed.
For more information regarding herbal use in pregnancy and postpartum, check out these resources:
DIY Postpartum/Baby Products
By the time he got back, I no longer wanted to make a cake (and for months after the birth I wondered why there was a box of cake mix in the cupboard, completely forgetting about this) He sat with me for hours, and nothing except for music filled our bedroom.
I am told for over an hour I repeated the same thing, all I remember is the motions, sway, hands and knees, chest down, repeat. I don’t remember anything except those motions and hearing Vanessa say at one point “You are going to have the baby here, if we don’t leave”
2 cm… again.
I had never felt more defeated in my life. I was sure I was in active labor. “Come back when they are closer together” the nurse said.
Although on my perfectly crafted birth plan was to have no augmentation to my labor this was getting into day 3 (I didn’t ask for that in my plan either) I asked for my membrane sweep. There was no one who could do this at the hospital, so they told me I could go to my doctor to have one done or go home.
A much needed stop in the Lois Hole Healing Gardens, to cry and labor outside on the most beautiful day of the fall, and decide.
Doctor Mayo, my OB, had an office across the street; it was approaching 5pm so I needed to make my decision. Off we went, and even though it was only across the street it took us a half hour to get there, contracting in the parkades and the streets.
Luckily, he would see me. I tried to keep my contractions minimal in the waiting room, people quietly whispering around me and speculating whether or not I was in labour.
When he walks in to see me, he stops, looks and says “you’re in labor!” He tells me I should go back to the hospital and have this baby. I don’t want the Pitocin he suggests, but with a phone call we are on our way back to the hospital to be admitted. He wishes me luck as he wasn’t on call that evening and tells me I will have the baby tonight! We begin the “long” trek back across the street and up those stairs. I resist the stairs but Vanessa cheers me on and up we go.
Back in assessment, the nurses say that I will not be going across the hall like I’d thought, I was asked again to get Pitocin and I declined, so I am tucked in the farthest bed and I continue to labor. Was I not being moved because there is no room? Or was it because I will not accept pitocin? We will never know. “Fine!” I said “I will get to 10 cm and have this baby here!”
Clearly the sweep with the doctor had worked; I was now 1 minute apart and so intense. I moaned into my pillow for a few hours. “Why are you using the pillow?” Vanessa said, “They will get rid of your faster if you just let it out!” So she took it away and I’m sure I traumatized every pregnant woman in there, but I didn’t care. My natural birth was going great, even though we were officially more than 3 days in.
I started to make a mess of things, so they finally sent me to the other side. I had always heard you had to go from assessment to L&D in a wheelchair, many women protest this, but I was welcoming it with open arms. The nurse came to get me… no wheel chair and she was a very fast walker. It felt like the longest walk of my life, even though it was only down the hall, but I remember walking through the contractions, just to get to my room.
Finally there, I don’t remember much of the room, except being very excited it had a Lois Hole Garden view. This is where I would have my baby. It was already after 7:00pm on October 1st. Nurse Laura was the one who would be with me and she was instantly amazing. She so carefully reviewed my birth plan, let me know everything I could expect to be done or pressured to be done, and asked questions. She was very deserving of my nurse treat bag!
I continued my many positions for hours before we met our sweet doctor for the night. It was time to think about breaking my water. Another augmentation I didn’t want, but had to be done. I was 5-6cm by now and yes, it was time to break my waters!
For hours water poured out! (I had a condition in pregnancy called polyhydramnios) My stomach halved in size and the nurses were obsessing over each contraction and how you could see the body shape of the baby perfectly in my belly.
Ball, bed, toilet, shower, repeat.
I remember very little from the night, only reminding myself at each contraction “we must be close, only 1 minute long, one more closer.”
Another check and I was only 7cm… why! So we continued into the early hours of the morning.
Only to find out upon every check, 9.5cm… 9.5 cm for over 8 hours. What was going on?
“I am pushing him out!” I cry out and the nurses tell me to hold back, it’s not time. How could it not be time, each contraction he was being pushed without my control. Here is the only part of my labor I recall saying “I cannot do this” and Vanessa looking me dead in the eyes, telling me that I can. Hunched over the bed, not truly believing I could and the room a blur I continued on.
At another check and another 9.5cm, it was found that my baby was stuck.
“I can turn him without an epidural” the doctor told me “but I won’t because it’s inhumane and it will hurt.”
The decision I never wanted to make was on my plate. I never wanted to face this moment and here it was. I’m 9.5cm, yet feeling so far away. Darting my gaze frantically between Vanessa and my husband, Brant, throughout contractions, I was searching their eyes for my answer. I knew what I had to do but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Even nurse Laura, who had now been with me her entire shift, getting ready to leave, sat at my bedside and assured me I was doing an amazing job and I would have that baby soon.
She offered her congrats before heading out and with the strength of my team; it was time for the epidural. Besides all the negatives associated with the epidural for baby, I was also just downright scared to get one. How would I stay still? My contractions were too strong and close, but I just remember staring at Brant through the tears as it was quickly completed.
Reprieve and sleep. My head cleared and I could see the time it was. 6am… Friday? This all started on Tuesday! I counted the hours in my head; we were now 56 hours in. Now that I have the epidural and they told me that it’ll relax me enough for that last 0.5 cm, it MUST be soon.
Doctor Mayo checked in and told me he was going to be there for the next two days. “I WILL deliver your baby” he said as he left me still at 9.5cm.
Later on, still at 9.5 and contractions slowing, it was time for Pitocin. So we played the up and down game of Pitocin and epidural for a few hours. By noon, it was time to push. I remember looking up at the clock as soon as they said I was 10cm, 12:00pm. “Most people push for 2 hours” I thought, “I will have this baby 1:00pm then!” I was so happy.
Pushing, pushing, pushing… another look at the clock and it was 1:00pm “Okay, by 2:00pm” More pushing, more hope since he was coming down and the heartbeat was great. After we passed 2:00pm time just didn’t exist anymore. I didn’t care, I just wanted to meet our baby now.
Sitting crunched up, pushing every minute for 5 hours, Doctor Mayo was back to check in after 5:00pm he asked “Can you keep going?” I again searched the faces of Brant and Vanessa, all of us exhausted after almost 4 days of labor, but I said “No I can’t, I’m too tired” He asked me if I wanted the vacuum (a horror a terrible nurse from earlier told me about) Yes, it was time, I wanted to meet our baby.
Once I had confirmed this everything became a flurry. Lights blasted on, more nurses showed up, a resident introduced himself in between my legs, as I was pushing. It was like it was show time! And it was.
Doctor Mayo pulled our little baby out so slowly and carefully. “Touch the head!” someone said, when I did I just looked back and Brant and wept. This baby was real and almost here! At some point during all this in burst Nurse Laura “YOU’RE STILL HERE!?” she cried out, 14 hours later she was starting her next shift and finished off what she started with us. After a few more pulls, Doctor Mayo took off the vacuum and said “you push the rest of the way” So I did and I had the ultimate satisfaction of pushing my baby into this world.
No one yelled out the gender like I always imagined, I searched for what it might be and I said “a boy!” we were right all along.
No skin to skin or cord clamping, because well… after 5.5 long hours, he pooped. In some of my prenatal talks, I remembered someone saying that when they take them to heating table it’s only 10 feet away but it will feel like over 100. And it did. I continued to cry, not just because I wanted to see my baby but also from joy, accomplishment and just knowing he was finally here.
Doctor Mayo quickly explained why we couldn’t do any other things from my birth plan before rushing to another birth. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember he was fantastic.
When they brought him to me, I got my skin to skin and we sat and cried and stared at him, our beautiful boy. I don’t even know how much time passed during those moments, the three of us so close together; it was the most special moment of my life.
Oliver Gray was born on October 2nd, 2015 after over 72 hours of labor at 5:22pm. And he was worth it all.
I didn’t get everything I wanted in my birth, in fact I pretty much got everything I didn’t want in regards to my birth plan. But I don’t look back on it with any regret. If I hadn’t taken those steps, Oliver may have taken even longer to arrive. Something could have gone terribly wrong and happened to me, or worse to him.
I planned one thing no one really knew about, knowing I needed to be flexible no matter what. My flexibility is what got him here and I’m so proud of this birth story. These were some of the most intense moments of my life and he stayed my little champion the whole time, just like he is now. I would do it all again for him and wouldn’t change a thing.
Past Full Circle client, Liz Driedger whose doula was Vanessa.
Adulting. Ugh. I love that this is now a thing. There are various definitions of “adulting” ranging from having a job or paying bills to making life changing decisions and caring for little humans. I feel that in my 20 years of being in the “legal age” bracket, I can honestly say that I've never really felt the harrows of adulting until this past year... making major changes that effect more than my singular, seemingly insignificant self. I'm not saying that having children is what truly makes you an adult, I'm just saying that for me, life was life and I never really did much to change things. Stuff happened and I rolled with it. That was me. That was it. But these days, there is decision making left and right and up and down! Sugar or sweetener, dayhome or daycare or why am I even working, cereal or toast, shower or dry shampoo (again), 21-day Fix or all of the chocolate, roman blinds or curtains, quit my job or apply for a new one, vasectomy or birth control, go to bed at a reasonable hour or Netflix it up when the kids go to bed? The struggle is real. Some choices, ya know, not so difficult. But some are really ones that I never in my wildest dreams thought would be things I would be thinking about. But I do. Daily. Adulting. Ugh.
And now that I'm this "adult", I have to actually deal with change. What's best for me? What's best for them? I have to help my children deal with change. Transitions. Bite me. After moving in September, the dust is finally starting to settle. There is a semblance of order to our lives. There are nights of almost complete sleep. Almost. Yeah, I'm exaggerating. They aren't very close to almost yet... but the rest of it is there. Routine and consistency and not-McDonald's every second night. This is my definition of success. Everyone tells me that the sleep will come and holy hell am I ever betting on that. With all of this responsibility for change and dealing with the fallout, I am very glad that I am an adult... so I can buy and drink all the wine.
There are moments when the thoughts creep in. “I remember when...” and “Wouldn't it be great if...” and “I really miss...” We had our favourite restaurants that we went to whenever, we bought all the things we wanted, we went to see every movie and every band that came to town and I never ever cared if a show was on a weekday. I went to the gym! I actually cooked without a crockpot! I wore make up and owned more than one real bra! But I didn't have impromptu dance parties before dinner. I didn't get to watch anyone learn to read or write or see them make friends. I didn't get snotty face prints on my pants because someone loved me so much that they needed to hug me so hard one more time before I went to work. These are the things that make adulting much less daunting. If this is where I get to adult, I can deal with that. As far as choices go, I choose here. I choose now.
For a good laugh check this video out: Amy Schumer, Turtle Births and Sherpa Doulas.
her portrayal of midwives/doulas is obviously not accurate, we are highly trained and educated, just saying.
I know I’m guilty of this – I rarely take time to address, honor or mark the milestones in my life. Sometimes, this takes a toll on me! It can feel like all of these important events are flying by and my journey seems to be going far too quickly. Sacred Pregnancy is about slowing down, appreciating the little (and big!) changes your body is going through and honoring this transitional time in your life.
A Sacred Pregnancy retreat will teach you to take time for yourself – even if it’s 5 minutes a day. It outlines the importance of meditation and journaling to connect to yourself and your baby and create a sacred space for reflection. It will also encourage you to take a serious look at the expectations you hold surrounding pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Women will get all kinds of pregnancy and birth messages from the time they are a young girl until the step onto the pregnancy, birth and motherhood path. Are the expectations you have realistic? Are they serving you in a positive way? Some of these messages are healthy, good and empowering, but most from society at large are not. It’s important for us to look at our expectations and where they come from, or at least where do we think they came from. It’s also especially important to know that every birth story is a normal birth story. It’s your journey; it’s your life lesson.
Sacred Pregnancy is connection, is facing and forgiving your fears, is honoring the body that is growing an extension of love, is sisterhood. It’s growing your circle. It’s learning to change – because you are changing! Motherhood is a journey and pregnancy is just the beginning – so slow down when you can, you deserve to celebrate it!
Samara Oscroft is one of our doulas in training with Full Circle Birth Collective and is the co-creator of our postpartum belly binds and is working on her Scared Pregnancy certifications.
To learn more about her visit her page here.
As babies grow into toddlers, they often form opinions. Opinions about everything including having their teeth brushed! Having been through this twice now, I have found a few tricks that make the task simpler.
So here is a glimpse into my evening routine with my two little ladies:
Before bed, we brush and floss every night (because brushing before bed is the most important time!). Many people ask me if flossing is even necessary on children. I say ABSOLUTELY! For a couple of reasons, I am a huge advocate of starting the flossing routine with kids as early as you can:
- Flossing will help keep their gingiva (AKA gums) healthy by disturbing the plaque or bacterial biofilm between the teeth. There has been many times when the kids pull the flosser out of their mouth and say “mom, look, chicken” or “mom, carrot” and I know it was worth my time to get them to floss!
- Even though some youngsters have large gaps between their baby teeth which makes cleansing from saliva easy, the point of flossing for these kids is routine. If kids start flossing at an early age, it is part of their routine and they won’t know any different! In fact, there are nights when I’m exhausted and just want them to sleep now, but they remind mommy that they need to floss!
If parents are having a challenging time getting their child to brush, there is an abundance of plaque on the teeth, and/or many cavities have been diagnosed, an electric toothbrush may be a good option. They are kind of like a “toy” for kids, have a 2 minutes timer built-in, and effectively remove more plaque than a manual brush if they are being used properly. I would recommend rechargeable electric brushes for kids like Oral-B or Sonicare.
Here are a few tips for keeping your toddler low risk for cavities:
-Diet also plays an important role in cavity formation. If the diet has a lot of sugar in it, then the toddler will be at higher risk to get cavities. Actually, any carbohydrates and sugars can combine with germs in our mouth to create acid which can cause cavities. Sticky carbohydrates like gummy bears, fruit roll ups, caramels etc. are especially bad since they cannot be easily washed away. Hard cheese is an example of a good food for our teeth!
-Does your child drink juice, pop, and milk? If yes, eliminate the pop and juice. It can be given as a treat or on special occasions. Milk can be consumed at mealtime and water in between meals. No food or drinks should be consumed after brushing the teeth at night time.
-Does your child snack frequently? It is better for our teeth to eat a few meals a day opposed to several snacks or small meals throughout the day. This is because our mouths are more acidic for about 30 minutes after eating, meaning cavities can form more easily if we snack frequently.
I hope you have found this post helpful! Please feel free to contact me if you need further information. If I do not have an answer for you, I may know someone who does!
- Tooth Eruption, The Permanent Teeth. JADA, Vol. 137, Pg 127. January 2006
- Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist, 10th Edition by Ester M. Wilkins (2009).
- Kidshealth.org, Yamini Durani, (2015).
- Canadian Dental Association, www.cda-adc.ca/en/, (2016).
Nicole Sailes is a certified Hypnobabies Instructor with Full Circle Birth Collective. Learn more about Nicole here.
Ina May Gaskin
Trust In Your Body