Bear Care Blog

Babies Don’t Keep – Serene’s Baby Turns One!

Babies Don’t Keep – Serene’s Baby Turns One!

One of our Mama Bear Club writers, Serene, had her baby last December and sent us this lovely blog about the beautiful and hard moments she experienced in her first year of motherhood, as well as some key lessons she learned.

A December baby turns one

A December Baby Turns One

Somewhere between morning snuggles, frosty walks and bedtime stories last week, my little boy suddenly changed from a baby into a toddler. It snuck up on me and caught me by surprise. Despite celebrating his birthday the weekend before, the immensity of the past year didn’t really hit me until I realized, the night before his actual birthday, that it was a full year ago that I went into labour with him. By the time 9:30pm on his birthday rolled around, I was fully reliving the surreal moment he was born and my heart expanded faster than I thought possible.  

Baby gives a toothy grin

From Baby to Toddler 

When a baby turns one, it doesn’t automatically mean you no longer have a baby – some babies start walking and talking at 9 months like my niece and some still seem like a baby at 18 months. In my son’s case however, he went from no teeth, army crawling and no talking/signing to 6 teeth, full-on rapid crawling, pulling himself up, standing, cruising and clear words and signs all within 6 weeks. Combined with my return to work a month ago, it feels like my little baby vanished into thin air and this sweet little boy is now in his place.  

Mom kisses little baby

Making Time To Pause

It leaves me so torn. On the one hand, I am so happy he is growing, changing, learning and blossoming into this amazing little person. On the other hand, I miss my tiny little bean. The first year of his life was so full of learning how to look after this small human, learning how to use a breast pump, navigating developmental leaps, and researching how to introduce solids and avoid allergies, that I sometimes feel like I didn’t spend enough time just soaking up the baby. I know that I did my best to make time to just pause, to just love on my son and live in the moment, but I do know it got harder and harder as ‘life outside the baby’ returned as we left the newborn stage

Baby's first Christmas

The Best Christmas Gift

He won’t ever be a baby again, and while I do, truly, know that that’s a good thing and he is ready for this next part of his life, I would be lying if I said I was ready. Christmas is always going to bring back memories of the first few weeks of his life, snuggled up on the couch or in bed in our matching jammies (yes, we have matching jammies and absolutely no shame about it), watching Christmas movies with my tiny son sleeping on my chest. While those memories feel a bit bittersweet this year while trying to wrestle my newly minted toddler into rain boots, I know this Christmas will bring new, beautiful memories too. It already has – by some stroke of luck the night we put up our Christmas decorations and lights, it snowed for the first time this winter.

When my son woke up in the morning, he first saw the snow outside and was entranced. Then we plugged in the Christmas tree and had a moment that felt straight out of a movie – my son looked at the tree, the snow, and then us in awe and then a huge smile cracked across his face. I wish I could have caught it on video, but it will live forever in my memory.

Baby meeting his abuelo

The Years Are Short

There are a lot of cliché saying about kids but one of my favourites is ‘the days are long, but the years are short.’ It is devastatingly true. I could (and probably will one day) write an entire blog about how your body forcibly adapts to 3-hour wake windows when your child is 5 weeks old. Or my experience with introducing solids (spoiler alert: my child is a carnivore) at 5 and a half months. Or the joy I felt when my husband‘s family in another country finally got to meet my child at 9 months. 

There were so many hard and beautiful things that happened in this past year, and they’re all mixed in with some long days of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and completely underprepared for parenthood. Somehow a year has flashed by but there are moments where, mentally, it is still 2:45am, 4 days after I’ve given birth, and I’ve fallen asleep laying on the bed breastfeeding while my husband stayed awake to make sure my son was okay because he was cluster feeding.  

Mom kisses baby in colourful hat

Take All The Photos

I’m not saying stay glued to your phone and convince your baby that they’re an upcoming child star. However, I am so incredibly glad I took an average of 600 photos every month (yes, that is the real number) this year. Now, when I am sobbing into my tea over the fact my baby is no longer a baby, I can scroll back through every stage of growth and change he has had this year and lean into those memories. I can soak them up and relive them whenever I need, even if I wasn’t as acutely aware and grateful for them as they happened.

Enjoy your babies Mamas. Take it from me – they don’t keep.



Serene Giles

Serene is one of our awesome Mama Bear Club writers who is the proud mama of a one year old. Check out Serene’s thoughts on the Mya Joy breast pump and how she found the PumpEase pumping bra to use during her breastfeeding journey.

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Pampering In Pregnancy

Pampering In Pregnancy

When we’re pregnant we spend so much time thinking about what we’re eating, worrying over if we’ve gotten enough sleep, and generally stressing over the life growing in us, that we forget that we’re still humans and still need to take care of ourselves for ourselves, not just for our babies! So today, from one pregnant Mama to another, I want to talk about pampering in pregnancy, the many forms it can take, and how you can fit it into your busy lifestyle.  

So, what does pampering in pregnancy look like? For starters, it’s not all steamy bubble baths and facemasks, although if that’s your jam, you should definitely include those (just be careful staying in hot water too long). Self-care means taking the time to rest and do the things that make you feel good, balanced, and refreshed. How you look after yourself is completely up to you, but here are some popular ways to practice self-care, and how to make them work in every routine.  

Get Moving  

The idea of exercise, in general, does not give me warm fuzzy feelings, and never has. Unsurprisingly, being pregnant did not make me fall in love with the idea of the gym or biking around my very hilly city, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a huge benefit in getting some fresh air and getting my blood flowing. I try and walk at least once a day at lunch, which gets me away from my computer screen and forces me to take a mental break, and I try and get out in nature for a hike on the weekends. Swimming is another beautiful way to give yourself some peaceful time, especially if you live near the ocean or a lake. Swimming and walking might not seem like pampering but forcing yourself to take an hour away from screens, responsibilities, and phone calls every day is absolutely self-care. Taking time for yourself, in pretty much any format, is a luxury most of us don’t give ourselves, and considering you’re not going to be able to do that much once the baby comes is even more reason to take it now.  

Stretch It Out 

One of my other favourite ways to move is yoga. You can check out your local studios, or there are larger online-only companies with a huge range of classes. Many have the option to filter classes by duration and type of yoga practice, which is huge for me – if I only have 30 minutes to get a class in the morning, I am so grateful that I can just hit play without having to schedule it in. Taking mini stretch breaks throughout the day is also going to be a huge help – there are a lot of seated stretches that can be done while at a desk, and even more that can be combined with a walk. I recommend with whatever type of exercise you decide works for you to try and make time for it in your morning or in the earlier part of your day – by the time I get home from work I’m completely exhausted and there is absolutely nothing that feels better than relaxing on the couch.  

Find Peace of Mind  

Many Mamas (myself included) feel increased anxiety and worry in their pregnancies, which is incredibly draining. Finding mental peace is one of the most important ways in which you can pamper yourself during pregnancy. For some this might look more traditional, like a meditation practice, breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. There are a million blogs, books, and classes out there that cover meditation, so I’ll leave you to decide what works for you, although one of my personal favourites is a guided Yoga Nidra meditation.  

For other Mamas, you might feel a lot more relaxed by journaling, pouring all your thoughts and worries on to paper as a form of purging. For others still, the only way to work through worries and anxieties is to address them head-on. Make budgets, research the answers to your giant question list, find podcasts that tackle the topics that keep you up at night, and talk about everything else with your partner, best friend, sister, aunt or mom. Once you find the answers, or you’ve put a plan in place, pat yourself on the back and don’t dwell on it. Clear out that space in your mind, let it rest, and feel relaxed knowing that you’ve got this.  

Massage. Is. Everything.

If you can afford it or are covered by medical for massage by prenatal-trained RMTs, I cannot recommend it enough. Not only will your RMT be able to help work through all the aches and pains, but they will also be able to help you get into a deeper state of relaxation during and after your massage, which will give your body and your mind a much-needed break. If you can’t see an RMT, or your muscles need some extra love, put your partner to work! If they’re working on your back, try laying on your side with a couple of pillows between your knees and one hugged to your chest. You can also find a lot of relief in foot and hand massages, as our ankles and other joints tend to swell throughout the day. Partners are usually pretty understanding about your need for a little extra pampering during pregnancy!  

Feel Good In Your Skin 

My pregnancy has been itchy. Some days I feel like I want to scratch my skin right off, and it’s not limited to my belly either – everything is itchy. It is important to invest in some good quality skincare products to make you feel like a queen. Prenatal Ease’s stretch mark solutions are a fantastic place to start. Their Hydrating Lotion is a light, non-greasy lotion that I apply pretty much everywhere, and is great for the morning when you’re getting ready for work. The Ultimate Oil dries super quick and is perfect for spot application directly on to stretch marks, or any uneven skin (I use it as a face oil at night too!) and uses a special botanical blend to improve your skin’s elasticity. The Ultra-Nourishing Cream is the perfect weight for application before bed and helps ease the itch like you wouldn’t believe. I like to put it on at the start of my nighttime routine so that it has time to soak into my skin instead of my sheets (but if it does, don’t fear, it is a non-staining formula!). There are lots of options when it comes to stretch mark lotion but I love Prenatal Ease because it’s free of icky chemicals and additives, works, and smells AMAZING. They also have an awesome range of stage-specific prenatal multivitamins and other supplements to help you feel good inside and out.  

Indulge In The Guilty Pleasures 

If you want the ice cream, eat the ice cream. If you want to binge-watch a Netflix show, get the popcorn popping! As long as you’re following a healthy diet and getting some activity in every day (even if it’s just walking to the store), you should feel free to indulge a little. Same goes for a little shopping spree or pedicures with a friend – as long as you’re not breaking the bank and causing stress within your budget, do the things that make you feel good! Sometimes the very best way we can take care of ourselves is to take part in our ‘guilty pleasures’ without any guilt!  

Take a Load Off 

Life is a lot of work, and creating life is even more! One of the best things you can do for yourself right now is to learn to say no. If something makes you happy, by all means, make time for it, but right now you need to put yourself first instead of everyone else, so try and shed some extra non-essential responsibilities right now. Maybe your partner can pick up the slack by making dinner more often, or your brother can take a turn running errands for your Mom. Whatever it is, as long as you make it clear that you’re saying no so that you have more time for yourself, people will generally understand. 

There are a million and one ways to pamper yourself during your pregnancy, but you’ve got to make it a priority. Remember, you are more than just a cozy house for your baby! The best way to take care of the life growing inside of you is to make sure you’re also taking care of yourself and doing the things that bring you mental, physical, and emotional peace and relaxation.  

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