The Amazing Benefits of Taking Omega 3 during Pregnancy

Saying Good-Bye to Leg Cramps in Pregnancy – Perrier water my hero!

The Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy

Engorgement Day - Help for the Battle

Common Parent Food Blunders

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Common Parent Food Blunders
By Emily Kennedy, Vitamin e Nutrition

The overweight epidemic in our country has reached epidemic proportions, and it’s not just an adult problem anymore. It is affecting our children, full force. Today’s kids are more overweight and unhealthy than at any other time in our history. This is a problem that we need to address immediately, and we need to be proactive about it. We need to offer them healthy weight loss solutions.

Certainly we can point the finger at the food industry with its overabundance of convenient, low-cost foods. We can blame school lunch programs, computers, video games, and friends, too. But what about ourselves? Ultimately, we (the parents) decide what our kids eat, especially when they are young.

The following are some top food blunders to avoid because they will not help your child build healthy eating habits:


Imagine opening up the cupboard, taking out a bag of sugar, and repeatedly spooning teaspoon after teaspoon into your 3- or 4-year-old’s mouth. Every time you give your child one of those fruit cocktail juice beverage boxes, that’s precisely what you’re doing. One 6 oz. carton contains five teaspoons of sugar, on average.  Give water most of the time and only 100% juice drinks as a treat.


Chicken fingers, french fries and macaroni and cheese offer no nutritional value and are loaded with sodium, fat and refined carbohydrates. Restaurants are not in the business of protecting your kid’s health and the profit margin on  french fries and chicken nuggets is huge. The next time you go out to eat with your kids, ask for vegetables on the side instead of french fries. Or better yet, don’t order anything for your kid, ask for a second plate and share your meal with them; The portions are certainly generous enough. Check out these healthy places to eat with your kids in Toronto.


Make sure that whenever your child is away from your presence, or visiting friends and relatives, that they know you do not approve of them feeding your kid junk food. They probably don’t mean any harm, but just want to your child to associate treats with being with them. It is perfectly acceptable to ask them to offer your child something more nutritious, like a piece of fruit or whole-grain crackers.


If you’re really committed to feeding your child healthfully, you must lead by example. After all, they mimic everything you do. Above all else, this is the most important healthy eating lesson.

Children and the Battle of the Bulge

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Children and the Battle of the Bulge 
By Emily Kennedy, Vitamin e Nutrition

The stats are overwhelming. Over one in 4 Canadian children under the age of 18 are overweight or even obese. Obesity in children has been on the rise during the last two decades and now experts are saying that this current generation of overweight children are at risk for serious health consequences that may put them six feet under before their parents.

 The long term health risks for overweight children

It’s estimated that 40% of obese 7-year olds and 70% of obese adolescents become obese adults.  Obese kids are also more likely to suffer physical and psychological problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, types 2 diabetes, back and knee problems, low self-esteem and depression. Childhood weight problems have long-term implications for health in adulthood. It’s well documented that obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory illness and certain cancers.

Excess weight also bears consequences for psychological, emotional and social well-being. For teenagers in particular, being overweight causes stress, lowers their self-esteem and affects their relationships with peers.  One study of 5,746 Canadian adolescents found that overweight teens were more likely to be bullies or victims of bullying.

Managing a child’s weight on the homefront

The best thing a parent can do is lead by example and model good eating habits and a positive attitude towards physical activity. Avoid fad diets yourself and don’t complain about your own weight, or anyone else’s, in front of your kids.  Instead of lecturing on the evils of French fries and chocolate bars, stock the house with nutritious foods like fruit, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains. Keep healthy snacks in a place where kids can easily see and access them – front and center in the fridge and cupboards.

A note of caution: Don’t put your child on a “diet”. Low calorie diets can rob growing children of the energy and nutrients they need to grow and stay active. Restricting food and nutrient intake for an extended period of time can stunt growth.  Crash diets followed over a long period can also delay breast development in females and muscle growth in males. Dieting can also make kids feel tired, moody and anxious.  And worse, it can cause low self-esteem since self-esteem is defined, in part, by successes and failures. 

Strategies for parents packing lunch

Parents are often so worried as to whether their child will eat their lunch, they overpack the quantity and selections of food. This actually doesn’t help an overweight child. Kids tend to fixate on eating the snacks and treats, but leave the sandwich or vegetables as a last choice. Pack sparingly so kids will eat every bite. Remember that a meal is three food groups so pack three components in every lunch: grains (wraps, bread, crackers, pasta, whole grain muffin), meat and alternatives (lean meat, chicken, tuna, cheese, egg), and fruit and vegetables.

Children are drinking more and more sweetened juice, soda and milk beverages with so much added sugar they’re more like a can of Coke. Rather than these sugary drinks, fill a reusable water bottle with pure water for your kids to drink. Liquid calories don’t fill us up and it’s more valuable to pack an apple, grapes, blueberries or orange slices instead of fruit juice to add fibre to your child’s diet.

Younger children in particular need snacks because their stomachs are smaller and hold less food at one time. Pack snacks for recess to prevent kids becoming too hungry at lunch. However, make a rule for how often you’ll pack cookies, gummy bears, chewy chocolate chip granola bars, chips or some other treat. Kids need to understand these are not everyday foods, but rather once in awhile treat. Substitute these foods with healthier snacks like a snack-size back of air-popped popcorn.

Re-thinking Infant Vaccinations

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Re-thinking Infant Vaccinations
By Emily Kennedy, Vitamin e Nutrition

Even with the hyperactivity surrounding H1N1 and flu, misinformation about vaccines is still extensive among the parenting community. Many parents don’t even question whether or not they should vaccinate their child but simply go along with the government mandates they think they must follow. However, as a parent, you are not legally required to vaccinate your child against measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox or any other childhood disease.

Vaccines contain live and dead viruses, killed bacteria, genetically engineered DNA and chemical preservatives including mercury-laced thimerosol. The theory goes that exposing the body to small doses of a pathogen will trigger production of antibodies that will guard against future infection. However, medical literature cites study after study about the failure of vaccinations to furnish protection against common childhood diseases. For instance, a 1990 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association observed that “although more than 95 percent of school-aged children in the US are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur among previously vaccinated children.” There is not a single study about the long-term safety – or efficacy – of vaccines although numerous of accounts of allergic reactions, sudden infant death syndrome, and autism have been linked to back to vaccines.

There are many ways to opt out of vaccination from birth through schooling; Parents just need to speak up and clearly communicate their desire to forego injecting their child with pathogens. If admission into daycare or school triggers the need for legal action, exemptions can be obtained on philosophical, medical and religious grounds. Finally, if you must vaccinate, take the following precautions to mitigate the risks:

  • Wait until your child is at least two years-old
  • Don’t give more than one vaccine at a time
  • Ensure that the vaccine is thimerosal-free
  • Supplement the child with extra cod liver oil, vitamin C and B12 before each shot
  • Never vaccinate a sick child

Foods to bolster immunity in vaccinated and non-vaccinated children include leafy dark green vegetables, oily fish, fermented pro-biotic foods like yogurt and kefir, egg yolks, and liver.

Finally a Night Time Diaper that Works!

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Night Time Diapers that leak through are an ongoing trail for those of us with heavy wetters. After years and years of searching I have finally found a diaper that actually works! Lets begin at the beginning – in 2005 I had a beautiful baby girl – after 6 weeks I started using cloth diapers for my little princess. This process was wonderful until she was about 6 months old and then the night time leaking began and thus after a week of washing all her bedding the search began… I googled, posted on discussion boards, asked all the moms I knew and yet no one had a solution for me – How was my child suppose to wake-up dry? I tried huggies, teddies, you name it but I still had the same problem a very wet baby and too much laundry.

So next I thought I’d try using two chinese cloth prefolds at night – this worked for a while, then we had the same problem. Next I thought mmm maybe a disposable with a bummis cloth diaper cover would work. After much effort I realized changing her in the middle of the night and using the bummis cover a disposable was my only hope.

Skip ahead I had my son in 2008 – again when he was about 5 months the night leaking started – this time my friend Lena sewed me custom covers to hold the two chinese prefolds at night and it worked for a long time… but as he grew the problem returned. Again after a week of wet bedding and too much laundry – I decided there must be a better way!!! I went out to Walmart and found a new line of diapers – Fisher Price Night Baby Diapers – I decided to try them and let me tell you – THEY WORK ! THEY REALLY DO! Finally a diaper that keeps my son dry through the night – so he can sleep and I can too!

I’ve since discovered that many of my friends are using these great diapers too they like their day time version as well. From all of us who have heavy wetters – I’d like to personally thank the engineers and creators of this wonderful Fisher Price Night Time Baby Diaper!

To make things even better I found this great deal on Amazon: Fisher Price Night Jumbo Pack Baby Diapers you can get 12 packs in a size so you can save$ and trips to the store – because they only sell them in a half a month supply at a time. I warn you once you try this diaper you’ll never go back:)

A Foolproof Way to Stop Stressing and Save Money on Food

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A Foolproof Way to Stop Stressing and Save Money on Food
By Emily Kennedy, Vitamin e Nutrition

The Food Marketing Institute has recently reported that 71% of us are cooking at home more often these days. That means more people are sitting in rush hour traffic rummaging through their cupboards and fridge in their minds, trying to figure out what’s for dinner. Naturally, home cooking has fewer calories and more nutritional value than restaurant meals but are you maximizing your savings or adding to your stress when you eat at home?

The average household wastes 14% of the food they buy due to poor planning and wastage. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, 14% is the equivalent of three homemade gourmet lunches.

By planning your meals you only shop for the fresh items you need for the week, thus reducing wastage and worry. Any extra portions can be labelled with the date and frozen right after you make them so they avoid becoming funky experiments in the back of the fridge.

When you plan meals, make sure to include enough foods from each food group, with special attention to fresh vegetables and fruits for every meal as well as snacks. Always keep an eye out for sales on grain products like rice, pasta and couscous and oats so you can stock up and have them as staples for every meal. Frozen fish, frozen vegetables and even frozen fruit are also good to keep on hand for quick entrees, side dishes and smoothies when you haven’t had a chance to buy fresh ingredients.

Meat is definitely the most costly mealtime staple but re-thinking how you use it can be better for your wallet and your waistline. With books like In Defense of Foodby Micheal Pollan, it’s becoming increasingly popular to think of meat as a condiment for vegetables as opposed to the meal’s focal point. Diversify your cooking skills and learn techniques to stretch your food dollar. For instance, braising or slow cooking cheaper cuts of meat is an easy way to save on meat. Or, better yet, swap out meat for lentils and other beans once or twice a week for even greater savings – and health benefits.  Soups, casseroles and salads are all great ways to pepper in a little meat instead of serving it in one big chunk.

The benefits of meal planning are numerous and getting started is surprisingly simple. All you need to do is jot down your meals before you go grocery shopping,  know what you have on hand, and write out your shopping list so you buy only what you need. To expedite this process consider enlisting the help of professional menu planners who can take the planning off  your plate while teaching you the basics.

Heart Burn, Tums, Pregnancy, oh my!

Posted on by weecuddle

Heart Burn, Tums, Pregnancy, oh my!

Pregnancy, you go from being able to eat, drink and take whatever over-the-counter medications and supplements you want to questioning everything. Suddenly your knowledge base goes from years to absolutely nothing. Is Vitamin C safe, can I still drink coffee, what can I do about a headache? Navigating yourself through this beautiful new miracle called life can be overwhelming at times. But not to worry if don’t feel like it yet you’ll soon be an old veteran – thanks to helpful prenatal books, experienced friends and the good old internet.

Let’s start with a very basic and common question – Heartburn what can I do about it in pregnancy?

Thankfully ladies there is relief – Tums and Rolaids – hooray!- both have the correct dosage right on their packages for pregnancy – yes there finally is something over the counter that doesn’t tell you to contact your health practitioner before taking!

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn  is a burning sensation that if often felt from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. In pregnancy it is generally caused by some of the physical and hormonal changes happening in your body. Most of this is caused by the hormone progesterone produced during pregnancy – find a good explanation at

Common food you might find helpful avoiding if your are experiencing Heartburn in pregnancy:

  • carbonated drinks (i.e. pop)
  • spicy,  fried, or fatty foods
  • caffeine (it is recommend that you reduce your caffeine intake during pregnancy to less than 200 mg per day (1 cup of coffee))
  • chocolate
  • acidic foods (i.e citrus, tomatoes, etc)

Free MP3 Veggie Tale CD from Amazon!

Posted on by weecuddle

Last night I came across this wonderful link to a free copy of O Christmas Tree by Veggie Tales. My kids and nephews love these adorable characters! What’s better than free:) We’re enjoying these great songs at home! A great change as we’ve been listening to a Very Merry Christmas for the past few years.

Here’s a great coloring page from the creators of Veggie Tales Big Idea to go along with the songs!-I find we are forever printing out different coloring pages for my daughter and son.

This free album has 16 songs, including:

* What Child is This
* Silent Night
* Hark the Herald Angels Sing
* Joy to the World
* Candy Cane Blues

While we are on the subject of Veggie Tales my kids just saw Veggie Tales: The Story of St. Nicolas on the weekend and really enjoyed it.

The Amazing Benefits of Taking Omega 3 during Pregnancy

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The Amazing Benefits of Taking Omega 3 during Pregnancy:

It’s my third pregnancy and only now have I discovered an amazing little secret to memory in pregnancy – Omega 3’s.  If you look around you will see many articles published on the benefits and importance of your children taking their Omega 3’s daily (Dr. Sear’s is a great place to start). It is recommended that a child takes 1000mg of Omega 3’s a day with a 1:1 ratio of DHA to EPA. In our house we try to give our children them on a regular basis.  But it wasn’t till I was having a conversation with a Naturopath I know a few weeks ago that I realized I was missing a big piece of information. I made a passing comment about how bad my memory was becoming – we all know about ‘mommy brain’ and the ongoing jokes about memory in pregnancy and it going ‘out with the after birth’. But she stopped me in my tracks when she asked me if I was taking my Omega 3’s. I had to honestly reply that I had stopped taking them. She informed me that the baby literally sucks the fats from your brains, so it’s vital that you have them in pregnancy. I started taking them the next day and by day 5 I can honestly say I noticed a difference; I suddenly had more memory recall. I finished my bottle and took my time getting a new one till I realized how bad my memory was again – so I started taking them again and voila starting day 4 – I noticed a difference. I’m 7 months pregnant now and even with lack of sleep and a busy schedule my memory has never been this good in pregnancy before. So if you’re pregnant why not give it a try!

After doing some research on Omega 3’s I discovered:

Although we all know the great importance of taking folic acid before conception and during pregnancy, we are only now starting to understand the vital role that Omega 3’s play in healthy fetal development. Studies are showing that omega 3 EPA and especially DHA fatty acids (found in fish) are vital and essential to the development of a healthy baby and good nutrition in pregnancy. Studies say up to 85% of women are deficient in Omega 3’s due to our diets in North America.

Research is now showing that a daily supplement of 900mg of fish oil or a serving of salmon (or equivalent) is need on a daily basis in pregnancy. After speaking with my naturopath he recommended up to 3000mg a day for pregnant women.

Benefits for baby of sufficient Omega 3’s in Pregnancy are:

  • Brain Development
  • Good nervous system development
  • Better eyesight from retina formation

Benefits for mom include:

  • Less chance of developing pre-eclampsia
  • Protection against brain loss during pregnancy
  • Much lower risk of postpartum depression

70% of the newborn baby’s brain, retina and nervous system are made up of DHA and EPA. The baby gets all these important omega 3 fatty acids from mom – so it’s important that she’s getting enough in her daily diet in pregnancy!

Best sources of Omega 3 are sardines, halibut and mercury-free fish oils, tongol tuna and wild salmon.

Saying Good-Bye to Leg Cramps in Pregnancy – Perrier water my hero!

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Saying Good-Bye to Leg Cramps in Pregnancy – Perrier water my hero!

If you’ve ever been there you can relate its 3 am in the morning when you’re suddenly are awoken with the plaguing and agonizing pains of the lower calf muscle cramp. You try desperately to straighten your food, to not move, to not scream, to not cry and wake-up your beloved –but as the minutes tick by your super-hero tendencies wear off. First come the tears, then the second leg starts cramping and now you are yelping out in pain for help. When these final go away you are sometimes still left with what I’ve termed the ‘stiff leg’ syndrome the next day – a painful reminder of the night before –yet I know I hadn’t run a marathon – so why the stiffness? And the lingering fear that it might happen all over again tonight! So after many sleepless and agonizing cramps – I decided I needed to take charge and find a remedy. That’s how I discovered the wonders of Perrier water in reducing leg cramps. I found that by drinking about 500ml of Perrier Water a day my leg cramps were greatly reduced in both my first and second pregnancy and now in my third I’ve been more faithful in drinking it daily and have found that they are almost no-existent. Another thing I find helpful is making sure my calcium and magnesium levels are at a good level – if I find the Perrier water isn’t doing the trick I’ll take a calcium magnesium supplement for a few days and this seems to do the trick. As well as increasing calcium intake my diet (i.e. a glass of milk, cheese and crackers, an extra egg).

A Helpful BabyCenter Tip I found online:
Eat a banana or drink a glass of milk before going to bed for a quick potassium and calcium boost.

How to alleviate a leg cramp quickly:
Although it is painful try stretching the muscle straight away. Straighten your leg, then straighten your heel and gently flex your ankle and toes trying to keep it still. The pain should slowly go away. Massaging the muscle, walking on it or warming it up afterwards might help some women too.

After doing some research on Magnesium and Calcium I discovered:
Magnesium and Calcium help in alleviating leg cramps and spasms, here is some helpful and insightful information I found on Acu-Cell :
• One-sided leg cramps or spasms can help in determining what supplement to take left side typically indicates the need of extra Calcium, while the right side usually shows an indication that Magnesium is required. But taking a combination of Calcium and Magnesium is useful to help get relief when both are low. But if you find that a right-sided cramp is responding to calcium you may be dehydrated (some extra sodium or potassium may be required instead –here is where the Perrier Water becomes very helpful).

Research supporting the benefits of Perrier Water (sparkling water):
A study was published in the Journal of Nutrition; it was designed to discover the effects of sparkling and still mineral water in a group of women. The women were asked to drink a litre of either each day for two months, followed by two months again on the opposite water. During the study, they measured participant’s blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and other blood components. The group drinking the sparkling water showed a significant decrease in their level of LDL cholesterol (a risk factor for heart disease) and an increase in their levels HDL cholesterol (which typically helps reduce heart your risk of heart disease).

The Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy

Posted on by weecuddle
Red Raspberry

The Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy:

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of my pregnant friends talk about drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea in their pregnancies. I didn’t give it too much thought till I found myself pregnant with my second son and my mom handed me a bottle of Red Raspberry Leaf Extract Pills with the words “To Ease Labour” on it! Funny enough my cousin-in-law had been telling me all about how her sister-in-law and all her sisters swear by drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea during pregnancy and afterwards to help keep their uterus’s healthy and help reduce their risk of post-partum depression. I don’t know about you but anything that is offering to Ease Labour pain is worthy of my attention, so I figured I’d look into it more.

I learned that midwives and Chinese herbalists have been using this for a long time with good results.  It is actually one of the safest and most commonly taken herbs in pregnancy. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is known for its ability to tone the uterus, improve contractions and decrease constipation. Red Raspberry Leaf also contains many vitamins (including vitamin C), minerals and calcium. It has shown to decrease the length of labour and the need to have your water broken.

I figured anything promising these wonderful results was worth a try – so this time around I’m taking the capsules and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here are two ways to take Red Raspberry Leaf:

  1. As a Tea: Starting in your 3rd trimester you can drink 2- 3 cups per day of tea or you can start by drinking 1 – 2 cups per day if you feel comfortable starting in the 2nd trimester. It is best to speak with your midwife, naturopath or doctor before taking it.  Other women feel safest starting to drink the tea in their 36th week or pregnancy.
  2. Tablet – Take two 300mg or 400mg tablets with each meal (two – three times a day) from 32 weeks.

Further reading:

I recommend this wonderful and very informative article Red Raspberry Leaf by Jane Palmer a Midwife on various studies, the benefits and more.

ENGOREGMENT DAY ~ Help for the Battle

Posted on by weecuddle

Engorgement – Anyone who has ever had a baby knows all about Day Three or ENGOREGMENT DAY – you start the fatal count down after birth – dreading the hour in which you discover that yes you too have joined the league of engorged women.  You probably heard your mom, aunts or grandmother recall their stories of hot showers, sore boobs and well let’s be honest most of us started to sort of tune out right there or at least think poor them – is it really that bad? Well ladies it really is! But luckily these are some tips that can help you survive this day… that and the fact that you know it will end with in a 48 hour period.

After the birth of my first child I was given the advice of lowering my fluid intake on day three to help reduce the milk supply – oh my goodness was this the worst advice ever – not only did I go from an A to a DD – but I ended up with a migraine from dehydration and my dear husband went out to get me some Gatorade. So let’s start by saying fluid intake is very important in breastfeeding a good rule of thumb is that you need to drink whenever the baby does and more. My second time around I tried to be a survivor – and tried to follow the great advice ‘of not pumping because it will increase your supply’, after soaking in the tub, going up too many cup sizes and many tears later, I gave in- I googled and searched for a store still open and sent my husband out at 9pm to two towns away to get me a Medela pump – this turned out to be one of the best purchases of my life. Luckily I had been instructed by many girlfriends whom had previous breastfeeding issues on the need to purchase a good quality pump – they all recommend Medela – I have to agree! After wrestling with the pump (because the attachment – is not one size fits all ladies) – I pumped 2 bottles and had some relief – my son was also able to latch on, hooray for Medela and my supportive hubby! But this is only my story there is actually tested and true methods to assist in helping with ENGOREMENT DAY and I decided I’d list them below in the hopes that they might help some of you survive the battle:

Green Cabbage Leaves: Great tip I just found and plan to use this time around Green Cabbage Leaves (This worked to dry up my milk supply when I weaned my son so I’m sure it will be beneficial):

Basically take a green cabbage leaf and rip or cut it so that it wraps comfortably around your breast (put them directly into your bra). Leave the leaves on for 20 mins, two times a day.  Don’t leave them on longer as this can cause your milk supply to diminish too much. Discontinue use one your engorgement is beginning to diminish and you are starting to feel more comfortable.

Tylenol/Acetaminophen: Take as indicated on the bottle to help reduce pain.

Ice Packs: Some women find that Ice packs (or frozen peas) helpful in reducing the pain.

Hot Bath or Shower: I have always found a warm bath helpful in providing a bit of relief as well as causing a natural let down of milk.

Frequent Nursing: It’s important to feed your baby every 2-3 hours, try to ensure you have a good latch (if you are having difficulty get help asap –Dr. Newman offers amazing help and support).

Hot Packs and Massaging: Apply a hot pack or cloth before each feeding can help with circulation to make it easier for the baby to latch on. Massaging in a circular motion before and during feedings can be of great help.

Sweet Pregnancy Ticker

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Sweet Pregnancy Ticker for Email/Website

I found this amazing ticker you can use on your website or email footer to count down to babies arrival –  it tells you how far along you are, gives you new fun facts and changes the image regularly. It was too beautiful not too share!

You can make your own at today!


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