Have your baby’s ears pierced

There’s plenty of debate on the hows of getting your babies ears pierced, so it’s worth doing your research before you decide if you choose to have your little one’s ears pierced with a needle or a piercing gun. There is a lot of information out there, but a good place to start is by reading the Association of Professional Piercers position on the needle vs gun debate. There are many clean, reputable and reasonably priced options in the Durham area for whichever option you choose. It’s worthwhile visiting these locations in advance to get a feel for their staff, learn about how staff are trained, check out the cleanliness of the equipment and ask any important questions that you may have.

An infant has her ears pierced

The procedure is fast and most babies will only cry for a few minutes – similar to what you could expect at a vaccination appointment. A staff member will first sterilize your baby’s ears, and then a mark will be placed on the ear where the piercing will be made. You’ll be consulted at this point to ensure that you’re happy with the placement and symmetry of the piercings. Once you’re satisfied, it’ll be time to secure your little one to keep them safe. You’ll be asked to hold your little one’s head securely and their arms down for the procedure. The piercing itself is over very quickly. Some locations will even use two staff members to piece both ears at the same time. Make sure you ask at the beginning of your appointment so you know what to expect.

Recommended locations that use a piercing gun in Durham:

Caryl Baker Visage
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: The service is free with the purchase of a set of earrings which range from $45-79. You can expect to pay between $59-102 all up, including earrings, tip and tax.

Claires
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: Ear piercing is free with purchase of Claire’s Starter Kit, which includes a set of earrings and an aftercare solution. Starter Kits range from $48-73, depending on the style of earring that you choose. You can expect to pay between $62-95 for the starter kit, tip and tax.

Recommended location that uses a piercing needle in Durham:

Motor City Tattoo
Location: 640 King Street E, Oshawa
Cost: $40 for both lobes. This fee includes the cost of the initial jewelry, which is made from surgical stainless steel. Expect to pay around $52 in total for the service, including tax and tip.

A few tips for a smooth appointment:

  • Many moms apply a numbing ointment known as Emla cream before the appointment to reduce any pain. You can buy this online or at any local pharmacy for around $18 plus tax. This is best applied 40 minutes to an hour before your appointment.
  • Make an appointment when the location of your choice is likely to be least busy. Typically, weekday mornings are the best time to go when it’s quiet and staff aren’t busy.
  • Locations using the piercing gun will recommended starting with a 14 karat white or yellow gold earring, as this metal is the least likely to cause an infection using their method.
  • Some locations will require proof of your baby’s 2 month vaccination for the procedure. Either call ahead and ask or bring along your vaccination card as a precaution.
  • Infections can happen, so it’s important that you choose a location that has trained staff to perform the procedure. Your piercer should be able to answer any question you have about skin needles and cross contamination.

If you know of any other reputable locations that offer this service or have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Take advantage of the First Choice First Haircut Free promotion

I’m not sure when the ‘First Choice Haircutters First Haircut Free’ promotion began but it’s something that I learned about from a few local moms. I couldn’t find anything official on the First Choice website, so I knew I had to investigate to find out more. The official word from the company Facebook page says that this promotion varies by location, but after speaking with upwards of 10 salons in the Durham region they all had the same response: All First Choice locations offer this promotion. Wohoo!

A little boy having his haircut

If I’d known about this a few months ago I would have booked my little one in for a visit here. What’s on offer is similar to what you would get at Melonhead – A lock of your little one’s hair and a certificate, minus a printed photo of the occasion. This is a small consolation considering that you can save yourself upwards of $20 just by visiting any one of these First Choice Haircutters locations locally:

Ajax
65 Kingston Rd East (Harwood and Kingston)
15 Westney Rd North (Westney and Kingston)
105 Bayly St West (Bayly and Harwood)

Bowmanville
87 King St East (Liberty and King)

Pickering
1340 Kingston Rd (Liverpool and Kingston)
705 Kingston Rd (Kingston and Whites)

Oshawa
1051 Simcoe St North (Beatrice and Simcoe)
300 Taunton Rd (Riston and Taunton)
595 King St East (Wilson and King)
1445 Harmony Rd North (Taunton and Harmony)

Uxbridge
282 Toronto St (Cemetery and Toronto)

Whitby
3975 Garden St North (Taunton and Garden)
4091 Thickson Rd North (Taunton and Thickson)
617 Victoria St West (Gordon and Victoria)

Cost: While baby’s first haircut is free at First Choice Haircutters salons, I recommend tipping your hairdresser as if you were paying the full cost of a kid’s cut ($9.50 a visit).

 

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Enjoy a free coffee at Mom’s Morning Out

Finding inexpensive ways to get out of the house can require some creativity, especially if you find yourself with a little one that is learning to walk in the middle of winter. Mom’s Morning Out is a meetup group organized by moms, for moms, to make new friends and find support in each other.

Mom's Morning Out is a meetup for moms at the Whitby Free Methodist Church

This group regularly hosts guest speakers and organizes special events which range from baby wearing demonstrations to Halloween costume parties. Best of all, coffee and tea are provided at no cost while your little one has room to explore. This event is perfect for moms with more than one child – preschoolers are also encouraged to attend!

Mom’s Morning Out is held every Wednesday morning from 10-11.30am at the Whitby Free Methodist Church (1916 Rossland Street East, Whitby).

Cost: There is no cost to join Mom’s Morning Out however, moms are encouraged to bring a long a nut-free snack to share.

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Join a free breastfeeding support group in Oshawa

Breastfeeding Buddies is a support group for all mothers in Oshawa interested in breastfeeding. The great thing about these type of groups is that they’re not always for moms seeking support, per se. These type of groups are also a great way to meet other moms living in your area who are likely to have something in common with you! All conversation is guided by a trained group facilitator to make sure that the group is a judgement-free zone for any of the questions you ask or experiences you share. Breastfeeding support groups are all about encouraging group members to share their nursing experiences so that everyone can learn from each other.

A poster for the Breastfeeding Buddies Oshawa Support Group

The Breastfeeding Buddies group offers peer support for mothers, children and other family members. The group is held every Friday morning, from 9:30-11:30am in Program Room 1B at the Oshawa Community Health Centre (115 Grassmere Avenue, Oshawa). Refreshments are provided and a Public Health Nurse is also available to help with any concerns.

Cost: There is no cost to attend this drop-in group.

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Save on brand name baby shoes at the Whitby SoftMoc Outlet

A view of the kids and baby section at the Soft Moc Outlet in Whitby

A view of the kids and baby section at the SoftMoc Outlet in Whitby

One of the perks of living is Durham is that we have access to the SoftMoc Outlet in Whitby. At this outlet, you can find brand name baby shoes for a fraction of their full price. If you make the trip to this location, you’ll find that the baby shoe selection is comparable in size to what you might find at other retailers like Joe Fresh, Carters and Old Navy. Like any outlet, the range here can be very hit and miss with styles so, it’s a good idea to check back often you’re after brands like Robeez, Stride Rite, Crocs and Bogs.

The location of the store is ideal as it’s tucked away from a busy shopping complex and has lots of parking. If you plan on taking your little one with you, I would avoid taking a stroller. There are some pretty narrow spots inside and with the wrong swing of a stroller, you’d be knocking shoe boxes over. Bring the carrier instead. Here are the details if you’re up for a visit:

SoftMoc Outlet Whitby
1400 Hopkins Street South, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 2C3
Phone: (905) 665-8119 ext. 236
Open: Mon. to Fri. 8 am – 6 pm; Sat. 9 am – 5 pm; Sun. 11 am – 4 pm
Payment Method: Visa, Mastercard, Direct Payment, Cash.

Cost: Baby shoes sold here range from $15-35.

Get free advice from a sleep consultant

I had no idea sleep would become so important until I had my baby. Boy, does it make the difference between a good day and a bad one for baby and myself included! Every baby will sleep differently, and their sleep patterns will change as they develop and mature. Baby’s sleep patterns can often set the tone for your day – if you have a baby that will only sleep in their stroller, expect to spend a lot of time outdoors. For the baby that likes brief but frequent naps, it may mean short naps for mom to maintain her energy too.

Good Night Sleep Site for Durham hosts an online sleep clinic every Wednesday from 1-2pm EST on their Facebook page wall

If you have concerns about the way your baby is sleeping, or if you find that these sleeping patterns hold your family back from a good night’s rest, a sleep consultant is an effective resource at your disposal. Every Wednesday afternoon from 1-2pm EST, Erin Oliveira, a Certified Sleep Consultant based in Durham, hosts a Sleep Clinic through her Facebook page. Parents are able to ask their questions relating to baby and toddler sleep on the Facebook wall and Erin responds in real time. If you don’t feel like sharing, there are lots of parents that are sharing their baby sleep struggles that you can read about and learn from. Best of all, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to access this wonderful resource!

Cost: The weekly Facebook Sleep Clinic is free to join and there is no cost associated with asking questions. If you would like a more in depth consultation for your sleep concerns, consultation packages listed on the Good Night Sleep Site website range from $150-385 for first time clients.

Watch and learn about the animals at a pet store

I’ve found that this activity is perfect for those days when restlessness hits and even baby can sense that you’re going stir crazy at home. Visiting a local pet store with small animals, reptiles or fish is a great way to visually engage baby if you’ve ever noticed them take an interest in animals. Best of all, it’s a free outing, and there are numerous places to do this in Durham!

A boy watches birds at a pet store

There are pet stores all throughout Durham, so finding one close to home should be easy. Petsmart is a pet store chain that has stores throughout the Durham region. At various stores they have sections with fish, reptiles, cats and small animals for your little one to see.

Cost: While the opportunity to watch the animals at the pet store is free, consider donating to a pet charity while you’re in store to support animals in need. You can do this by donating cash at donation boxes at select stores or asking a store associate to add any amount to your purchase at the register.