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.

Connect with a passionate meetup community for Pickering moms

There’s nothing quite like motherhood to bring strangers together! I always considered myself social, but never enough to join a meetup group of strangers. That was, until I had a baby in winter and felt lonely all day inside my house. As soon as any new mom discovers how much of a difference meeting other moms can make, it’s very easy to develop a passion for connecting women on mat leave and beyond.

Mamalicious Mamas is a group that plans events for Mamas-to-Be, Mamas, infants and toddlers.

Mamalicious Mamas is a group of such women who created a not-for-profit social network to provide moms within their community access to peer support and inexpensive events. They host meetups in Pickering that range from playtime groups, trips to the zoo and frozen yogurt dates. With such engaged community managers, it’s well worth checking out for any Pickering mom.

 

pic via facebook.com

Leave the house for playtime at The Clubhouse Uxbridge

After two long days of Christmas celebrations spent indoors with family, I’m feeling more relaxed than usual. I always thought that holidays could be stressful with a baby, but I’ve found it quite the opposite. Friends and family loved playing with baby, giving me time to do special things like; eat with cutlery, drink a hot cup of coffee and take a long shower. The past few days have been quite the treat!

The baby area at The Clubhouse Uxbridge

The baby area at The Clubhouse Uxbridge

From now until New Years Eve, I’ll be on my own in keeping my little one entertained indoors. To help ease with the transition back into our usual routine, an indoor play place seems like the best place to start for interaction with other babies and moms in the area.

One of the indoor play spaces in Durham that will be open between now and New Years Eve is The Clubhouse Uxbridge. Their place centre will be open from 9am-12pm today, December 27th, and various other times in the next few days right up to (and including) New Years Eve day.

Cost: Babies 12 months and under are $3.50 each. Parents visit free.

 

pic via facebook.com

Take a break from shopping in the nursery room at Sears

Trips to the mall are never just something to do when it’s quiet on Sunday anymore. Now they’re a full blown expedition, complete with planning for diapering, feeding supplies and pit-stops for both mom and baby. I’ll be the first to admit it – In the first few months when my body was changing and I needed new jeans, I put it off for at least six weekends in a row. The thought of being stuck in a mall for hours looking for jeans was enough to keep me in leggings for longer than I wanted.

Nursery Room Sears Oshawa

The Nursery Room in Sears at The Oshawa Centre

In my most recent trip out for baby clothes, I discovered that Sears has nursing rooms for their customers. Add it to the list of things I never noticed until I had a babyNo matter whether you breastfeed or formula feed, knowing that there is a nursing room is available is a piece of mind that you can have some quiet time out with your baby if they’re feeling overwhelmed, want some comfort or a quiet space to feed. The space is large enough to take your full size stroller in with you and comes equipped with change tables and a comfortable nursing chair and footstool. It’s tidy and quiet, which is ideal for little ones that aren’t used to the noise when feeding in a busier area.

Nursing rooms are available on the second floor at the Sears department store in the Oshawa Centre (419 King Street West, Oshawa) and also on the lower level at the Sears in the Pickering Town Centre (1355 Kingston Road, Pickering).

Cost: The nursing room is free of charge.

What to do with baby’s old clothes: VarageSale.com

What it is: VarageSale.com is an online an online marketplace similar to Kijiji.ca and Craigslist with more of a community feel. It has the trustworthy elements that you’d expect to find in an eBay listing (i.e. seller reviews and profiles) and social elements of what you’d expect to find in a Facebook buy and sell group (strict rules on group/posting behaviour, moderation and the ability to start discussions with members).

How it works: All users (both buyers and sellers) must use their Facebook account to use the service. Once you have logged in and set your location, a list of Buy/Sell groups are displayed, and you can choose which areas nearby you would like to sell to. An organizer within this group will then review your request to join the group. Once you’re approved, you’ll see that listings are posted in a timeline much like you would see on Facebook. Users can rate each other based on how each person follows through on a sale, and these ratings are made public for other group members to view. Buyers are able to like and watch listings depending on their interest in an item, and these Like and Watch numbers will be shown publicly within the group. As a seller, your profile will have a summary displaying all items that you are currently selling. Buyers also have the ability to follow your profile to keep updated for future items that you list for sale.

Listing your items on VarageSale takes only three easy steps

Listing your items for sale with VarageSale couldn’t be easier with only three steps in this form

Pros: More personalized and secure than options like Kijiji.ca and Craigslist. This site comes with a set of rules for each community, similar to that of a Facebook buy and sell group. It’s a step up in terms of navigation compared to that of a Facebook buy/sell group, so in theory you’ll get more eyes on your items this way. This app or website (depending on how you use Varagesale) will walk you through every step of listing your items, making it easy to get over any feelings of procrastination when it comes to selling your stuff.

Cons: It’s yet another social media site to join / or app to download. It does a lot of the same things that a Facebook buy/sell group does with the exception of having a better browse and search function.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. The mechanics of this community encourages buyers to interact with you more if they like the type of items that you sell. Listing your items is fast so you won’t lose too much time and you get control over pricing your items.

Cost: There are no costs involved with using VarageSale.com.

Helpful tips for attending your first mommy meetup

Mom walks on a footpath with a child in the stroller

To help ease any worries you may have before joining your first meetup, here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  • Find out where the group is meeting in the location that’s listed. e.g. If the meetup is at a playground, where in the playground will all the moms be?
  • Check out the profiles of the other moms that have RSVP’d to the event that you’re attending. Usually moms will include information here about the age of their babies and what they are looking to get out of the group. This is a nice icebreaker for when you arrive and you’re looking for a way to start a conversation.
  • Bring supplies. Having sunscreen or wipes on hand when another mom has been in need has helped me start conversations when I was feeling shy.
  • Take along a carrier or lightweight stroller. Unless you’re part of a mommy stroller group, having lightweight equipment to navigate a new space will help you to focus on spending time with other moms rather than worrying that your stroller is blocking someone’s way.
  • Check in first with the person who organized the event when you arrive. Let them know you’re there and that it’s your first meetup. Meetup organizers are usually passionate about helping other moms get out of the house and will be more than happy to introduce you to others within the group.
  • Give it a chance. Some weeks I went to meetups and I was zombie tired (barely functioning or talking) and other weeks I was buzzing from having such a good day with baby. The same goes for all the other moms there. Give them a chance before you decide if a certain meetup isn’t for you.
  • Lower your expectations. If you expect to come out of one meetup event with a playdate partner you may be disappointed. Focus on using this as an opportunity to get out of the house and be proud when you do it! It’s not easy to get out of the house like we used to when we have baby in tow.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to get started and what to expect, you’re ready to take the plunge!

 

pic via pgeveryday.com