Growing Up Baby Podcast

Hayley Zimak is the host and creator of Growing Up: Baby, a podcast designed with new parents in mind. When you have more questions than answers, tune in for in-depth conversations and shared stories of triumph and loss.

Hear firsthand accounts from those struggling to breastfeed, to sleep, to connect with their baby. Enjoy heartwarming stories of adoption, community, and the unexpected — like having twins… twice!

Hayley is a proud mom-of-one, journalist, and Product Editor for ParentsCanada. If you have a topic idea or guest, please get in touch: [email protected]

Podcast "Listen to Me": Breaking the Silence around Traumatic Birth Experiences

1 in 3 women who give birth will experience birth trauma, according to Healthline. A 2019 study asked how traumatic experiences could have been prevented. Frequent responses included feeling a loss of control, fearing for their babies life, high levels of pain, lack of communication about what was happening — and imploring health care professionals to “listen to me.” For one mother still suffering the effects of a traumatic birth experience, moving forward has been difficult. She desperately wants to become pregnant again — and believes her bungled delivery and subsequent lack of care has led to irreversible damage. 

~ anonymous mother, birth trauma experience. 

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Podcast "Listen to Me": Breaking the Silence around Traumatic Birth Experiences

1 in 3 women who give birth will experience birth trauma, according to Healthline. A 2019 study asked how traumatic experiences could have been prevented. Frequent responses included feeling a loss of control, fearing for their babies life, high levels of pain, lack of communication about what was happening — and imploring health care professionals to “listen to me.” For one mother still suffering the effects of a traumatic birth experience, moving forward has been difficult. She desperately wants to become pregnant again — and believes her bungled delivery and subsequent lack of care has led to irreversible damage. 

~ anonymous mother, birth trauma experience. 

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Podcast Her Mother's Daughter: Preparing for Twins

“When a woman’s pregnant, she’s much more connected to the spiritual world, because those babies aren’t quite here yet.”  Tabitha Curley’s twin boys will soon enter this world, much to the excitement of their big brother Mason. Tabitha is an intergenerational survivor from Six Nations, part of the Onondaga Nation Beaver Clan. Several of her family members were forced into residential schools, which drives her work at the Survivor’s Secretariat. She shares how she protects herself — and her unborn children — from this heavy undertaking.

~ Tabitha Curley, soon-to-be mom of three.

Learn more about The Survivor's Secretariat.

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Podcast Reflections of a Doula

“Nothing prepares you for the exhaustion and joy of bringing a beautiful life into the world.” An experienced doula — and mom of six — shares learnings from decades of trials and tribulations. Katia Maxwell advocates for informed decision making and encourages new moms to lean into and trust their instincts. She says that while every birth she attends is different, there are two commonalities that unite us all: pain and love.

Katia Maxwell, doula, child birth educator, mom of six. 

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Podcast 2 Year Milestones: What To Expect

How quickly they grow from curious crawlers to tearing-up-the-house toddlers. Between the age of 18-24 months, expect rapid brain growth and development leading to complex emotions, newfound independence and accelerated language and motor skills. This episode focuses on the importance of positive stimuli, key markers, and begs the question: are the terrible twos really that terrible?

~ Dr. Eugene Ng, newborn and developmental paediatrics, Toronto. 

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Podcast Potty Training: Are You Both Ready?

It’s an expense that most parents can’t wait to do without: the cost of diapers. Of course, potty training is also a significant milestone for your little — and you too. Before embarking on this diaper-free journey, consider having a solid plan in place and asking yourself two key questions to determine readiness. In this episode, potty training consultant Lily Horbatiuk shares tips and tricks to a successful transition. 

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Podcast Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa: Leading with Purpose

Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa leads a life of purpose. Heavily pregnant with her second child, Chika continues to write her memoir, advocate for the marginalized and work to end systemic racism in healthcare. In this episode, she shares how becoming a mother allows her to more deeply connect and empathize with her patients. Despite her professional successes, of which there are many, she puts happiness above all else — and wishes the same for her children. 

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Podcast Parenting 101: Ask the Internet

Our Internet searches say a lot about us! This episode breaks down the top 5 online searches for the first half of 2023. From ‘lightning crotch’ (if you know, you know), to creepy crawlers in unmentionable places, the data is clear: parents are overwhelmed and looking for answers. Share a few laughs as we unpack and analyze what’s on Canadian parents’ minds.
~ Colleen Fisher Tully, freelance content writer & editor.

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Podcast How to Handle your Toddler's Separation Anxiety

It’s a gut wrenching feeling: Your toddler clinging to you while screaming and/or crying those big, real tears. If you’re struggling with dropping your little off at daycare, the babysitter, or with a loved one, you are not alone. In fact, separation anxiety is usually healthy and normal, and often shows a deep bond between parent and child. Explore attachment theory, and how a secure or insecure relationship may exacerbate these strong emotions. 

~ Mirra Wicker, licensed clinical social worker, founder of Ohana Therapy. Host of the Connected Beginnings Facebook page. 

Bonus Episode: Listen to Part 2 now!

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Podcast Guided Exercise: Handling Separation Anxiety

In this bonus episode, Mirra Wicker walks me through a typical morning, before the dreaded daycare drop off. She shares coping mechanisms and strategies for alleviating some of the separation tension — because your child is likely sensing your anxiety, despite your best efforts to appear calm, cool, or collected. 

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Podcast Naming Baby: How to Choose

It's a big responsibility, naming that brand new tiny human! To choose the name they will carry for life, without even knowing who they are yet. Do you go for trendy, vintage, classic or quirky? Maybe there’s a family name you have to incorporate — but it’s dated, gendered, or downright unpalatable — what can you do?

Steph Coffield is a mom-of-three turned content creator and name consultant. She uses her imagination, creativity, and even historical data to help parents find the perfect name for their little one.


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Podcast Beyond Exhausted: 18 Month Sleep Regression

Will you ever sleep again? Short answer: yes. When sleep is out of reach, thanks to miserable bedtimes, wakeful nights and early mornings, it can feel like a never ending cycle. While completely developmentally normal, the 18-month sleep regression is considered to be the toughest of the baby and toddler regressions. Rest easy, there are ways to manage — and survive — this trying time.

~ Bridget Jensen, consultant, Better Bedtime.

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Podcast Behind The Lens with Vassy Kapelos

Vassy Kapelos is a well known and respected Canadian journalist. While her on-air persona never wavered during her pregnancy, it was a different story behind the scenes. Vassy suffered from Hyperemesis, a debilitating and persistent disorder that gravely impacted her mental and physical well being. When her son was born, the symptoms disappeared — leading to her own feelings of rebirth. 

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Podcast “Motherhood Is Funny” — with 'Shawna the Mom'

You know those absurd ‘mom moments’ that leave you shaking your head? Shawna Lander perfectly captures the good, the bad — and the funny — as her character, ‘Shawna the Mom.’ Beneath the humour is a loving mom of two, journeying back to herself after surviving breast cancer, with gratitude and a fresh perspective.

~ Shawna Lander, creator, actor, writer. 

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Podcast Adoption Story: Robyn & Daniel

“Daniel isn't our adopted son. He's our son. Period.” Robyn and Mike adopted Daniel in 2011 after years of infertility, pregnancy loss, and heartache. They had just 10 days from when they were first told he existed until the day he came home for good. By fostering open communication, Robyn and Mike have created a safe space for Daniel to ask as many questions as he likes — which will be answered in due time.   

~ Robyn Brady, mom of two: Daniel and Molly.
~ Daniel Regnier, Robyn's son. 

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Podcast Moms and Money: Preparing for Baby and Beyond

Do you know the cost of raising a child in Canada? It may be higher than you think, which is why it’s so important to start planning. Learn budgeting, saving, and investing tips and explore what government benefits you may be eligible for. It’s never too early — or too late — to establish good spending habits to help secure your child’s financial future.

~ Sara Cook, Investment Advisor, Cook and Associate, BMO Nesbitt Burns. 

This episode is brought to you by Cook and Associates BMO Nesbitt Burns. Proudly supporting families and businesses through SouthWestern Ontario. When it comes to managing your wealth, we can help you navigate whatever comes your way.

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Podcast Your Body, Your Choice: Delivery & Feeding

Navigating pre and postnatal care can be overwhelming for many first time moms. There are certain expectations that women face, including how to give birth and how to feed their child. Heading into her first pregnancy, Jessica was clear on her choices: she wanted a cesarean on maternal request — and wasn’t planning to breastfeed.

~ Jessica Pratezina, PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies (Child and Youth Care and Sociology), University of Victoria, first time mom. 

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Podcast Meghan's Hope: A Mother's Loss

Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Kimberly Amato turned her grief into action following the tragic and preventable death of her daughter Meghan. Her advocacy work — and tribute site  — has informed, educated, and paved the way for higher safety standards for dressers and other clothing storage furniture.

~ Kimberly Amato, Vice Chair, Parents Against Tip-Overs.

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Podcast Mom Guilt (If You Know, You Know)

If you’re struggling with the so-called “Mom Guilt” this episode is for you. There’s no ‘perfect parent’ who gets everything right all the time, despite what we see on social media. By adjusting our thought patterns and responses, we can learn to manage the little things — so we can appreciate the big picture moments.

~ Doctor Tanya Cotler, adult and child clinical psychologist, Toronto. 

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Podcast Mom Exec: Balancing Work & Family

The stress of motherhood is real. Burnout exists. The juggling act can feel overwhelming. By recognizing the signs of fatigue, we can work toward the holy grail: balancing your kid(s) and your career. From setting firm boundaries and showing ourselves grace — to drilling down to what’s really important — it's time to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. 

~ Leigh Duncan, mom of three and executive director of public affairs and communications, Ontario-based hospital.
~ Madison Cox, mom of two and director and chief of staff, Ontario-based University. 

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Podcast Daylight Saving Time: Preparing Your Sleep Schedule

It can be so difficult to establish a nap or bedtime routine with your little one. And it’s so frustrating when something happens to throw that schedule off. With Daylight Saving Time quickly approaching on Saturday, here are some tips on how to adjust and (hopefully) get back to normal — whatever your normal is!

~ Bridget Jensen, sleep consultant, Better Bedtime 

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Podcast One Year Milestones

If you’ve reached that one year anniversary — congratulations! If you’re not quite there yet, here’s a sneak peek at what to expect in terms of physical, cognitive, social, and communication/language milestones. There’s also newfound independence, lots of ‘testing’ — and innate and insatiable curiosity. Get ready for this exciting new chapter. 

~ Dr. Eugene Ng, newborn and developmental paediatrics, Toronto. 

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Podcast New Mom at 41

Becoming a new mom is daunting enough — not only are you preparing for a massive lifestyle change, your mental and physical health is about to transform too. Embarking on this journey at an advanced age comes with its own set of challenges, including the possibility of increased complications and societal stigma. Luckily, later-in-life pregnancies have become the norm.

~ Candace Cobbing, TV producer, soon-to-be new Mom.

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Podcast What is... The Fourth Trimester?

Are you home from the hospital, new baby in bassinet, and still feel a bit confused by it all? Not to worry — those blurry, hazy days are completely normal, and even have a name. The first 12 weeks after giving birth is referred to as the ‘fourth trimester.’ Not only is your new baby going through changes, you are too! Your body is adjusting: organs are shifting back into place, milk is being produced, and hormones are working to regulate. So, give yourself the time, space, and grace to heal and adjust as you find your way.

~ Marygrace Taylor, freelance journalist, Women’s Health, O Magazine, The Bump, What To Expect, among others. Also the co-author of three books. 

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Podcast Alyson Schafer: Parenting Matters

“Most parents are doing just fine. It’s sloppy and messy, and you’re going to get upset. Some days are harder than others; if that’s the best you had today, it was good enough.” One of Canada’s leading parenting experts talks behavioural patterns, corrective strategies, and setting boundaries in a kind and loving way. It’s never too early to figure out what kind of parent you want — or need — to be!

~ Alyson Schafer, family counselor, parenting expert, author and international public speaker.  

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Podcast Are You Ready For Childcare?

Whether your baby is two months old, or a year-and-a-half, embarking on the childcare journey can be overwhelming. There are a number of important decisions to make, like when and where, but you’re also preparing yourself (and them) for this massive change. A mom and freelance journalist shares advice and learnings from her own experience.

~ Jenn Sinrich, freelance journalist and content strategist who writes for a myriad of publications including, Well+Good, Oxygen Magazine, Women's Health, SELF and more. She is also the proud mom of a 3-year-old, Mila and a baby boy due in November.

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Podcast Got Milk? You Could Save Lives

Got Milk? If you find yourself with an oversupply of breast milk, The Rogers Hixon Ontario Milk Bank may be a viable option for you. This passion project was started nearly two decades ago and is still the only milk bank in Ontario to collect, pasteurize and provide donated breast milk to hospitalized babies.

~ Sarah Petrick, beneficiary, mom of premature twin boys.
~ Debbie Stone, director, The Rogers Hixon Ontario Milk Bank. 

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Podcast Gendered Parenting: Mom & Dad

Do you and your partner adhere to traditional gender roles? If so, what impact does that have on your parenting style — and your relationship? If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out by societal pressures and expectations, you’re not alone! Unpack the invisible ties that bind, and discover how you and your family can work toward meaningful change.

~ Jessica Pratezina, MA, PhD student, child and youth care, Sociology, University of Victoria.
Listen to It's About Time: How Moms and Dads Can Share the Care here

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Podcast Lauren Davis Shirakawa: A Cautionary Tale

Like so many new moms, 24-year-old Lauren Davis struggled to breastfeed her infant  son. She was prescribed domperidone, which is often used off-label to induce lactation. When she tragically died in her sleep, her parents suspected a link between her death and the medication. Seven years later, they graciously share Lauren’s story so other women may proceed with caution.

~ Erin Davis and Rob Whitehead, Lauren’s parents 

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Podcast Season One in 2 Minutes

Thanks for listening! Here's what you heard during Season 1 (and, what you didn't hear). Until next time...

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Podcast It Takes a Village

Community building (or finding) is so important during this exciting yet challenging time. How connecting with like minded people benefits your mental, emotional and physical well-being. And, veteran parents share words of wisdom for new moms and dads.  

  • Gillian Kuriyan, director of Mommy Connections, Midtown Toronto.
  • Hayley, new mom, teacher & program facilitator.
  • Special thanks to: Sara, Rosie, Daryl, Josh, Alana, Paul, Harmony, Catherine. 

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Podcast Feeling Good: Back to You

Going through pregnancy and delivery is a lot. It's tough on your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Forget the number on the scale or fitting into your pre-baby jeans. This episode focuses on building strength and confidence, so you can feel good, wherever you're at. 

  • Jessica Sennet, certified personal trainer CPT and Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Specialist. Founder and CEO of Mighty Mom.

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Podcast Babyproofing: Safety First

Are your stairs gated? Is your furniture anchored? Are sharp objects within reach? There’s so much to consider when babyproofing your home and surroundings. Prevention truly is at the heart of child safety; learn what steps you can take to ensure peace of mind. 

  • Lucy, mom of two, shares a traumatic story involving a buggy (stroller).
  • Nancy Reynolds, owner, BabySecure & Advanced Certified Professional Childproofer.
  • David Drutz, owner, Kiddie Proofers

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Podcast Making Music with Baby

Music truly is the universal language; connecting all ages, backgrounds and cultures. Making music with your little one is fun and engaging, but did you know it’s also educational? Learn how the components of sound act as early building blocks of language and communication. Making Music Together’s Risa Waldman shares her emotional adoption journey with music — and a baby girl — at its heart.

*PROMO* Use promo code BABYPODCAST to receive $20.00 off a summer OR fall Making Music Together session! Click here for more information. 

  • Risa Waldman, director, Making Music Together 
  • Katie, 10 year old daughter of Risa
  • Natalie, mom, 10 month old son

Music © 1987-2022 Music Together LLC used by permission. All Rights Reserved.

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Podcast Bedtime Stories

These short sleep stories are for you, tired parent. A reminder that if you’re exhausted and don’t have bed or naptime figured out, you’re not alone. Three Moms and a Dad share their challenges — from restless sleepers and regressions — to trial and error successes. A sleep consultant explains what’s behind those 2 a.m. wake up calls. 

  • Liz, Mom of 18 month old 
  • Rich, Dad of 4 month old 
  • Bex, Mom of 16 month old 
  • Kelsey, Mom of two; 10.5 month old and 4 year old 
  • Bridget Jensen, sleep consultant, Better Bedtime. Bridget also appeared in episode 3, Sleep like a baby.

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Podcast Swimming with Baby

“Accidents happen quickly. Water can be fun, but we need to be safe in and around it.”
From bathtubs and pools to natural bodies of water, this episode focuses on building water confidence, safely. Learn the basic safety precautions that save lives, and how to get your little one comfortable in water (you can help!) It’s never too early — or too late — to make a splash.

  • Carolyn, mom of two, Parent & Tot: Love to Bubble swimming lessons. 
  • Davina Lopez, owner, Davina’s Swim House. 
  • Avi Kerbel, mom of three, used First Aid on her infant son. 

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Podcast Mom of Multiples x2

Ever wonder what it’s like to have twins? Or… what the odds are of having TWO sets? Mom of four Molly Malone is a self-made twin expert: from myth busting and learned experience, to words of advice and what not to say to a mom of multiples.  And — Dr. Ng sheds light on the statistics around multiples, and shares his own thoughts on being a twin Dad. 

  • Molly Malone, mom of two sets of twin boys.
  • Dr. Eugene Ng, newborn and developmental paediatrics, Toronto.  

Dr. Ng is featured in episode 11, Paediatrician 101: Need to Know.

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Podcast The (Hard) Truth about Breastfeeding

The benefits of breastfeeding are well documented, but that doesn’t mean the experience is without challenge — an LC shares advice and reassurance. Unpack the ‘Breast is Best’ narrative and understand the impetus behind the ‘Fed is Best’ movement. 

You can listen to Tracey’s story here. Her difficult breastfeeding journey led to a diagnosis of Postpartum Depression and a rock bottom moment involving her newborn son. 

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Podcast Flying with Baby

Planning a trip but feeling anxious about air travel with your little one? That's understandable — but it’s totally manageable with preparation, patience, and a positive attitude. Tune in for tips and tricks on airline allowances, seating options, and on-board essentials.  

  • Yashy Murphy, digital creator and travel writer; curator of
  • Ben, new dad. 

Growing Up: Baby is listed by Feedspot as one of the 80 Best Mom podcasts. 

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Podcast Paediatrician 101: Need to Know

Ever wonder what your newborn sees, how baby’s brain grows, or the effect of positive vs. negative stimuli? A doctor specializing in newborn and development paediatrics walks us through key milestones. And — a general paediatrician covers the most common questions and concerns new parents face. Hint: Sleep and breathing top the list. 

  • Dr. Eugene Ng, newborn and developmental paediatrics, Toronto. 
  • Dr. Nicole Radziminski, general paediatrician, Yellowknife NWT.

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Podcast Picture Perfect: Newborn Photos

Don’t be deterred if your photography skills aren’t quite up to scratch. The perfect picture is one that makes you smile — so take it! Learn the do's and don'ts of newborn photography so you can capture those precious moments from the comfort of your own home. 

  • Nina Polidoro, Nina Polidoro Photography, St. Marys Ontario. 

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Podcast Coping with PURPLE Crying (Colic)

“It’s going to happen. It’s a normal part of infant development; it’s neither the fault of the parent or caregiver, or the baby.” Your baby’s incessant crying is difficult to endure, and it’s important to remember that the period of PURPLE Crying has a beginning — and an end. Utilize five coping and soothing components that can help prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma. Learn more at

  • Kat Jacobs, MSc, Injury Prevention Specialist, Victoria Hospital, Trauma Program, London Health Sciences Centre.

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Podcast Starting Solids: When & How

Preparing to enter the world of solids, but don’t know where to start? Learn to read baby’s cues, when they’re ready, and what to start with (and avoid). From Baby Led Weaning to introducing the 10 most common allergens, a registered dietician shares tips and advice. And, we hear from a mom whose daughter is now climbing the ‘egg ladder’ in hopes of overcoming her allergy.

  • Andrea Carpenter, registered dietitian, founder of NutriKidz.
  • Sara, mom of two. 

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Podcast Best Life Baby

Introduce your little one to hydrotherapy and massage — treatments that can help improve circulation, muscle tone and digestion. Touch and body awareness are so important; learn simple techniques like ‘milking’,  ‘wringing’ and the ‘ILU’ massage.  And, Best Life Mom is important too: don’t forget to take care of you. 

  • Saleha Rajab, registered massage therapist, Snuggles n Bubbles Baby Spa & Wellness. 
  • Jimmy Cho, registered kinesiologist.

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Podcast Preparing Your Fur Baby

As a new parent, you may know what to expect, but a brand new baby can come as quite the shock to your four-legged family member. Prepare your dog or cat using positive reinforcement and techniques utilizing sound or smell. Keep an eye on body language and other signs of distress so the integration process can go as safely as possible. 

  • Beverley McKee, program manager, public training services and care support, Toronto Humane Society.
  • Krystina, mom of newborn, dog owner. 

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Podcast Mindful: Tracey's Story (P2)

This Mom-to-be had everything one could hope for leading up to the birth of her first-born: a stable relationship, a thriving career, a beautiful home. So when postpartum depression struck out of nowhere — it struck hard. The inability and pressure to breastfeed, combined with lack of sleep, led to a downward spiral that culminated in a rock bottom moment. 

  • Tracey, mom of two.

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Podcast Mindful: Intrusive Thoughts and PPD (P1)

A new baby brings about a host of new feelings, for better or for worse. It’s not uncommon for a heightened sense of caution to lead to some pretty unsettling thoughts, imagery or compulsions. Know the difference between mama bear mode, baby blues, and the signs of a mood disorder. Your mind matters — don’t be afraid to seek advice, help, or treatment.

  • Hiltrud Dawson, retired health promotion consultant, Best Start Resource Centre.
  • Dr. Lucy Barker, psychiatrist, Women’s College Hospital.

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Podcast Sleep Like A Baby

What is sleep training; how does it work and when should you begin? How to navigate the dreaded, yet misunderstood, sleep regression. And, one third of bone tired Canadian parents report sleeping with baby in bed. This episode covers safe sleep, bed sharing, and mitigating risk.

  • Bridget Jensen, sleep consultant, Better Bedtime.
  • Sarah, mom of two.
  • Dr. April Kam, associate professor and director of research in the department of pediatrics, division of emergency medicine at McMaster University.

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Podcast Saving Baby: “It happened on a Tuesday.”

If your baby started choking right now, would you know what to do? Airway obstructions are the most common emergencies in infants and young children. Get a refresher on the First Aid basics with a certified trainer. And, one mum shares her harrowing story; she almost lost her youngest son to an everyday item. 

  • Chris Riley, lead instructor, SAJE Vital Signs.
  • Claire, mom of three. 

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Podcast All Day with Baby: Time Well Spent

Have you ever looked down at your new bundle of joy and thought: “what in the world am I supposed to do with you all day?” There are many cost effective (free!) ways to stimulate crucial brain development, and it can be as simple as running errands. Want to make sure baby’s milestones are on track? The LookSee Checklist is the perfect place to start.

  • Amanda Young, registered ECE, EarlyON program coordinator.
  • Tiffany, mom of newborn. 

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Podcast Growing Up: Baby (Trailer)

Growing Up: Baby — new episodes posted weekly!