OCEA Newsletter

Dec. 5, 2023, 12:12 a.m.

As we wrote this newsletter the freezing rain and snow were bucketing down and we had our first snow day of the season.
Winter holidays are a time of joy for many families, but we also recognize the challenges of balancing postpartum life and family visits.
You may have a house full of guests, or you might be travelling long distances. 
Newborns are not used to being passed around during large gatherings and meeting lots of new faces can be overstimulating. 
Here are a few things you may want to consider when planning your holiday activities:
- Communicate your boundaries by explaining what you're comfortable with when it comes to your baby. With COVID-19 and other viruses circulating in the community, you may want to restrict gatherings or limit the number of people holding your baby. You can give a heads-up to family members that you may need to cancel plans if anyone comes down with symptoms. Remember that masking, proper ventilation/HEPA filters and hand washing before holding the baby can help to reduce the risk of infant infections.

- Some people find milk production declines when they are travelling or dealing with busy holiday activities and gatherings. The baby may also fuss at the breast when the milk flow is slower than normal. Taking quiet time and having ample skin-to-skin contact can help bring production back to normal.

- To be able to focus on your newborn, consider asking family or friends for help while they're visiting. Have your guests bring the meal, and keep a list of tasks that need doing if anyone offers help. Things like washing and sterilizing bottles, keeping the fridge stocked with groceries, or pitching in with laundry can help to significantly reduce your stress and allow you to focus on caring for your newborn.

- Some families find babywearing to create more ease when in group settings. It keeps baby close and in your arms when that feels best for you. Facing baby inward (heart to heart) helps baby's sytem to regulate thus less overstimulation and less crying. You get to participate in activities with both hands or to sink in and enjoy the cozy. 
- It can be hard to deal with criticism or unsolicited parenting advice from relatives. A simple response like, "I'll keep that in mind, but this approach is working well for us," will help to shut the conversation down, and you can quickly switch to a new topic!
If you're still struggling with how to put boundaries in place, it may be helpful to speak to a parenting coach who can provide support and guidance in developing new skills. Erin Shaheen has 25 years of experience teaching prenatal and Bringing Baby Home classes and is currently offering one-on-one consultations with new parents. 
You can find more about Erin here: Parent Coaching
We also have an amazing number of classes for your newborn running in January to keep you connected in the cold, snowy months!

Baby at the Table

Is your baby getting ready to eat SOLIDS? 
NEED support, ideas and    up-to-date information? We've got you <3
a baby foodie class
(commonly 4-7 months old)

-Understand the changing recommendations for feeding your baby in the first year.
-Leave feeling confident to offer your favourite meals to your baby.
We will go over the ins & outs of baby-led weaning, introducing allergenic foods, how to know if baby is getting enough, and what is the difference between gagging and choking. You may even end up with less picky eating.

It's a great time to exchange recipes and create family traditions around the table. 
Classes run for 4 weeks starting January 10th or April 3rd 

Infant Massage

Come learn the skill of infant massage.
It's been shown to increase oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) for both babies and caregivers.
Brandie Lekovic is offering live, virtual, four-week classes, which include individualized massage sessions and handouts. Classes are intended for babies who are pre-crawling.
We will provide clever hints on carrying massage into the years to come and many opportunities to connect with the other new parents in the group.
Four weekdays: January 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2024
10 - 11 a.m. on Zoom
Four weekdays: April 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2024
10 - 11 a.m. on Zoom
Register here


Comfort Measures

Do you need a little refresher on your options 
for pain management for birth?
Hoping to use all your options of unmedicated strategies for comfort? Looking for a babymoon date-night idea?  
Comfort Measures with Brandie on January 11th or March 4th
This 3-hour class is a hands-on session to delve deeper into ideas and practice of naturally occurring pain relief/coping strategies. Brandie, a Doula for 20 years, offers practical tips for the Birth Partner. This is a great compliment to a prenatal class or as a refresher for those having another baby. 


We are hiring! Are you interested in learning more about becoming a Childbirth Educator? OCEA is currently accepting applications for an in-person, weekend educator. Please send us an email with a resume and cover letter outlining your work and lived experience, interest in birth, and maternal health and education to birth@ottawacea.com

Did you know that you can access OHIP coverage for feeding support for your newborn?  |
www.milkface.com and www.lactationcare.ca both offer OHIP coverage for feeding assessments.

We wish you a wonderful and restful winter.

xoxo from all of us at OCEA

For the full list of our classes visit our website:



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