The Conscious Family Team is a team of professionals in York Region who support, guide and aid those who want to do their best each day to love, cherish and respect their children, and who want to learn and grow from their roles.

Giving birth and raising a family consciously used to be a matter of instinct. We trusted our bodies and our feelings to do the right thing. We learned from our families, and our communities how to care for and raise our children, and we just knew it would be okay. We had the support of those close to us - the village helped us to raise our children. There was no internet, no 24 - hour medical centres or helplines, and no bookshelf stocked with 50 or so of the latest advice books from "the experts", usually celebrities. Mom was at home during the day to lend a hand with the washing, or your neighbour would pop by with a casserole when times were tough.

These days, we're lucky to know our neighbour's first name. And if we need advice, we're more likely to consult Google than our brother, sister or mother. The village is truly gone.

Here with the Conscious Family Team, we want to bring the good days back by being your village and helping your family and village grow.

We believe that in order to accomplish these tasks, parenting must be a conscious endeavour, meaning that we are willing to examine ourselves, our background, beliefs, motivations, behaviours, and how these aspects affect the way we parent. Let's find the positives in the way we were parented, recognize the lessons we learned and empower ourselves to trust our own intuition and emerge as the parents we want to be.

Decisions made prior to conception, during pregnancy and in baby's first year and beyond provide the foundation for the creation of a conscious family. By consulting with one or more of the Conscious Family Team members, you will be inspired to take initiative to choose the style of caring for yourself and your infant/child that resonates with you and you'll be connected to the tangible tools and resources to support you on your journey.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Making the Most of Winter and the Cooler Months with Baby

By taking care of yourself, you set a good example for your child(ren). In addition, by taking care of yourself, you can meet the needs of your baby or children much better. Though instead of trying to fit baby into the existing pre-baby scedule and "me" time, come up with creative ways to design new routines that include baby.

It is proven that exercise improves mood and helps avoid slumps of depression, especially in the winter. Tuck your little one under your coat in a sling or carrier and get yourself out on a walk in the colder months when the sun is at it's best in the earlier morning or mid afternoon for some vitamin D and reduction of sadness/blues. Putting your baby into a sling has a calming effect on both baby and mommy.

Call upon a few of your mommy friends and make it a ritual on a weekly or daily basis to surround yourself with laughter and a positive social circle of moms who have the same goals and mothering philosophy as you.

Is ours not a strange culture that focuses so much on childbirth -- virtually all of it is based on anxiety and fear -- and so little on the crucial time after birth, when patterns are established that will affect the individual and family for decades ~ Susan Arms

2 randomized trials comparing exercise to sertraline for adults with major deprssion. Both found that exercise was as effective. (Babyak et al. Psychosom Med 2000, 62; 663-638; Blumenthal et al. Psychasom Med 2007, 69; 587-596)

Exercise lowers inflammation, increases wound healing, overall fitness lowers infalmmatory response to stress (emery et al. J Geronto A Biol MED Sci 2005; 60 1432-1436; Kolut et al, Brain Behav Immun 2006;20;201-209. Starkweather, Buiol Nurs Res 2007; 8, 1-9)

For mild to moderate depression; 2-3 times a week, moderate intensity, 20-30 minutes. For major depression; 3-5 times a week, 60% to 85% maximal capacity, 45 - 60 minutes.

Randomized trial comparing luoxetine to bright lifht for seasonal depression (SAD) 67% response rate for both groups, response within one week for light group (LAM et al. AM J Psychiatry 2006; 163, 567-573)

Timing of light exposure; 53% remission with morning light, 32% and 38% for afternoon or evening (Teman & Teman, CNS Spectrums 2005; 10, 647-663)

American Psychiatric Assn indicated that bright light therapy was effective for both seasonal and non-seasonal deprssion. Equivalent to antidepressants and faster response (Golden et al. AM J Psychiatry 2005; 162, 656-662)

Denise Martin is owner of 4 The Love of The Family
She is a birth and postnatal doula, educator, breastfeeding councillor and La Leche League Canada Leader

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