Category Archives: how to mom

The Jist of the Jolly Jumper

Invented by a Canadian Indigenous woman by the name of Olivia Poole, the Jolly Jumper has been around since the early 1900s. Its design came from women needing a way to take care of and entertain their children while also being productive. I could thank this woman daily for her ingenuity and brilliance.

Like other toys and baby mechanisms, the Jolly Jumper has age limits and recommended-use guidelines. Until Kolter was 10 weeks old I had not done any reading about our Jolly Jumper and had yet to open the box. I did notice, however, that my son was beginning to sit with his head up for as long as he wished and even began standing up when we would do our pull-to-sit exercises with him. He was becoming restless by 11 weeks and so I started looking into using our Jolly Jumper. The age recommendation states that babies should be 3 months old AND can hold their heads up independently with full neck support. See more FAQs here. Kolter fulfilled both these requirements and so, the following weekend, we decided to give the jumper a try.

Some kids take time to get used to being suspended or being able to see things upright. Some don’t enjoy the jumper and even cry while in it due to discomfort (this is rare) or not liking to jump. Kolter was neither of these.

We placed him in the jumper and sat back to see his reaction. We want him to explore the world at his own pace and try not to influence his thoughts or decisions - yes, you can tell if you’re influencing them or not at a few months old. We didn’t want to make the bouncing motion, we wanted to see if he would initiate it on his own. He did and within literal seconds of being in it.

After a minute or two he was smiling, bouncing away, and even letting out a giggle or two. Our hearts fluttered seeing him so happy. We took a quick video and shared it with some friends and family. My husband’s phone rang and we were immediately met with backlash that he’s too long, he’s going to be sore, we better not leave him in there too long, don’t leave him unattended, he’s going to hurt himself being that young in there. Our hearts were crushed. I knew he was fine. I knew my baby better than anyone and he was happy and safe. There is no way we were going to leave him alone in it or let anything hurt him - we’re not stupid. I was initially upset but soon told my husband I didn’t care what others were saying because I knew he was fine and I knew I was a good mama.

My parents were so excited to see him in the jumper and asked for pictures almost daily. In fact, they even went out and bought one so they could see him in one when he stayed at their place. I was relieved. My parents were also believers in doing what you know is best and not letting others dictate your decisions. This is likely why I strongly advocate raising my son the same way.

After just a few weeks, and me telling others they were outright wrong about my son being too young for the Jolly Jumper, things calmed down and everyone could see how much he loved it and how strong he was getting from using it. One thought was crossing my mind though… how long is too long to be in the Jolly Jumper?

Different manufacturers hold different opinions on safe time limits in the jumper. Some say 20 minutes, twice and day while others say 15 minutes. But why so short? Kolter could sometimes jump for up to 45-50 minutes and yell at you if you tried to take him out earlier. Turns out, hip dysplasia is a condition that can be caused by babies being placed into carriers, exersaucers, and Jolly Jumpers for too long, causing their hips to be misshaped. It is also said to impede on the natural development of crawling and walking. Honestly, my mother said I lived in my Jolly Jumper and I’m completely fine. I know that someone has to be the statistic and I believe in doing your research, but I also believe that if someone falls into a pond because they’re playing Pokemon Go it should not be ban from the world because of one person’s stupidity or lack of awareness. So I consulted a friend who is a physiotherapist, we’ll call him Dan. Dan said that there are cases where babies develop hip issues due to being in these types of devices for long periods of time but, from his understanding and research, these long periods of time are 4+ hours a day, every day because parents use it as a parenting tool or leave children unattended and let them sleep in them. I plan to do none of the above. Dan suggests letting your child tell you when they’re finished but that 45-60 minutes at a time, no more than twice a day is fine and that he has never encountered such issues on that type of timeline. He also says that manufacturers need to “cover their butts” so they will always print the minimum time. I’m going with this recommendation.


We let Kolt jump to his satisfaction which typically lasts around 40-50 minutes and his times are usually once in the early afternoon and once in the late evening before his final feed and then sleep. He tells us if he wants to get out and sometimes it is as short at 10 minutes. We never leave him unattended and his last check-up (this week) the pediatrician said he looked to be very strong and that nothing was out of place or functioning improperly. We’re pleased to announce we’re not horrible parents.

Stay tuned for more jumping and other adventures.

Camping With a Baby

Well, we survived! Camping with a baby turned out to be far less treacherous than I had anticipated. In fact, it went better than I could have imagined. I think my anxiety crept up because of all the unknowns and I felt that I hadn’t really prepared for the weekend in the midst of all the busy-ness we have going on in our lives right now, seeding, university, a newborn, etc. In the end, we are thankful it was an overcast weekend - wow, how your camping wishes change when you have kids.

The Drive

One downfall to our weekends is an aspect that I used to actually love - the long drives. There is nothing I love more than a Friday after-work drive in the countryside with my husband. It is peaceful, beautiful, and there are no distractions, unlike a long day of teaching. However, this time of year warrants large tractors, air seeders, and semis on the gravel roads and it causes them to become washboard-like or bare of actual gravel and replaced with boulders and potholes. These types of road conditions are less than desirable for anyone let alone a newborn’s tummy - cue the colic. We had discovered that Kolter became colicky from long car sides when he was just a month old.

Our little guy already struggles with some reflux (minor symptoms listed on this site) and colic issues. Kolt’s reaction is minor in comparison to what I’ve heard others experience - he just whimpers and fusses and needs to be sat upright and burped or needs to toot. Bumpy roads do not add anything valuable to those issues. Luckily, he sleeps when we are in motion whether it be in a vehicle, stroller, or grocery cart.

Setting Up

Once we arrived at the lake, and Kolter awoke, we had not anticipated what to do with him while we unpacked both vehicles (the initial camping trip of the season usually demands a haul that includes both our vehicles). We had been quite successful so far in our first few months with him when it came to being organized and on time for things. We agreed early on that we would both make a conscious effort to prepare for outings earlier so we weren’t the people who were always “late because of our kids” (we both despise being late). We knew that it wouldn’t always work but we were going to make the effort to try our hardest. Friday was one of those situations you just can’t predict and it ended up taking us 3 hours to get the camper set up, unpacked, and organized in comparison to previous years’ 1 hour. Kolt wasn’t fussy during that time but we had to make room for his travel bassinet, changing supplies, clothing, towels, cloths, hats, bottle station, etc. We also had to feed him during that time, change him, and there were moments he needed some settling. Thankfully, we had friends wanting some Kolter snuggles while we unpacked and organized. In fact, I purged a lot of unneeded items from our camper and completely reorganized our items to create a better functioning system for camping with a baby. I love efficiency and organization.

The Fire Ban Scenario

That first afternoon and evening included all the organizing, saying hello to our lake family, and making sure we had what we needed for our first night with Kolter at the lake. Unfortunately, there was a fire ban but thankfully we had our propane firepit. Of course, numerous people end up with “fire envy” and feel the need to stop and scold you for having a fire and being inconsiderate during a fire ban - the look on their faces when you inform them of the actual fire status is enough to bring you satisfaction that you don’t need to humiliate them further. It happens every year and those that don’t have the courage to stop and tell us we’re horrible people just call the park office and “report us”, by which point, due to repeated experience, we have already called ahead to let them know our site number and that we, in fact, know there is a fire ban and are having a propane fire and they are welcome to inspect it if they please.

A Surprise

We knew our first night would not be a late one, in contrast to previous years. We had become used to going to bed at 9 pm and we wanted to be prepared for anything Kolt was going to throw at us in the middle of the night in a new place. To our surprise, all the fresh air caused Kolter to sleep 9 straight hours the first night at the lake. I put him to bed at his typical 9:30 pm and he did not wake until 6:20 am. At first, I thought perhaps my husband had gotten up to feed him a bottle at his usual 3:30 am feeding time but it was clear my husband had not moved from his place of slumber, nor were there any dirty bottles or signs that a bottle had been prepped for consumption. We were in disbelief and also WELL rested. No complaints here!

Kolter watching Moana in the camper for the first of MANY times.

As we guessed, getting up and going in the morning took a bit longer with Kolt. On the other hand, life without a child meant we normally never woke up before 9 am or surfaced from our camper until 10 am and we now had a headstart with our 7 am wake-up call from the bassinet. We realize that we are very fortunate to have a child that is content and calm. I attempted to have an incredibly calm pregnancy because I had heard and read (many Eastern cultures believe this) that those hormone levels could be transferred to the fetus. Whether or not this is true is up for debate but, in my case, it seems to have worked. We usually begin the day with one of us changing him and then bringing him to bed with us for some morning cuddles and then we all get up for the day together. My husband is a HUGE Moana fan (he’s a 5-year-old trapped in a 35-year-old’s body) so he put it on the TV in the living room of the camper for Kolter while we washed up, got dressed, and organized ourselves for the day ahead. Kolt also seems to love Moana (thankfully because the DVD is stuck in our player in the camper).

Jump for Success

Each day and night proceeded in the same way as the initial one. We are proud to announce that our little baby bear loves camping as much as we do so far. I took notes from some of the articles I shared in my previous camping post and packed some of Kolt’s favourite items. We knew we needed to bring the Jolly Jumper and were so thankful that we did. (I will have another post about the Jolly Jumper later this week when I have time for a bit more research).

Kolt loved being outside with so much to see and all the new sounds! We went for walks and explored everything we could, though he slept most of the time because a stroller in motion means he was asleep.

In the coming weekends, we will be building stairs and a deck for our site to make things safer and easier with a child. We cannot wait until the weather is warm enough to take him for swims and beach days!

Stay tuned for more adventures and lessons with Kolt!

It’s an Avocado… Thaaanksss

This week started with my first official Mother’s Day as a mama. It began with brunch with all the women I’m closest to in my family (and my son- who dressed up for the occasion), followed by drinks and snacks on the patio at my house, and then a feast for all of us, cooked by my wonderful husband. The sun was shining, there was no wind (I have a loathing for wind) and we enjoyed one another’s company.

This was the day we also decided to have Kolter begin solid foods. If you haven’t seen the “An Avocado” Youtube video then you’re missing out on the humour of my title so I’ll link it for you HERE. The back story is that Jimmy Fallon challenged parents to give their children random home items for Christmas and film their reactions. This child was nothing but thankful for his avocado.

Back to our avocado! As my last post indicates, I have been consulting medical professionals and lactation specialists for weeks prior to this introduction of solid foods. I scoured the International Breastfeeding Centre website that was sent to me by Naida Hawkins, our province’s leading breastfeeding specialist and researcher, and found that some babies need solids even as early as three months if their hunger or nutrients is not satiated by their milk intake. If you’re not familiar with why we are considering solids earlier than 6 months you can read those details here. I have no desire to stop feeding my baby my milk but we have discovered he needs supplementation.


During all of this, I learned a lot of interesting facts about breastfeeding your child including:

1) Your milk will adjust to your child’s needs. If you are directly contact-feeding your baby OR you wipe their saliva onto your nipples then your body will read their saliva and adjust your milk to their dietary and immune needs, this is called salivary amylase. This can adjust when your baby has a growth spurt, is sick, has been exposed to toxins, etc.

2) Power pumping. I tried this. It slightly increased my milk supply but not enough to keep up with my baby’s needs. Because Kolter was showing hunger signs more frequently we assumed that he was perhaps cluster-feeding and so I attempted to power pump and direct-contact feed him to satiate him. This did help but not completely.

3) Follow your “mommy gut”. I could see that Kolter would watch us prepare food, drool when we were eating, stare at us while we ate, and even tried to reach for our items at times. I started looking up whether there were actual signs to watch for and, sure enough, those were the signs.


Now for the food introduction.

My husband bought this brand new baby bullet (STILL IN THE PACKAGING) at a garage sale last week! SCORE!

We consulted a few sites and our specialist about what to introduce first as we had heard that pablum (ground baby cereal) was a great place to start. She recommended that if Kolter was ready to eat solids that giving babies actual food is far better, nutrients-wise, than pablum. As a nutritionist, I loved that. Foods that are nutrient-dense, sweeter, and high in natural fats and sugars were recommended to start with; avocado, bananas, and sweet potato. Each of these is also of a smooth consistency that can easily be pureed and mashed to avoid choking hazards.

Guess which one we chose?

I placed the avocado into the baby bullet and added some breast milk to loosen the consistency. I had read this during one of my 3 am pumping occasions and pinned it to recall it when my brain was too tired to retrieve the information from the back of my “mom-brain”.

My husband and I sat down with Kolter and fed him the first bite…

He was confused and unsure of what to do.

After 2 or 3 seconds and moving the mush around in his mouth he stopped completely and looked at me. I could see he was processing.

He began to enjoy it.

He ate approximately 1/4 of a cup of avocado without any issues, minimal spitting out, and made yummy grumbling noises the entire time.

He would reach forward for the spoon and devour what was on it each time I gave him a tiny bit more.

I was relieved that our instincts were right and that he was ready for this next step.


  • Follow your instincts

  • Consult multiple resources as there is so much information and much of it conflicts.

  • Start slow and don’t stress about it.

  • Our son, unlike his father, LOVES avocado.


There is research stating that babies should stick to one type of food for 2-3 days without the introduction of any others to ensure you can accurately monitor their response to each one. I stored the remaining pureed avocado in the Baby Bullet (linked is the updated version of ours) storage containers so that we could use the rest over the remainder of this week.

Next, we hope to try sweet potato as it offers many nutritional benefits such as vitamin C for immunity boosting, vitamin A for eye and skin development, iron, complex carbohydrates, and a sweet taste to increase the likelihood of success!

Finally, I have begun researching babies and being picky eaters. It seems that the more that is safely, and repeatedly introduced between the ages of 4 months and 1 year the more likely the child is to not be a picky eater. I am not yet comfortable linking information on this yet as I haven’t found sources I feel are credible and/or consistent yet but that is yet to come!


  • 4 MONTH IMMUNIZATIONS (what I’ve learned from the 2-month ones)



Baby Growth Spurts & Milk Consumption

Welcome back!

After finally navigating my way through how I’d like to feed my growing baby boy, everything changed! That’s how it works, doesn’t it? You FINALLY feel like you have a grip on this ‘mom’ thing and BOOM, the switch-up! Gotta love those growth spurts.

Kolter at his first wedding.

Thanks to bottle feeding we were able to take Kolter to my parent’s place after the ceremony and have an evening out on our own. My parents kept him overnight and we caught up on some much-needed visiting with friends and sleep!

Kolt was born on the ‘larger side’ at 8lbs 13oz and 21 inches long… AND A WEEK EARLY (nurses said he’d have been 10 lbs had he made his due date). No. friggin. Thank you. (May I add that I’m only 5’2”). It wasn’t much of a surprise that Kolt advanced quickly through milestones and charts. At 2 months old he was in the 80th percentile for his height and weight (want to check your baby’s percentiles? CLICK HERE. Not sure what percentiles indicate? Watch the YouTube video below).

Needless to say, Kolt was taking after his tato (dad in Ukrainian) and growing to be big and strong. His growth spurts were intense, which brings us to this week.

For the last 2 weeks, Kolter has been consuming incredible amounts of milk and I haven’t been able to keep my production up to his consumption. Thankfully, in the first 3 months of his life, after my milk came in, I pumped, bagged, and froze extra breastmilk for emergency purposes just like this. All week I have been so grateful that I did my research early on and learned how to properly store and freeze my milk. (Below is a video that gives a great overview of how to store, freeze and properly thaw your milk. You can also CLICK HERE for my favourite site, The Mayo Clinic, and their information on the topic).

Many moms ask why I don’t just start supplementing him with formula but we have found that Kolter becomes incredibly lethargic and constipated when on even small amounts of formula. So much so that he isn’t himself even after one feeding of formula mixed in with breastmilk. I consulted our pediatrician, a few online sources (I’ll list them below), and the local lactation specialist about introducing solid foods at four months and got conflicting responses. Luckily, one of the leading lactation consultants in the country, and the developer and researcher of the More Milk Sooner Program, Naida Hawkins, is from my hometown and gave me an incredible site by Dr. Jack Newman to consult. In the end, we’ve decided that we are going to give it a go and blog about the journey! #letsdothis

CDC - When, What and How to Introduce Solid Foods

Mayo Clinic - Solid Foods

From Naida:

International Breastfeeding Centre

blog 2a.png
blog 2b.png
blog 2.png
blog 2c.png

So although a majority of doctors and sites say to wait until 5 or 6 months to introduce solids, they also say that every baby is different and there are signs to watch for when your baby is ready. Kolter is showing all of these signs so we have added avocadoes and other items to our next grocery list to begin the journey of solid foods. Stay tuned for the mess, faces, successes and failures of food introduction.

Babies, Bumps, and Bruises

Well, this week has been… eventful, to say the least. I’m officially in full swing of the Spring term of my degree and in the thick of readings and writing essays and blogs. To top off a full week my son decided I needed to learn some new “mom things” and proceeded to use his razor-like fingernails, that were just clipped and filed the previous day (click here to see the amazing baby file my mom ordered me) to gouge an abrasion across his right eyeball. Yup, fun times.

Visiting our cousin, Dr. Reiley

Let me set the scene, I had just finished feeding Kolter 20 minutes before and had him laying down under his mobile play mat to let his tummy settle a bit before Jolly Jumping later on. I was talking to him and playing with him and once he seemed content to play with his mobile I proceeded to grab myself a snack from the pantry just 8 feet away. As I was reaching into the granola bar bin I hear a painstaking scream from Kolter and whip around to see him with legs raised, fists clenched, and eyes squeezed shut, squealing in agony and turning purple from stress. I had never heard such a sound from him up until this time and knew something was wrong. I picked him up and cuddled him and tried to assess his physical state but found nothing to be the matter. His eyes were still clenched shut and watering but I had assumed it was tears. I took him up to my bedroom to lay on the bed with him and attempt to calm him, which worked after about 10 minutes. He was visibly worn out from his distress so I took a break from schoolwork to just sit with him and comfort him.

At this point we returned downstairs to my home office, a large, well-lit sunroom on the south-facing end of our home, allowing beams of sunlight to enter all day and night. It was here that I laid Kolter down on the ottoman and when he looked at me I could see an abrasion on his right eye. Of course, Google-mom immerged.

May I break here to recommend never typing “baby gouges eyeball” into Google search. I’ll spare you the images and not link the results.

I rephrased my entry to “abrasion on 4-month baby eyeball” (see the article I chose HERE) and was pleased that a simple ointment may be applied but that meant seeing a medical professional. I then sought advice from my sister, a nurse at the local hospital and she recommended trying to see an ophthalmologist first as the ER would likely refer me there anyway and the wait would be shorter. I contacted my second source of credible information, my mother, and she suggested the same and gave me the number to my cousin (this information is outdated as he has now moved back home) who is a local ophthalmologist. I called Taylor and he was able to see Kolter right away.

Now comes the fun part, applying dye drops into the eye of a 4-month-old child in order to locate an abrasion. I will tell you that all the restraint and hold training in the world had not prepared me for this tiny human’s squirming to avoid the drops. What did work was an Elsa light-up wand from Frozen to distract him long enough in the opposite direction for Taylor to lightly administer a drop of dye. Sure enough, there was an abrasion.

kolt eyes dye.png

Upon confirming the abrasion Taylor looked at me with hesitation and asked if my husband happened to work from home. I responded with a no and inquired why he asked. Taylor held up a prescription for an ointment that I needed to apply in a liberal strip ACROSS Kolter’s eye… wait for it… 4. Times. A day.


Needless to say, I’ve been aiming for 2 successful applications and if we make one I am pleased. My child holds strength I never knew existed until this week. In the end, his eye is healing, has not acquired an infection, and I’m pleased to announce that 2 successful applications a day are happening largely due to the credit of my mother’s persistence and craftiness that I have not yet acquired as a new mom. Kolter is back in his Jolly Jumper and a happy camper because of it.

4-month old in his natural habitat - the Jolly Jumper.

What I’ve learned about being a mom this week:

1) growth spurts suck and nobody gets sleep

2) #hatersgunnahate just do what is best for you and your family

3) solid foods are not “bad” prior to 6 months of age

4) your child is stronger than you think

5) apply eye and ear drops/ointments while your child is asleep

Kolt’s Mom

Hey everyone,

Welcome to my “how to” mom journey. In May of 2023, I began a Master’s course called EC&I 831 and our Major Digital Project gave us an option to take the opportunity to learn something new and blog about it. Anything we decided. Since I had recently become a mom to a baby boy, named Kolter (Kolt) I decided that this was potentially the biggest lesson I’d ever take on, forever, with no end in sight! Why not blog about it?

The reason I chose to call it “How to” Mom versus How to “Mom” is for the simple fact that there is no “how to” manual, guidelines, or books on how to be a mom because every mom, baby, and situation is different. Therefore, this “how to” isn’t going to please or apply to everyone, hence, “how to” mom.


One of the first things you encounter when becoming a new mom is how to feed your child. There are all kinds of opinions on the subject. “Breast is best”, pump to bottle feed, and formula feed are the three top choices for feeding your newborn but all are easier said than done (Mayo Clinic summary of Breast versus Bottle feeding). How much do you feed them? How often? (I attached one of the articles I used when we got home from the hospital). Which method is best? Why? What if it doesn’t work for you or your baby?

And then add the judgment.

The number one thing I have learned thus far, in 4 months, of being a mom is that you just need to do what is best for your baby and for you and not worry about what everyone else thinks. #hatersgunnahate. I think some people don’t stop to think about why a person may have made the specific choices that they have. For example, when my son was born he was a week early and arrived via emergency cesarean after nearly 40 hours of labour. This means my body did not physically “birth” a child and did not know to begin producing milk (or colostrum), so I had none to feed to my baby (c-section and milk production). This meant the hospital supplied us with instant formula for our baby. They brought in lactation consultants to help me practice latching and breastfeeding in the meantime but we used the formula until I had production. Unfortunately, the latching struggle what REAL. As it turned out, our son had both Jaundice and a tongue tie which both can contribute to difficulties in breastfeeding. We opted for the tongue tie to be clipped immediately (my husband has family members who did not get theirs clipped and they have a number of struggles with speech, eating, etc). The tongue tie and its healing now added to the struggle of breastfeeding.

Upon arriving home, after 5 days in the hospital, I had acquired an infected hematoma due to an improperly stitched cesarean incision and was struggling just to get in and out of bed let alone feed my son. These happen in 2-5% of women post-cesarean and I happened to be the statistic (this seems to be the story of my life in recent years). The first night, I did as the doctors and specialists recommended and attempted to have my son latch, but after 30 minutes of him screaming, me crying, and my husband trying to calm us both he told me we don’t need to do this. We agreed ahead of time that “fed is best” and that I wasn’t going to contact breastfeed. The stress melted away immediately. The next day I started the process of pumping and I bottle-fed our son breastmilk instead of contact breastfeeding him.

Now 4 months into this journey I have had experience pumping and feeding, formula feeding, and breastfeeding Kolter. They all have their pros and cons. The major bonus of pumping and feeding is the fact that anyone can feed him and I don’t always need to do it or even be there. My parents frequently watch him as my husband works unset hours and I am a full-time university student. Pumping and feeding enable them to take him for the day or even overnight without me needing to worry that he’s getting enough nourishment.

So what’s next?

For the next 7 weeks I am going to be blogging about the new situations, experiences, and obstacles I navigate through and overcome with being Kolt’s mom (my 4 sisters-in-law have informed me that this will now forever be my new name to everyone). I’m simultaneously working on the next blog posts about growth spurts, sleep regression, and introducing solid foods! I’m sure it will be eventful. #thestruggleisreal

I leave you with these final thoughts:

1) if you’re a parent/caregiver, what were your experiences with feeding in the first few weeks/months?

2) If you’re a parent/caregiver when and how did you first introduce solid foods? How did that go?

3) Do you have any tips, advice, or questions about my journey so far? Ask away!