Category Archives: Mama’s Helper

Mama’s Helper : Knowing what to do during a choking incident

Our kids getting hurt, in any way really, is a fear.  Obviously.  Choking falls in this incredibly scary zone.

This fear is so intense that parents I work with often confuse choking and gagging.   I was once doing a session with a dad who started sweating every time his son mildly gagged.  It finally dawned on me that he thought his son was choking and near death.  Explaining gagging to that dad forever decreased his stress level at mealtime .  At the same time, the session highlighted the importance of infant/child first aid training .  He was incredibly scared because he didn’t know what to do.

The confidence that infant and child first aid training  gives you is immeasurable during the “learning to eat table foods” phase.   I don’t know too many families that have this knowledge unless it is already part of their professional training.  It is empowering to know what to do for your baby (other than calling 911) if he or she is unable to manage a piece of food and it leads to choking.

My second baby has always had some difficulty managing thin liquids and I assume she has taken liquids into her lungs more than the average baby.  Luckily she’s been able to handle it and stayed healthy.  We’ve been able to make adjustments to keep her safer, and her coordination has improved.  She has had a couple of episodes where she’s had trouble with a food.  One particular incident led to uncontrollable coughing, a red face and bugged out eyes.   My heart started racing, I  hauled her out of her highchair and put her in the position to start back blows and thankfully, she started vomiting profusely.  It was one of the scariest moments of my mama career (with the exception of the H&M incidence where E decided to hide quietly in the clothes racks for about 10 minutes).


Something to think about when you are booking your prenatal classes.


The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a link to purchase an Infant Choking & CPR Anytime course where they will send your a mannequin and DVD.  $35

Calgary Birth and Babies puts on an Infant and Child CPR & Airway management course.  $40/person. $60/couple

Calgary First Aid will send someone to your house to teach up to 4 people.  I’m thinking grandparents might want to get in on it.  $150

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Mama’s Helper: Gyro Bowl

I’ve just been on an epic journey.  Over the span of 4 days, we drove from Edmonton, Alberta to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and back again.  Through flooded Calgary.  We are talking 12+ hours in a car with a three year old and a one and a half year old.

Just to add spice to the epic journey,  I FORGOT MY BAG OF TRICKS AT HOME!  All of the planned surprises and activities sat lonely on the bench by the back door.  So much for battling boredom and the fight with the car seat straps. Unfortunately, we were past the point of no return.  I had to be grateful for the food I had remembered to pack.  At least I had something to throw at them when the grumpiness became unbearable.

Our littles completely surprised us.  They were absolute troopers and we arrived with a nearly in-tact marriage and happy but tired kids.  They slept a total of an hour each the whole journey.  Without toys.  An empty juicebox, straw and creamers saved our bacon.  The juicebox bought us a solid 42 minutes.  Including the integrity testing of the packaging prior to explosion, the creamer gifted us a grand 68 minutes of peaceful bliss.

GyroI did manage to remember to pack our GYRO BOWL.  This was a gift from a friend when E was born.  Truthfully, I thought it was a little gimmicky and haven’t used it a whole lot.  It is not 100% effective and will spill with a ferocious shake and chuck.  It did stop the majority of spills and the unpredictable 1.5 year old could independently eat in the car seat.   I credit the gyro bowl for a significant decrease in the number of front passenger to backseat transfers.   It’s a great tool for road trips or just on-the-go car snacking. Well worth the cost of the bowl in my opinion.

PS.  The purpose of the trip was to cheer on my brother in his 2nd Ironman .  It is an unimaginable physical and mental feat that few will ever achieve.  Once again, I am impressed and inspired.   I am glad to have witnessed such incredible strength and willpower.

F trying on  the finishers medal

F trying on the finishers medal


Mama’s Helper: Gro Anywhere Blind

I recently purchased the “Gro Anywhere Blind” made by the Gro company.  They are the makers of the “Gro bag” and other sleep related products like the “Gro clock.”   I was looking for something that was easily portable and would truly darken the room.  In addition to the travel aspect,  we are moving yet again and it won’t be to a forever house.  I just can’t invest in more permanent black out blinds at this point.

I like that this little number adjusts to different sized windows and still does a pretty good job of making the room as dark as possible.   The only downside is that it leaves behind suction marks on the window.  Extra cleaning that I won’t get to until after all I deal with all the little greasy handprints on my walls.

It was an expensive purchase but I’m happy to report that it got the job done.  Recommended for travel!


GRO Black out

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Mama’s Helper: Not so much

The commercial puree pouches are in my arsenal of travel snacks.  They work well for us although occasionally my overzealous squeezer makes a bit of a mess!  They seem okay in terms of nutrition but I really would prefer to have something refillable with food that I make. pureepouch

**The feeding therapist in me really dislikes the fact that the pouches eliminate the need to interact with food…. looking at it, smelling it and touching it.  These are not great for early eaters.  Babes early in their eating careers need to have a multitude of opportunities to LEARN about the food.**

I came across GOTOOB containers at Costco and had high hopes that I could replace the pouches.   gotoob gallery 7The girls helped me make a delicious green smoothie and we proceeded to fill the tubes.  I threw them in my bag and loaded everyone in the car.  Not 5 minutes into the car ride, Miss F had popped open the lid and managed to squirt the thick green sticky substance all over the window, her car seat AND Miss E.   Pandemonium ensued…….

Not impressed with these suckers for food use with little ones (unless the adult is controlling the squeeze).  They will not be part of our regular snack toolbox….. likely relegated to travel shampoo containers!  Darn it!

Anyone else come across containers that would work for this purpose?

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Mama’s Helper: Tiny Diner


Mealtime typical equates to a filthy floor in my house.  Not only do I subscribe to the “learning about your food through exploration” approach in the early stages, I have a youngest daughter who has earned the nickname “Shovel”.

The Tripp Trapp highchair was top of my list when I was pregnant with my first daughter.  The therapist in me loved the way it allows for proper positioning (adjustable foot support and adjustable seat depth).  Plus, I liked the idea of having the baby at the table in a normal human chair.  It seemed like a better idea than placing her in an alien ship plastic device.  I didn’t realize the discrepant mess factor between the two designs.  Without a tray, food has direct access to my floor.

*Tripp Trapp has since improved their design and you can now buy a tray accessory.   Sitting at the table without a tray is fantastic…. when they are older!  *

The Tiny Diner has been a great device to solve my mess problem! It catches the rogue food that drops en route to mouth.  And it’s portable for those lunches out!


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Mama’s Helper: Tool Tips

I’d like to regularly post some tools that make life in my home just a little easier.

Up first: Latchy Catchy!

Latchy Catchy

This little gem was discovered on pinterest.  It is a fabric cover that goes over the side of the door and keeps the latch in.  It prevents little hands from accidentally slamming the door.   My oldest little insists on doing many things herself  and closing doors is one of them.  She is not the most coordinated little soul so most of the time she ends up slamming the door.  The slam often wakes up her sleeping sister.   Luckily, the latchy catchy cushions the blow and has stopped  the accidental wake-ups.  Unfortunately, those little hand can open the door more easily with the latchy catchy because you don’t even have to turn the knob to pull the door open.  Not a good thing for those escape artists!!!
I did buy a couple from the Latchy Catchy Etsy store to see how they were constructed.  I then ended up sewing my own with some scrap  fabric, batting and hair elastics.

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