Monica Bizier, Doula - Ottawa baby + family resource

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Monica Bizier, Doula - Ottawa baby + family resource

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I met the lovely Monica Bizier at the Meet the Doula event in the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. Her warm welcome was contagious! I am honored to share her story, as I believe every woman and baby deserve a thoughtful and friendly experience before, during and after pregnancy. A doula provides so much more than the physical help but can help you navigate the emotional side too. Watching new moms over the years struggle with the adjustments before and after birth need a woman like Monica by their side. I wish I had met someone to this scale after the birth of my son, as those first months were hard and life changing.

Here is Monica's Story, in her own words.

I am a military wife and mother of two children, who are three and two years old respectively. I became a doula given my own experience and my resulting desire to support others in similar situations (i.e., often on their own, including, at times, for enormous life events such as the birth of a child). I decided I wanted to be there for other women in need of extra support.  By becoming a doula, I could be that person for them - someone who listens, advocates and informs these families so they can then make the best decisions for their families. To me, it is an absolute honour to be part of such a special moment in the lives of my clients.

Since I commenced working as a doula, I have quickly become increasingly passionate about the importance of working with my clients postpartum. As powerful and magical as labour and childbirth are, I quickly realized how important it is following a child’s birth to support new mothers and their families. As parents, we all know becoming a new parent is not easy. There are lots of misconceptions and/or preconceived notions/expectations around breastfeeding, sleeping and what a “new” family should look like or behave like just to name a few. As a result, I decided to explore my options as to how I could better serve the families with whom I work, which includes self-care, which mothers often neglect. After all, to care for others one must also to care for oneself.

I, subsequently, decided to offer belly binding, which is a traditional way to help mothers heal after childbirth. It is a Malaysian practice which consists of wrapping a long strip of fabric around the mother's stomach. It is also presents an opportunity to discuss with new mothers the challenges they may be facing, how they are doing, as well as assist them with breastfeeding or other feeding preferences. Belly binding has many benefits, including the following:

Supporting the internal organs;
Assisting in abdominal wall retraction and diastasis recti recovery;
Reducing the postpartum "pooch" that many women experience
Encouraging good posture;
Improving circulation;
Reducing water retention;
Closing and reshaping of the hips and rib cage;
Decreasing postpartum bleeding time;
Supporting the pelvic floor;
Lessening after pains;
Encouraging spinal realignment to a pre-pregnancy state; and
Preventing slouching while feeding or holding your child.

The transition into motherhood can be significantly eased through postpartum care as it is during this time you can get to know your baby, and learn to take your new lifestyle one day at a time. To become a mother is to follow our instincts as there is no better person to know what is right for your baby then you and I can guide you on that journey.

It is something I do not believe I can ever say enough times, and I know how difficult it can be to maintain that mind set because we are, as new moms, oh so tired, BUT always remember to cherish these early moments. They will never come back and, when you look back, you will be happy that you stopped what you were doing to notice things as small as realizing you have been gazing into each other eyes, or just listening to your new baby breathing.....simply enjoying each of these amazing moments on your new life long journey!

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Wee Sleep - Ottawa baby + family resource

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Wee Sleep - Ottawa baby + family resource

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Raise your hand if you think your baby needs a better sleep routine?! If we were in a room filled with moms right now ... more than half would raise their hands! I would be one of them! If you are like most, you need X amount of hours of sleep to function normally. Unfortunately, your sleep cycle as a parent suffers significantly after having a baby, that little person requires around the clock care and leaves very little time to get the rest you need. The solution?! Getting your baby on a better sleep routine will help significantly in your own sleep routine, resulting in a happy baby and a happy mom!

I would like to introduce Heather Sharpe a wonderful mom and sleep consultant for Wee Sleep. I asked Heather to share her tips on establishing a great routine for baby, as well as, share her mommyhood adventures!


Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself!

I grew up in the Ottawa Valley and currently live in Orleans with my husband and two children.  Jack is five years old and is an awesome big brother to his sister Avery, two years old.  As a family, we love the outdoors and look forward to spending weekends and holidays at the cottage to enjoy all that nature has to offer (no matter the season)!

How did your business venture come about?

I was introduced to WeeSleep when my son was 9 months old.  He was still waking every two hours in the night and I was beyond exhausted! I kept thinking that one night it would just "click" and he would miraculously start sleeping through the night.  Sleep-deprived and at my wits' end, I reached out to Janey Reilly, Founder and President of WeeSleep, and hired her immediately with the promise of getting our sleep back.  After our consultation, Janey provided me with a customized sleep plan specific to my sons situation and sleep needs. After only two nights into the program, my son finally started sleeping through the night!! By the end of the program he was also taking proper naps, which improved his mood (and mine!) significantly. It was life-changing and one of the best decisions we ever made!

A couple of years after I worked with Janey, an opportunity arose to train with her and become a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant. Given my experience with both my son and daughter, I became very passionate about sleep and recognized the true benefits of having children establish positive and independent sleep skills.  I joined the WeeSleep Dream Team so that I could give other families the gift of sleep by using proper, gentle, supportive techniques to help them teach their children healthy sleep habits.

If you had three tips on how to establish good sleeping patterns within baby's first year, what would they be?  

Tip#1: CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Babies and children love routine and predictability.  To start, create a calm and consistent bedtime routine. Doing the same routine every night helps prepare your child for sleep and lets them know that sleep time is coming. A great routine could include: a bath, PJ's, a bottle or breastfeed, a short story, a song and then into bed AWAKE (with lots of kisses and hugs of course!). With time and consistency, this routine should help your child become comfortable with their peaceful sleep space and be happy to go to sleep on their own!

Tip #2: DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE EARLY BEDTIME

One of my favourite sleep catch phrases is "sleep begets sleep".  I find that many parents are afraid that an early bedtime will result in an early wake, but this is often not the case.  They key is to ensure your child takes age-appropriate naps throughout the day, and gets to bed before they become overtired at night (for most toddlers and preschoolers, this means around 7pm!). This will help your child unwind more easily and fall into a deep, restful sleep. By doing so, your child will be able to get a solid 10-12 hours of sleep during the night!

Tip #3: HOLD THE PROPS!

When a baby has learned only one way of falling asleep – i.e. being rocked, using a soother, being fed to sleep, etc. – then it’s common for them to wake multiple times per night and take only short naps during the day. Essentially, if a baby is dependent on something or someone for sleep, they are looking for this to get to sleep at ALL times. Then when they wake, they cannot transition to the next sleep cycle and continue sleeping. To help your baby begin to sleep more independently, avoid the props and, instead, put your baby down awake to help them learn to fall asleep on their own – this is how babies begin to sleep through the night and take restful naps!

Have a question to ask? Heather offers a free 15 minute consultation ~ send her an email at - heather@weesleep.ca


If you had any advise to give a new mom!

Being a new Mom is a very exciting time but can also be quite overwhelming.  Practicing self-care is easier said than done but it's so important for the mental health of all Moms. Yes, there will be times when you will "sleep when the baby sleeps"; however, there is much to be said for the benefits of a hot shower + clean clothes, a cup of coffee (that hasn't been re-heated five times) or even enjoying a warm meal sitting down.  Don't be afraid to ask for help - your baby needs you but you need to look after yourself, too!

What do you wish to remember the most about your children today?

Their creativity, silliness, drive for independence and love of hugs.  Most of all, I wish to remember their compassion and love for one another.  Oh yes, there is definitely sibling rivalry but there are those moments of tenderness that tug at your heartstrings - they MUST hug + kiss when they part in the morning, then again before bed; they show genuine concern (most times) when the other is hurt. As their mother, I can only hope that this bond grows even stronger over the years!

Images of Heather and her sweet munchkins all taken by yours truly at the One Diaper Canada Charity Event

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One Year Portraits - Toronto Baby Photographer

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One Year Portraits - Toronto Baby Photographer

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Celebrating one year portraits for this sweet little angel. It was so lovely to meet her family, all the way from Mexico and in their first months in Canada. Mom brought along her sister and we explored the beautiful Alexander Muir Park in Toronto. They were so excited and I was equally thrilled to take first year portraits of such a pretty little lady. She had just learned to walk, so you can image she wanted to lead the show! 

I am at least in Toronto once a month, if you are interested in having me capture your family, send me a note here

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Framed Prints Keep Stories Alive - Ottawa Family Photographer

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Framed Prints Keep Stories Alive - Ottawa Family Photographer

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With the current digital phenomena, we've redirected our photo viewing of life's most precious moments to our computer or phone screens. Some of us even losing them to upgrades in technology or simply forgetting they exist in our overflowing hard-drives. Photography has began to slowly lose its physical power, more in the relation to the emotional impact when we hold prints in our hands. I share my personal views on the topic today because its been on my mind. To be exact it has been on my mind over the last few months as I've been creating a gallery wall in my new studio space. I've been digging deep through my large archive of images and deeply analyzing what I wanted my images to say to my viewers. Most have experienced this hard visual process by simply trying to select images from their sessions! Its hard, oh so hard to make the commitment to where you want to display photos in your home. There is also the expense of printing and budgeting how large to make an existing gallery wall. There are many factors to consider and a whole topic to cover for another day! 

What I do know is this ~ there is nothing better than the instant joy when passing by a framed image of your family, you feel proud, connected and deep love that cannot be described just felt by the experience itself. 

I will share images from my new studio space in the coming weeks! 

If you wish to receive updates on photo topics, tips and promotions, I invite you to subscribe to the studio newsletter. You will receive exclusive content only available there, click here and I welcome you!

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Toddlerhood can be Magical - Toronto Family Photographer

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Toddlerhood can be Magical - Toronto Family Photographer

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My goal for every session is to create a collection of images that echo true feelings of a frozen moment in time. In the case of toddlerhood, it is very special to see the personality of a little person come to life. Toddlers are know to be active, busy and adventurous making most parents feel uneasy to have them photographed. Case in point, I often hear how all the photos mom or dad are attempting at home come out blurry and do not show any true emotion to the cute, sweet little person they are head over heels in love with. Sometimes they bring this energy to their session as they see their little toddler being busy and disinterested, they immediately begin to worry if I even got a single photo of their sweetness. I tend to remind parents that their vision is slightly altered by the Rolodex of experiences they've had with their child to date.... while mine is focused on the story of our moment in time ~ I have a vision and my energy is directed towards creating it in a more peaceful way. This an area I explore with every client before we book a session as it is so important to understand the deep psychology that goes into creating images and how they have different emotional effects on us. A great topic that I will explore another time ...
Today, enjoy all the sweetness that comes with watching parents love on their child and simply the beauty of being together!

The experience in their own words .....

Thank you so much - these are stunning! It's exactly how you said it would be - the session felt chaotic for us but the pictures you captured make it seem like such a slow peaceful morning session :) We are thrilled with how they turned out and the lighting is amazing. I'm glad we made a last minute switch to a sunrise session! You have an amazing way of capturing real moments between families and we are so thankful to be able to work with you.
Thanks again ~ Marieke Greve

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This Is Us - Toronto Lifestyle Photography

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This Is Us - Toronto Lifestyle Photography

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I've been capturing portraits of Jimi since the wee little age of 2. Every year, we celebrate how much he is growing and the beautiful bond mom and him have. Its so special and beyond an honour to be invited to watch, observe and document how I see their relationship grow deeper. This year our session landed on Jimi's actual 6th birthday! We decided hanging around the lively their Junction neighbourhood in Toronto was best. Here we are exploring the streets and being nothing more than happy to show off life just the way it is! 

Receiving mom's feedback after viewing her gallery, I was moved as my deep passion lies in creating art in your everyday moments.

OMG THIS IS SO US!!!!! YOU DID IT!!!!

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE, WILL GO ON A VIEWING FRENZY TONIGHT
OMG OMG HE IS SO PRETTY

I CAN'T STOP ALL-CAPS I'M SO HAPPY WITH THESE
THANK YOU!!!!!

Talk soon, my friend!

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Art for Cloth - Ottawa Fundraising Event

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Art for Cloth - Ottawa Fundraising Event

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You are invited to participate in the
One Diaper Canada Charity Event

October 21st 2017 between 9am and 1pm

In Canada, 1 in 5 families is impacted by diaper need (the inability to provide enough clean diapers for their baby) because they are struggling financially. ONE DIAPER CANADA is committed to helping families in need by providing complete cloth diaper kits free of charge. Each of these kits costs the charity $100 to assemble, this includes: diaper repairs, sanitization, a cloth diapering information booklet, packaging and shipping.

One Diaper Canada + Irina Fortey Photography have joined forces to help more families receive cloth diaper kits in the coming 2018 year. We are co-hosting this fundraising event to provide donating families with a photography experience to keep alive the memory of their generosity.

 A minimum donation of $100 will allow you to receive a free photography session and 5x7 gift portrait.
Donating families will receive a time slot to create a family portrait on October 21st between 9am – 1pm at Irina Fortey Photography’s Gallery located in Ottawa.

100% of the proceeds will go towards One Diaper Canada. Tax receipts for the full donation amount will be provided to all donors.
One Diaper Canada will also be accepting donations of used or new cloth diapers for drop-off at the studio on the day of your photo shoot.

If you are unable to attend, please consider making a donation to help, I will offer a $50 off photography voucher for any future session with your donation.

CLICK .... DONATE .... BE REWARDED
https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/one-diaper-canada/events/art-for-cloth/

 

 

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How is Professional Photography Priced?

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How is Professional Photography Priced?

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The cost of professional photography can be confusing for the average consumer. I wanted to take the time and go over a few key points to help you better understand how a professional photographer charges for their service and products. 

These three outlined elements determine how much a photographer will charge to complete a collection of images from any family session. The time allocated to each of the three is where you will see price difference evident, which in most cases is where the misunderstanding as to why one photographer can charge $150 while another is $900 or more. Photographers know that every consumer's needs can be a bit different, so as you review these areas keep in mind that what works for your family may not be the same for another. How you choose to invest your time when working with an independent photographer will also play a role in the end price point. 

Let's begin!

Style
You will find various styles of images when you visit a photographer's portfolio. Some will be taken in studio, with props, outdoors, in a home or simply in a documentary setting. Each of these styles have a particular way in which they are captured. For example, in a studio, a photographer has a controlled setting, they usually set up their lights to yield a particular constant light to their images. They have almost no changes to make from one session to the next. In contrast, an on-location photographer is working with a larger range of lighting conditions and will need to plan accordingly to create a desired look to their images. They have more equipment to bring with them and operate it dynamically at said location. As you browse portfolio's take note to what you are most drawn to and think about how you see yourself in their work, this can be either in their studio or a particular outdoor location. 

Experience
I believe this to be the most important one! I am personally a lifestyle photographer, it is very important to me to get to know a family or child before I capture images of them because it allows me to visually blend their personality to the art I will be creating of them. This takes time, I meet with each family/child before their session in a no stress, fun, chit chat and play environment. It allows me to observe my subjects in their natural environment and give them an opportunity to get to know me before I place my camera between us. This process is time consuming and I need to charge accordingly to how I produce the final product. In contrast, another photographer may choose to work with a family without ever meeting them before hand, with very little investment in time outside of the actual session time. This allows said photographer to charge a lower fee as they have a shorter workflow to how they capture and deliver their final images. It is up to the consumer to decide what they feel most comfortable with and budget accordingly. For studio environments, which in most cases have a higher volume model (where multiple sessions are booked back to back) very little interaction is in place. It is for that reason, how you choose to invest in your experience with a photographer will influence the time you also invest before, during and after your session.

Product
After the session is done, you are now left with deciding how you wish to remember your experience either through prints or albums. A newer trend I've seen over the years is copies of only digital files, as many are seeing the desire to share only on social platforms. Some photographers have began to include the digital files as the only add on to the session while others like myself find deeper value in providing albums and prints as a collection. The final product plays a huge roll to time allocated to creating them as well as the physical products cost from professional suppliers. It is very important you consider the effort that went into creating the permanent display.

This sums up the three areas that will influence the price of your photography investment. If there is one thing you should take away from this overview is the importance in doing your research. Every independent photographer is creating their own creative vision and its best you connect with one that meets the needs of you family. 

To get to know me more, here is a short bio and frequently asked questions about lifestyle photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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