Ottawa Doula Services
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Blog discussing pregnancy, birth & parenting in Ottawa. 

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Interview with Wendy of Soft Landings

I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy from Soft Landings a few weeks ago. 

Read below to learn more about her amazing business and how she is helping new parents. Her services, along with your doula can help you enter parenthood feeling confident and ready to manage all the challenges ahead!
What made you start Soft Landings? 
I started Soft Landings Infant Care Workshops because during my first pregnancy I found so much of the information out there for new parents was either incomplete, inaccurate or contradictory. I’m a researcher by nature, and I wanted facts – what to do, who said it and why – and that was much harder to find than that I thought it should be. My workshops are evidence-based and any recommendations are from primary resources that specialize in infant health, like the Canadian Pediatric Society, Health Canada and Transport Canada (for car seats).
What is your motivation?  What are you goals?
My goal is to increase confidence and knowledge in new moms and dads. Our society has changed a bit – a generation ago, most families had many children, so the oldest gained experience caring for the youngest sibling, and eventually, the youngest experience taking care of the older sibling’s babies. Now families are usually quite small. Most of my clients have had little to no opportunity to care for a small baby before and that can feel overwhelming. It’s such an important job, but we often don’t have any training in the very basics, like feeding, bathing and soothing.My motivation comes with every workshop. I can see the change in my clients faces as they move from uncertainty to, an “okay, we’ve got this, we’re going to be fine” attitude that comes over them by the end of a session, and that’s wonderful to see.
Who benefits most from your classes ?
I serve a variety of parents-to-be and new parents who are looking to learn more about caring for their first child from birth through age one. Soft Landings’ workshops take place in the client’s own home and are customizable, based on what the couple is interested in learning more about.  Some of the reasons clients have cited for choosing Soft Landings are:
*Flexible scheduling (I work around their schedules)
*Comfort of learning in their own home
*One-on-one (or two) learning dynamic
*Variety of topic choices
*Shorter length of session (2 - 2.5 hours)
*Hands on demonstrations
*Judgement-free – the workshops cover breastfeeding and formula, cloth and disposable diapers
What is your favorite class to teach? 
One of my favorites is the Parenting in Ottawa workshop. It not only connect parents with local parenting resources like the Ontario Early Years Centres, breastfeeding clinics and other infant support networks in their area, but I also introduce them to their own neighbourhood and community with the new lens of a parent. I locate the local parks, splash pads, playgroups, community centres, library baby groups and mommy & me classes right in their area that they may never have noticed before.
Sometimes becoming a parent can feel isolating, especially if your network of friends doesn’t have kids the same age. That workshop helps ensure that they have a list of (often free) activities to do with little ones so they can get out, be social and build an alternate network. I also cover how to be out and about in all of Ottawa’s wonderful weather, so that parents don’t feel stuck inside if it’s too hot, wet or cold. Knowing how to use a carrier outside in February might mean you’re more likely to go to Winterlude, and knowing how to help a baby too little for sunscreen cope on a hot summer day might mean you get out to the beach after all, and sometimes that’s really all parents need to feel rejuvenated and part of the community. The Parenting in Ottawa workshop gives confidence to start enjoying the city as a family as soon as possible.
How do we keep in touch and learn more?  
People can go to the Soft Landings website, www.softlandings.ca to learn more about the workshops and to access my resources page for new parents. They can also follow me on Facebook.
What is your #1 tip for new parents?
My number one tip to new parents is to trust their instincts; it’s quite literally why they have them. There’s a lot of unsolicited advice and judgement when you have a new baby, but no one has ever had your baby before and no one will know your baby as well as you do. It’s always good to read and listen to the advice of others, but then make the decision that’s right for your family.
When is the best time to sign up for your classes?
Booking a session between 20 and 35 weeks is ideal. By then moms-to-be are usually a bit more energized and couples may have started their journey of learning know what they’re interested in learning more about.
However, some parents book a session once they’re settled with a new baby and want to learn more about introducing first foods or what a move to cloth diapers might look like.

About Soft Landings Infant Care Workshops:
Soft Landings offers personalized, in-home workshops for new and expecting parents in the Ottawa area. Our sessions cover everything you need to know before bringing baby home and through their first year. We come to you, at a time that suits you best so you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
Based on unbiased, fact-based information, we help you make informed decisions that are right for your family.  From choosing diapers and first foods to child proofing basics and car seat safety, we help make your introduction to parenthood a little easier. With friendly workshops, hands-on demonstrations and an opportunity to compare baby items (diapers, carriers, etc.), our goal is to give you confidence in your new role as a parent. 
A session runs 2 hours and covers 4 workshops of your choosing (see options below). Sessions include a resource package of important numbers and a personalized list of resources located right in your neighbourhood, such as local community support programs, breastfeeding clinics, baby & me classes and libraries.

Workshop topics include:
*Baby Care Basics
*Childproofing Your Home
*Choosing a Car Seat
*Demystifying Diapers
*First Foods
*Parenting in Ottawa
*Welcome Home, Baby (the first week)