sleeping baby“Why on earth did you do that?”

This is the most common question I get when I tell people that my partner and I moved from Vancouver to Owen Sound two years ago. But after 25 years of city living, I was ready to come back to the landscape of my heart and soul. It also brought me close to my parents, so I didn’t have to worry about and miss them so much. And, as stunning as Vancouver is, I was never able to live close to nature. Here, it’s just a five-minute walk from my door to the lake, gorgeous fields of wildflowers or snow, and all the sounds of birds, insects, and scolding chipmunks; it’s heaven to me.

Before moving here, my work, since 2002, was helping families to prepare for and embrace childbirth and new parenthood through birth doula services, massage, postpartum care, prenatal classes, birth pool & TENS rentals, and baby sign language classes. One of the last births I attended in Vancouver, as well as the first one I attended here, took place amid severe snowstorms and I came very close to being the primary caregiver both times, which is not something I’m trained for! The midwives did manage to make it, though and when they arrived, they quickly and quietly set up, ready to take over if needed, but let things unfold as they had been. With a little support and encouragement from me, two mothers in two bathtubs, in two different cities, brought their babies to their chests for their first moments earth-side. This coincidence was a beautiful connecting thread that gave me a feeling of resonance between my old life in Vancouver and my new one here in Owen Sound. It also gave birth to my new business name: Pure Harmony Families.

These past two years, I’ve focused mainly on the mobile massage aspect of my business, but when Covid-19 hit, I had to take a hiatus. Even when the College of Massage Therapists said it was safe for people to get massage, I didn’t feel comfortable being in such close quarters indoors, even with a mask on. In August, though, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t limited to working indoors at all; with the wonderful weather it was great timing to switch to outdoor massage! I got a platform for my table and a tent for times when there was a little light rain and I had a way to keep on doing what I love. Now I’m not sure I ever want to do it differently in the summertime. It’s pretty blissful doing bodywork outdoors with the sounds of nature helping clients to relax and feel at peace in their own backyard.

But winter is coming and with that drop in temperature I’ve had to put backyard massage on hold till next summer and move online. In my work at Sweetpea, the wonderful downtown shop that caters to families with babies and young children, I get to talk to a lot of parents. Just as those I worked with in Vancouver, parents here struggle with their own sleep as well as with pressure from many sources about when, where, and how much their baby is sleeping. Being trained in infant sleep education by neuroscientist Greer Shelby, I thought that this was a great opportunity to foreground Infant Sleep Coaching for Pure Harmony Families.

As the only Infant Sleep Coach and Educator in Grey Bruce, I want to help parents tune in to their own instincts and learn how those instincts are usually in line with the best evidence we have about how caregivers can help babies to truly thrive and grow to be balanced, loving, courageous, and independent adults. I’ve found that when parents understand normal infant sleep development and get more sleep themselves, they also gain a boost in confidence about their parenting skills and feel more attuned to their babies as a result.

I’m looking forward to connecting with lots of new and expecting parents who want to have the best sleep possible and develop even stronger bonds with their little ones.

Aimée Sturley
Pure Harmony Families


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