Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Comfy Mommy, Cozy Baby

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
In my breastfeeding classes, I tell expectant parents the only two pieces of furniture they really need for baby right away are a comfy nursing chair and a co-sleeper or bassinet right next to their bed.
What??? No CRIB???
 Nope, a crib isn't one of the early essentials...let's look at why:


A Cozy Place for Baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed. They encourage parents to place the infant's bassinet or crib next to the parent's bed. The beauty of the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper is that it allows your baby to be in the recommended "separate but proximate" sleep environment, but baby is easily accessible for night feedings. Because the side on the co-sleeper drops, and the co-sleeper attaches securely to the parent's bed, it is the perfect place for baby. According to information from Arm's Reach, even with the millions of parents who have utilized their co-sleepers, no infant death attributable to SIDS has ever occurred.

Arm's Reach has both mini and standard options. The mini is more like a bassinet size which baby will outgrow more quickly. A bassinet or cradle next to the bed is also a good option, but not quite as convenient for Mom. Some parents actually do bring the crib into their room and put it next to the bed. That is another safe option.

The one place a parent must NEVER fall asleep with a baby is in a recliner or on a sofa. That is far more dangerous than any other infant sleep situation. This article by Dr. James McKenna does a great job of addressing infant sleep.

A Comfy Place for Mom

Much of Mom's time will be spent with baby snuggled at the breast nursing. In the early days, some moms do nurse sitting in bed, but that can get uncomfortable after a while. A comfy sofa or loveseat is certainly an option. But many mothers want a special chair in baby's room or in their own bedroom where they can comfortably establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. When I was nursing my babies I had a Bentwood rocker. It was nice, but honestly, I was more comfortable on our loveseat. However, when I inherited my grandfather's La-Z-Boy recliner, I found my nursing home!

Today's moms want both comfort and style. The Best Chairs Storytime Series offers both! Whether you want a traditional wooden glider or prefer a more modern swivel glider or even a recliner that swivels and glides, they have what you're looking for! You can even go to their design center and build the chair of your dreams. Because all their products are made in the USA, you know that you're getting real quality. I love the way they stand behind their chairs!

Make sure you pick a chair that is a comfortable height for you. You may find that a nursing stool is a nice addition. You want to be sure that you have room for pillows to support your baby in either a cradle or a football hold. You need to be able to sit back comfortably and be well supported.  The beauty of a swivel glider is that it allows you to turn in all directions. That can be a life saver if you happen to have a busy toddler running around while you nurse your new baby.

The nice thing about a recliner is that it is ideal for laid back breastfeeding. This natural position works well for many mothers and babies, and can be especially comfortable following a C-Section. Of course it is critically important NOT to fall asleep with baby in the chair. If you feel very drowsy, you will be much safer nursing in your bed than in your chair. Middle of the night feedings in particular are probably safer in the bed.

We Want to Help You Get What You Need

At A Nurturing Moment we don't carry cribs or fancy nursery furniture. But we do carry Arm's Reach Co-sleepers and Best Chairs! We try to have to best price in town and even offer free local delivery! As an added bonus, with approved credit you can finance any furniture purchase depending on the amount for up to a year with no money down! Our passion is helping moms and babies, and we look forward to helping YOU get off to the very best start with your little blessing. 

This week only, when you mention this blog post, save 10% on any chair you order! Saturday, Sept. 20 is the final day for this offer!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Probiotics and Your Baby

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Yesterday somebody asked me about why and how an infant should be given probiotics. Those are really important questions, so let's look at the answers.

What is a Probiotic?

A Probiotic is composed of living organisms -  "friendly" bacteria - that help keep the body healthy. There are various strains of probiotics, many of which are a form of lactobacillus. When babies receive breastmilk, they actually get prebiotics which promote the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria or flora. The low concentration of proteins and phosphates in breast milk, as well as the presence of lactoferrin, lactose, nucleotides and oligosaccharides may account for this effect.  

Why Give a Baby Probiotics?

Mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding often choose not to give anything other than breast milk to their infants. However, there is some preliminary research that may indicate the ability of probiotics to reduce colic in infants. Also, any time a mother or baby receives antibiotics, the healthy bacteria in baby's gut can be altered. We know that when mother's take probiotics, they pass the healthy benefits on to their breastfed babies. However, some doctors do recommend that infants receive probiotics as well, especially if mother and baby are both dealing with Candida A. (thrush). Of course, any time a nursing mother takes antibiotics, she should always plan to take probiotics, as well.

How to Give a Baby Probiotics

When a mother takes probiotics, her baby does receive the beneficial effects. Unless baby is having specific issues necessiating a probiotic, he may very well get all he needs via his mother's milk. If he does need an infant probiotic, many experts recommend using a powdered probiotic designed for babies and applying just a little to the nipple before nursing. Probiotic infant drops also exist, but an exclusively breastfed baby probably doesn't need to go that route. It is always a good idea to talk with your baby's physician about anything you are giving him. But there are generally no harmful side effects to small amounts of probiotics.  Always be sure to follow the manufacturer's dosing  recommendations.

If you have used probiotics with your baby, please leave a comment about your experience, what brand you used and what effects you saw. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"My Smart Hands" Classes Help Baby Communicate

By Shelley Lawson, My Smart Hands instructor
Imagine…communicating with your baby before he or she can even speak, and/or being able to communicate more effectively with your toddler. Now you can! My name is Shelley, and I am so excited to be able to be teaching baby sign language classes in the Huntsville area! I am licensed through the My Smart Hands program, a 100% ASL baby sign language program. My Smart Hands is the first baby signing program to receive the Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) award of excellence.
Baby sign language reduces frustration, accelerates verbal development and strengthens cognitive skills. It also enhances child-parent bonding through time spent teaching signs to your baby. Research shows that preverbal infants can communicate through the use of sign language long before they can verbalize their needs.
In a playful, educational and language-rich environment, caregivers and children will build their American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary through instruction, interactive games and songs. You will learn recommended first signs; we will discuss the benefits of using ASL with infants and demonstrate easy techniques for successfully integrating signs into everyday life. Some of the ASL vocabulary covered for this age group includes: everyday words, family, food, animals, emotions, opposites, bed time and play signs. All of our classes include a full color MSH™ curriculum book with a CD of the songs we teach. The books have pictures of the signs learned along with descriptions for easy reference long after the class is over! Currently, I am offering the Level 1 class on Sundays from October 5th to November 23rd. The classes will be held from 3-4 at A Nurturing Moment. Cost is $150 (this includes the cost of the curriculum book). Visit mysmarthandswithshelley.com for more information, or email me at shelley@mysmarthands.com. Please register by September 16. Want proof that baby sign language can work? Check out this video of My Smart Hands founder, Laura Berg, and her daughter Fireese:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rally to Improve Birth Scheduled at ANM on Labor Day

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

I meet women every week who have been traumatized by birth, who have had their wishes blatantly ignored despite the fact that there were no imminent complications, who have been told they can't have a VBAC, who want the right to give birth THEIR way! In the vast majority of circumstances, pregnancy is a normal condition, not an illness, and childbirth, when allowed to progress normally does not need to be traumatic.

Improving Birth began with a local group of moms in San Diego, CA, but has grown into a worldwide movement of supporters who want to bring evidence-based care and humanity to childbirth. This Labor Day a group of Huntsville moms will gather in front of A Nurturing Moment as part of the international Rally to Improve Birth.What is this all about? According to their website,

This movement isn’t about natural birth vs. medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth vs. homebirth or birth center birth.
It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.  It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
We are so excited that our local event will be right here in front of A Nurturing Moment this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. You can RSVP here to let the organizers know you are coming! There will be music, refreshments, information tables, and sidewalk chalk for the kids. Just bring your sign, a lawn chair, and your commitment to improve birth in Alabama! 

If you are wondering what to put on your sign, check out this terrific video for some ideas. Even if you had the birth you wanted, you can still advocate on behalf of mothers everywhere. Every mother should have the right to choose where and how she wants to give birth. Informed consent should be automatic, not something that women have to fight for, and every woman should be able to benefit from evidence-based best practices in maternity care.

ANM is Making it a VERY SPECIAL Day

In conjunction with the Rally to Improve Birth, ANM has two very special events going on!

1. Sidewalk Sale - we will have a sidewalk sale with rock-bottom prices on many clearance items as well as rock-bottom prices on in-stock Best Chairs, Britax car seats, Medela Breastpumps and other items. We will also offer on-the-spot financing for chairs, pending credit approval (up to 12 months same as cash).

2. Lemonade Stand - Sarah Bailey's son John has been wanting to have a lemonade stand here for quite a while, so we will have a lemonade stand on Monday! If your child would like a shift working, please email Sarah . The proceeds from the shift your child works will be donated to the charity of his choice!

Please  note that our store hours on Monday will be a little different from normal. We will be open from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm so our employees can spend Labor Day afternoon and evening with their families!







Friday, August 22, 2014

An Anonymous Letter to a Birth Mother

Dear Birth Mother,

Recently, as I picked my son up from Mother's Day Out, his teacher said, "Simon is just so sweet.  He is so nice and is the same to everyone."  My first thought was not to thank God for such a wonderful boy, or to pat myself on the back for raising a loving child. No, my first thought was the same prayer I've repeated many times, "Thank you, Laura, for not aborting him."

Laura is my child's birthmother.  She was a teenager when she became pregnant, and her home life was difficult.  I imagine that abortion may have seemed to her like a good idea, perhaps the easiest way out of her situation.  But she chose LIFE- and that made all the difference to us- and for Simon.

Sometimes I just look in wonderment at Simon.  Tears rise as the thought crosses my mind: What if he had never existed?  Had she aborted him, our family—and even strangers—would not know the joy that Simon brings. We’d have missed out on his infectious laugh, his jubilant renditions of “Rocky Top” (even to a crowd in the grocery store), and his thought-provoking questions. His wonder and curiosity about the world around him makes us see things in a different light.

Other times I think about what might have been had Laura kept him.  Would he be happy?  Would she have been able to provide for him the stability he needs?  Would he be hungry? Would he be afraid?

I never thought I would be able to have children.  We adopted Simon when he was a few days old, and we were content with having just him.  Surprisingly, however, I discovered I was pregnant last fall. And finally, I got a glimpse of the ultimate compassion and sacrifice of a birthmother who gives up her baby to a forever family.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept thinking what it would be like to have a baby growing inside of me, knowing that I would give it up.  Being pregnant was almost indescribable to me.  I felt somehow chosen to bear this new life - What an enormous responsibility! I was in awe of the changes in my body and the constant flood of emotions from elation to apprehension. I imagine that Laura felt all of these things-and more.  I imagine she felt anxiety during the decision making process, fear of making the wrong decision, despair over the responsibility and change in her life, and perhaps personal grief



But should you give your baby to a forever family, I hope that you feel
·         Peace, in knowing that your baby will go to a family who can provide for their emotional and financial security.
·         Blessed,in knowing that although your pregnancy may have been a mistake, your baby is not a mistake.  That baby was meant to be in someone's family, and you are blessed to be the giver of such a gift.
·         Empowerment, in knowing that you can bring a family together forever.
·         Contentment,in knowing that you made the right decision for your baby and yourself.
·         Love, knowing that one day your child will grow to understand your loving sacrifice, while appreciating the love and gratefulness of the adoptive family.

We named our second son Asa, which means "healer."  Every moment of discomfort or pain during the pregnancy, birth, and recovery was worth it.  And when I see Simon kiss the head (or toe) of his chubby brother, I am immeasurably grateful for this family that was meant to be. 

Abortion or single parenting is not your only option; choosing adoption for your baby could be the best gift ever. When I was pregnant I had this letter—this message—already forming. Perhaps I was allowed to have Asa so that I could reach out to you to save a baby’s life from abortion or be a small part of bringing a forever family together.

You are not alone.  There are agencies out there who will envelop you in love and support you each step of the way.  They will help to make your sacrifice worthwhile.  Your choice impacts not only you, but also your baby and a potential family.  Please choose LIFE and allow a forever family the indescribable gift of happiness like Laura gave to us.

Sincerely,
A Blessed Mom

Adoption Agencies:

Family Adoption Services (This is the one we used and can’t say enough great things about them).