Saturday, April 25, 2015

Worship Before the Throne of God

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
If you come into A Nurturing Moment, you're likely to hear K-Love Christian radio playing because I love the atmosphere it provides. I listen to K-Love in my car, too. Since I spend a lot of time on the road between the store, Athens-Limestone Hospital and my home, I get to listen to a LOT of amazing songs; in fact, my little Honda transforms into a rolling worship service sometimes! Just this week I heard this version of How Great Is Our God for the first time.
It literally brought tears to my eyes because it took me back to our time in Costa Rica when we were in language school preparing to go to Peru. We had found a church that was pastured by a Peruvian pastor in a suburb of San Jose. Together with some Swiss friends from our language school we had gotten involved in this amazing congregation.

Our Costa Rican brothers and sisters take prayer very seriously. One night we had a vigilia -an all night prayer meeting where we spent time praying, worshiping and sharing sweet fellowship. As we stood in a circle holding hands and singing, I found myself between my Swiss friend and a dear Costa Rican sister worshiping with all my heart as we sang a Spanish song.

Suddenly it struck me that I was experiencing a tiny foretaste of Heaven - I imagine that we will spend all eternity praising God in all the languages of the world with all the songs that have ever been written. And the best part of all is that we will understand all the words. I don't know about you, but it sure makes me just a little bit homesick for that day when our eternity of worship before the throne of God begins!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My C-Section Truths

by an anonymous  Guest Blogger

For a long time I didn't think that I could get pregnant. We adopted a son a few years ago and were more than content with him. But I miraculously became pregnant in 2013 and quickly decided that I wanted a natural birth. I chose a doula who was also a midwife, so I knew that I was in good hands.

Having a C-section was not on my radar. I never read that chapter in What to Expect, and I ignored any information about it because (in my mind), I thought those were either elective or emergency—and to my prideful mind, those weren’t options for me!

But after 48 hours of natural labor, my baby became stuck, and I ultimately had a C-section. It was harder than I imagined. The entire experience and the few months that followed were the hardest of my entire life. My son’s birthday is next month, and I can’t help but think (almost daily) about that time. Recently, I read this article, and it took a hold of me and hasn’t let go:

My thoughts after reading that sweet blog post:

Yes, that OR is a scary place, especially when my heart monitor chirped in my ear and scared me each time there was a missed beat. And even though I know my next home is heaven, I didn't want to leave my boys and family. 

Yes, the preppers talked about other things (the beach). My doctor asked 2-3 times where my family was, which is exactly what my inner voice was screaming. I can remember when he quietly said that he was moving my bladder, and I was so grossed out and so thankful I couldn't feel it.  My husband and doula came in very late-he had already begun.  It seemed like just a couple of minutes (and maybe it was) that my son was out, my husband was gone with him, and so began the sewing up.

I still regret, am disappointed, and am frustrated that I didn't get to see my son when he first entered this world. I still feel that I was robbed of seeing that precious boy exit my body, his home, to enter the cold, bright OR room, so foreign to what he was used to.  I still fight bitterness that I didn't get to hold him immediately and that he was robbed of the peace and warmth that should have come from being next to his mama, and hearing her now-faint heartbeat.

I still can't/don't want to look at photos of other women and their newborns resting on their chests just after birth. I still feel fight bitterness when I see happy couples with their wrapped up newborn while in the hospital. I don't have any pictures of those.  I still fight the disappointment that I only heard my son’s cry from far away to know that he was alive, rather than seeing him and holding him. I just remember just gazing into my doula’s eyes, finding/fighting for peace and strength to get through the next heartbeat.

I somehow feel that the author's use of "brave" when describing a C-section mom is somehow too strong. We mothers did what we had to do to—it’s as simple as that. When I look back on those first few weeks being home, I am still in awe that I made it...especially those first few nights. Getting up (which is incredibly hard to do when you're semi-afraid that your insides might pop out) to feed a crying baby/change his diaper every hour and a half to two hours was just plain hard. Not to mention constantly wondering/doubting if I was doing the right thing. And to think about how now I don't feel rested unless I have 7 hours of sleep!

I will say that I totally agree that a C-section leaves physical AND emotional scars. Though I believe I had an excellent surgeon and had little/no complications and don't have problems with my physical scar like many other women (and feel VERY blessed), it's so true that it's emotional, too. Don't get me wrong—yes, the end result is what really matters: healthy baby, healthy mama. But there's much more that most people—especially those who haven't been in the same situation—can't imagine.

BUT....and here's a BIG but:

Though I sometimes struggle with my disappointment and grief, I DO realize how blessed I am that I experienced the greatest miracle of humanity (other than Jesus)--being pregnant and giving birth. I can remember the pangs of loneliness when seeing pregnant women bask in that special beauty that only comes from having another life growing inside of you. I remember watching mothers breastfeeding their babies and being saddened, thinking I’d never get to have that awesome experience. I remembering being on the adoption waiting list: full of hope and excitement, all the while being anxious about the unknown. I'm fully aware of those thousands of infertile women and/or those waiting who are waiting on an adoption waiting list who would LOVE to have a baby in ANY manner and who would switch places with me in a heartbeat. I don’t believe that they would spend much—if any—time regretting what might or should have been. In the end, they would be incredibly grateful for that baby that they could call their own.
Having a C-section was not on my radar. I never read that chapter in What to Expect

Yes, things didn't go "my" way regarding the birth, but God allowed it to happen that way. And it's ok—really. I'm thankful for the opportunity, the privilege…no, the high HONOR that it is to be a mother.  (And I realize how blessed to be a mom in two different, special ways!) So, it's perhaps much easier for me to let go of those times of disappointment than others. But, like an old injury, it aches sometimes.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Coming Soon: More Fluff and More Breastfeeding Stuff

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
We are so excited to announce that we are making some BIG changes which will result in us having a HUGE selection of cloth diapers as well as an expanded selection of breastfeeding supplies and apparel.

Moo Moo Caboose is taking over all the cloth diaper merchandising within A Nurturing Moment. Owner Beth Shortt has long dreamed of having a cloth diapering business, but didn't see how it would be possible since she is homeschooling her houseful of boys. As we talked, we realized that this is a perfect solution for both of us because Beth can fulfill her fluffy desires, and I can free up money to put into breastfeeding supplies and clothing!

We will have a grand opening for Moo Moo Caboose on Saturday, April 11 from 10:30 - 2:00. She will feature all the lines we currently carry, Cotton Babies (Bum Genius and Flip), Rumparooz, Thirsties, Babee Greens, GroVia, BottomBumpers, SuperUndies and Bummis, as well as SmartBottoms,  and other brands to be announced in the near future! Beth will have an entire wall of cloth with a large selection of newborn diapers and will be making weekly orders so that you can get your entire stash right here! She will also have some pretty cool incentives to keep you shopping here like a frequent buyer card!

A Nurturing Moment will be adding another bra line in the near future, bringing in more breastfeeding supplies and adding more nursing apparel over the next couple of months. The only baby carriers we will feature will be ring slings and Baby K'tan because they are so practical for breastfeeding mothers. We encourage you to visit Acorn Treasures for all your other babywearing needs.

Our goal is to better serve the local mama community by providing the best selection possible for all your breastfeeding and cloth diapering needs. We can't wait to show you the changes, so please be sure to stop by frequently over the next few weeks! Go like Moo Moo Caboose on Facebook today to be entered into a drawing that Beth will do on Saturday.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Breastfeeding Off to a Great Start

Skin to skin family bonding after birth!
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

You know that you want to breastfeed your baby, but maybe you've heard stories about mothers who didn't make enough milk or who had a variety of problems. Many (not all) breastfeeding problems can be avoided by getting off to the right start. Today we're going to examine what that looks like!

Immediate Skin-to-Skin

The first step to a long term breastfeeding relationship is skin-to-skin contact right after birth. Let the nursing staff know that as soon as baby is born you want him placed directly on your chest. They can do all of the procedures that they need to do with baby right there on your chest. He doesn't need to be placed under a warmer because your chest is the perfect warmer for him!

Skin to skin before baby is bathed is best!
Baby will be placed on your chest naked and a warm blanket will be used to cover both of you. Some hospitals will allow you to delay eyedrops until after the first feed. It is important to note here that if there are any complications with mother or baby, this may not be possible. 

If you labor without any medication, your baby may actually latch on by himself with no help from you at all after birth. However, if you do have an epidural or even a C-section, your baby will still be ready to nurse within the first 30-45 minutes after birth.

Baby on top of mom for feed.
Research shows the following benefits for immediate skin to skin contact:

  • It helps regulate baby's body temperature
  • It helps regulate baby's breathing
  • It helps to raise baby's glucose levels
  • It facilitates breastfeeding

Positioning Baby for First Feed

If you are in a reclined position, baby may just lay right on top of you either horizontally or vertically. Baby will most likely be able to latch on with little or no help from you! 

If you feel like sitting up  instead of lying down, then you might find a reverse cradle hold or a football hold will help provide the support baby needs to stay on the breast. 

The goal of the first feed is to let baby achieve the best latch possible with as little intervention as possible. 

Baby lying horizontally with mom reclining.
Listen for swallows during the first feed.  The sound almost like tiny sighs. You should see movement all through baby's jaw, and you will see her throat move as she swallows. Even though your milk isn't in yet, your baby is getting colostrum that will form a protective seal for her intestinal tract and provide her valuable immunity. 

Let baby stay latched as long as he wants to. If he comes off and is interested in nursing on the other side, then switch sides. If not, then you will just nurse on the other side next feed.

During the First Few Days

A good latch with very little areola showing.
Every time you nurse your newborn during the first few days of life, you are creating prolactin receptors on each of your milk glands. Research indicates that early frequent feeds are a key indicator for successful long-term production of milk. You need to nurse your baby every 2-3 hours around the clock from beginning of feed to beginning of feed. The first four days or so, your newborn needs to nurse AT LEAST 10-12 times in a 24 hour period. Some babies may nurse even more!

Usually mothers who nurse frequently in the first few days have their milk come in by the fourth or fifth day. At that point baby still needs to nurse at least 8 times a day, but many will continue nursing 10 or more times in a 24 hour period. 

Upper and lower lips should be flanged.
When you nurse be sure that baby has a good latch. Latch him on with his chin low on your areola. Support your breast using a C-hold with your thumb on top and your fingers on the bottom below the areola, aiming the nipple up toward the back of baby's mouth. Wait for him to open his mouth as wide as he can, then pull him on tight. Your partner can tuck a rolled up blanket behind the hand that is supporting him for extra support. You should note that his lips are flanged , and you should see very little areola (unless you just have really big areolas!)

If It Hurts

If a baby has a good latch, your nipples will not crack or bleed. You may experience some tenderness as you get used to breastfeeding, but if your toes are curling and it's all you can do to let your baby near your breasts, then something is definitely wrong! If you are still in the hospital ask to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible. If you are home, call for the next possible appointment. It could be a problem with baby's oral anatomy or it could be that baby's latch just needs to be adjusted, or maybe your baby just needs a little bit of suck training. But get help immediately to resolve whatever issue you're having so that you and your little one can have a terrific breastfeeding experience!

Feed your baby early and often!

Special thanks to all the ANM mamas who shared these precious photos with us!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Using a SNS to Save (or Create) a Breastfeeding Relationship

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Did you know that adoptive mothers can nurse? And mothers who have problems with supply can nurse? And mothers who have premature babies with very week sucks can breastfeed? In fact, any woman who wants to breastfeed her baby can do so with an amazing device called a Supplemental Nursing System.

A mother can put formula, donor breast milk or her own milk in the bottle and attach the two tubes to the breast right at the nipple using paper tape (included with the SNS). The tubing can be closed off via a slit in the cap so that no milk will flow until it is released.

When the baby latches on and begins to suck, the mother can release the tubing allowing the supplement to flow. The specific method of use depends upon the mother's own milk supply, the baby's condition, and the reasons she is using the SNS.

Preemie or Special Needs Baby

The mother of a Premature or special needs baby will not be able to rely on her baby to establish a good milk supply. She will need to pump frequently in the early days (8-12 times a day for the first 4 days) in order to create an abundance of prolactin receptors on each milk gland. Once milk comes in, she will need to continue to pump at least 8 times a day for the next few weeks. Most exclusively pumping moms find that they settle into a routine of pumping 5-8 times a day by the time baby is a few weeks old. The SNS will allow mom to feed the pumped milk directly at the breast. Although the baby's suckling may produce some stimulation, it will not be sufficient at first. As a premature baby grows and gets stronger, his mother will find herself having to pump less and less for stimulation. Usually premature babies can wean off the SNS around the time of their actual due date or shortly thereafter.

When a premature baby first begins to feed with the SNS, mom needs to have the flow open from the beginning. Premature babies can burn a lot of calories nursing - valuable calories that they need to grow. The SNS (or a similar product like the Lact-Aid) makes it much easier to get the milk needed with much less effort. As baby grows, Mom can begin the feed with the tubing closed, then open it as the feed progresses and baby stops actively sucking and swallowing.

Infants with special needs like a cleft lip, Down Syndrome or any other condition that makes suckling difficult or ineffective may be able still have a breastfeeding relationship using the SNS. It truly varies from baby to baby, and a mother with a special needs baby really needs to work closely with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Mom with a Low Milk Supply

The SNS is a true blessing for mothers who struggle with milk supply because it allows the mother to supplement the baby right at her breast. This is vital because the active suckling of the baby actually helps stimulate Mom to make more milk.  Instead of nursing, then supplementing with a bottle if baby isn't getting enough, the SNS allows the entire feeding to happen at the breast. Whether her low supply is due to breast surgery, hypoplastic breasts, PCOS or any other condition, the SNS can help any mother feed her baby entirely at the breast.

If a mother is struggling with supply she needs to begin the feed with the SNS closed. I recommend nursing on one breast until baby stops actively sucking and swallowing, then switching to the other breast with the SNS still closed. After baby has nursed on both breasts and is no longer swallowing, return to the first breast, but open the SNS so that baby receives the supplement flowing through the tube as he nurses. This will help the baby to continue actively sucking and swallowing and actually enable him to suck deeply enough to receive some of the hind milk. It is up to Mom whether he needs to burp and switch sides again. But if he is getting more than 1 oz. of supplement, it is a really good idea to split it between the two breasts so that he is nursing 2 times on each breast
From the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. 
Photo: Barbara Robertson, IBCLC

Adoptive Moms

Just because you didn't conceive and give birth to your baby doesn't mean that you can't breastfeed him! In fact, some adoptive mothers even begin to make breastmilk by following this protocol set forth by Dr. Jack Newman. The SNS is an integral part of adoptive breastfeeding. Some adoptive mothers are able to obtain breast milk from a donor or a milk bank. NEVER pay for breast milk from an individual. If you do choose to use a donor, make sure it is someone you know and trust.

An adoptive mother will set up the SNS tubing on both breasts and begin the feed with the tube open so that baby will receive milk throughout the feed. In fact, the SNS actually helps stimulate her body to make milk. Generally, however, adoptive moms do end up needing the SNS for all feedings. is

Whether a mother is using it short term or long term. with a premature baby, a special needs baby or an adoptive baby, the fact is that a SNS is a true Godsend for the mom who cannot otherwise have a fulfilling breastfeeding relationship.