Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Daddy's Important Role in Breastfeeding

Kristi's husband cuddled so Mom could shower.
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
A couple of weeks ago we did an ANM LIVE video about how important Dad is to the breastfeeding relationship. We asked you to share some of the ways that your husband makes nursing easier for you, and like always, you had terrific responses. Today I want to share some of those responses as a way to help all of our dads think about the many ways that they can be involved in breastfeeding.

Practical Help

Meeting obvious (or not-so-obvious) needs is a terrific way that Dad can help make breastfeeding easier for Mama and baby. April noted that her husband cleans the pump parts and gets the pumping bag ready to go in the morning. "He is always super careful never to waste milk." She adds that, "He always asks about how my pumping at work is going and tells me, 'You're a good cow, Bess.'"

Kayla said, "My husband has been amazing. He makes sure I have water every time I feed my son. He brings me snacks, cleans my pump parts if I need him to, and holds the baby until I am ready. He has been so supportive constantly making sure I take my vitamins and calling me to make sure I have eaten enough." Numerous mothers mentioned how helpful it is for Dad to make sure they have water and a snack while nursing.
Emily's husband keeps their 3 year old entertained.

Taking care of older siblings is a wonderful way for Dad to really make a difference. Carrie says, "He helps me get big sister ready for bed so I can nurse little sister to sleep!" Emily said of her husband: "He helps do so much. The biggest help is keeping the 3 year old out of my hair."  

 Making sure Mom gets sleep and helping with diaper duty are other really practical ways that Dad can help.  Lacey noted that her husband "also changed every diaper for the first week and all the night time diapers when he started back working." Sometimes Mom just needs to get a shower. Kristi's husband was very helpful at those moments: "When I needed to shower, he would do skin to skin!" Jessica said, "My husband takes over and sends me to bed with earplugs after some feedings to get a good nap without any interruptions until the next feeding. He also makes sure I have diapers and wipes stocked, and he keeps the laundry going."

Katie's husband is a SAHD.
Tiffany's husband demonstrated another very practical way that Dad can step in "In the beginning he did literally everything. I only fed the baby and napped for the first 2 weeks. He cleaned, cooked and took care of me through my daughter and I having thrush and a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. He also never pushed formula on me when she wasn't gaining properly." When Dad picks up the burden of cooking, cleaning and laundry those first weeks, it really makes a difference.  

Katie's husband is a stay-at-home-dad who has been very proactive in supporting her breastfeeding and pumping: "He's become a pro at pace feeding, bottle prep and milk storage. He doesn't complain when I ask for water, snack or anything else in the middle of feedings. He has so much patience with us. And most importantly, he helps me defend our decision to breastfeed our son to anyone who speaks out of place about it."

Help at the Breast
Haley's husband helped syringe feed.

Sometimes Dad ends up actually helping Mom latch the baby on. Lacey explained, "My husband helped me latch my son all of the time when he was a newborn because I had trouble doing it. He would put pillows under my arms and make sure I was comfortable every time I breastfed." Brittany's husband was helpful in a similar way. She says, "Dad actually latched her in the hospital during our skin to skin for the first time!! I was still in shock that I was a mom!!"

When Mom and baby struggle with latching, sometimes suck training or finger feeding is necessary. Haley's husband helped with that; she explains: "Dad took time to clean his hands to my satisfaction and syringe feed our sweet girl rather than bottle feeding because I was nervous about nipple confusion and still needed to pump a little due to an extremely painful inverted nipple."  

Brittany's husband latched her baby on
for her right after birth.

Emotional Support

Another critical area where Dad can make all the difference in the world is emotional support. Many mothers expressed tremendous appreciation for their partners' words of affirmation. Annie said, "My husband helped me most by encouraging me to do whatever I think is right, by never letting me down, by reminding me what my goal was when we got thrush again or my milk was gone, by telling me how beautiful I am while feeding our daughter and by telling me what a wonderful mother I am." Sarah felt like her husband has always been her biggest ally. She explains, "When I was pregnant there wasn't even a question of if I'd breastfeed. He spent so much time reading. I remember seeing his search history full of things like 'how to help my wife breastfeed.' We still had moments when he didn't feel like he could do enough to provide comfort for our nursling. I wish he would have really known supporting me was enough."   

Kellie's husband always has their backs!
Supporting Mom when she nursed in public or around extended family is another area where Dad can make a huge difference. April noted that she appreciated her husband "being supportive about nursing in places like church or restaurants which I know he might have struggled with because he can be very modest."  Nora said of her husband, "He will almost always put his arm around me, especially when I seem timid about nursing in public. It makes me feel supported and protected."

Sarah's husband supported her unconditionally.
Sarah sums up the epitome of a supportive husband as she describes the man she married: "He is my rock and my safe place, He supported me every step of the way when I chose to drive 3 hours to have our second baby after a traumatic birth experience with our first. He advocated for our son to get the help he needed with his tongue tie when we were in the hospital and I was just to tired and sore to deal. He was there helping me and supporting me when we discovered our son had food intolerances and I had to cut so many things out of my diet. He never questioned my decision to keep nursing even when others did."

Any father who wants to can be his wife's greatest advocate and cheerleader. You've just read numerous ways that you can make a real difference for your wife. I look forward to seeing more and more fathers leading the way in encouraging their wives as they provide baby's perfect food!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Local Mom Warns About Threat at Big Spring Park

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
I came across something on Facebook the other night that really disturbed me. A local mom had posted a warning based on something that happened to her Saturday when she took her new puppy and 3 children to Big Spring Park. Earlier that day I had come across this post at ATTN: which highlights the fact that 2 million children worldwide are being trafficked as sex slaves. Laura Parker of Exodus Road estimates the total number of people in slavery worldwide as over 45 million. According to the Global Slavery Index, 57,700 people are living in slavery in the United States.

In 2013, the FBI warned that sex trafficking was on the rise in North Alabama partly because we are right in the middle of a trafficking triangle that connects Birmingham, Nashville and Atlanta. Just last year a ring was busted in Nashville!  That's WAY too close to home! The really terrifying thing here, though, is that over half of those cited wanted sex with a minor. Sadly, this sting didn't catch the monsters responsible for holding these children in slavery. But another 2016 sting did catch a North Alabama lawyer who was part of a trafficking ring with underage victims.

Madison County Chief Deputy David Jernigan addressed the
media after arrests in a 2015 trafficking case.
That's why I couldn't help but be shaken when I read this post. Even more disconcerting were the hundreds of responses from other mothers who had experienced similarly creepy situations all over the Tennessee Valley. The threat is very real!

The Disturbing Facebook Post

Just a heads up... If anyone is going to Big Spring Park in Huntsville please keep your eyes on your kids at all times! I had a VERY strange and unsettling experience there this Saturday (3/4/17) and it left me never wanting to take my 3 kids out without my husband ever again. Luckily I carry everywhere I go, but I still pray that I never have to use my weapon. I seriously thought I was going to have to this past weekend. Sex trafficking is for real y'all. It's much more common than we think. People work in groups of 2 or more. Often times one person will try to distract you from your children while the other person snatches them up. It's not just at big spring park either. It's everywhere. The world is not what it was 30 years ago.

Here's what happened:
I was with my 3 kids and my new puppy. I had seen a woman in her mid 30's watching us from afar with her big boxer on a leash. She finally came up to us, and was very interested in my dog. I immediately felt uneasy because she got extremely too close way too fast as if her dog was some powerful beast that she was unable to control. Too bad I had just watched her for the 10 minutes she was watching us, and saw how very well behaved her pup was even when a duck was right in his path. Anyways, while she was making small talk, I noticed a very large (not fat, just very built) man pacing back and forth watching my kids. I hadn't seen him at all, even tho I'm extremely aware of my surroundings especially with all 3 kiddo's in tow by myself. I got an extremely uncomfortable feeling and very scared, all while this woman was still trying to talk with me. I made eye contact with him, so he knew I knew he was there, and the woman who was just chatty Kathy with me for about 5 minutes just walked away. Didn't even say goodbye. Just walked away. I told my 2 older ones to grab my arms and walk fast with me. The man watched me walk away. When I made it to my car, I got my kids in and I was looking out of my window to try and spot these folks. The lady was wearing a bright red jacket so it wasn't like I could miss her or anything. I couldn't see her anywhere. She was gone. But then... THEN y'all!!! I see this man j walking and crossing the street and heading straight for my car. I hopped in, put my keys in the ignition and started pulling out of the parking lot. This man watched me drive away, and the eye contact he held was very eery and creepy. I thank God for protecting my children, and I'm so beyond grateful that nothing happened. Be aware of your surroundings ALWAYS!

What Can You Do?

If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your gut! It is far better to overreact where there is no danger than to fail to react where there is! These tips will help you and your children stay safe. If you are in a situation where somebody is making you uncomfortable, leave. As you are leaving, pull out your cell phone and start recording the situation. Get faces and voices, and be sure that any suspects can tell they are being recorded. Call the police immediately and describe the suspects. Or better yet, when you get into your car, drive to the police station. Do not drive home or to a relative's house because you might be followed.

Teach your children to run and raise a ruckus like a child did just today when somebody makes them feel uneasy. Fortunately neighbors stepped in to help the child who was on the way home from school.  Dads, make sure you are actively involved in your daughters' lives. These creeps prey on little girls who are looking for a father-figure. If you really want to make a difference, you can join the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.  They welcome volunteers! 

Y'all, the horrifying truth is that this is happening right here in our backyard. But we have a STRONG parenting village, and together we can send the message that the Tennessee Valley won't tolerate predators!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We Can Help You Get Your Breastpump Through Insurance!

The Spectra S2 is a top quality double electric pump.
 by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

A Nurturing Moment is excited to announce our new partnership with Aeroflow Medical Supply which will allow us to help you get the breastpump of your choice through insurance. One frustration that many mothers have expressed to me is that their insurance would only provide one brand of pump. For many of you, we will be able to change that!

We are able to work with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, United HealthCare, TriCare, and Aetna. Those who have the Federal BCBS plans will still need to go through Caremark to get a pump. Currently, most plans do have some degree of coverage for your breast pump. Some plans require that you meet a deductible first. Others only cover a percentage .  Some policies require you to wait until the last month of pregnancy to get a pump. Other policies allow you to get it earlier in your pregnancy. Each plan is different. That's why the specialists at Aeroflow are experts at helping you figure out exactly what your insurance will cover and when you can receive your pump.
Many mothers trust the Medela Pump In Style.

To find out exactly what you qualify for, bring your insurance card and prescription to us or scan and email them to anm@knology.net. We will have you fill out a form with your basic information, and we will enter your information via our portal. As soon as we receive an answer, we will contact you. You may choose to pick up your pump here if we have it available or it can be shipped directly to your house.

If your insurance will cover a hospital grade pump,
we can help you out.

Need to Rent a Hospital Grade Pump?

We also work closely with Heart Sail, another terrific company, to help families who need a hospital grade pump that is covered by insurance. In certain situations, insurers will actually cover the rental of a hospital grade pump. Nick at Heart Sail can work with you to figure out what your coverage is through Blue Cross Blue Shield or TriCare.

Don't let the ins and outs of getting your pump through insurance overwhelm you. We are here to help and look forward to serving you!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Call for Legislation to Protect Breastfeeding Mothers

 by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Regardless of where you fall politically or how you feel about the Affordable HealthCare Act of 2010 (Obamacare), the fact is that breastfeeding mothers have been granted some amazing benefits as a direct result of this legislation. Mothers in 2017 can expect certain rights and benefits that their counterparts just 10 years ago did not enjoy.
  • Insurance coverage of a breast pump (the type of pump may vary based upon the particular insurance plan a mother has).
  • Lactation support covered by insurance (this again depends upon the availability of in-network providers).
  • Mandated break time to pump at work and a place to pump that is not a bathroom.
With plans in place to repeal Obamacare, mothers stand to lose these valuable benefits. This is a problem not only for the individual mothers affected, but ultimately for society as a whole. Research has demonstrated that when we enable mothers to breastfeed for a longer period of time, healthcare costs for the child are actually reduced. This savings is especially significant for low-income populations.  Furthermore, when mothers receive support for pumping in the workplace, it actually provides significant savings to their employers. In fact, this document has been prepared specifically to help employers realize those savings by providing a mother-friendly atmosphere in the workplace.
This is a valuable resource for employers.

The Future 

As we look toward the future, It seems that there is some semblance of a plan to move forward. However, there are certainly no guarantees that coverage for the things that are important to breastfeeding mothers will continue. If these coverages are dropped, it will affect millions of mothers who must return to work after giving birth. Their babies may not have the same ease of access to breastmilk enjoyed by babies in the last few years. These mothers may not have access to affordable professional lactation support.

One solution that would ensure the continuation of these benefits is specific legislation that does mandate continued coverage of breast pumps and professional lactation support. It should also mandate workplace access to a safe, clean, private place to pump as well as non-penalized break time, expanding that coverage to include salaried employees as well as hourly employees. Under current law many salaried managers do not enjoy the same protection that hourly workers in the same company are guaranteed. Teachers and other professionals may also struggle because they are not protected by the laws that ensure other workers can pump. 

from the Kansas Business Case
During the last two Congressional sessions, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) sponsored the Supporting Working Moms Act. The goal of this piece of legislation was to ensure a fair and uniform national policy by extending the current law to cover salaried employees. I would propose that this Act be expanded to include all of the breastfeeding provisions that stand to be lost if Obamacare is repealed. Furthermore, I would hope to see it's passage linked in some way to any healthcare reform that is passed. If the goal is to ultimately save money, this is a clear way to ensure that fewer healthcare dollars are spent on sick babies.

Simple Wishes makes working and pumping easy.
In the current political climate, it would be good for this bill to be seen as a bi-partisan effort. Therefore, I would hope to see Republican co-sponsors step forth. This is not a Democrat or Republican matter. Rather, it affects the right of all babies to receive the nutrition designed specifically for them.  I urge you to contact your senators and representatives to ask them to co-sponsor the Supporting Working Moms Act and expand it to protect the provisions that could be lost if the Affordable Healthcare Act is Repealed.

My Letter

Dear Senator Shelby,

I work with mothers and babies every day as a lactation consultant in North Alabama. Although I was not a proponent of Obamacare, the last few years we have seen an increase in breastfeeding rates. In Alabama breastfeeding initiation rates climbed from 64% in 2010 to 67% in 2014. That 3% increase represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare savings. More importantly, however, the number of mothers breastfeeding the full year recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics climbed from 11.8% to 15.9%. I believe that increase can be directly attributed to the provisions of the Affordable HealthCare Act which provide breast pumps to mothers and offer guidelines to employers regarding employees who pump. 

I am thankful that this Congress is looking for ways to improve the healthcare dilemma in our nation. There is currently a piece of legislation called the Supporting Working Moms Act that has been introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the past two Congressional Sessions. Its purpose was to extend the protections of the AHCA to salaried employees. However, I would like to suggest that it be expanded to contain all the protections currently provided to breastfeeding mothers in the AHCA which include the following:
  • Insurance coverage of a breast pump (the type of pump may vary based upon the particular insurance plan a mother has).
  • Lactation support covered by insurance (this again depends upon the availability of in-network providers).
  • Mandated break time to pump at work and a place to pump that is not a bathroom.
I would like to respectfully request that you recommend these changes and co-sponsor this bill that will help thousands of your constituents. Thank you for taking the time to consider this. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about breastfeeding support in Alabama.

Sincerely yours,

Make It Your Own

I want to challenge each of you to adapt this letter (even if you just use the second paragraph and what follows) and send it to your senators and congressmen. One voice alone doesn't sound very loud, but when we all lift our voices together, they won't be able to ignore our ROAR! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day, Mama!

 by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

You are your baby's first love! This year we decided to celebrate that fact in a very special video. In January we asked you to submit photos of you and your baby, and your response was overwhelming! Our advertising team had a really tough job selecting which photos to use in the video they created. We decided to feature a few pictures here that were not used in the video, but that capture the essence of that amazing moment when a mother falls head over heels in love with the precious baby she has been carrying for the last 9 months.

We are so excited to present this video to you as our Valentine's Day Gift. We hope you love it as much as we do!

What was that moment like for you? Did you cry? Did you laugh out loud? Were you too exhausted to even enjoy it? Each birth is different, and so much of what happens to a mother during childbirth affects her experience!

Tell us about that #firstlove moment! We love helping you nurture your cherished memories❤❤