Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fed by God's Design

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Have you looked at your local Christian book store for a book about breastfeeding recently? Chances are you didn't find anything. That's because it doesn't exist yet...But we are changing that!

The Background

Ten years ago I began writing As a Mother Comforts Her Child: A Christian Approach to Breastfeeding (yeah, I know, that's a real mouthful, right?) I had Martha Sears review it and asked several colleagues to take a look at it and give me input. The result was a really top-notch, well-written book about breastfeeding aimed at a Christian audience.

Then I began looking for an agent or a publisher. I was thrilled when agent Carol Sue Roth agreed to represent me and find us a publisher. I couldn't believe that real live literary agent had agreed to represent me! Carol Sue was amazing. She maintained good communication and worked really hard to find us a publisher. I'll never forget the day she called me and told me that Thomas Nelson was interested in my book. Talk about a Happy Dance!! However, within a couple of weeks she called back to tell me that they were cutting unknown authors on the backlist.

I didn't realize at the time that they were about to launch a self-publishing arm. And quite honestly, I think both Carol Sue and I were pretty discouraged. My three year agreement with her came to an end, and from time to time I would think about trying to publish it myself, but I just didn't think that would work.

Where We Are Now

We are at a time when there is tremendous support for breastfeeding on a political policy level. Attitudes toward breastfeeding have continued to improve, but there is still a real need for real support. Within the church there is a real division. Many Christians have bought into a very strict schedule-based type of parenting, believing that is "God's way" to raise babies. However, an evidence-based approach combined with a serious study of Scripture indicates that meeting a baby's needs, feeding on demand, and building a solid relationship of trust in the early days are foundational keys to Christian parenting.

We believe this is the right time to get this book, which has been renamed Fed by God's Design and revised to reflect new information, to the marketplace. Our goal is to see it in the hands of Christian mothers across the country and on the shelves of Christian Bookstores in every state! You can help make this happen by being part of our Indiegogo project!

We've got some awesome perks including Digital downloads of the book, Fed by God's Design infant gifts, paperback and signed hard cover copies as well as the opportunity to have your baby's picture in the book or even on the front or back cover!

What You Can Do

This is a team effort, and we need all the players on the team we can get! We need prayer warriors. We need bloggers. We need people telling everybody in the sphere of influence about this. We need YOU doing whatever the Lord lays on your heart to make this a success!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Teenage Pregnancy Success Story



 By Bethany Hyder, Guest blogger
17 Year old Bethany with baby Anna
Smart, straight ‘A’ student, member of several honor clubs, flute player in the marching band - that is how most people would have described me in high school. By Christmas of my junior year, ‘pregnant’ was added to the list. Seeing the tiny plus sign on a pregnancy test might very well have been the most terrifying moment of my life - second to having to tell my parents that I was pregnant, of course. My boyfriend at the time (we’ll call him D) insisted that we get married, because that’s “what people would expect,” but I knew that two wrongs would not make a right. My three best friends were in complete shock, but stuck by me through it all. My parents…well, they might just be saints. 

 

The Decision Was Mine

Although they were very, very disappointed in me, they told me that they would support the decision I made - whether that was to keep the baby, or to seek adoption. My dad was very concerned that I would not go to college and finish my education. I can very clearly remember a conversation with him where he told me that he was afraid keeping the baby would ruin my life, and I said, “Not if I don’t let it.” We spent several months meeting with a Catholic Family Services counselor to discuss options. Every time the counselor asked me about my feelings towards adoption, I would cry. I could not even speak coherent sentences when it came to the idea of giving my baby to somebody else.Thankfully, I had the support of my parents. They were willing to financially support us while I finished high school and went to college so that I would be able to support us later.
Bethany's mom was a huge help with breastfeeding.

I got pregnant the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school. I tried my best to “hide” my pregnancy as long as I could, but by Christmas of my junior year, the cat was out of the bag. Most people were pretty shocked, but I never heard rude comments from anyone - not friends, not strangers. I put my friends and family in a tough situation – from my aunt and uncle having to explain the birds and the bees to my younger cousins before they were entirely ready, to my friend having to tell her mom that they needed to get a baby gift for her cousin AND her best friend. I made the decision to attend the alternative high school for the second half of my junior year. My regular high school would have allowed me to do make-up work while at home after the birth, but they required that I take all tests (and final exams) when I returned at the end of the year. The alternative school was much more flexible in that respect. I did not “fit in” at the alternative school in the least bit, but I survived, and was thankful for the flexibility when the baby was born. I spent the second half of my pregnancy going to school during the day and learning all I could about natural childbirth and breastfeeding in the evening. My mother had all four of her kids naturally, so it was the norm for me. That, and I HATE needles! Natural childbirth sounded 10x better than a needle in my back! The more I learned, the more I knew it was the right choice for me. I had a slight fear of going into labor at school, so I asked my doctor to put me on “home bound” after Spring Break. My due date was at the end of March, so I was able to spend a couple weeks at home before the birth working ahead on assignments in order to have time to completely focus on the baby once she got here.
Bethany's Dad was very involved with Anna from the start.

 

Anna Rose Arrives

On April 1, 2003, I gave birth to the most precious 7lb 12oz baby girl – Anna Rose, named after my mother. I was successful with the natural birth, with the help of my mom, dad, and sister. Yes, you read that correctly…my dad was in the delivery room! I had awful back labor, and his strength as he applied counter-pressure on my back was just what I needed during contractions. Breastfeeding got off to a great start in the hospital, with help from my favorite lactation consultant - my mom! Breastfeeding was another “norm” in my house growing up. My mom was a La Leche League Leader and eventually became an IBCLC. She has taught me so much about nursing babies over the years – even before I had one of my own to nurse! The end of my “maternity leave” coincided with the end of the school year, so I was able to stay home with Anna until she was just over 4 months old. I returned to my regular high school for my senior year, but only after arranging with the guidance counselor to be an office aide for 4th period so that I could pump breast milk halfway through the day. Having breast milk for my baby was my #1 priority - I knew the importance of that liquid gold! My mom took care of Anna while I was at school, and in the evenings after she nursed to sleep, my dad would rock her while I did school work. She slept in the bed with me which made it much easier to nurse in the middle of the night and still get enough sleep. We continued our nursing relationship until Anna self-weaned when she was around 2.5 years old.
Anna had lots of "aunts"!


My social life quickly became non-existent, but I was okay with that. My three best friends were there the day Anna was born, and continued to be a big presence in her life. Anna was a lucky little girl to have so many “aunts” to play with! My mom convinced me to go to my senior prom, afraid that I would regret it one day if I didn’t have that “experience.” I had a great time with my friends, but was ready to come home to my baby by the end of the night. 

 

The Aftermath

I successfully finished high school, graduating 10th in my class of about 270. I went to Calhoun Community College for 2 years, and then on to the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where I maintained a 4.0 average and obtained a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. I was awarded the Most Outstanding Engineering Student Award when I graduated from UAH. Sometimes I think I got the award solely because I had a child and made good grades – it surely wasn’t because I contributed anything significant to research like the top students from other departments! Getting through school was tough at times. I never considered quitting, but I held myself to a high standard as both a mother and a student, and sometimes those things conflicted. I always longed for the day that I didn’t have homework taking my time away from Anna at home. I took enough classes to remain full-time and went to school every semester – even in the summer – until I finished. I started an internship during my last year of school, and that turned into a full-time position once I graduated.

Bethany & Anna on Wedding Day!
My love life…well, D (Anna’s biological father) and I were not together by the time she was born. He was not involved in Anna’s life much at all. It was definitely a strained relationship between his family and mine. Sometimes he would act like he wanted to be involved, but it was always short lived. I did not put his name on Anna’s birth certificate, so he never paid me a penny, and he never had legal visitation rights. My father assured me that we didn’t need his money, and I couldn’t imagine shipping my breastfed baby off to spend the night away from me. He never took legal action to make any changes. I would take Anna to his house (he lived with his parents) any time they called, but that was not very often for the first two years of her life. A lot of people told me that Anna would resent me one day if she didn’t know her father, but I had to trust that she would understand. I was not going to force him to be in her life, and I knew it wasn’t good for him to come and go, either. I knew there were better role models for her out there, and I knew I didn’t want a relationship with him. I honestly figured that I would get married one day, but probably later in life. I just didn’t think any guys in their 20’s would want to take on a dating relationship with an instant family. But, shortly after Anna’s 2nd birthday, my sister introduced me to Christian. I was instantly attracted to his good looks, but what really got me was the way he treated Anna. In the first few encounters with him, he gave her all of his Chuck-E-Cheese tokens/tickets to get a great prize, and emptied his pockets of change to put in her brand new piggy bank. We dated for the next five years before getting married in 2010. In 2011, D signed over parental rights, and Christian was able to legally adopt Anna. Christian had been her daddy for a while, but it was finally legalized.While Anna has never had much of a relationship with her biological father, she does have a great relationship with his parents - her grandparents. I believe they would move mountains for her, and they have been a huge help to me throughout the years. I eventually had the dreaded conversation with Anna about who her biological father was. She was about 6 or 7 years old and asked me how I had chosen her grandmother to be her grandmother! I was totally unprepared to answer that, but I did the best I could at the time. She had known D for a long time, but only as “Grandma and Grandpa’s son.” As she got a little older, we discussed it more in depth, and so far, she doesn’t hate me in the least bit – at least not for anything surrounding her biological father! ;) 

 

Where We Are Today

Anna with her baby brother.
 Fast forward to today and we are now a family of 4. We welcomed Anna’s little brother into this world at the end of 2012, and I’m enjoying having a baby around again. It is different this time…that’s for sure! I work full-time as a civil engineer, and Christian just finished up his bachelor’s degree in biology and will be teaching 8th grade science this school year. Anna is 11 years old and following in her mommy’s footsteps – a straight ‘A’ student. She enjoys dancing and has been on the competition dance team for the past two years.

The down side to being a teen mom? Well, obviously I put a strain on my family and friends. While most of my family accepted this reality and supported me, my pregnancy and my parents’ willingness to support me and my child caused some family members great distress, and continues to do so today. My situation forced me to grow up really fast. I never had the college experience of dorm rooms, parties, and being carefree. I don’t think I missed much ;)
Bethany, Christian and their beautiful family today!

Clearly, having a baby at 17 did not ruin my life, as my father had worried. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough for me to prove that to him. The day Anna was born, she had him wrapped around her finger. She was “Papa’s Girl” and the apple of his eye until he passed away shortly before her 2nd birthday. I believe everything happens for a reason, and it was clear that Anna was sent to our family to keep us going after his unexpected death.

I am always looking for opportunities to help, encourage, or even mentor other young mothers. If this (long) story of my experience as a teen mom inspires just one struggling young mother, then I have accomplished my goal.

I realize that my experience is probably the best scenario of a teenage pregnancy. I didn’t have to worry about money, bills, or even having a job. I was able to focus on being Mommy and completing my education. I owe everything to my parents. Without their support, both financially and emotionally, I would have never made it. I am forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me to raise my beautiful daughter. I don’t know what I did to receive such a huge blessing from God, but I am so thankful. I honestly cannot imagine my life without her!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

Pregnant moms can definitely keep nursing.
By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
It happened again this week. A mom dropped by to see me and was pretty upset because her OB had told her to wean her baby since she was pregnant. He was an older doctor and had explained to her that he doesn't want his patients breastfeeding during pregnancy because of the risk of preterm labor. I immediately asked her if he had told her to refrain from sexual intercourse. When she said "No," I told her that based on the research, breastfeeding during pregnancy is fine for her.

Why Would Anyone Say Not to Keep Breastfeeding?

It is true that when baby is nursing, the hormone oxytocin is released. This is the hormone responsible for your milk letting down. Oxytocin acts on myoepithelial cells, the kind of cells that line your milk glands and also the kind of cells surrounding your uterus, causing them to contract. Some moms may feel a tingle or quick sharp pain in the breast signalling the oxytocin release; others don't feel anything, but they notice that baby begins to gulp. Since oxytocin is the hormone responsible for causing the contractions of labor, many doctors have historically assumed that it was unsafe to stimulate oxytocin production during pregnancy before it was time for the baby to be born.
Nursing can be a great source of comfort for a toddler

The problem with this thinking, however, is that oxytocin release also occurs during orgasm. So if it is safe for a pregnant woman to have sex, then it is also safe for her to breastfeed. In fact, research has shown that there are different types of oxytocin receptors in the breast and uterus. The uterine receptors are not "ready" to receive oxytocin until the end of the pregnancy when it is time for labor to begin. So unless a pregnant woman is late in pregnancy with a specific condition that would preclude the onset of labor, there is no medical need to wean.

Recent studies indicate that oxytocin is responsible for a wide variety of human responses including social bonding, stress reduction and even bonding between spouses. In light of the fact that for a normal, healthy pregnancy it poses no danger whatsoever, there is really no solid evidence-based reason for an OB to tell a mother she must stop nursing.

 

Why Would Anyone Continue to Breastfeed?

Sometimes a mother will get pregnant before her baby is a year old, and she doesn't want to put him on formula. Many times a mother just isn't ready to wean her toddler. The health benefits of extended breastfeeding for both mother and baby are myriad. Some toddlers have specific medical needs that make it critically important for them to continue receiving breast milk with all its antibodies and healthy enzymes.

Nursing can help everybody take a good nap!
Tandem nursing (where a mother is nursing an older child as well as a new baby) provides a very unique bond between siblings and is often a wonderful way to help the older child adjust to having a new baby in the home. Some mothers express concern that there won't be enough milk for both babies, but actually the opposite is true. Having an older nursling who suckles well can actually help increase a mother's milk production because breast milk is produced on a demand/supply basis.

Practical Considerations

There are some practical questions that need to be addressed when contemplating breastfeeding during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant mothers are often very tired during the first and third trimesters. If you have a toddler who is still nursing, it is very easy to just take an afternoon nap together. Nursing is still a wonderful way to comfort and quiet a busy toddler, and when combined with a comfortable bed in a quiet, dark room, Mother and child can both get the rest they need to recharge! 
  • Many mothers do notice some nipple discomfort early in the pregnancy. In fact, for some mothers this may be one of the first indicators of a new pregnancy. It is very important that the older nursling have a good latch and not practice "gymnurstics."
  • Your milk supply may decrease during pregnancy, and your milk may actually taste saltier to your baby because as supply decreases sodium concentration in breast milk increases. Some toddlers will notice the difference and may self-wean because of it. Others, however, just take the changes in stride. Those who do self-wean may actually show renewed interest in nursing after the new baby is born.
  • Your nutritional status is especially important if you are both pregnant and breastfeeding. You need to be sure that you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of good long-chain fatty acids. If you are both pregnant and breastfeeding, you need about 800 extra calories a day!



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our July 4 Celebration

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Statue at Battery Park in Charleston
I'm taking a much-needed vacation this week with my family in Charleston, South Carolina. My husband and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage in this beautiful, historic jewel of the South. But I can never stop helping mamas and babies. In fact, today I had the privilege of talking to the sweet young woman at our hotel desk about a pumping plan and getting off to the best possible start breastfeeding her baby who is due in just 6 weeks!

I am so thankful for Sarah and Sathya who are manning the store in my absence! And Kelly Clements is offering back-up lactation services while I'm gone. What a blessing!! (of course I'm still taking calls and love helping you any way I can!!)

4th of July Plans

We have been open in the past for part of the day on July 4, but this year we are going to be closed on Friday. Sarah and Sathya need to spend the day with their families, and honestly, we usually are not very busy on the 4th.

Get this chair for UNDER $300!!

5th of July Sale!!

But the 5th of July we will be open with a very special sale! Check this out:
  • All Britax in the store will be 35% off
  • All Best Chairs on the floor will be 25% off (take an extra 5% off if you pay in full with a check)
  • Any Best Chair you order will be 10% off (take an extra 5% off if you pay in full with a check)
  • All infant clothing will be 35% off (not including diapers)
So come in Saturday ready to SAVE!!! While you're hear be sure to take a look at the gorgeous Rocket Quilt we are raffling on August 9!

Monday, June 30, 2014

High 5 Rocket Quilt

I was blown away Saturday morning when Beth Partain walked in with her mom and 3 children. She smiled and handed me something, explaining that her mom had made it for us to raffle off as part of the Give a High 5 for ANM campaign. When I unfolded it, I saw a magnificent hand made rocket quilt! The detailing is exquisite, down to the rocket on the back of the quilt and the very cool graph paper material!

Kathleen Payment, Beth's mother, is the lady who so lovingly made this quilt. It was her way of saying "Thank you" for helping her grandbabies receive breast milk for the first year (or more) of their lives. Beth feels like she wouldn't have made it through breastfeeding without the support she got from A Nurturing Moment. The fact that Kathleen put so much time, effort and money into this labor of love for us makes it extra special.

She wanted us to raffle it, so that's what we are doing. She has at least $75 worth of all organic cotton in the quilt and hours of loving labor! Each raffle entry is $10. You can enter 1 of two ways: Use the Rafflecopter system below and make your payment through Paypal to anm@knology.net. For every $10 donation you will receive one entry. Or you can enter at the store using cash, check or credit card. We will add your information into the Rafflecopter database  - one entry for every $10 you donate! We've already started getting entries at the store and will be adding them to the database in the next few days!

The winner will be drawn on August 9 at the end of the "Give a High 5 for ANM" promotion!


a Rafflecopter giveaway