Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018 MOM Foundation Calenders On Sale Now!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

It's  that time of year where we hold our largest annual fundraiser for The MOM Foundation: the annual calendar filled with gorgeous photos of breastfeeding moms from the Tennessee Valley. I love this project because it allows local photographers to showcase their talent. This is the third year that we have done this project, and the photos coming in are absolutely magnificent.

The MOM Foundation

What is The MOM Foundation? It is the 501c3 non-profit organization that allows us to do many of the amazing things we do. The following programs are all sponsored by The MOM Foundation:
  • The Bosom Buddy Project: This project allows low-income and teen moms to receive free gently used nursing bras. We measure each mother and help her find 2 bras that will fit her. The bras come from our generous Nurturing Moment family. When you bring in a bra to donate, you get a discount on your purchase that day, and we are always in need of all sizes of bras. If we don't have a single bra in our donation boxes that will fit a mother, then we provide her one bra from our ANM inventory. The MOM Foundation pays that cost.
  • Sliding scale Lactation Consultations: We believe that every mother is entitled to the breastfeeding help she needs without worrying about finances. That's why The MOM Foundation allows us to provide our lactation services on a sliding fee scale. We tell every mother who comes in to pay whatever works in her budget.
  • Half-price Breast Pump Rental: Mothers on the WIC program are entitled to half price breast pump rental. Instead of the normal $65 monthly rate, they pay only $32.50 a month for a Medela Symphony breast pump. This is a tremendous savings for those moms who desperately need a pump during the first month of baby's life before they are able to get one through WIC.
  • The North Alabama Cloth Diaper Bank: Some mothers find themselves in a situation where they must choose between feeding their families and diapering their babies. So The North Alabama Cloth Diaper Bank provides free loans of cloth diapers to families in need. Instead of having to keep going back to get more disposable diapers, these mothers are able to receive a loan that provides enough diapers for their baby throughout infancy and toddlerhood.

Your Role

We couldn't do all of this without your support. As you look at your end of the year charitable giving please consider including The MOM Foundation in your plans. One way to support us is to make a donation to the MOM Foundation. Another way is to buy a calendar or two (or three...)! Important events like The Great Cloth Diaper Change, Mom Prom, The Big Latch On and Huntsville Mommy Milk Meet-up Meetings are listed on the calendar, so you never miss anything! These calendars make a great gift for your favorite doula, midwife, lactation consultant, WIC nutritionist, doctor or nurse. Why not get one for that special friend who is pregnant or breastfeeding!Think about who you want to bless this year with a calendar. And make sure to buy one for yourself, too! 

The Presale price this year is $20 for one calendar, or $15 each for 2 or more calendars. The presale begins today and will go through November 22. After that, the cost will be $25 for one calendar or $20 for 2 or more calendars. If you want your calendar mailed to you please add $5 for shipping for 1-2 calendars and $9 for shipping for 3 or more. It's easy to make your order, just click the donate button below, and in the note section be sure to leave your name and phone number. In early December, you will receive our calendars in plenty of time to give them as Christmas presents!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Your Baby's First Trip

A Baby Ktan makes the trek
through the airport easier!
by Belinda Moss, Guest Blogger

Traveling by road with your little one may be tedious and stressful, but it can be loads of fun for the family if you plan your trip ahead of time. I recommend that you get a good night’s rest before embarking on your trip, map out your route as carefully as possible with the aid of maps and GPS navigation, and last but certainly not the least do all your packing ahead of time. All essentials you would need during the trip should be packed into quick access bags that can be placed in the back seat. Some essentials you might need while on the road include:
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Blankets, change of clothes and bibs
  • Formula and liquids
  • Toys and portable video players

Be sure to stick to your baby’s feeding and nap schedules to keep him/her happy and comfortable during the trip. You can premix the dry ingredients for the formula then add liquids when needed. This will make it easier to feed your baby on time and make things easier to prepare.

Ensure your baby’s comfort during the road trip by using a car baby seat which supports your baby’s body. If your baby is alone in the backseat, and you are worried about keeping an eye on him/her, then have the baby seat installed behind the driver’s seat. That way you can keep an eye on your prince/princess from your mirror.

Take scenic routes and make stopovers at nice diners for a meal or at a motel for some rest. Make sure you take photos at all stops to document your trip’s memories for the family album.

You may consider playing sing-along audio CDs, which most babies tend to love, or you can opt for a portable video CD player that can be installed in the car to enable your baby have live visual entertainment. That will definitely keep the angel busy for a few hours!

But how do you plan for a flight with a baby? It’s not as tedious as you think! Check out these tips from to make sure you have everything needed for the big trip.

Belinda Moss first published this infographic here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Your Secret Weapon for Breastfeeding Success

From the NPR Morning Edition, June 26, 2017
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Yesterday NPR (National Public Radio) ran a fascinating story about breastfeeding mothers in Namibia. It is really worth taking a few minutes to listen to it.  It turns out that mothers there struggle with breastfeeding just like mothers in the United States do. They get sore nipples; they may have supply problems; they have to learn to breastfeed just like American moms do. However, they have a huge advantage that the vast majority of US moms do not have: a culture of breastfeeding.

The Grandmother Factor

This article explains in detail how the Himba people in the northern desert of Namibia have a culture that makes breastfeeding work. They live in mud huts, and babies are born at home, so there is no separation of mother and baby after birth for medical procedures. Their maternal and infant mortality rates are both high. For every 100,000 births, 265 mothers die, and or every 1000 live births 36 babies die. Obviously, I am not advocating giving birth in a mud hut as a solution to our breastfeeding problems. And even Himba mothers do struggle with learning how to breastfeed.

When 17 year old Bethany had her baby, her mother
supported her and taught her how to breastfeed.
But that is where they have the amazing "Grandmother" factor. Himba mothers actually go in the third trimester of pregnancy to the compound where their own mother lives. The new grandmother sleeps in the hut with mother and baby, even serving as an alarm clock to awaken the new mother and remind her to nurse. The grandmother teaches the new mother how to position the baby, how to help baby get the best latch possible, how to safely sleep with baby, and all the other little details necessary for parenting. The new mother remains with her mother for several months following the birth.

In the US we have a generation of great-grandmothers whose doctors told them that formula was the best way to feed a baby. Their daughters who are now grandmothers likely had no support for breastfeeding from either their mothers or the medical community. This lack of help often spelled lactation failure for that generation of mothers. Those who persisted are able to support their daughters in an amazing way, and usually those daughters benefit from their wisdom.

A grandmother who can help with breastfeeding is a treasure.
But there is another glaring obstacle that mothers in the US face. They are expected to jump right back into the routines of life within days or weeks after giving birth. I have worked with mothers who had to return to work or school as little as 2 weeks after giving birth. They aren't even able to give their bodies time to recover, let alone get breastfeeding well-established. The scant 6 weeks that so many employers deem as "generous" maternity leave is actually the bare minimum to move a mother beyond the post-partum period. Employers who allow 12 weeks are much more in tune with what mother and baby both need.

Another big difference between our culture and the Himba culture is the normalization of breastfeeding within the society. There it is completely expected that mothers will feed babies at the breast. Although there is some supplementation with goat's milk when mothers don't have enough milk, it is not the normal way to feed a baby in that culture. In contrast, new mothers here often feel uncomfortable and embarrassed about breastfeeding their babies with anyone else around. We do not have a breastfeeding culture here where children grow up seeing breastfeeding as the normal method of infant feeding.

Lessons We Can Learn from the Himba People

So how can we take this information and use it to increase breastfeeding success among US mothers? I see several ways in which we can learn from the Himba culture.
Skin-to-skin contact during the early days is
critically important for Mother and Baby.

  1. Mothers and babies should NOT be separated at birth for any reason unless there is a genuine medical reason. Many hospitals have implemented policies to protect the Golden Hour because the evidence clearly points to improved outcomes when mothers and babies have this uninterrupted time together immediately after birth until after the first feed. 
  2. Mothers and babies should have as much skin-to-skin contact as possible in the early post partum period. Research shows that this elevates hormone levels which increase mother/baby bonding. It also helps milk come in faster and increases the rate of breastfeeding success.
  3. Mothers need to go home to somebody who will take care of them as they are learning to care for and feed their babies. This person needs to be supportive of breastfeeding, ideally having breastfed herself. Mothers need several weeks of this encouraging care and support. If a supportive grandmother, sister, aunt or close friend is not available to fill this role, a postpartum doula is an option. A Nurturing Moment actually offers a postpartum support package that provides some of this kind of ongoing support to new moms who don't have a grandmother/sister/friend to help out. It is very interesting to note that in the NPR broadcast yesterday morning they actually mentioned IBCLC's as an alternative for mothers who don't have "the Grandmother factor."
    India has a mandated 6 month maternity leave!
  4. Our lawmakers need to get serious about providing a minimum of 12-16 weeks maternity leave to employees. As a small business owner, I understand the hardships that can cause, but as a lactation consultant, I see daily the hardships caused by the lack of adequate maternity leave. Research as well as the experiences of mothers and companies in the rest of the world have clearly shown the benefits of making sure that a strong maternal leave policy is implemented across society. 
  5. From their earliest days, children need to see breastfeeding as the normal way that babies are fed. Children's books should feature pictures of babies nursing, not getting a bottle. Mothers should try to expose their children to other breastfeeding mothers, explaining that this is how babies are designed to be fed. Science classes at the elementary level should include breastfeeding in their curriculum when children are learning about mammals. At the secondary level, breastfeeding should be included in instruction about reproduction and family planning. A breastfeeding culture is built by one mother and baby at a time normalizing infant feeding at the breast. I am optimistic that together this generation of mothers can make that happen!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Does Your Baby Sleep....Like a Baby?

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Does your baby sleep like a baby? You know, waking every 2 or 3 hours, maybe crying, nursing or taking a bottle, then falling back asleep? Physiologically newborns are not programmed to sleep a stretch longer than about 4 hours. By about 6 months, they might be capable of sleeping a stretch of at least 6 hours (many infants do sleep longer) at night. The fact is that some babies are simply born with easier temperaments than others, making nighttime much easier for some parents than for others.

Why Babies Wake Up

A newborn has a tiny tummy. In fact at birth his tummy will hold about 5- 7 ml of breastmilk comfortably. Many formula feeding parents mistakenly think that their babies need to take most of the 60 ml formula bottle the hospital gives them. Even 20 ml can cause baby's stomach to be too full, leading to discomfort and spitting up. Newborns nurse very frequently - every 2-3 hours or perhaps even more often. Breastmilk is designed to digest quickly, so often newborns wake up hungry after just an hour or two.

Many infants will cluster feed in the evening because that is how they prepare for a slightly longer sleep stretch at bedtime. Breastmilk composition changes throughout the day. In the evening, there is less milk, but it is actually higher in long-chain fatty acids like tryptophan (that wonderful amino acid found in turkey that makes you want to fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner). It is also higher in sleep-inducing melatonin. A lot of mothers worry that they don't have enough milk in the evening because baby is nursing non-stop. So they end up supplementing in the evening. But that really isn't necessary. The frequent nursing helps baby get what he needs and helps mama produce more milk.

As they approach about 2 months of age, some babies do start sleeping longer stretches of 4-8 hours at night. That is normal. But it is also normal for babies to continue waking several times at night to nurse. At this age babies are still sleeping pretty deeply when they are actually asleep.

Around 4 months many babies experience a sleep regression. A baby who was sleeping a 6-8 hour stretch may suddenly be waking every 3 hours again. The good news is that baby's brain is maturing. The bad news is that these changes are permanent. You will need to help your baby adjust to falling back asleep when he awakens. One way to do that is to help him learn to fall asleep in his crib without you. Most experts do not recommend letting baby "cry-it-out" because research has shown that can actually be harmful. However, there are gentle methods to help baby learn to sleep. The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is a terrific resource that many parents have found to be invaluable.

Where Baby Sleeps

The American Academy of Pediatrics came out with revised sleep recommendations in 2016. They recommend that babies sleep in a "separate but proximate"sleep environment. That means that baby should sleep in Mom and Dad's room, but not in their bed. Nevertheless, in this revision, the AAP did acknowledge that mothers do sometimes fall asleep while nursing. 
"However, the AAP acknowledges that parents frequently fall asleep while feeding the infant. Evidence suggests that it is less hazardous to fall asleep with the infant in the adult bed than on a sofa or armchair, should the parent fall asleep. It is important to note that a large percentage of infants who die of SIDS are found with their head covered by bedding. Therefore, no pillows, sheets, blankets, or any other items that could obstruct infant breathing or cause overheating should be in the bed. Parents should also follow safe sleep recommendations outlined elsewhere in this statement. Because there is evidence that the risk of bed-sharing is higher with longer duration, if the parent falls asleep while feeding the infant in bed, the infant should be placed back on a separate sleep surface as soon as the parent awakens."

 Dr. James McKenna is a professor of Biological Anthropology and the director of the Notre Dame Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory. He has written extensively on the biological reasons for mothers and babies to share sleep environments. He also has created safe co-sleeping guidelines that any family who is practicing co-sleeping should be very careful to follow. Everyone agrees that the most dangerous place for an infant to sleep is a recliner or sofa, even with a caring adult. If that adult falls asleep the risk of the infant suffocating is many times greater than it would be on a firm sleep surface such as a futon or firm mattress.

Getting Help 

Fortunately  we have a local infant sleep expert. Dana Stone is the mother of four children. When she had serious sleep issues with her last baby, she looked for answers. She knew that the traditional cry-it-out method wasn't right for her family, so she found a program that helped her gently teach her child to sleep. She ended up becoming a certified Sleep Sense consultant and has helped dozens of local families get a good nights' sleep.  She offers a free download for parents entitled "Five Steps to Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night." It is important to recognize that nobody expects an infant to sleep through the night. Physiologically they just aren't ready to do that. However, later in the second half of the first year, many babies are capable of sleeping an 8 hour stretch. Dana is able to work with your individual situation and help your baby sleep a little less like a baby!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Local Businesses Roll Out the Red Carpet for Breastfeeding Moms

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

North Alabama is home to some amazing businesses that really understand how important it is to support their tiniest clients...and their mothers who are nursing them. Our moms have weighed in on which stores, restaurants and other businesses have made them feel welcome as they nursed their babies, and we want to share these with you. Be sure to thank these businesses for their outstanding customer service!


Alchemy at Lowe Mill   Lindsay says they were wonderful when she was having her non-dairy small latte there!

Bravo at Bridge Street  This restaurant gets our 5 star rating! Amanda was there the other night as part of a graduation party. While they waited up front for the party room to be set up, her baby got hungry. When the hostess noticed she was nursing she asked Amanda if she'd like a glass of water or sweet tea. Once they were seated the manager came out and brought a car seat hammock, helping them get settled in. When they saw her get out a bag of breastmilk to heat up, the waiter brought a glass of scalding water to warm it, and the female waitress assisting with the party noticed the glass was too full, so she brought a coffee cup and poured some of the milk into it, explaining that she heated her milk that way, too. Amanda never had to ask for anything. They obviously had a process in place and were very comfortable with nursing mothers. 

Buffalo Wild Wings in Huntsville  Leah has high compliments for their staff's treatment of breastfeeding mothers.

Casa Blanca  Justen said that the waiter took her order without any hesitation while she was nursing uncovered. He acted like it was a totally normal day for him, which was really nice.

Nothing But Noodles in Huntsville  Leah says their staff was particularly great about her nursing.

Phil Sandoval's  Holly says that although both of her nurslings are past the typical nursing age, this restaurant has always been super welcoming!

Rosie's on South Parkway  Keli notes that she breastfeeds here all the time. She has never felt uncomfortable, and they have always made her feel welcome!

Tzakikis in Madison  Rebekah says that they are SUPER welcoming and supportive of nursing mommas! Sometimes the girls from the Madison Breastfeeding group will go there for lunch, and they have everything all set up for them. She says this restaurant is awesome!


Moms and Babies are always welcome to hang out at
A Nurturing Moment
A Nurturing Moment  Rebecca says that so far this is the only place she has nursed in public. Rebekah adds that it is great to be able to shop and not feel judged or rushed with her nursing Toddlet. Kristi says she loves stopping by ANM to nurse when she is out this way. We offer nursing mothers a comfy place to sit as well as nursing pillows if necessary. We also have a refrigerator stocked with water because we know mamas get thirsty when nursing.

Acorn Treasures Caitlyn and Rebekah both say they are great.

Belk  Mary was shopping for her 8 year old when her baby got fussy. They showed her to a comfortable area by the dressing rooms, then left her alone to nurse in privacy.

Costco  Marie says they have a nursing room set up near their employee break room. Once when she was there the lady checking receipts saw that she was sitting at one of the tables to nurse. When Marie walked by her later, the lady told her that it was available if she needed it.

Posh Mommy & Baby, Too  Rebekah says they are great with nursing moms.

Professional Services

Dr. Patty Long welcomes nursing moms
Advanced Eye Care of Madison   Rebecca says that her eye doctor is incredibly supportive of breastfeeding. She was there when her baby was just a month old and they were still struggling with nursing. They gave her an exam room and told her to take all the time she needed to feed her baby. Furthermore, the staff - including her doctor - encouraged her to continue breastfeeding and made sure that she had a lactation consultant when she admitted that she was having problems. This is one business that really cares about their clients!

Chase Animal Hospital  April says that she had a bit of a wait there, and her baby got hungry. The doctor came in and said that she was breastfeeding, too. It made her feel much less self conscious.

Long Chiropractic  Rebekah says that Dr. Patty Long is very breastfeeding friendly.

Madison Speech Associates  While she was there, the receptionist and SLP overheard Claire mention that she was about to feed her daughter. They set her up in a private room during her son's speech therapy.

Whitesburg Gardens  Samantha is usually nursing her baby in her sling as she goes into her grandmother's nursing home. She has received verbal praise for breastfeeding from the employees. She has also had nurses or other employees peak in at her baby and talk to her while she's feeding without even a second glance. 


Insanity Skate Complex Mary praises the way they handled a guy who was harassing her as she nursed in a corner away from everyone: they threw him out!

Marriott Hotel by Space and Rocket Center  Sarah was there for a conference, and they had no place to pump aside from the restroom. However, a very kind female administrator let Sarah use her personal office.