Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Say Good-bye to Drab Hospital Gowns!

Giving birth is a really big deal! You plan and prepare for it for months; you might even have a detailed birth plan! Then the long-awaited day finally arrives. If you're having a hospital birth, you check in and change into...that HIDEOUS hospital gown! But you don't have to do that!!

Today's moms have some amazing options that are both stylish and comfortable. The first option is the Gownie by Baby Be Mine. This stylish cotton gown snaps down the back for easy access and also snaps right below each shoulder to allow access for exams and breastfeeding. They come in three sizes, S-M, L-XL, and XL-XXL.

We've had moms get baby's name or initials monogrammed on the front of their gownie. Mothers who have a C-Section find that the Gownie makes a very comfortable gown to wear during the recovery period.

Another terrific option for today's mother is the Birthing Gown by BG DesignWear for HealthCare. These heavenly soft gowns are designed to wrap around mother so that one size fits most moms. The back opens easily for epidural access if necessary. The velcro at the shoulders allows for incredible skin-to-skin contact and very easy breastfeeding.

This gown is so much more than just a birthing gown. It is a wonderful nursing gown. In fact, we've had moms purchase the Gownie for giving birth and the Birthing Gown to use at home after baby comes. It feels so good on, that you really won't want to take it off!

As you plan your birth don't forget to plan something very comfy to wear! You can even put your gown on your baby shower registry at A Nurturing Moment. That way your friends and family can get you something you'll enjoy for months to come!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas with the In-laws (or outlaws....)

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. I am blessed to have a great relationship with my in-laws, but having a lot of extended family at Christmas can be just a bit stressful. It can be especially difficult if you're breastfeeding and your mother-in-law thinks you should "just give that baby a bottle..."

Over the last few years, I've had more than one new mother crying in my office because of holiday stress compounded by in-laws who don't respect her parenting style. If this sounds like you, then get your hubby and sit down together for 3 minutes while you read and discuss the following tips for dealing with Christmas with the extended family.

  1. Boundaries are critically important. And Dad is the best one to set them, especially if his family is the one who's giving you a hard time. You don't want to hurt feelings, but it's very important to explain in unconditional terms that you are breastfeeding your baby. Any comments or behaviors that undermine this relationship will not be tolerated.
  2. Stress can cause problems with letdown, plugged ducts, and lead to a reduced supply. Therefore, do all you can to reduce stress during the holiday season.
  3. If you are a guest in someone's home, and they aren't comfortable with your breastfeeding, try as much as possible to plan your baby's feeds around mealtime and other important family moments. Maybe you can feed baby a little early before he gets very hungry. If not, then Dad needs to run interference while you slip off to nurse.
  4. If you're in your own home and your guests aren't comfortable with your breastfeeding, you have a couple of choices. You can either nurse discreetly with a cover, or Dad can play host while you excuse yourself to feed your baby. You need to do whichever is more comfortable for you. Remember Tip #1!
  5. If your mother or mother-in-law is causing your hurt, she might benefit from reading the blog Grandma Time. If she has specific questions or concerns about breastfeeding, this article might be helpful.
  6. Remember that YOU are the expert on your baby, not your mother-in-law or even your mother...even if she is a pediatric nurse! Follow your gut and kindly but firmly stick to your guns.
If you have tips that have worked for you, please leave a comment....your tips will help another mom! We wish you a very Merry Christmas full of Nurturing Moments with your family!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Walmart Removes Enfamil in Wake of Infant's Death

My heart is absolutely breaking for the parents of little Avery Cornett who died Sunday at just 10 days of age. No parent should ever have to bury a child, and to lose a precious baby right here at Christmas is just devastating.

I don't know any of the circumstances surrounding little Avery's death except what is readily available in the news. He died Sunday of a rare bacterial infection called  Cronobacter sakazakaii after being taken to the hospital by his parents for lethargy and an apparent stomach ache. This rare bacteria is an environmental contaminant which primarily affects newborn infants who have received infant formula.

For mothers who aren't producing sufficient breast milk or have physiological impediments to breastfeeding, infant formula can be a godsend. And I am a huge proponent of "no-guilt" mothering. There is enough pressure on mothers that I really don't think we should ever add anything to produce guilt.

However, there is a reason why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive only their mother's milk for the first six months of their life. Breast milk is biologically designed to coat the gut of a newborn and help protect it from harmful bacteria. It has a host of immunological properties that boost the baby's immune system and help keep him healthy. In fact, if a baby is unable to nurse at his mother's breast, they recommend that he be given expressed breast milk, preferably that of his own mother. But they recommend donor milk from a human milk bank as the second best option. Infant formula is a last resort.

According to the Lebanon Daily Record, the hometown newspaper in the Southern Missouri town where the family lives, little Avery had been fed Enfamil Newborn upon the recommendation of the hospital staff. The local Lebanon Walmart where the formula was purchased responded immediately by pulling the product from store shelves. The corporate offices also responded quickly. Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee told the Record, "Out of an abundance of caution, we have removed the remaining product from that store's shelves and we are also notifying other stores across the country to remove product of the same lot number as well." 

According to the Associated Press article at USA Today, the lot number in question is  ZP1K7G.  Mead-Johnson, the maker of Enfamil does conduct rigorous testing of each batch of formula. Their records show that the lot in question had tested negative for Cronobacter. Nevertheless, the CDC and the FDA are continuing to investigate the situation. Gena Tertizzi of the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement, "At this point it has not been determined whether the illness is linked to the formula or an outside source."

We will continue following this story to see what happens with the CDC and FDA investigations. If you must use infant formula, be sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water before preparing it, and to prepare just enough for each feed. If you're worried that your baby just doesn't seem normal, trust your gut and get him to the doctor!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Don't Know Nuthin' 'Bout Birthin' Babies

After assuring Gone With the Wind heroine Scarlett O'hara Butler that she would be able to help her give birth, when the moment finally came, Prissy admitted in a panic, "I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies, Miss Scarlett." I thought about that scene yesterday as I reflected on all the expectant mothers who pass through A Nurturing Moment. 

I have to admit that in recent years I have become quite the birth junkie. When I had my first baby 23 years ago, I  attended the prepared childbirth class offered by my hospital. One mother in our group of about 16 couples wanted a non-medicated birth. Quite frankly, I thought she was crazy! I wanted my epidural because I sure wasn't going to go through THAT with no medication to help me! My "prepared epidural" class gave me the basic information I needed, and I didn't have time to do much other reading because I spent all my evening hours grading AP English essays or coaching cheerleaders.

After several weeks of bedrest following a preterm labor scare, I was overjoyed when I went for a checkup at 38 weeks, and my doctor told me I was in labor. I didn't really know I was in labor, but he said I was, so I figured I must be! He told me to head on over to the adjoining hospital to have a baby. Once I was all checked in, he came in and broke my water, and I did start feeling some contractions. It wasn't too bad, and pretty soon they came in to tell me it was time for my epidural. IT HURT LIKE HECK!!!! But then my husband and I just played cards and watched TV until they said it was time to push, because I really couldn't feel much of anything. Once they told me I could push, I tried to, but since I couldn't feel any contractions, my pushing was pretty ineffective. After two and half hours of that, they finally used forceps to get her out. She had swallowed blood during the ordeal of pushing, so they whisked her off to the nursery, and I didn't even get to see her or nurse her for three hours.
When I got pregnant again, I decided that I would educate myself this time around. I wasn't ever going to go through something like that again. So I read the classic book Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. I found a nurse midwife and planned the kind of birth I wanted. It was wonderful! I had my third and fourth babies the same way, and became a fairly outspoken proponent of a mother's right to have childbirth her way. I was never comfortable with a home birth; I preferred a hospital or birth center, but I encourage mothers to do their own research and make an educated decision about the birth they want.

So when mothers come into the store early in their pregnancy, I often talk to them about their birth wishes. I try to encourage moms to do some good reading early on. One great resource is The Birth Book by Dr. William and Martha Sears. This book explores all the options available to parents and helps them make an informed choice about the kind of birth they want. 

Another resource we have on hand is Prepared Childbirth The Family Way by Debbie Amis and Jeanne Green. This wonderful manual does a terrific job of helping a mother understand exactly what her body is doing during each stage of labor. It gives her exercises she can do throughout her pregnancy to help her body prepare for the work of labor.

It doesn't matter how busy you are with your job or how crazy your life is, if you're pregnant, you owe it to yourself and to your baby to make the time to learn a little something about birthin' babies! 

If you've already had a child or two, please leave a comment below about your birth experience and what made it good or bad. Your comments can help other mothers in the decisions they have to make!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Lord's First Supper

In this morning's sermon, my husband painted such a vivid word picture of Jesus' birth. He drew us back to Bethlehem where a very young woman, exhausted from the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was experiencing the sharp pangs of labor. Her husband knew that this was no ordinary baby who was about to be born. He was still amazed at the words of the angel who had told him that Mary was carrying the Son of God.

As they searched for a place to stay, Joseph may have wondered why in the world God hadn't made things a little easier for them. Unable to even find a room in an inn, they ended up being lodged in the stable. Mary was just thankful for a place to finally rest as she entered the transition phase of labor and felt the urge to push. Surely she longed to have her mother or aunt at her side, but Scripture doesn't even record the presence of a midwife. With just Joseph to help her, the Bible says "Mary brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes."
Mary lovingly breastfed Jesus. 

Mary gazed in awe at her newborn son as he took his first meal at her breast. The afterbirth pains intensified a bit, ensuring that her uterus would begin the process of returning to its normal size, and she wouldn't hemorrhage. Perhaps she dozed a bit on the straw in the stable. Though it would have been common for an infant to sleep with his mother, there may not have been a suitable place for them to sleep, so after feeding her sweet new baby, she placed the peacefully sleeping infant in the only safe place they could find, the feeding trough for the animals. 

The Bible records the Lord's Last Supper in the upper room with his disciples. However, nothing is written about his first supper. What a precious moment that must have been for both mother and child. She was holding the incarnate God, the promised Messiah in her arms, giving him warmth, comfort and nourishment from her breast. It was the first of many such moments that Mary would share with her baby Jesus. A host of artists have sought to depict the precious bond that existed between the infant Savior and his mother. Pictures from the Renaissance typically depict a chubby, happy baby contentedly feeding at his mother’s breast. Often in these pictures both mother and child have a halo, or angels hover around them. Certainly there is no Biblical basis for the halo, and it is doubtful that angels flew around every time Jesus nursed. Nevertheless, the artists did get one very important thing right: Jesus was lovingly and tenderly breastfed by his mother.

In the Roman world of that time breastmilk substitutes made and marketed by large pharmaceutical firms obviously did not exist. So Mary didn’t have much choice. However, Mary didn’t just breastfeed Jesus for lack of a better alternative. To Mary’s Jewish mind, nurturing her infant at her breast was part of God’s wonderful design for mothers and babies – a design that has not changed in the 2000 years since Jesus walked on this earth. So this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let's take just a moment to think about the Lord's First Supper and thank God for the gift of breastfeeding.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Tongue-Tie Success Story

by Amy Castor, Guest Blogger

I loved nursing my first son, Jaxon, but we had to overcome almost every  obstacle in the book, it seemed. So when I was preparing for my second child, I made sure I had the right bras, had my Motherlove Nipple Cream, had my new pump and wasn't afraid to use it in spite of what my mom said. Moreover, I was bound and determined to teach this little girl to latch on to my somewhat flat nipples from the get go and not use a nipple shield. My son had eventually learned, so I was more confident and knew what to expect, or so I thought. 

Clarissa was born naturally at Crestwood Medical Center. My husband caught her and put her on my bare chest right away. I didn't let them take her off of me for a good while, and tried to get her to nurse for a bit with very mild success. She weighed 8 lb. 5 oz. Therefore, when she slept a lot and only nursed for a minute or two most times at the hospital, I wasn't too worried. Jaxon had been the same way. I also had some great nurses, and the lactation consultants are fabulous, so I picked up some new tricks. 

Then we went home. My milk came in, and I could tell she wasn't latching on well; it seemed that her tongue wasn't going all the way over her bottom gums. After a few days, nursing on the left side was especially painful, and I had scabs! So we went to A Nurturing Moment to get some more gel pads. Glenni was so great; she sat down with us right away and used her finger to feel Clarissa's suck. She looked at her tongue and declared fairly confidently she had a somewhat viscous, type 3 frenulum, which basically meant - no wonder my nipple was tore up! She was slightly tongue tied! Who knew? I hadn't heard of such a thing until recently, and it seemed this was a very common problem. Glenni was like my fairy Godmother, and bibbity-bobbity-boo, she called Dr. Hagood, scheduled my appointment, called Clarissa's pediatrician, and we went in the next business day to see if Dr. Hagood would clip her tongue.

I waited for the doctor, wondering if I was a bad mom to be inflicting what I thought would be so much pain on my baby. When he came in, he was so kind; he talked to me for a minute, looked at my little girl and said he could do it. We went to the "operating room" and a sweet nurse, who had recently had a baby, held Clarissa. Dr. Hagood poked his fingers in her mouth, which made her cry the most, rubbed some novacaine under her tongue, gave it a second to kick in, took the scissors, lifted her tongue, and snip! I think the lifting of her tongue bothered her worse than the snip. He used one tiny piece of gauze to stop the bleeding, and after a few seconds, they handed her to me so she could nurse again to soothe her. She wasn't too interested, and her tongue was numb, so she didn't latch on well, but she calmed down instantly just being at my breast. It was far less traumatic than I thought it would be! She wasn't bleeding and I didn't have to do anything different for her to heal.

So at the next feeding, she latched right on to my left side, which had healed as I was pumping the left and nursing from the right. There was no pain! I said, "Oh, this is what nursing is supposed to feel like!" I was so happy! We did a little bit of suck training, like Glenni showed me, and now Clarissa is nursing like a little champ! I am pain-free, and nursing is a breeze! It makes me wonder if my son had been slightly tongue-tied too. It was seldom this comfortable with him, and I nursed him 13 months!
I am hoping for even more months to nurse my daughter, and I'm so thankful for Glenni and Dr. Hagood and his staff! It's amazing the huge difference such a small adjustment can make!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Target Stores Target Nursing Moms...Again!

It looks like big-box retailer Target has once again targeted breastfeeding mothers for harassment. It was just two years ago that a Michigan Target forced a nursing mother to leave the store. They actually called the police on her, saying that what she was doing was illegal! However, following that incident, a Target spokesperson said the company policy was not anti-breastfeeding. Apparently that changed at some point!

Michelle nursing her baby (different day) at Target.
Just two weeks ago Michelle Hickman of Houston, Texas, was accosted by Target personnel as she fed her hungry baby. Here is Michelle's story in her own words:
 I'm not the best public speaker or the most educated or outspoken person in breastfeeding rights but I am a mom of 4 who has been harassed and humiliated by Target for nursing by infant in their store. On November 29th around 7-8pm, I was Christmas shopping with a basket full of items when my infant woke up hungry, so I found a remote area of the store in the ladies clothing department close to the fitting rooms and sat Indian style on the floor next to my basket and a display of jeans and nursed my hungry baby with a blanket completely covering him. Briefly I will say that 2 women employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even said in a hint around but threatening way you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure when nothing was being exposed and there was more boob showing from low cut shirts several shoppers were wearing that night. This does not include the other 3-4 employees besides the 2 verbal ones who were all watching and making a spectacle of my nursing by walking by standing around pretending to do something and giving me mean looks and shaking their heads no back and forth. In a side note not a single non-employee customer ever saw the incident so I'm not sure why the employees were trying to act like I was offending "the public" and that it was their job to step in. 
After I left the store I decided to call the Target corporate office during normal business hours the following day on November 30th,  and speak to a guest relations person to notify them of the situation and to suggest that they educate their employees as to the legal right I have to nurse in public. The phone call however took a turn for the worse. The lady (I wish I would have gotten her name) told me that she and Target were aware of our legal rights as nursing mothers, but that Target has different policies because they are a family friendly public place. I can't think of a more family friendly act than breastfeeding and providing the irrefutably proven healthiest diet to my baby. She continued to inform me repetitively that Target's policies were different than the law and even went as far to say several times that just because it is a woman's right to nurse in public even without a nursing cover like I was using doesn't mean women should walk around and I quote "flaunting it" and was extremely rude. I also talked to the supervisor of this rude lady and that didn't get anywhere either.
It saddens me that mothers are being treated this way as if breastfeeding is vile and offensive. If this would have happened to me with the first child I nursed I would have considered giving up on nursing due to embarrassment and that is what concerns me the most. I know that breastmilk is best and that nursing is hard work and a selfless act that mothers choose to do for their babies, and I would hate for this to happen to someone else causing them to give up on nursing. Please help me support the best nutrition for babies and to make a stand in support of nursing in public so this doesn't happen again.

In this country we have some powerful ways to effect change when it is needed. That's exactly what Michelle and some of her friends are doing. They've organized an international Target Nurse-In  for Wednesday, December 28 at 10:00 am. I would love to see our local moms get involved. We have two Target stores in Huntsville that our moms can target! I know this is the second time in two weeks I've blogged about nursing in public, but no mother should ever feel discriminated against for the way she feeds her baby!

Basics by Bravado...Looks like a Body-Silk knock-off.
Last year Target entered into an exclusive relationship with Bravado Designs (now a subsidiary of Medela). Bravado is manufacturing a less-expensive line of bras and tanks for Target. The way Bravado explained it to us retailers was that this allowed women who can't afford Bravado bras to get a good bra for less money. They said that the tanks aren't the same quality as the tanks we sell, and the knock-off of the Body Silk is just that...a knock-off. Then they added that their hope was to expose women to the Bravado name in hopes that they'd look for the "real thing."     Really??

I'm sure I'm not the only Bravado retailer who was a little miffed that they wouldn't give us access to these new products. I'd love to be able to offer a less expensive Bravado option to our moms! We focus a lot of our energy on helping low-income moms!

I decided to call the Target Corporate Customer Service line (800) 440-0680  this morning.  I explained that as a lactation consultant I do sometimes tell mothers about the Bravado bras at Target, and I was concerned about my clients being made to feel uncomfortable if they needed to nurse. I was put on hold, then the representative came back on the line and said, "Guests who choose to nurse in our stores are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable." She added that they may nurse anywhere in the store they wish, and if they choose to use a dressing room, they may do so without being made to feel rushed.

So let's see what happens on December 28! Leave a comment telling which Target you'll be nursing at. I would suggest that if Target is rude in any way whatsoever to any nursing mother, we begin a boycott of all breastfeeding-related products. They sell a lot of Medela products in addition to their Bravado line. I really hope that Targets all over the country make nursing mothers feel comfortable. After all, it's their bottom line that's at stake!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Helping Low- Income Moms is Our Passion!

A Nurturing Moment exists to provide information, support and encouragement for hopeful, expectant  and new parents. We love helping new mothers successfully breastfeed their babies. But we have a particular passion for low-income and teen moms through our non-profit sister organization, the MOM Foundation. While all babies will benefit from breastfeeding, babies born to mothers living in poverty and to teen moms desperately need the specific advantages inherent to mother's milk.

We currently have several projects that are designed to support this particular group of moms and babies.

  1. Bosom Buddies - this project provides gently used nursing bras to mothers who receive WIC benefits. We measure the mothers who come to us, and search through our boxes of donated nursing bras to find them two bras that will work perfectly for them. Sometimes we don't have the right size, but we really try to find something.
  2. Sliding Scale Lactation Consultations - The normal fee for a lactation consultation at A Nurturing Moment is $60. We spend as much time as it takes with each mother to resolve whatever problems she and her baby are having. Some mothers just aren't able to pay that amount. So we offer a sliding-scale where mothers pay between between $10 and $60. We tell them that they can name the amount, and we don't ask any questions about financial status. The only reason we feel it necessary to ask for a $10 fee is because we have learned the hard way that when a consult is free, many times the mothers don't take our recommendations as seriously as they do when they pay a little bit for it. Occasionally, however, we do have a mother for whom $10 is a hardship, and we still provide her the help she needs.
  3. Book Project - We want to purchase enough copies of Why Should I Nurse My Baby? by Pamela Wiggins so that every uninsured or Medicaid mother in Madison Copy can receive a copy.
  4.  Breastfeeding Education and Support for Moms in Public Housing - We are currently planning a Baby Day kick-off event at the Oscar Mason Center. We will begin offering a support program for mothers in public housing. They will receive instruction in breastfeeding, infant massage and baby sign language, and will have the opportunity to attend weekly meetings with other moms.
We are so thankful for our ANM family. We have seen your generosity in so many ways. As we approach Christmas, we're sharing some ways that you can share the Christmas spirit with North Alabama moms and babies.
  • We always need gently used nursing bras. We'll even give you a discount on your purchase when you bring them in. Save 5% for one, 10% for 2 and 15% for 3 or more. And our Christmas gift to  you is that for the month of December, this will be added to any other savings you may be receiving!''
  • The MOM Foundation is looking for both individual and corporate sponsors to help subsidize the work we do with low-income mothers. If you know of someone who needs an end-of-the-year tax deduction, we can help since we are a 501 (c)3. 
  • We have created a causes page on Facebook. You can help us get the word out by sharing it with everyone you know.
  • Glenni's birthday is coming up, and she's created a very special birthday wish. A gift of any amount will help make a difference for a low-income mom and baby!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Daddy's Role in Breastfeeding

Image: Louisa Stokes / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I teach a breastfeeding class, I always ask the dads to come, too. It's really important for Dad to be there for several reasons. The most obvious one is that Dad is the most important support person for his wife. He needs to know how breastfeeding works. Since pregnant women tend to have "Mommy Brain," Dad may remember some points that Mom forgets. But there are several other really important things that Dad can do to help make breastfeeding successful.

  1. Dad can get a better view of baby's latch than Mom can. I teach Dad to look for flanged lips and a deep latch.
  2. Dad can help make sure that baby has a good suck/swallow ratio. He can watch the sucks and listen for swallows. The ratio should be 1:1 or 1:2. 
  3. He can help Mom with things like suck training and syringe feeding if necessary.
  4. He can make sure that Mom gets the 2400 calories that she needs every day and make sure that she drinks plenty of water.
  5. He has the very important responsibility of protecting Mom from too many visitors and/or relatives who aren't supportive of her breastfeeding efforts.
Dad is going to stay very busy! The wonderful book by Dr. Robert Sears and his brother, Dr. James Sears, Father's First Steps makes a great gift for any expectant dad. Their list of 25 things that every new father should know will further help Dad be a terrific breastfeeding father! 

If your husband was a terrific breastfeeding father, leave a comment telling just how he supported you. A great dad deserves some special recognition!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Give-Aways

We've got a couple of pretty cool give-aways going on right now.

The first is tickets for your family to the Veggie Tales Little Drummer Boy next Tuesday, December 13 at 6:00 pm at the Monaco. To enter come into A Nurturing Moment and give us your name and phone number or leave a comment on this blog with your name. Tell us the number of tickets you need for your family. On Saturday after our New and Expectant Parents' Meet-up, we'll announce the winners.

The second is our 3000 Facebook Follower Give-away. It's so easy to enter, but we haven't had a lot of entries yet. I don't really understand why! The more friends you send to our Facebook page, the more chances you have to win. Just ask your friends to post a message saying you sent them. For every friend you send, you get one entry!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Please Nurse in the Ladies' Room!

Photo from ZoloWear ring slings.
Today a mom asked me if businesses could make you go to the restroom to nurse your baby. Apparently a local business has signs up about it's nursing area in the ladies' room. She doesn't follow the suggestion, however, and discreetly nurses wherever she pleases. The truth is that nobody even notices that a mother is breastfeeding if she's wearing a baby sling and being discreet about it.

In my reply to her, I mentioned the Alabama state law which states, "A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present." It's great that a business actually provides a place for mothers to breastfeed because some new mothers really aren't quite ready to nurse in public yet, so a comfortable lounge area might be just what she needs. However, it is unfortunate that we still have some businesses in the Tennessee Valley that frown on breastfeeding mothers. In the last year I've heard of at least one restaurant that asked a nursing mother to move because she was "bothering another patron." Why couldn't the person who was bothered just move?

So why is it that some people are so bothered by the sight of a breastfeeding mother? Are they just as irritated by the site of a scantily-clad young woman? I wonder what would happen if a mother decided to breastfeed her baby at Hooters??

I do have a couple of theories about why some people get upset, but I'd love to know what you think!

  1. Those who didn't breastfeed may feel somewhat threatened by the site of a woman breastfeeding. Perhaps it makes them feel guilty.
  2. They don't understand that a baby nursing from his mother's breast is eating in the most natural way possible, and a baby drinking from a bottle is actually eating in a very artificial way. 
  3. They believe that a mother feeding her baby should be a private thing. It's okay for them to eat a meal in public, but heaven-forbid a hungry baby do so (unless he's being artificially fed...see #2)
  4. They equate breastfeeding with other bodily functions that are best done in private...The only problem is that breastfeeding is filling up a tummy, not emptying it!
  5. They think of breasts in purely sexual terms and fail to recognize the true biological function of the human breast.
The fact of the matter is that in many countries around the world, nobody gives a nursing mother a second glance. The culture as a whole recognizes the truth that breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed an infant. Our culture, however, perceives bottle-feeding as the norm; therefore, a mother who deviates from that norm and breastfeeds her baby in the public must be a little off in some way. 

If we ever hope the reach the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding goals of 81.9% of all mothers initiating breastfeeding and 60.6% or all mothers still breastfeeding at 6 months, we are going to have to see some sweeping cultural  changes. We as a society need to make it comfortable for mothers to nurse wherever they happen to be. If you see the symbol to the left, you can be assured that you have found a business that is breastfeeding-friendly.

Have you had businesses that have made you feel either very comfortable or very uncomfortable about nursing there? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Steps to Choosing Your Baby's Doctor

One of the many things that expectant parents begin to think about is choosing a doctor for their baby. Many parents want a pediatrician because of their specialized training with infants and children. However, sometimes parents who have a family doctor they really like will choose to have the baby go to the same doctor they do. They like the idea of one doctor who knows the family health history caring for the entire family. Many family doctors love seeing babies and are extremely competent in caring for them.

So how do you go about finding the right doctor for your baby if you don't have a family doctor you're comfortable with? Here are some tips that might help.

  1. Write down the three things that are most important to you. For example, maybe breastfeeding is a high priority, or maybe you want to delay vaccinations. Maybe you want a doctor who doesn't charge for after-hours phone calls. Or perhaps Saturday office hours are very important to you. Think through what you want and prioritize your list.
  2. Talk to your friends, to nurses you know, to mothers at work or church about the doctors they use. Ask what they do like and don't like about the doctor. Make a list of 2 - 4 doctors that you would like to interview. Recently on our Facebook page, several mothers talked about doctors they like in Huntsville, Athens and Decatur.
  3. Call each doctor on your list to make an appointment. Some doctors are less open than others to this, but it's the only way you can decide if you and the doctor you choose will see eye to eye on your non-negotiables.
  4. Create a few questions to ask your doctor based on your priorities from #1. For example, if breastfeeding is a high priority, ask what percentage of his 3 month old patients are exclusively breastfed. As you interview each doctor, take note of how you interact with his or her personality. Would you be comfortable seeing the person on a regular basis?
  5. Choose your doctor based on your research. But remember, YOU are the expert on your baby. You know your baby better than anybody else. God gave you the awesome responsibility of caring for this new life, but He also equipped you with very strong maternal instincts. Trust them!
If you have a doctor you absolutely love, leave a comment here so other moms will know what makes him or her so amazing! (No negative comments, please)