Saturday, December 29, 2012

Innovative Preschool Comes to Huntsville!

I had the privilege of meeting Caroline Bradford today when she dropped by the store to give me information about the Rise School of Huntsville that will open on January 9. As she described the concept to me, I was absolutely fascinated, and couldn't wait to share it with all of you!

The History

Thirty-seven years ago the first Rise School in the nation was started at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It is a state-of-the-art preschool program that serves children with special needs alongside their peers who do not have special needs. The Rise teachers have a Master's degree, and the majority of the teacher assistants hold a Bachelor's degree.

Since the school's inception, seven other Rise School locations have formed, following the model set forth at the University of Alabama. There are currently Rise schools in Colorado, Oklahoma, and in four different locations in Texas. The Rise School of Huntsville is only the second school of its kind in Alabama.

The Difference

All children in the program spend time with a music therapist and and a speech therapist. The children with special needs also see a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. However, if faculty members identify an area where a non-special needs student needs extra help, they make certain that it is provided.

They use the Creative Curriculum, the most successfully researched curriculum designed to meet the needs of all children in an integrated environment. The ratio of special needs children to typical children  is 50:50. They make sure that there is one adult for every 2-4 children to ensure that each child receives as many learning opportunities as possible.

Getting Started

The Rise School of Huntsville is opening it's doors on January 9. Their current "home" is Trinity United Methodist Church on Airport Road. However, they hope to have a permanent home of their own before long. They are presently enrolling children from 24-36 months of age. Their goal is to add a classroom each year until they are able to care for children from birth - 6 yrs. of age.

If you are looking for an outstanding program for your child, email Caroline or call The Rise School of Huntsville at 256-489-7512.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Silent Night -- Yes, It IS Possible!

If you have a new baby in your house this Christmas, you might be fervently praying for just one silent night! The early days of parenting can be absolutely exhausting, especially if you're not getting the sleep you need at night.
Picture from

It seems that newborn babies often come programmed to sleep all day and nurse all night. You need to reprogram your baby ASAP! That's not such a hard task really; you just have to teach baby that daytime is for being awake and eating, and nighttime is for sleeping.

Reprogramming Baby 101

Follow these simple steps to help your baby overcome day-night confusion.
  1. During the day be sure to nurse your newborn at least every 2 -3 hours, counting from the beginning of one feed to the beginning of the next one.
  2. About 2 hours after the last feed began, begin watching baby for signs of REM sleep. When you see him sucking in his sleep and moving a little bit, pick him up to awaken him. If you don't catch him, he may go back into a deep sleep, and you won't be able to awaken him at all.
  3. Unswaddle baby and take off her clothes. Change his diaper to really get him awake.
  4. Make sure that when baby is at the breast she is actively nursing. Use breast compression to keep her suckling when she stops for more than about 15 seconds.
  5. In the evening if baby wants to nurse several times close together (cluster feeding), let him. He will get more hindmilk which is rich in long-chain fatty acids when he cluster feeds. One of those fatty acids is tryptophan which will help baby sleep longer and better at night.
  6. As soon as you put baby down for her long sleep stretch, you go to bed, too! In the early days you need as much sleep as you can get!

Back to Normal

Okay, I guess it's time to tell you the truth...Things will NEVER be like they were before. You now have a new normal. But there will come a time when you are able to get a good night's sleep once again. Your child will learn to sleep. Whether you co-sleep or have baby in a separate but proximate sleep environment as the AAP recommends, the ideal place for your newborn is in your bedroom. You will both get more sleep if baby is nearby. You will find that if baby doesn't wake up completely in the middle of the night frustrated because nobody is there, he will settle down and nurse much more readily and go back to sleep more easily.

So relax, reprogram, and enjoy a silent night this Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tragedy, Love and Hope

From Daily Prayer
Yesterday was a heartbreaking day. Blogger Jeff Goins said that there are no words for a time like this. He's absolutely right!

As I watched the horror unfold yesterday morning, I thought about my four children and couldn't wait to give each one a hug. Even though they're in their teens and twenties, I still want to hug them as often as I can and make sure I tell them I love them every day.

I really didn't have any words to express what I was feeling last night. My son Daniel put my feelings into words quite well in his Facebook post:
In between the silence and pain, we will find a new tomorrow. My heart goes out to every mother and father that said goodbye to their child this morning, and who will be waiting for 3:00 to come for the rest of their lives. I am praying for you.
 I thought a lot about all of you, the moms I look forward to seeing every day, and your precious little ones. Some of your babies that I have worked with are the same age as those first graders who were senselessly shot. I cannot imagine the unfathomable grief those mothers and fathers in Connecticut are experiencing today.

One first grade teacher told her students how very much she loved them as she huddled in hiding with them; she was certain that was the last thing they would hear, and she wanted them to know they were loved. Fortunately, she and her class survived. Another first grade teacher hid her children, shielding them from the gunman. Her children survived; she did not.

How do we respond and carry on from here? How do we talk to our school-age children about this? I truly believe the most important thing we can do is simply reassure our little ones that we love them and are there for them. Hold them just a little closer for a little longer. Whether you have babies, teenagers or grandchildren, know that you can't ever say "I love you" too much!

In 1999 Steven Curtis Chapman released the album Speechless.  He wrote one very special song on that album for friends who had lost a child. Later that song, "With Hope" was sung after a shooting at Chapman's alma mater in Paducah, KY. As you think about yesterday's tragedy, I pray this song will help comfort and give perspective.

Tonight I am praying for those families in New Town, CT, who grieve, for those whose hearts are broken, for those who will have unopened presents under the Christmas tree. May the God of all comfort somehow grant them peace.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A TRULY Happy Birthday!

I finally caught up with Herbie!
I'm 53 today! I don't feel 53, but the calendar says I am. And I guess calendars don't lie! I am so richly blessed, and I just wanted to take a moment to share with you all why I feel so blessed!

  • I have an amazing Savior whose sacrifice has made it possible for me to know without a doubt where I will spend eternity.
  • I have been married to a wonderful man for 28 1/2 years!
  • My 4 children are all doing well and fill my heart with such joy!
  • My mother is still in good health and lives less than a mile from me. It's great when your mom is one of your very best friends!!
  • I have the most precious church family I could ever imagine. We have been privileged to be at our church for 8 years now and love our little congregation so much.
  • Every day I get to come to the best job imaginable - working with moms and babies.
All I can say is "Thank you, Lord, for being so good to me!"

There are just three things I am wishing for this birthday. Maybe you can help or know someone who can.

Funding for Military Moms Project

We are trying to provide hospital grade breast pumps and free lactation consultation to all military moms. If their babies are in the NICU or there is a medical condition, Tricare will cover it, no questions asked. However, if they don't have that situation, we have to raise the money to cover it. 
  • Do you have any connections with people or companies that might be willing to help with a grant?
  • Would you like to make an end-of-the-year tax deductible donation to our non-profit, the MOM Foundation?
  • Could you please vote for us to receive an Intuit grant and share with your network of contacts?

Gently Used Nursing Bras

It sounds silly to say I want used bras for my birthday, but I do! All sizes!!! We provide the bras to mothers in the WIC food program, and it breaks my heart when we don't have the size a mom needs. We call it our Bosom Buddy program, and YOU are the key to it's success. If we don't have a steady stream of bras coming in from our customers, we start to run really low. 

I'm  not getting any younger, so I better
make this year count!!
My birthday challenge to our readers is to see if we can get 53 gently used nursing bras in honor of my 53rd birthday. We received 9 today, so only 44 to go! I'll keep you updated on the progress!!

A Growing Team National Network of Moms

We are part of the most amazing co-op/purchasing group that I've ever seen. It's sort of like Costco, Direct Buy and Sam's Club on steroids! We have our Nurturing Moment team that includes some pretty amazing people, and is continuing to grow. Members save money on everything from automobiles to furniture to ink cartridges and q-tips. The best part of all, though, is that they pay you for word of mouth advertising. It's a vehicle that is blessing families around the country by allowing  moms  to stay home with their children. 

However, it is also blessing A Nurturing Moment because in this tough economy, it is helping us keep the doors open. If you're looking for a way to save money or make an extra income (no get-rich quick do have to work at it), then give me a call. We promise that there's no product to sell, no pressure whatsoever, and no pushiness!

Thank YOU

In closing, I want to say thank you to each one of you who enrich my life in so many ways. Our ANM family truly is a family. You bless us in so many ways. I just hope that the long-term vision I have for ANM (that's for another blog another day) will continue to bless moms all over North Alabama!
Hugs to you all!!

Herbie says Thanks, too!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Can Help Your Breastfed Grandbaby!!

Congratulations! Your daughter or daughter-in-law has chosen to breastfeed your grandbaby, providing the very best start in life! Maybe she is following the example that you set when you breastfed. Or perhaps you didn't breastfeed and are wondering why she has made this decision. Either way, here is what you need to know!

Why Breastfeed?

There are many reasons that mothers decide to breastfeed. Here are just a few:
  •  Breastmilk is the ideal infant food. It is perfectly designed to meet all of your grandbaby's nutritional requirements. Furthermore, as he grows, his mother's milk will change to meet his changing needs. It truly is a miracle food. When his mother catches a cold or is exposed to a virus, her body makes antibodies which he receives every time he nurses. That's one reason why breastfed babies are statistically healthier than their formula fed counterparts.
  • Breastfeeding is convenient and inexpensive. Your grandbaby's mother has made an economically sound decision by breastfeeding him. She is saving an average of $200 a month in formula costs. Even is she buys a state-of-the-art breast pump and has a lactation consultant come to her home, she will still save at least $1500 during the first year of her baby's life! Furthermore, she can nurse anywhere, any time. She doesn't have to stop to mix formula and make sure it's the right temperature. Breastmilk is always available and always the right temperature!
  • Breastfeeding is good for the mother. When she nurses her baby, hormonal cues help her uterus clamp down quickly to avoid excessive bleeding. She will regain her pre-pregnancy figure more quickly, even though she continues eating for two. Furthermore, women who breastfeed for at least a year have a reduced incidence of pre-menopausal breast cancer.  It also offers protection against ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Finally, the hormones oxytocin and prolactin which make breastfeeding work also help mothers to be more relaxed and to feel more motherly.
  • Breastfeeding provides wonderful bonding opportunities. When your daughter or daughter-in-law nurses your grandbaby, she is creating a deep bond with him that only exists between a nursing mother and her child. That doesn't mean that a mother who formula feeds isn't bonded to her child. However, the breastfeeding mother has a hormonal bond that is unlike any other.

What You Need to Know About Breastfeeding (but didn't know to ask...)

  • Breastmilk is supplied on a "demand/supply" basis -- the more a baby demands, the more his mother will supply.
  • Breastmilk is designed to be absorbed quickly by an infant's intestine. Therefore breastfed babies need to nurse every 2 - 3 hours. A newborn will nurse 8 - 12 times in 24 hours. This is normal. It doesn't mean that he's starving. It means that he is doing what he's supposed to do! 
  • In order to make enough milk, Mom needs to get sufficient rest.
  • A breastfed baby shouldn't have an artificial nipple or a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established. Some babies may become confused and not nurse correctly when they have something artificial introduced too early.
  • Stress or fatigue will affect the mother's ability to produce milk. The hormones involved in breastfeeding are affected by adrenaline which is produced by stress. So it is important to help the new mother remain as stress-free as possible.
  • Babies go through growth spurts when it seems like all they want to do is nurse. That doesn't mean that Mom doesn't have enough milk. She just needs to nurse him as often as he needs to nurse. Typical growth spurt times are 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. However, any time a healthy baby starts nursing more frequently, he may be in a growth spurt. Mom needs to rest as much as possible and nurse frequently. A growth spurt may last from 3 to 7 days.
  • Breastfed babies don't need any other food until they are 6 months old. When they show signs of readiness for solids, then they can begin. Dr. William Sears has some great advice on this topic.

What You Can Do to Help

 When a grandmother realizes how wonderful breastfeeding is for both her grandbaby and his mother, she will be eager to do all she can to support them both. Remember, that a you can help make or break the breastfeeding relationship. When you encourage your daughter or daughter-in-law in the following ways, you will contribute to her success!
  • Protect her privacy. Try to ensure that she gets the rest she needs, especially while she's still in the hospital. If well-meaning friends or relatives want to visit before she's ready, help her husband run interference. In fact, you might suggest to extended family members that they wait until the new family gets home to visit. Make sure you understand the boundaries that she wants enforced ahead of time. 
  • Please don't get your feelings hurt if Mom and Dad just want to bond with baby alone during the first hours in the hospital. This is a critical time for getting breastfeeding established. If they ask for it, give them their space. 
  • Go to bat for her. If others make negative comments about her breastfeeding, stand up for her. Tell them how proud of her you are. Never indulge in negativity about breastfeeding yourself.
  • If you breastfed successfully, tactfully offer your help, but understand if she doesn't want it. Remember that this is all about her and the baby, not about you.
  • Offer to help with meals or the house. A great gift would be several months' worth of maid service.
  • If she has other children, keep them occupied. This can be their special time with Grandma. Their mother will be eternally grateful to you for making them feel important and freeing her up to focus on the baby.
  • If you think she might be having breastfeeding problems, help her find a lactation consultant.

If both sets of in-laws live close to the new parents, both grandmothers can take turns helping. Don't allow your feelings to get hurt if the new mother calls on the other grandmother instead of you for something. However, if in-laws live out of town, then it might be a good idea to plan for the new mother's parents to come first; then the new father's parents can come a little later.

Having a grandbaby is truly a blessing, so make the most of this opportunity! Enjoy every moment with him, but remember that your job now is to support and encourage the new family in every way possible!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cookies to Help Mom Make Milk!

Did you know that there are certain foods that help your body produce more milk? Oatmeal, brewer's yeast, flax seed, wheat germ, whey protein, avocado, malunggay (a food from the Philippines) and even stout beer are some of the foods that our moms have had success with.

Last year I discovered that a company had produced "Lactation Cookies" that they were selling for an arm and a couple of legs. I decided that we wouldn't be stocking them because I can't justify the pricing, especially when it's so easy to make them yourself! And honestly, the homemade ones are so tasty that these cookies will quickly become a family favorite!

So here is our tried and true recipe:

Mommy Milk Cookies


1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Raw or Natural Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Water
2 Tablespoons Flaxseed
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 ½ Cups Flour
½ Cup Wheat Germ
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 (Generous) Tablespoons Brewers Yeast
3 Cups Rolled Oats
9 oz. (Minimum) Chocolate Chips


- Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees
- Mix Flaxseed and Water, set aside for at least 3-5 min.
- Mix Butter and Sugar in a large mixing bowl
- Add Eggs to butter and sugar, mix well
- Add Flaxseed and Vanilla, blend
- In separate bowl sift dry ingredients except the Oats and Chocolate Chips
- Add Dry ingredients to Butter/Sugar/Eggs and mix well
- Add Oats, Mix
- Add Chocolate Chips, Mix!
Bake 8-10 min.
Makes approx. 4-6 dozen

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Help Us Help Local Military Wives!

If you follow our blog at all, you have probably realized several things about A Nurturing Moment:  we are passionate about helping moms breastfeed; we are deeply concerned about meeting the needs of low-income mothers; and we love and appreciate our military!  It is truly devastating to realize just how many military wives are also very low-income mothers. Their husbands are risking their lives for us, and the least we can do is find a way to give these precious women whatever help and support they need!

The Problem
A couple of weeks ago a young mother called for breastfeeding help. She was experiencing a lot of pain when baby latched on and was about at the end of her rope. Her husband has served in both the Army and the Marines, but she barely had enough money to drive to our office. We were able to provide her a Medela Symphony pump at a reduced rate, and her mother helped pay for the consult. But this is the reason we have a sliding scale for our consults. We desperately want to help every mother who needs it!

The Solution
Just yesterday Intuit announced a contest that we are really excited about! It's the Small Business Big Wishes contest. Beginning on December 3, Intuit will give $5000 grants to one business each day for a total of 15 days. We submitted the following wish:

We want to help the wives of those who serve our country by providing breast pumps and breastfeeding support to military wives.These brave women often survive at or below poverty level. Being alone while her husband is deployed is hard enough, but having a new baby doubles the burden. $5000 would provide postpartum support and breast pump rental to local military spouses at Redstone Arsenal.
How You Can Help
Intuit is looking at the number of votes that each project gets as part of their decision-making process. So we need to get the word out and get as many votes as we can. You can vote one time every day, so please take a few minutes to do the following:

  • Go to the contest page and vote.
  • Share by clicking the share button - you can share on Facebook, Twitter or via email
  • Take just a minute to vote every day from now until we win!!
Thank you so much for coming alongside this project and helping us help our military wives!

Monday, November 12, 2012

We Love Our Military Heroes

Today I want to take a few minutes to say thank you to all of our military families and our veterans. Your service to our country is something I deeply appreciate. When a young man or woman makes the commitment to serve in the armed forces, he or she fully realizes the risk involved. The military is dangerous! Yet without the service of these young men and women, we would not have the amazing country we have. The freedoms we enjoy have been bought with a high price.

Lance Corporal Kendall Bane with his girlfriend
Jessica Stender before the Marine Ball.
Saturday was the birthday of the Marine Corps and the Marine Ball. One very special young man was in attendance. Lance Corporal Kendall Bane graduated from Westminster Christian Academy in 2011 and joined the Marines. He deployed to Afghanistan on May 4, 2012. On September 20 his family was notified  that he was shot several times. The first shot was taken straight to the head. Fortunately he was wearing his helmet. He took three more shots: one to each leg and one in the abdomen.  Since September 28 Lance Corporal Bane has been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. However, last week he came home! His family and girlfriend Jessica have been by his side throughout his recovery. He is still in a wheelchair and has a long way to go, but he has an indomitable spirit.

In our ANM family, we have many military men and women who have faithfully served this country. Military wives deserve special recognition because of the sacrifice they are making. It isn't easy raising children when Daddy is gone. We appreciate each one of our military families so much. Please take a moment to share about your military hero in the comment section. We would love to hear your story. And to honor you today, we have a special sale!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Congratulations to Our New IBCLC!

We are thrilled to announce that one of our very own employees just passed her IBCLC exam! Kelly Clements is a labor/delivery nurse at Huntsville Hospital who also works at A Nurturing Moment occasionally! With Kelly's new certification, we now have three IBCLC's available to serve you around the clock!

What Is an IBCLC?
That's a great question! An IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. In order to receive that designation, she (or he -- I do know some male doctors who are IBCLC's, and one male midwife who is) must pass a highly specialized board exam which is given once a year on the last Monday of July.

However, not just anybody can sit for the exam. First a candidate must have a university level educational background in the health sciences. Then she must complete at least 90 hours of education in breastfeeding and human lactation. Finally, she must obtain a specified number of clinical hours in breastfeeding depending upon the pathway to certification she chooses to follow. It is a challenging and rigorous preparation which insures that those who sit for the exam are well prepared.

Why Choose an IBCLC?
Many breastfeeding moms can offer great advice. That's the reason that mother-to-mother support groups like Mommy Milk Meet-up and La Leche League are so helpful. La Leche League leaders receive training that enables them to help most nursing mothers very effectively, but they also know when to refer a mother to an IBCLC. In fact, many La Leche League leaders actually end up becoming IBCLC's.

However, if you want to be certain that you're getting the very best evidence-based information about your specific situation, then you need to see an IBCLC. She is the only health-care professional who has the advanced educational level specific to breastfeeding and human lactation that will enable her to provide the most effective intervention possible.

There are other types of breastfeeding professionals. The Healthy Children Project offers a Certified Lactation Counselor program which actually fulfills half of the required 90 hours in lactation education that is needed for IBCLC certification. This course offers excellent preparation with instructors who are personally committed to seeing students succeed in the field of human lactation. Breastfeeding Support Consultants offers a Breastfeeding Counselor course which provides the full 90+ hours needed to sit for the IBCLC exam.

Both of these breastfeeding professionals are very capable. However, they also realize that there are occasions when they may need to refer a mother to an IBCLC. A critical component of a truly professional practice is recognizing one's limitations and knowing when to refer.

How Do I Know if Someone is an IBCLC?
There are a couple of ways to verify that you are working with an IBCLC. You can go to the IBCLC registry and look for her last name. Or you can ask to see her IBCLC card. All IBCLC's have a laminated card that identifies them with their name, IBCLC number and certification expiration date. If someone claims to be a lactation counselor, ask her where she received her training - she should have a card or certificate verifying her claim.

Be very careful about accepting breastfeeding advice from someone who claims to be a lactation counselor but is unable to substantiate her claim in some way. We have seen cases where mothers were actually given very inaccurate information by someone claiming to be a lactation counselor. Recently we heard from a mother who actually quit breastfeeding because of the advice she had been given by one of these "pseudo-lactation counselors." So if you are at all unsure about a person's credentials, ask for proof! When you come into A Nurturing Moment, Glenni, Melissa and Kelly will all be happy to show you our cards!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Customer Rewards Program

We've been looking for a way to reward our loyal customers, and we're excited to tell you that we've found it! Our media partner, has begun a cashback rewards program powered by Buxback.

It's easy. All you have to do is enroll your card by clicking on the link on this page that says click to enroll. You will receive 10% of your first sale using your enrolled card as a cashback bonus. Subsequent sales will earn you 5%. The best part is that your rewards aren't just limited to A Nurturing Moment. There are a variety of local stores that are involved. But there are also many local restaurants involved at  Save up to 20% the first time you eat at restaurants like Tommy's pizza, Clementines, Terranovas and other popular Huntsville eateries.

Monday morning on the Mojo show on 104.3 between 6 & 10 the program will have it's official kickoff. If you are one of the first 1000 people to enroll your card after the kickoff (around 8:00 am Monday), you will get a $5 cashback bonus added to your card. So get on your computer Monday morning and get registered, then come shop and earn cash back!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

$200 Black Friday GiveAway

Several local businesses in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Moms Network have joined forces to give  one of YOU $200 on Black Friday! A Nurturing Moment is so excited to be part of this fun initiative!

Entering is easy! All you have to do is go to this Giveaway Link  and follow the instructions! You will learn about some terrific local businesses in the process! The contest begins today and will end on Thanksgiving at midnight!

Who doesn't need $200 for some Black Friday shopping? Enter today, and you just might win that extra money you need for our terrific ANM Black Friday sale!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Huntsville Walk for Midwives

Yesterday morning more than 100 proponents of a woman's right to choose how and where she gives birth gathered at Big Spring Park for the Walk for Midwives. They raised money for the Alabama Birth Coalition, but more importantly, they were hoping to raise awareness about the importance of changing the Alabama law.

The majority of states allow women to give birth as they choose. Alabama, however, does not. In Alabama, women who would prefer to give birth in the comfort of their own home with a trained professional midwife are denied that option. There is much debate about the safety of women giving birth at home, and this isn't the forum to debate that.

However, if we had greater availability of midwives routinely offering services in Alabama hospitals and birth centers, perhaps fewer mothers would opt for home birth. Women who want to avoid interventions, who want to labor in the water and who want to give birth in non-traditional positions often feel they don't have those options with an Ob/Gyn in a traditional hospital setting. Although we do have some doctors in our area who are very open to a woman's preferences, the presence of midwives working alongside them would go a long way toward helping this group of mothers feel comfortable.

The Alabama Birth Coalition is working to change the law in Alabama. If Blue Cross Blue Shield would change the way they cover midwife deliveries in the hospital setting, that would be a terrific first step. Another important step is the legalization and regulation of Certified Professional Midwives. Many rural Alabama counties have no prenatal care or hospital at all. That's one of the primary reasons that Alabama has such a high infant mortality rate. Women in these rural counties would be well-served by the changes in legislation that the Alabama Birth Coalition is seeking.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shop to Share

The Junior League of Huntsville is an amazing group of women who design creative ways to make money to benefit local charities. We are so excited to be a part of their upcoming promotion, Shop to Share,  which begins tomorrow!

It's simple, you purchase a Shop to Share card for $25 which entitles you 20% off at some of the areas  best local retailers from October 20 - November 3. Plan your shopping carefully, and you'll save a lot more than the $25 that the card costs!

You can buy your card at the following local businesses:

  • Alabama Outdoors
  • Athletic Club Alabama
  • Barb's Sewing Center
  • Belk
  • Chickadee Designs
  • Crawford Gifts
  • Lawren's
  • Party Works
  • Personal Couture at Huntsville
  • Portobello
  • Red Door Interiors
  • Silhouette
  • Spoiled Rockin' Kidz
A Nurturing Moment is thrilled to be the only mommy-baby store to participate in this fun initiative. The proceeds will benefit a variety of projects in our community. Many of the projects supported by the Junior League help at-risk children, a goal that is near and dear to our heart.

When you use your Shop to Share card and spend $100 or more, you can choose a gift from our treasure basket!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bullying, Self Esteem and Breastfeeding

Charla Maclin from Koko and Friends
I just received a Facebook note from a young woman who is a former student of mine. I was her tenth grade English teacher at Westminster Christian Academy. I had no idea that she had been bullied as a child. As I read it, I recognized some of the same hurt that I have seen in one of my own daughters who was deeply hurt by the cruel words of classmates even at a Christian school.

It led me to think about what we could have done to prevent the hurt my daughter experienced. We did everything we could to create a strong attachment when she was an infant. There was never a time when she didn't know how much she was loved.  She nursed well into toddlerhood. She was a delightful, obedient, amazing little girl!

But when she was eight years old, her world was turned upside down through no fault of her own. We moved from Lima, Peru, where she had grown up, back to the United States. It was a difficult, depressing time for our whole family.

When one little girl began saying cruel things to our daughter on a regular basis in third grade, we didn't understand just how deeply it affected her. Like Charla, the young woman who wrote the Facebook note, she hid her hurt well for quite a while. But it took an incredible toll on her self-esteem. I was so busy teaching and trying to hold everything together, and her daddy was just trying to heal, so we didn't have anything extra to give at that point. Her self-esteem plummeted.

So what does all this have to do with breastfeeding? Simply this - during the first years of her life we established an incredible bond. Although we have had some deeply turbulent years, she would say that the early bond we established has helped her through some of the deepest times. Extended breastfeeding is certainly NOT a cure-all for all ills or an inoculation against teen angst. But combined with love, boundaries and lots of prayer, it can certainly help lay a solid foundation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mystery Diapers Just Arrived!

I LOVE a good surprise! And one of our diaper companies has a great surprise planned just for you! Tomorrow night at 8:00 pm Central, you can jump on board a Twitter party #phantomdiaper! Several influential mommy bloggers including Sally from Exploits of a Military Mama, Calley from The Eco Chic and Autumn from All About Cloth Diapers will be hosting the party along with they Mystery Diaper Company!  Here's a Sneak Peak!!

We will have the mystery diapers on our shelves Thursday morning, so you can come see them for yourself! They are really adorable!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Take Your Time and Savor Each Moment

My first baby, Sarah, with her baby, Nicholas!
In Sunday School this morning, a friend and I were chatting about how fast time flies. She has four grandchildren, and I have one. It seems like they're growing faster than we can believe!

But it didn't always seem that way. I remember being so eager for my first baby to take her first steps, to be able to put her little arms around my neck and tell me she loved me, to play games with me, to be able to interact with other children and learn to share.

 It seems like just yesterday she and her friend Amber were silly eight year olds experimenting with the ceiling fan to see what would happen if they put a sock over the light. (I called the fire department because I thought something was on fire somewhere in the house. As the firemen arrived the girls mysteriously disappeared across the street to Amber's house....)

It wasn't too long ago that she was all dressed up for prom. Then before I knew what had happened she was off to college and a life of her own.

Now she's a mother right in the middle of dealing with a teething baby. I'm sure there are days she wonders when that first tooth will finally pop through and when Nicholas will be able to put his chubby little arms around her neck and tell her he loves her!

There's no hurry, Mama! Take time to savor each precious day with your baby. Treasure that first smile, that first giggle, that first hug. Don't be in a hurry for the next milestone, Just enjoy the memories you're making today. Time may seem to drag right now, but I promise you that before long you'll look back and wonder where the time has gone and marvel at all the amazing changes in your little one.

My baby is 14. He's counting down the days until he can get his learner's permit and start driving. I can promise you I'm not in a hurry at all for that to happen! I'm taking my own advice and treasuring every day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back to the Basics!

If you've been around A Nurturing Moment for a while you know that our passion is moms and babies. Basically, we're a boobies, bums, baby carriers and unique baby stuff store! (Try saying that 5 times fast!) Last year we bought Huffman's Baby Furniture and branched out quite a bit. Some of the branching out was really good, and some wasn't as good. 

Beautiful Rug Market rugs are 75% off!
The bottom line, however, has to be OUR bottom line...what really sells for us! The things that really sell are breastfeeding supplies, cloth diapers, Nosefridas, Baltic Amber, Books, Best Chairs, Melissa and Doug toys, Woombies and Miracle Blankets, Aiden and Anais, and the unique little things that you just can't find anywhere else. So we are downsizing. We're cutting our overhead in half, but we're keeping all the things that you, our loyal customers, love!

Tomorrow is our last full day in Suite B. So we're looking to wheel and deal. We've still got a couple of beds a couple of desks, some bookcases and a couple of dressers that we'd LOVE to sell! We've also got lots of cute nursery rugs, oodles of wall art and tons of bedding. All of it is 75% off! Tomorrow  all maternity and infant clothes are 60% off (not including Brandi's All Stitched Together custom clothing.) Even the nursing gowns are 40% off tomorrow ONLY.

Looking for a picture frame or diaper bag or cute toy? They're all 50% off!

Saturday we'll be open from 10 - 12. Then starting at noon we'll be moving like crazy! Monday we'll open in Suite H (right between Victoria's Cafe and Ruth's Good Nurtrition).

If you want a sneak peak, you can come to our Save and Earn night on Saturday at 7:00!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Choose Your Childbirth Class Carefully!

Photo from
I remember the excitement I felt 24 years ago when I signed up for Childbirth Classes at Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham. My husband went with me faithfully as we learned the basics of childbirth, saw an epidural needle and basically learned what we needed to know for a good epidural birth. We had one couple in our class who was planning an unmedicated, natural birth; quite frankly, I thought they were crazy! I remember that our instructor did spend time talking to them individually, but I really didn't give it much thought.

By my second baby, however, I knew I wanted a natural birth. We lived about an hour from the nearest hospital with a midwife, so we didn't attend a class. But our midwife gave us lots of good reading material and spent time helping us prepare for our natural birth. With our third baby we actually took a Christian Childbirth class and learned so much that we used with both our third and fourth babies.

Choosing Your Childbirth Class
The Childbirth Class you choose can make a huge difference in your childbirth experience. Both Crestwood and Huntsville Hospital offer Prepared Childbirth classes. If you know that you want an epidural, then a hospital class is perfect for you. One of the benefits of a hospital class is that you will get a tour of the facility. Another benefit is the tremendous flexibility in scheduling your class. You can schedule a 5 week evening series or an intensive weekend class. Everybody can find something that works for their schedule!

However, if you know that you really don't want an epidural, and you would prefer to learn more in-depth pain management techniques, then you might want to consider a childbirth class that is not associated with a hospital. The childbirth educators who teach in the hospital have to teach specific things that the doctors want taught, and there are certain topics they tend to avoid. An independent childbirth educator has no such constraints. There are several options available at A Nurturing Moment for local moms:

  • Bradley Childbirth Classes 
The Bradley Method of Husband Coached Childbirth offers intensive preparation and education for expectant parents. The class size is limited to just 5 couples so that there is plenty of individual attention. This 10 week series covers everything from the anatomy and physiology of birth to birth plans and relaxation techniques. Students learn exactly what to expect at each stage of labor and practice various scenarios. Husbands and wives work together to achieve the goal of a medication-free birth. A Student Workbook with over 130 pages and 75+ pictures is included in the price of the price of the class. .Jen Berry has been a Bradley instructor for 8 years, and has helped numerous families achieve the birth they wanted.

  • HypnoBirthing 
HypnoBirthing - The Mongan Method  is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education that uses self-hypnosis techniques. Classes emphasize pregnancy and childbirth as well as pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby. Women learn to use their natural instincts to achieve a safe, comfortable birth, Participants learn to view labor as hard work and pressure rather than pain. Marsha Mathes, Certified Hypnobirthing Instructor teaches our Hypnobirthing classes and also limits her classes to 5 couples. Participants in the 5 week series receive the HypnoBirthing text as well as the Rainbow Relaxation CD.
  • Christian Childbirth Classes
Courtney Buckley is a childbirth educator who has created a distinctly Christian childbirth series. Her class combines all the practical aspects of childbirth with an emphasis on relying on the Lord and growing spiritually through pregnancy and childbirth. The class includes specific instruction on fear and how to alleviate and release your fears. It also deals briefly with Genesis 3:16-17 and how that relates to us today. Other practical aspects of instruction include positions for labor and birth, how to write a birth plan and preparation for husbands.

Whether you choose a hospital class or a private class, be sure to get signed up early and play close attention. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Action Step 11: Access to IBCLC's

Photo courtesy of the IBLCE website.

This is our final blog in our World Breastfeeding Month series of articles. Today's action step is so important for nursing mothers. Although community support groups like La Leche League offer an incredible opportunity for mothers to get breastfeeding help, sometimes an IBCLC is really the key to helping a mom overcome a breastfeeding problem.
This information comes from page 48 of the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.

Action 11. Ensure access to services provided by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.

International Board Certiied Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) are the only health care professionals certified in lactation care. They have specific clinical expertise and training in the clinical management of complex problems with lactation. Better access to the care provided by IBCLCs can be achieved by accepting them as core members of the health care team and creating opportunities to prepare and train more IBCLCs from racial and ethnic minority groups that are currently not well represented in this profession.

Implementation Strategies 

Include support for lactation as an essential medical service for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children. Third party payers typically define a standard package of health benefits for women and children. Including standard coverage for IBCLC's as “covered providers” when they perform services within the scope of their certification would ensure that mothers and children have access to these services through insurance maternity benefits. Federally funded health benefit programs, such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs, Tricare, and the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, could serve as models for such a standard benefit package.

Provide reimbursement for IBCLC's independent of their having other professional certification or licensure. The taxonomy for health care clinicians defines qualifications of clinicians to be reimbursed. One option for reimbursement would be to place certified lactation consultants within the category of “nursing service related providers,” and specifying the nature of care they provide would allow for reimbursement of IBCLC's without requiring that they are also registered nurses. Alternatively, developing state licensure of lactation consultants could help to achieve the same purpose.

Work to increase the number of racial and ethnic minority IBCLCs to better mirror the U.S. population. Racial and ethnic minority communities tend to be underserved by lactation consultants. More students from these communities could be trained in human lactation to increase careers in lactation consultation. Area Health Education Centers could be encouraged to establish community-based training sites in lactation services.

Getting Involved

A Nurturing Moment is actively involved in a program to provide IBCLC's for area doctor's offices. Many pediatric and obstetric practices around the country routinely employ the services of IBCLC's for their patients, and it is our hope that this trend will extend to the Tennessee Valley. One of our long-term goals with our non-profit, The MOM Foundation, is to mentor minority women who would aspire to a career in lactation. At present, however, we are more focused on developing peer counselors in economically disadvantaged areas who will be able to encourage breastfeeding in their own neighborhoods.

Because we have two IBCLC's on staff, we are usually able to see mothers the same day they call for help. We deeply appreciate the many doctors who routinely refer patients to us, and are thankful that they view us as part of the health-care team. We are careful to keep communication open with the referring physician because we recognize the team nature of our efforts to serve moms and babies.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Action Step 14: Employer Support

This is the final week of the US Breastfeeding Committee's 20 Actions in 20 Days Campaign. Today's action step is one that is a high priority for us at A Nurturing Moment - such a high priority, in fact, that we have an entire program designed to help employers in this area!

Today's step comes from pages 50-51 of the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support  Breastfeeding.

Action 14. Ensure that employers establish and maintain  comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs for their employees. 

Photo courtesy of Stockfree images
In the United States, a majority of mothers have returned to the workplace by the time their infants are six months old. Continuation of breastfeeding after returning to work is facilitated if the employer offers a lactation support program. The evidence demonstrates that supportive policies and programs at the workplace enable women to continue providing human milk for their infants for signfiicant periods after they return to work. High-quality lactation programs go beyond just providing time and space for breast milk expression, but also provide employees with breastfeeding education, access to lactation consultation, and equipment such as highgrade, electric breast pumps. Currently, only a quarter of U.S. employers provide breastfeeding employees with a place to express breast milk at the workplace.

Implementation Strategies 

Develop resources to help employers comply with federal law that requires employers to provide the time and a place for nursing mothers to express breast milk. As part of the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to require employers to provide reasonable break time and a private place for nursing mothers to express milk while at work. Programs are needed to educate employers about the new law, supply examples of how it can be implemented in a variety of work settings, and provide assistance to businesses that find compliance difficult.

Design and disseminate materials to educate employers about the beneits of providing 
more comprehensive, high-quality support for breastfeeding employees. The Health Resources and Services Administration resource kit, The Business Case for Breastfeeding: Steps for Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, is one model of how to promote employer support for breastfeeding employees. Developing Web sites, videos, conference exhibits, and peer-to­-peer marketing strategies could all be useful for expanding the use of lactation programs and implementing effective programs across a variety of work settings. New materials that focus on the unique concerns of non-office work environments and workplaces with few employees should be developed.

Develop and share innovative solutions to the obstacles to breastfeeding that women face when returning to work in non-office settings. While there are numerous examples of creating lactation rooms in office buildings and large stores, many work environments are more challenging for breastfeeding women returning to work. For example, farm workers may find it difficult to access a private place shielded from public view. Service workers who are on the road may not have a regular workplace where they can express milk. Challenges also exist in allowing break time for breast milk expression in businesses where there are few employees to cover during breaks. Many employers have already worked with workplace lactation consultants to develop innovative solutions, such as special trailers, makeshift temporary spaces, or “floater” employees, to enable nursing mothers to take breaks.

Promote comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs as part of a basic 
employee beneits package. There are cost savings from better retention of experienced workers, higher employee morale, greater loyalty and productivity of employees, reduction in absenteeism and sick leave taken by parents of young children, and lower costs for health care and health insurance. While the percentage of employers having lactation support programs has increased over the past decade, many women still find it difficult to combine breastfeeding with work.

Getting Involved

If you've been around A Nurturing Moment very long, you probably know how committed we are to supporting working mothers. We often consult with moms who are returning to work to help them figure out how they will manage pumping and working. We've worked with mothers in a wide variety of industries and love to help them make continued breastfeeding a success.

Last year we began a special program designed specifically to help employers support their nursing employees - just like the last point of the Surgeon General's call suggests! ANM Workplace Solutions is available to any company in the Tennessee Valley who wants to offer exemplary support. We provide an on-site support group, hospital grade breast pumps, and in-home lactation consultation for employees! If your company isn't offering you this kind of support, then have your HR people get in touch with us! We'd love to help!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Action Step 2: Fathers and Grandmothers

We're continuing our focus on the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.  Today's focus is one that is near and dear to our hearts. I was blessed to have a husband who was very supportive of my breastfeeding efforts, even in the early days when I was struggling. My mother didn't live close by, but she had breastfed me, and was very encouraging as well.

Today's action step focusing on fathers and grandmothers is found on page 39 of the Surgeon General's document.

Action 2. Develop programs to educate fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding

A woman’s decision to breastfeed is strongly inluenced by the beliefs and attitudes of her family and friends. Unfortunately, family and friends may discourage a mother from breastfeeding if it is not accepted within their culture. Often, when a mother is thinking about how to feed her baby, she values the advice of her partner the most, followed by the advice of her mother, family, and friends. In fact, she often values their advice more than the advice of health care professionals.

Partners are particularly important because their approval means so much to a mother, and her partner is often a mother’s primary source of support. Although fathers want the best for their family, they may become jealous or resentful or get the feeling that they will not be able to bond with their child if their partner chooses to breastfeed. he baby’s grandmothers are also very influential because mothers who have recently given birth rely on them for support and advice. To make breastfeeding successful, mothers need the support and encouragement of all of these people.

Implementation Strategies 

Launch or establish campaigns for breastfeeding education that target a mother’s primary support network, including fathers and grandmothers. Local campaigns can use print, billboard, radio, and television public service announcements that feature members of a specific population for more effective reach.

Offer classes on breastfeeding that are convenient for family members to attend. Educational materials and classes that are directed toward fathers and grandmothers need to be developed to attract and involve this extended support network. To encourage the participation of family and friends, consideration should be given to involving churches, civic organizations, health clubs, community centers, and schools because these venues may be more accessible than health care institutions. Offering classes during a variety of hours and days also may improve participation.

Getting Involved

At A Nurturing Moment we believe in supporting the entire family unit. We encourage fathers to come to our breastfeeding classes and talk to them specifically about their role in supporting a wife who is nursing a baby. 

We also view grandmothers as very important! This document can be printed and given to any grandmother to help her know how she can help her grandchild receive the optimal nutrition provided by breast milk. Grandmothers are always welcome at our Mommy Milk Meet-up group meetings. If you need us to give Grandma some special encouragement, just let us know, and we'll be happy to help! We are looking at beginning a Grandparents Class. Let us know how you think that would go over. We'd love your input!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Action Step 8: Continuity of Care

This is the third in our series of articles based on the the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee has suggested a specific focus for each day of August. Today we're actually looking at the focus from Wednesday.  The text below comes from Pages 45-46 of the Surgeon General's document.

Action 8. Develop systems to guarantee continuity of skilled support for lactation between hospitals and health care settings in the community. 

Image from Wikipedia
Upon discharge from their stay in the hospital, many mothers are unable to find and receive skilled breastfeeding support. Mothers often are left on their own to identify resources to help with questions and problems they may have with breastfeeding. Furthermore, hospitals, clinicians in the community, and community organizations typically lack systems to help connect mothers to skilled persons who can offer support for breastfeeding. Ideally, there would be a system to ensure that breastfeeding mothers and their infants would receive skilled support with lactation from informed and available health care teams. Hospitals, primary care clinicians, and community organizations share responsibility for creating such systems.

Implementation Strategies 
Create comprehensive statewide networks for home- or clinic-based follow-up care to be provided to every newborn in the state. Follow-up support for breastfeeding needs to be integrated into home visitation and postpartum care programs. Staff training in breastfeeding management would be fundamental to this care.

Establish partnerships for integrated and continuous follow-up care after discharge from the hospital. Communities often provide a variety of resources to help breastfeeding mothers, including peer support networks, breastfeeding clinics, lactation consultants, and support groups. Health care systems can ensure that their patients are informed about such resources and can facilitate connections to these resources. They can also help to strengthen or create these programs.

Establish and implement policies and programs to ensure that participants in WIC have services in place before discharge from the hospital. Community partners and key stakeholders, such as hospitals, lactation consultants, and other clinicians, can work with WIC to establish continuity of care for WIC participants who breastfeed their infants. In addition, WIC state agencies can collaborate with state hospital associations to identify key barriers to the provision of WIC services within the hospital setting. WIC state agencies and hospitals can partner to establish policies to ensure that WIC participants receive in-hospital
education and support for breastfeeding, including identiication of a WIC peer counselor and scheduling of follow-up support for breastfeeding by WIC staf in the community.

Getting Involved

We try to work as closely as we can with our local hospitals and physicians.  We deliver rental breastpumps to patients in their hospital rooms at Crestwood Hospital. Our Postpartum Support program is a tremendous resource for new mothers who don't have family nearby to help them after baby is born.

Our Bosom Buddies program is specifically designed to help WIC moms by providing them nursing bras. Furthermore, our sliding scale for lactation consultation services in our office ensures that no mother who needs help will ever be refused it due to her inability to pay for an IBCLC.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Action 10: Basic Breastfeeding Support from Health Care Providers

This is the second article in our series about the Surgeon General's Call to Action for Breastfeeding Promotion. Today we're focusing on an action step that we can actually help with significantly.

Action 10. Include basic support for breastfeeding as a standard of care for midwives, obstetricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and pediatricians. 
Photo courtesy of the IBLCE   
Midwives, obstetricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and pediatricians provide care that supports their patients’ interests and health needs, including breastfeeding. Their full support of breastfeeding may be limited by the use of  practices that unintentionally and unnecessarily interfere with breastfeeding. These practices directly affect mothers’ and babies’ abilities to start and continue breastfeeding.

Implementation Strategies 

Define standards for clinical practice that will ensure continuity of care for pregnant women and mother-baby pairs in the first four weeks of life. The standard of care should include actions that are important for the promotion and support of breastfeeding, including providing prenatal counseling on feeding decisions, setting accountability standards for postpartum follow-up care, monitoring neonatal weight gain, and establishing referral mechanisms for skilled lactation care. Models should be established to integrate assistance with breastfeeding into routine practice settings.

 Conduct analyses and disseminate their findings on the comparative efectiveness of different models for integrating skilled lactation support into settings where midwives, obstetricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and pediatricians practice. Skilled lactation support may be provided by trained physicians, by lactation consultants affiliated with a physician practice, through stand-alone clinics, or by referrals. Models of care differ in the degree to which care is provided for all breastfeeding mothers to prevent difficulties and the extent to which care is provided for women already having problems. Identification of best practices and optimal care models is needed.

Getting Involved

We are blessed to live in an area where excellent health-care is available. Many pediatricians are quick to refer mothers to lactation consultants for breastfeeding support. We regularly get calls from their offices requesting consultations for their patients. However, some pediatricians are still quick to suggest that mother's supplement unnecessarily or even stop nursing altogether. Whereas some ob/gyn's are extremely supportive of their breastfeeding patients, others are dismissive at best. 

In many parts of the country lactation consultants are an integral part of the pediatric practice. Therefore, we have designed a program especially for our local doctors to give them the benefit of having a lactation consultant available without having to hire another staff member. Our LC in Your Office program allows even the smallest pediatric or family practice to provide professional breastfeeding support to their patients in the privacy of their office.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Action Step 12: Make Donor Milk Available

From the Human Milk Banking Association of North America
August is National Breastfeeding Month. The United States Breastfeeding Committee has begun a campaign of 20 steps in 20 days to support breastfeeding. These steps are based on the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. We'll be taking a close look at some of these steps over the next few weeks! The information below comes from page 49 of the above document.

Action 12. Identify and address obstacles to greater
availability of safe banked donor milk for fragile infants. 

Growing evidence supports the role of donated human milk in assisting infants with special needs, such as infants in newborn intensive care units who are unable to receive their own mothers’ milk, to achieve the best possible health outcome. In these situations, use of banked donor milk may protect the infant from the risks that might result from not breastfeeding. Unfortunately, demand for donor milk outpaces supply because of logistical challenges related to transportation of donated milk, the lack of clarity in oversight, and the high cost of providing banked human milk. A national strategy is needed to efficiently and effectively address the issues involved in providing banked donor milk to vulnerable infant populations.

Implementation Strategies 

Conduct a systematic review of the current evidence on the safety and efficacy of donor human milk. A systematic review will provide a common understanding of the health outcomes resulting from the use of this milk by analyzing the results of all of the available published research. Additionally, a systematic review will help identify any areas where the evidence is not conclusive and where more research is needed.

Establish evidence-based clinical guidelines for the use of banked donor milk. Necessary components of the guidelines include discussion of the use of donor human milk for a variety of infants, such as those who have a low or very low birth weight, are premature, or have particular medical needs; issues related to collection of and payment for donor milk; and the complex biomedical ethics of prioritizing the distribution of banked donor milk.

Convene a study on federal regulation and support of donor milk banks. Such a study could examine possible models for regulating and funding milk banks. In addition, it should consider
policy options to address concerns about biomedical ethics related to compensation for donating milk and the for-profit sale of banked donor milk. It also could examine models for payment, including WIC or health insurance program benefits that cover the use of banked donor milk. It is important also to consider how human milk banks might be a resource in planning responses to national emergencies.

Getting Involved

At A Nurturing Moment we are passionate about seeing a human milk bank in Alabama. Melissa did her Master's Thesis on Human Milk Banking. Currently the closest milk bank is in Texas

However, a bank is being developed in Jackson, MS. They are in the process of raising funds to get started. On October 4 they are having a very special fund-raiser -- A special one-night screening of Donor Milk: The Documentary at the Grandview Cinema in Madison, MS. Following the film there will be a question and answer panel with Amy Vickers - executive director of the North Texas Milk Bank, a couple whose baby received donor milk, mothers who have donated, Jarred King - one of the film's producers and Linda Pittman - executive director of the Mother's Milk Bank of Mississippi. 

One key to having a milk bank in a community is the demand for donor milk by the neonatologists. In the Jackson, Mississippi area, the neonatologists regularly prescribe donor milk for those preemies who desperately need it. Parents have the right to demand that their baby receive donor breastmilk if mom isn't making enough milk for baby.  In the future every state should have at least one milk bank, and many states will have more than one (Texas already has two.) We look forward to the day when Alabama has it's very own Human Milk Bank!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: Celebrating 20 Years of Breastfeeding Promotion

It has been 20 years since the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) launched the first World Breastfeeding Week campaign. The theme that first year was "Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative." So much has happened in these last 20 years! Let's look at how far we've come.

  • The Innocenti Declaration from 1990 has continued to be a guiding force in breastfeeding promotion.
  • In 1992 the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition received a grant to move forward with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the US. Wellstart International in San Diego, CA, developed the assessment tools.
  • In 1997 the Healthy Children Project, Inc. accepted responsibility for the initiative and formed Baby-Friendly USA to implement the BFHI in the US.
  • In 2002, The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF reaffirmed the Innocenti targets and added additional targets in the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.
  • In December of 2011, Regional Medical Center in Anniston became the first Alabama facility to receive the Baby Friendly designation.
  • As of May, 2012, 143 hospitals and birth centers in the United States have received this designation.
However, we still have a very long way to go! One of the goals of this year's World Breastfeeding Week is to call attention to the state of policy and programs related to the feeding of infants and young children.

The New York Initiative
Just yesterday there was a lengthy discussion on the WHNT facebook page about the Latch-On NY initiative which encouraging participating hospitals not to give free formula to women and to only distribute formula when medically necessary. A mother who chooses to formula feed will first learn about the benefits of breastfeeding her baby, at least while she's in the hospital. No mother will be denied formula, nor will any baby ever go hungry. The program is voluntary and simply helps hospitals take steps toward becoming Baby Friendly.  What the critics don't understand is that many hospitals are already doing this - there's been no fanfare or political upheaval about it; rather, they have simply implemented evidence-based medicine in their facilities.

Help for Working Moms
An argument that I have seen repeatedly in this discussion is the hardship that returning to work while breastfeeding imposes on women. The US Department of Health and Human Services office on Women's Health put together a promotion called The Business Case for Breastfeeding. It is very true that many women do indeed struggle. That is why it is so important for employers to recognize the important role they play in supporting their breastfeeding employees. Programs like ANM Workplace Solutions help employers provide the level of support necessary, and actually have a positive Return on Investment!

Truth in Advertising for Formula Companies
This week let's celebrate how far we've come, but let's recognize how far we still have to go! Let's help women and doctors alike understand that breastfeeding isn't just a matter of maternal choice. It is a decision that can affect their baby's health. It's time for our government to sign onto the International Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and stop allowing formula companies to mislead the public. 

No Guilt! Lots of Support!
Should mothers who don't breastfeed be made to feel guilty? No, I don't think this is about guilt. But every mother should have the opportunity to know just why breastmilk is so important for her baby. Furthermore, every mother should have the support necessary to breastfeed successfully.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Does "Breast is Best" Create a Hardship?

Photo of PumpEase courtesy of
I just came across an interesting article posted in the New York Times in which Jane Brody attempts to use a recent serial  interview study from Scotland to prove a point. She says the American Academy of Pediatrics goal that women exclusively breastfeed for about 6 months is unrealistic and imposes undue hardship on mothers. She relies somewhat on her personal experience 43 years ago when she had her twin sons early by C-section and pumped her milk as they were being fed formula in the hospital. Obviously that wasn't a terribly auspicious beginning for Ms. Brody, and she didn't have the advantage of a supportive lactation consultant since the profession didn't exist 43 years ago. Her OB was quite supportive, but her pediatrician was not, and I must say that I really admire her determination to breastfeed her sons despite some incredible obstacles and without a strong support network.

However, the thing that concerns me the most is the perception of a continued lack of support for nursing mothers in the workplace. Federal law mandates not only that breastfeeding mothers be given break time whenever they need to pump, but it also says that employers with 50+ employees are required to provide a place for pumping that is NOT a bathroom. Many employers have made huge strides in accommodating nursing mothers; nevertheless, some companies may still be unaware of the legal requirement to support these employees. It is vitally important that the women who work in these companies make their HR people aware of their responsibility.

A Nurturing Moment actually has a special program in place specifically designed to help employers offer the best support available to mothers. The return on investment is incredible. Cigna conducted a 2 year study of breastfeeding employees and found that their workplace lactation program produced the following results:

  • $240 million annual savings in health care expenses
  • 62% fewer prescriptions
  • 77% reduction in absenteeism
Mutual of Omaha had the following results with their lactation program:

  • 83% employee retention after maternity leave (national average is 59%)
  • Healthcare claims per breastfed newborn averaged $1269 compared to $3415 for formula-fed infants.
That leads us into a discussion of my second major concern with Ms. Brody's article. She asserts that there is no research to back up the claims of the medical community that breastfed babies are healthier. It looks to me like Mutual of Omaha has done some research that backs that up!(Mutual of Omaha. (2001). Prenatal and lactation education reduces newborn health care costs.Omaha, NE: Mutual of Omaha.) Furthermore, the AAP statement is backed up by significant research. In fact, it contains 151 citations to support it's recommendations. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has also responded to the Times article with a statement calling for enhanced support for all nursing mothers. 

This isn't about Mommy Wars or "Milk Wars." It's about a public health initiative. The worst thing that anybody can do is use guilt in an attempt to motivate a woman to nurse. Guilt is a lousy motivational tool. It is even more awful for anyone, breastfeeding advocate or not, to make a mother feel guilty about her feeding choice once that choice has been made. Life is just too short for guilt! 

So what do we need to do? First of all, we need to make sure that all mothers have access to good prenatal education about breastfeeding. They need to know that it may be challenging. They also need to know where to turn if they do have any problems.  Next, we need to realize that, as one mother so aptly put it, "It takes a village to breastfeed a baby." (thanks, Elizabeth!) That village includes health care providers, community support groups, family, friends, and breastfeeding professionals.  Finally, we all need to strive to make the workplace more supportive for nursing moms. Are you in management? Do you own a business? Do you know someone who does? Find out what they're doing to help their nursing mothers. Ask questions before you get pregnant. If your children are older, then see what you can do to smooth the way for younger women. If we all work together, we can help more moms succeed and avoid a lot of unnecessary guilt.