Monday, January 30, 2012

ANM Workplace Solutions

Photo by Criminalatt from
Since our inception, A Nurturing Moment has helped working mothers navigate the frustrations of returning to work, pumping and continuing to breastfeed. We love it when moms who work outside the home tell us their breastfeeding success stories. Nothing thrills us more than to hear that one of our mamas has provided her baby breastmilk for a year or even longer.

Over the last few years, we've had moms ask us to provide information to their employers, and we've been happy to do that. However, we are ready to take it a step further now! ANM Workplace Solutions is an exciting new service that we are providing to companies in the Tennessee Valley!

We want to help area companies to be recognized by the Alabama Breastfeeding Commission as Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces. We offer a variety of services tailored for each individual company we serve. We will help a company design a lactation room and provide them a hospital-grade pump to use in the room if they want one. However, we will also provide 24/7 phone consultation to their employees as well as to their spouses. Other options include in-home breastfeeding support, monthly support groups on-site for nursing mothers, and breastfeeding classes. Employees will also receive a 10% discount on everything they purchase at A Nurturing Moment.

The best part of all is that solid research shows that companies which offer a lactation support program benefit in many ways. They have a higher employee retention rate, enjoy greater employee satisfaction, and experience threefold savings in their health care costs. If you think your company would appreciate results like that, have your HR folks give us a call at 256-489-2590 to get more information. If you would prefer that we contact your business ourselves, leave a comment or give us a call!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

See you at Crestwood Today!

Seventeen years ago I was immersed in writing a breastfeeding protocol for an exciting new birth option in the Tennessee Valley. The group I worked for, Reproductive Program Specialists, had a contract with Crestwood Hospital (it's name back then) to write the childbirth and breastfeeding protocol for their new Birth Center.  I had the privilege of providing breastfeeding training to the nursery staff, and did so with my daughter (who is now 17) in tow. As I taught, she snuggled in my sling and nursed when she needed to - I didn't miss a beat teaching, and one nurse commented that she learned as much from watching me as she did from the material I presented.

Photo courtesy of Rocket City Mom
Shortly after Crestwood opened their midwife-staffed delivery service, our family left for the mission field. To my dismay, the Crestwood Birth Center closed a couple of years later.

Fast forward 17 years! Those wonderfully appointed rooms that were designed for mothers and babies are once again being used for their intended purpose (instead of for heart caths....) I'm so excited! Yesterday I received a call inviting A Nurturing Moment to be part of the open house today. Nothing could have made me happier! For the last few years we have enjoyed a very special relationship with Crestwood. We provide their breast pump rentals, delivering pumps to patient rooms upon request. We also offer a discount on breastfeeding products when mothers tell us that the Crestwood Lactation Consultants sent them!

If you don't have plans for this rainy day, come see the beautifully redone LDRP rooms at Crestwood today from 11- 2. Refreshments will be provided, and I'll see you there!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Protect the Learning Curve

After Sharon had her first baby, all her friends and relatives couldn't wait to come see them in the hospital. In fact, the day after he was born, she had visitors pretty much non-stop from noon until about 9:00 pm. Sharon was committed to nursing her son, but he was really sleepy and only woke up a couple of times during that nine hour stretch. She didn't feel comfortable nursing him with visitors there because they really didn't have the hang of breastfeeding yet. One of her visitors actually offered to leave when little Samuel awakened, so Sharon did get to nurse for a few minutes, but soon somebody else was knocking on her door.

Photo by Alex Fermani, from the Shot in Vancouver project
It took several days for Sharon's milk to come in, and she struggled with supply issues the entire time she nursed. When she was pregnant with her second baby, she decided to do things very differently. She let her friends and relatives know that she would see them once she and the baby were settled at home, but would prefer they not come to the hospital. Her baby stayed in her arms most of the time, and she nursed every couple of hours during the day. Her milk was in by day 3, and she never had any supply issues at all!

What happens in the first 96 hours of your baby's life can have a tremendous impact on future breastfeeding success. The more you nurse in the those first few days, the more milk you will be able to produce. Every time you nurse in the early days you are unlocking prolactin receptors on your milk glands. Moms who nurse early and frequently have far fewer struggles with supply issues later.

In our culture, however, everybody (and his brother, sister, first cousin and mother) all want to come see the new mom and baby in the hospital. While it's great that so many people care about you, all those visits wear you out and inhibit early nursing sessions. So what can you do to protect the breastfeeding learning curve with your baby?

  • Before you ever head to the hospital make a plan! Let your friends know that you would prefer they wait to see you until you are settled at home, and breastfeeding is going well.
  • Make sure that Daddy knows how to tactfully usher visitors out when it's time to nurse.
  • If you send out a text announcing baby's birth, be sure to remind people that you aren't receiving visitors at the hospital.
  • Ask the nursing staff to post a "No Visitors" sign on your door.
  • Keep your baby in the room with you, breastfeeding every two hours during the day and when baby awakens at night. Ideally you will have at least 10 feeds a day the first 2-3 days.
  • If you're having trouble getting baby to latch, be sure to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible. 
  • In the event that mom and baby are separated, or baby isn't latching well, be sure to ask the staff to bring you a breastpump. Use it every 2 - 2 1/2 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night to establish your supply.
What was your hospital experience like, and how did you protect the learning curve? Share your experiences to help other moms!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


You're nursing your angelic four month old; you hear his sweet little gulps as he fills his tummy. Then he slows down a bit and all of a sudden ... CHOMP! You may cry out in pain or react in some other way. It really is an awful feeling! Does teething mean that breastfeeding needs to come to an end? If not, how can you avoid the pain of having a little biter decide that your nipple is his new chew toy?

Not the End
The age when teething starts varies from infant to infant. Some infants may show signs of beginning to teeth as early as 3 months. Other babies don't show any discomfort until after the first 6 months. How do even know if your baby is teething? Here are some things to look for
  • Excessive drool - teething babies produce more saliva, so it seems like they're always drooling. Sometimes the saliva may even cause a bright red rash to appear on baby's cheeks or chin.
  • Always putting something in their mouth - whether it's their own fist, your knuckle or a favorite toy, a teething baby is constantly putting something in his mouth because it feels good to his gums to chew on something.
  • Fussiness - their gums hurt, so they are going to be sure you know all about it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies nurse throughout the first year of their lives, so teething doesn't have to mean the end of the breastfeeding relationship. You just need some tools to help!

Numb the Gums
One of my favorite tried-and-true tricks for teething babies is the "frozen washcloth." Take some baby washcloths that have some texture to them. Get each one nice and wet, then roll it up, put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze it. Right before feeding, pull it out of the freezer and let baby chew on it for five minutes or so. The texture will feel good to his gums, and the cold will help numb them. He'll be less likely to use you for teething.

Watch the Sucks
When you're nursing a teething baby, you need to be vigilant! Watch her sucks and swallows closely. As soon as she slows down, take her off. As long as she's actively nursing, she isn't likely to chomp. It's only after she's done really nursing that she thinks about her sore gums and how good it would feel to chomp on something!

A baltic amber teething
necklace can really help!
Natural Relief
Many mothers have found that Amber teething necklaces ease the discomfort of teething dramatically. In fact, we have a guest blogger writing an article about her conversion from skeptic to true believer! When it heats up to body temperature, baltic amber releases succinic acid which is a natural pain reliever. These necklaces are not meant for baby to chew on, though, so you want to get one that lies on baby's collar bone.

What have you found that works for your teething baby? Leave a comment, and help another mom!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Breastpump Dilemma: to Rent or to Buy

We see lots of expectant moms every day, and a frequent question they have is about breastpumps. Should they rent one or buy one, and which pump should they buy. Obviously the answer depends on a mother's situation.

However, I generally encourage mothers not to buy a breastpump when they're pregnant. Instead I tell them to ask for the free breastpump kit in the hospital. In Huntsville both of our local hospitals offer the Medela kit. Insurance pays for it, so it's no money out of mom's pocket. The kit offers everything a new mother needs to get started with a hospital grade rental pump. We recommend the state-of-the-art Medela Symphony. It rents for just $25/week or $65/month.

For the early post-partum period, I really prefer a hospital-grade pump to any other kind of pump. It is an ideal pump for establishing a good supply. If baby is healthy and nursing well, there is no need to pump. On the other hand, if baby can't latch well, is sick, or mother and baby are separated, then a hospital-grade pump is the very best option to help establish a good supply.

Most moms begin to experience the fullness of the milk coming in between days 2 and 6 post-partum. The mother whose milk isn't coming in as quickly may be able to stimulate her production by pumping for 5-7 minutes after each feed. Some mothers have such tremendous engorgement that a baby who was nursing beautifully yesterday can't even latch on today. Moist heat and a good breastpump can be a life-saving combination in that situation. You apply moist heat to the breast and pump until you've removed enough milk for the nipple and areola to soften. Then baby can latch on just fine.

After the first few weeks of breastfeeding, a mother is ready to make a decision on which pump to purchase. She knows that breastfeeding is going to work well for her, and she has a sense of what she will need for her situation. She may find that the Swing breastpump is all she really needs because she's home with the baby most of the time. Or she may decide that she would prefer a double pump like the Medela Pump in Style of the Hygeia En-Joye. Either way, she will have spare parts for her pump because the kit she received from the hospital has parts that can be used with either pump.

Do you have questions about pumping? We work with moms every day who are in your situation, so don't hesitate to give us a call!

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Things First This Year

Let's face it, parents today are under tremendous time pressure. Mothers have a million things to do, and there are only so many hours in a day. Often in the middle of our crazy busy-ness, priorities get a bit muddled.

Yesterday as we were traveling from Huntsville to Orlando for the Capital One bowl (Christmas present for dh and ds), I was thinking through my goals for this year. I wrote them down and even put them on the desktop of my computer. I hope that having them there in front of me will help me be mindful of them even after the excitement of the New Year has worn off.

I have 4 goals in different areas, family and spiritual, business, personal, and household. But the first and most important goal is the one I want to talk about here. It says: "Daily time of prayer for each child and grandchild."

"A Mother's Love" by Ron DiCianni
I've always prayed for my children. When they were little (and not so little) we would have a "snuggle prayer" every night together where I would hold each child close as I prayed for him or her. I usually woke them up with a prayer, too. My youngest is now 13, and I still pray with him before bed many nights. But this goal is different. As my children are growing up, I am more and more aware of the vital importance of concentrated prayer for each one. I have four kids, ranging in age from 23 to 13, and each one has specific areas where I hope to see God work this year.

Praying for my children individually on a daily basis accomplishes several things. First, it helps me focus on each child's areas of weakness. As I pray, I believe the Lord gives me insights as a mother so I can better help each child (or young adult). It also forces me to objectively evaluate where each child is. I may see areas where I need to respond differently.  Finally, it unleashes the power of Heaven in my children's lives. The Bible is very clear about the power of fervent prayer. I long to see God at work in each one of their lives this year!

This year I will become a grandmother for the first time. I'm already praying for the precious little boy that my oldest daughter is carrying. Everybody says that being a grandmother is the most rewarding thing imaginable, and I can't wait to find out! But I know it already feels amazing to pray for him as I pray for his mama and daddy.

So I want to put first things first this year! Feel free to ask me how I'm doing with that when you see me! A little accountability isn't a bad thing at all.