Monday, May 28, 2012

ANM Postpartum Support

Recently we polled moms about their greatest need after the baby came home. The most common reponses were help with meals, cleaning, older children and breastfeeding support. Several needed someone to hold the baby so they could get a shower or get the rest they needed. If you have family living close by, you have a built-in support network, but in a city as transient as Huntsville, many people don't have any family nearby at all.

Over the last several years we've often had requests from moms for postpartum doula referrals. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of people willing to provide this service. We do have one local mom who is currently certifying as a postpartum doula, and that's great news. However, we've decided that due to the demand for this service, we would start ANM postpartum support! 

Melissa Florence and Glenni Lorick are both International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who will come to your home and provide all the support and provide all the support and help you need! Our services include the following:
  • Professional breastfeeding support (including the use of a hospital-grade pump when we’re present)
  • Instruction in and help with infant care
  • Assistance with multiples
  • Aid with maternal post-partum care
We will be  in your home and willing to help in any way we can as you adjust to life with a new baby. You can choose a package of 12, 26, 40, 58 or 80 hours, or you can pay by the hour.  The hours may be split up according to your needs over the first 8 weeks of your baby's life.  We will be with you for 3 - 8 hours at a time - you decide what you need and what will work the best for you.  

Whether you're a first time mom or you already have several children, you'll be so thankful for the personalized support that we provide. Best of all, you can actually put this on your gift registry and have your friends and co-workers give you ANM Postpartum Support as a present. It's a gift you will appreciate long after the early post-partum period is past!

Give us a call today at 256-489-2590 and mention this blog post for a 10% introductory discount!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bottles, Pacifiers and Sippy Cups May Pose Risks

In a Pediatrics article published online yesterday, researchers from The Research Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers are a significant source of injury in children under 3. Bottles are the most significant source of injury, causing 65.8% of all injuries, followed by pacifiers (19.9%) and then sippy cups (14.3%).   The most common injury was to the mouth, and the most common type of injury was laceration.

The researchers note that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have issued recommendations about transitioning to a lidless cup by 12 months of age to prevent dental caries (note that in both referenced articles above, they say 18 months is the upper limit for complete cessation of bottle usage). Furthermore, in this article from the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, pacifier use after one year of age is linked to an increased incidence of otitis media (ear infection). 
They also make the point that in 2010, there was a 29.6% decrease in injuries from 1991. They note that, 
"This trend was largely driven by a decrease in bottle-related injuries over time; we speculate that either bottles were involved in fewer or less serious injuries or fewer children used bottles over time (because they transitioned increasingly earlier to a sippy cup or cup or because more children were breastfed or breastfed longer)."
So what does all this have to do with you? Based on the evidence gathered in this retrospective analysis, it  appears that it is very important to teach your child to remain seated when drinking. Allowing a toddler to run around with a bottle or sippy cup isn't a good idea. It is also important to note that babies and toddlers who are breastfeeding instead of using a bottle or sippy cup are not at risk for any of the types of injuries noted in this study.

Some babies really do seem to have a stronger suck need than others. A breastfeeding mother who's baby is nearing the one year mark might decide to continue nursing a little longer to help baby through the many stresses of toddlerhood. An in-tune, attached mother is the real expert on her baby. You are the only one who can make the decision about what your little one needs, so do the research and follow your gut!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Huntsville Hospital NICU Offers Terrific Family Support

My grandson has been in the NICU at Huntsville Hospital for almost two weeks now. It's really hard on his mom and dad because they want so desperately to bring their baby home. However, the incredible support they have received from NICU family support specialist Jennifer Bader has made their experience much less difficult than it might have been otherwise.

NICU family members make T-shirts for their babies. 
Jennifer's job is funded by a March of Dimes grant and the Huntsville Hospital Foundation's Melissa George Fund. She has such a passion for supporting NICU moms because she was a NICU mom herself when her twins were born four years ago in St. Louis. The support and encouragement she received during their NICU stay there buoyed her spirits tremendously. When she moved to Huntsville, she was passionate about giving other NICU moms that same level of support. She worked very hard to bring this program to Huntsville Hospital and is doing a fabulous job there!

Every week she has some kind of special activity for NICU moms. The night after Nicholas was born, family members were invited to make t-shirts for their babies. Over twenty family members showed up to create one-of-a-kind designs for their little ones. However, it wasn't just about making the shirts; it was also about building relationships.

Nicholas' thumbprint necklace
Last week family members were invited to NICU Bingo. Jennifer had created Bingo cards using NICU terms. It was a very creative way to explain many of the NICU policies and procedures in a non-threatening, low-key setting. Prizes included preemie diapers, socks, washclothes, baby journals and a keepsake pillow. Then on Thursday all the NICU mamas were treated to a spa day where they were pampered and made to feel just wonderful!. Each mother received a special gift from her baby, too. Jennifer had created tiny thumbprint heart necklaces. My daughter proudly wore hers to church yesterday and showed off Baby Nicholas' thumbprint. It is a gift she will treasure forever.

This week we're already looking forward to making picture frames for our babies.

Over the years I've spoken with many NICU families. Most have felt very thankful for the terrific care their babies have received. But there has never been the level of parent and family support that now exists. Huntsville Hospital is truly blessed to have Jennifer on board. And parents who have a NICU baby are so fortunate to have a family support specialist like Jennifer to encourage them and make the stay a little easier!

 For more information about NICU family support, you can contact Jennifer at 256-265-7377 or email her at   Local businesses or families are welcome to donate snacks or supplies for the family waiting room and parent hours.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mama's Day

Mama is an interesting word. It actually comes from Latin and means breast. Isn't it interesting that when we talk about mothers, one of the most familiar words we can use is a word that refers to the way a woman feeds her baby? Ask anybody what qualities a good mother should have, and the word "nurturing" will appear somewhere in the answer. Mothers nurture their children physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For nine months a mother's body provides a safe place for baby to grow and develop. She is careful to care for him and nurture the life growing inside of her. As soon as that precious little one is born, she can continue nurturing him by providing the perfect food designed just for him. No formula envisioned or engineered by man can begin to provide the plethora of antibodies, antigens, enzymes, long-chain fatty acids, minerals and proteins that breastmilk contains.

Ideally for the first six months of baby's life, mom's milk will be his only source of nutrition, helping him grow into a chubby, smiling bundle of giggles. For the rest of his first year, his primary soruce of nutrition will still be his mother's milk. Many mothers choose to continue providing the nurture that only a mother can give at her breast well into toddlerhood or beyond.

Nobody can comfort, protect, encourage and edify a child the way that his mother can. Somehow with his head snuggled up against mother's breasts, everything is okay, and the world is a safe place for the time being. When a mother invests time and energy into her child's emotional development, he will have a strong foundation for facing whatever storms may come his way in life. The time you spend today playing with your toddler, reading to your preschooler, doing homework with your child, listening to him tell you about his day, encouraging his dreams and aspirations will pay rich dividends in the future.

Every child has a natural wonder and curiosity about the world around him. Mothers have the incredible privilege of introducing their impressionable children to the spiritual world all around us. Nobody has more of an impact on a young child than his mother. In the Bible, Moses' mother served as his nurse and taught him the rich history of the Jewish people and their God. Once he was weaned, he was brought up in Pharoah's house as a prince. However, he never forgot those lessons he learned at his mother's breast.

So to all mothers I say "Happy Mama's Day."  Keep up the good nurturing!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm a Gigi!

I changed my name this week. I'm no longer just Glenni or Mom. On Wednesday at 1:35 pm I became Gigi to the most precious little boy ever, Nicholas Sebastian Velasquez. My daughter Sarah was 34 weeks pregnant when she gave birth, but she had been in and out of Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children for the last month with preterm labor.

The first time she went in she was 30 weeks, bleeding and cramping. The L & D staff was absolutely fabulous. Sarah stayed for nearly a week, got steroid shots, and had strict instructions to stay in bed. During her time there, Jennifer who works with NICU parents came to see her as did Cindy, the NICU lactation consultant. She was also able to tour the NICU with Judy (who ended up being one of Nicholas' nurses) and get all her questions answered about what would happen if the baby did come early.  A week later she was back to L & D for a night. 

Last Monday when she went to the doctor for her check-up, she told him that her contractions were waking her up at night. He gave her some Ambien so she could get some rest, but said he felt like she'd probably have the baby this week.

The Ambien worked really well Monday night. She slept from 10:30 until 4:00 am. At 4:00 Tuesday her contractions jolted her awake.By Tuesday afternoon she was using a birthing ball to help her manage the discomfort from her contractions. Tuesday night we headed back to L & D for a third and final time.

When Nicholas was born there were two NICU nurses in the room waiting to care for him. His apgar scores were terrific - 9 and 8. So Sarah and Enrique did get to hold him for a few minutes before they took him up to the NICU. On the way to her room on the 5th floor, Sarah got to see Nicholas again in the NICU. Touching his soft skin and head full of hair brought tears of joy.

I can't say enough about how wonderful the doctors, nurses and personnel have been. Kelly, Lori, Emry, Amy, Melissa, Judy, and Stacy all merit special thanks for their terrific, compassionate care of both mother and baby. It's a blessing knowing that even though Sarah isn't there, Nicholas has round-the-clock care by such loving nurses. 

I'm also very thankful for my own firsthand experience with these incredible care-givers. For years, A Nurturing Moment has had a special relationship with Crestwood - we provide their breastpump rental, and years ago I was involved in writing their breastfeeding protocol. Up to this point I've had more first-hand knowledge about the terrific quality of care for moms and babies at Crestwood. Now I have first-hand knowledge about both hospitals! Now when I tell mothers that both hospitals are great, I have the experience with both to back it up.