Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Makes ANM unique?

Over the last couple of weeks we've worked very hard at answering the 6 essay questions for the Mission:Small Business contest. It's been very good for us to take an honest look at ourselves, and we thought you might enjoy a peek at how we view ourselves.

The first question we had to answer was "Tell us about your business; how successful is it and why is it unique?

Here's our answer:
A Nurturing Moment (ANM) exists to provide information, education, support and encouragement to hopeful, expectant and new parents. Our spacious store provides ample room for parents and grandparents to find everything they will need for their little one from nursery furniture to breast pumps. However, we are so much more than a typical baby store. We offer a variety of classes for our parents as well as monthly meet-up groups in our distinctive classroom/play area. Our blog serves to further educate and support our moms. The factor that truly makes A Nurturing Moment unique is the compassionate care we provide to our customers. With two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants on staff, we help mothers in their effort to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics goal of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. Mothers may opt for a breastfeeding consultation in the privacy of their own home, or they may come to the store and meet with us in our office.

We proudly offer Young America by Stanley furniture because it is the only line that is made in the USA and is Greenguard certified, ensuring that no toxins are used in the manufacturing process that could possibly harm baby. We also carry Best Chairs Storytime Collection of gliders, swivel gliders and glider/recliners. Our maternity and nursing clothing lines include Japanese Weekend, Olian, Annee Matthews, Best for Babes as well as several other smaller lines. We feature Bravado and Medela nursing bras as well as Glamourmom and La Leche League bras and the largest collection of breastfeeding supplies available in North Alabama. Cloth diapers are another featured item; our lines include Thirsties, BumGenius, Flips, Bummis, Gro-Via, Kawaii, FuzziBunz and Rumparooz. A good cross-section of books, infant toys and clothing, baby carriers, swaddling blankets and gift items makes our store a one-stop solution for expectant and new parents.

We have been blessed with continued growth. A year ago we purchased another local baby store and moved from our 2600 square foot facility into their 5200 square foot facility. Our income last year grew 59%, partly as a result of our move, and partly as a result of increased referrals by local physicians.

On a typical day we see several mothers with breastfeeding problems. We find that some problems can be resolved even without an actual consultation. Several mothers may drop by the store to nurse their babies in our comfortable nursing area. They may even meet a friend or two here and hang out for a while as their children play in the play area. We enjoy meeting new customers daily and encouraging them in their journey. We also provide information from our extensive resource center about doulas, midwives and parenting support.

Each employee embraces our goal that every mother who walks through our front door will know we genuinely care about her and her children and will feel nurtured by our staff. We truly do have the very best job in the world - nurturing mommies, babies and memories!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Help Us Serve You Even Better!

By now you probably know that our mission at A Nurturing Moment is to serve moms and babies. We truly believe that we have the very best job in the world because we have the privilege of working with amazing parents every day! Whether you are a teenage mom or a mom in your forties, whether you're single or married, whether you have one baby or quadruplets, we love helping you in any way we can.

Yesterday we learned about a contest that actually began in May, so we're a little late jumping on board. The contest ends June 30, so we still 11 days to get the votes we need to move on to the next phase! We've received almost 40 votes in less than 24 hours, so at that rate we should be able to reach the goal of 250 votes in just over a week. But we need your help! It will just take a couple of minutes, and it's as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. Go to the Mission Small Business site and log in.
  2. Search for A Nurturing Moment and vote for us
  3. Share your vote with your friends on your Facebook page.
We've written 6 essays about who we are, where we're going, how we plan to use the money, the challenges we face, our ANM team, and our involvement with the community. Once we qualify by getting 250 votes, our essays will be reviewed by a panel of business experts to determine the winners. Twelve companies from around the country will be chosen to receive small business grants of $250,000. 

So how will this help you? If we win, we promise to make A Nurturing Moment even better! It will allow us to expand our inventory and bring in everything YOU want to see here! It will also allow us to help local companies implement our ANM Workplace Solutions program because we can offer mini-grants to companies to help defray the cost of implementation. Another area where we can expand our services is to low-income and teen moms. Furthermore, we will be able to provide a trained Hypnobirthing coach for all of you who have asked us for that. Finally, the grant will also allow us to shore up our infrastructure for continued success in years to come.

The rules for the contest specifically state that we can't use any kind of incentive to motivate consumers to vote. We hope that you'll vote because you appreciate us and would love to see us offer you even more. But we do want to ask you to take the time to post the contest on your own Facebook page. As our way of saying thank you for taking the extra time to do that, we are going to give away a $25 gift certificate to one of our friends who helps us spread the word about this contest. You can post a link to this blog, or post a link to the Mission Small Business site. Just let us know you've helped us get the word out, and you'll be in the contest!

Thanks so much for your continued support over the years! You are the reason we're here, and we love you!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

At A Nurturing Moment we really appreciate our dads! I know it seems like we're always focusing on moms and babies, but we recognize that dads are critically important. A good father is a stabilizing presence in his child's life and serves as a role model for both sons and daughters.

John Ward Willson IV
This is my first Father's Day without my Daddy. He passed away in May after a nearly 2 year struggle with Parkinson's disease. But he was the most amazing, incredible, wonderful man I have ever known. I wish every little girl everywhere could say that about her daddy! My parents divorced when I was just 2. But my dad was an important part of my life until I was about 7. Then there was an ugly custody battle between my father and my maternal grandparents. The upshot was that my mother and I disappeared and I didn't see my dad again until I was 15.

I'll never forget the morning he drove back into my life. I was walking down the hill to the bus stop at about 6:45. A car pulled up alongside me, and my father said, "Glenni, is that you?" I recognized him immediately and couldn't believe he was really there. I had written a letter trying to find him, but it had been several months. He drove me to school, then we went to dinner that night (with my mother's blessing - she never minded me seeing was just my grandmother who hated him.)  That summer I spent some time with him, and we began to rebuild our relationship. I got to know my little brothers, and always looked forward to seeing them.

Nevertheless, my grandmother had done a great job of brainwashing me against him. She had convinced me he wanted to harm me. It wasn't until 10 years later when my dad took Keith, me and my brothers on a trip to Europe that I truly felt secure with him. I tripped on the steps in the Paris subway and fell, twisting my ankle. My dad picked me up in his arms and carried me the rest of the way to the train. From that moment on, I never doubted how deeply and incredibly he loved me.

My dad was loved by people he had met around the world. He worked in the travel industry until he was well into his eighties. He was a gentleman through and through. After he died we received messages from people in at least 12 different countries commenting on his character, his hospitality, and his amazing work ethic.

I hope today is a special day for each of our ANM families. Take time to celebrate your dad if he's living. If there are barriers, tear them down before it's too late. Then make sure your kids celebrate their Daddy. We want to help make the celebration a little sweeter, so we're offering a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky dad! Just post a picture of Dad with one or more of your little ones on our FB page, then leave a comment here letting us know you did that! We'll pick a winner on Friday!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Extended Breastfeeding and Toddler Nutrition

Photo courtesy of
One of our moms was in the store chatting with us this week. She asked if there was any nutritional value to her milk now that her baby is 15 months old. While her pediatrician is supportive of her continued breastfeeding, her Ob/Gyn had told her that there was no need for her child to continue nursing because the milk had no nutritional value at this point.

Needless to say I was aghast that a medical professional who should have known better would say such a thing. However, this incident highlights a much larger issue within our culture. Many people, both within the medical community and outside of it, don't understand why in the world a mother would nurse a child who can walk, talk, and ask for "Nursies."  They mistakenly assume that it is simply the result of a mother selfishly meeting some maternal need she perceives. What they fail to recognize is that mother's milk is still an extremely valuable source of nutrition, antibodies and long-chain fatty acids for an older nursling.

A 2005 study written up in Pediatrics showed that the milk of mothers who had been breastfeeding for over a year had significantly higher levels of fat content than that of mothers whose babies were younger. The researchers felt that the energy contribution from mother's milk to the child's diet was significant. Other research indicates that breastmilk continues to be a major source of other nutrients for as long as a child nurses. In fact, according to Dewey (2001), "Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins." Her research indicates that 448 ml (about 15 oz) of breast milk fed to a child between 12 and 23 months old provides the following percentage of the daily requirement:
  • 29 % of energy
  • 43% of protein
  • 36% of calcium
  • 75% of vitamin A
  • 76% of folate
  • 94% of vitamin B12
  • 60% of vitamin C
Further research indicates that the antibody protection afforded by breastmilk continues to protect a child into toddlerhood. Concentrations of Lactoferrin and Secretory IGA even increase slightly in the second year year of life. That means that children who continue breastfeeding past the first year of life continue to have increased immunological protection. This is especially important for parents who choose to delay vaccinations.

However, extended breastfeeding is good for mom, too! The longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater protection she has against pre-menopausal breast cancer, cervical cancer, osteoporosis and several other conditions. Some mothers who practice extended breastfeeding even report a delay in return of fertility.

Even if the breastmilk itself didn't offer significant benefits for baby, the intimacy with mom associated with nursing a toddler provides tremendous reassurance for a little one who is busy exploring his world. Nursing remedies a host of ills from a bleeding mouth to pain from shots. It is also a great way to help an older baby learn about delayed gratification, because unlike a newborn, a toddler doesn't need to nurse on demand.

So if you're thinking about nursing past a year, rest assured that you will be continuing to give your baby the very best possible nutrition. By extending the wonderful start he has had at your breast, you're continuing to give him a precious gift. He'll thank you for it every day!