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!