Friday, March 29, 2013

A Sword Shall Pierce Your Soul

Today we remember one of the darkest days of human history. As we think about the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, we often focus (rightly so) on the agony He felt when He experienced not only the physical suffering, but also the intense spiritual pain of complete separation from His Father.

However, I want to take a moment to reflect on what His mother went through on that day. Thirty-three years earlier she had taken her infant son to the temple as prescribed by Jewish law. There a man named Simeon took Jesus in his arms and spoke the following words:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
Then he spoke directly to Mary as he said:
Medieval art depicts His grieving mother at the cross.
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”  (Luke 2:34-35)

As Mary stood by the cross grieving over the horrible death her son was experiencing, she surely must have felt as if a sword was indeed cutting right through her. I wonder if she remembered those words that Simeon had spoken so long ago. As she looked up at the dying Savior did she see the baby she had nursed, the little boy she had cuddled, the child she had lovingly taught?

No mother wants to see her child suffer, and as parents, we feel that we shouldn't outlive our children. Nevertheless, in those last moments of his earthly life, Jesus took a moment to make sure that his precious mother would be cared for by his dear friend, John. What an incredible bond between mother and son!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BCBS Insurance? You May Be Able to Get a FREE Pump!

A lot has happened since our February post about insurance and breastpumps!  We have a couple of local Durable Medical Equipment providers who will work with your insurance to help you receive the pump you're entitled to! Although every insurance plan is different, if you have Alabama Blue Cross Blue Shield, you should be able to receive a Medela Pump in Style, a Bailey Nurture III or an Ameda Purely Yours.

Which Pump Do I Want?

The Medela Pump in Style provided by insurance
All three pumps are high quality pumps. The Medela Pump in Style is a very popular single-user pump. One advantage for local mothers is that North Alabama hospitals use Medela products. I encourage every mother who gives birth to ask for her breast pump rental kit because it will provide you a spare set of parts for your Pump in Style. Furthermore, many mothers do find that renting a hospital-grade pump for the first week or even month can be very helpful in helping to deal with engorgement or for establishing a supply if baby isn't nursing well. The Pump in Style is a completely automatic double electric breast pump, making it easy to pump hands-free and do other things like read or type as you are pumping. 

The Bailey Nurture III Pump
The Bailey Nurture III is also a very reputable, reliable breast pump. The technology behind the Nurture III is a bit different, however. The suction is controlled by a dial, but the rate is controlled by the mother using the pump via a simple up and down motion of her finger which releases the pressure. The advantage to this system is that the mother can vary the speed as she sees fit. The disadvantage, however, is that she must be fully engaged with the pumping and does not have both hands free (she does have one hand free).

The Ameda Purely Yours pump
The Ameda Purely Yours  breast pump allows mothers to choose from 32 different combinations of pressure and speed. It is a closed pumping system, so it is impossible for any milk to ever get into the pump motor. It is completely automatic and works very well for mothers who need to pump hands-free. The only real disadvantage is that if you want extra parts for it, you must order them online.

How Can I Get My Pump?

That's the easy part! All you have to do is get a prescription from your doctor and bring it to us or have it faxed to us (256-489-2584). We will make a copy of your insurance card and have you fill out some simple paperwork. We will get your information to the appropriate DME provider and you will get a call within a week or less letting you know you can pick it up. We can even have it delivered to the hospital for you! Based on information received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama just yesterday, you may request your pump during pregnancy and up to a year after your baby's birth as long as you have the prescription from a physician!

What If I Have a Different Insurance?

If you have a different Blue Cross Blue Shield (Federal or another state) it will most likely work the same way. We will just need to verify everything, and you might not be able to get your pump the day you bring your prescription in. 

Parents who do not have Blue Cross Blue Shield may still be eligible for a free breast pump. The Affordable Health Care Act mandates that insurance companies provide you a breast pump. Each company has the option of choosing what kind of pump they will provide. While some companies are only willing to provide a hand pump, many companies will provide you a double electric pump. Just bring in your prescription and your insurance card, and the wonderful insurance experts will be able to verify your coverage quite quickly.

If you've received a pump paid for by insurance, take just a minute to tell your story in the comments!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Bottle Window

I got an interesting call from a mom today. She was wondering if we had any written information about how to introduce a bottle to her breastfed baby. Although I often address this issue, I realized I had never written about it. So I promised her I would put my suggestions into writing tonight!

Why Introduce a Bottle?

Honestly, not every mother even needs to worry about introducing a bottle. If you are going to be home with your baby and really don't want to be separated until baby is several months old, then I wouldn't even worry about reading the rest of this post! By the time your baby is about 6 months old, you can begin introducing a cup with expressed breastmilk, so if you're cool with hanging out with baby for those first six months, then you don't need to concern yourself with "the bottle window."

However, if you know that you will be going back to work, or if you want your baby to be able to accept an occasional bottle of breastmilk, then it is really important to understand when and how to introduce a bottle. Sometimes Mom just wants to be able to have an occasional date with Dad or night out with the girls. And many dads do indeed look forward to the time when they can participate in feeding.

When Should I Introduce the Bottle?

There is a small window of time for introducing a bottle to your baby. You need to make certain that beastfeeding is well established. Baby should be latching on well, and your milk supply should be sufficient for baby's needs. However, if you wait too long, your baby may completely refuse to take a bottle. If you really need baby to take a bottle, waiting too long can present tremendous challenges.

The ideal time to introduce a bottle is between four weeks of age and one month.

The ideal time to introduce a bottle is between four weeks of age and one month. That's a pretty small window. But in my experience with hundreds of babies and moms, it seems to be the perfect time. I have almost never had a baby who is one month old or younger refuse a bottle. Likewise, if breastfeeding is going well by four weeks, introducing a bottle is highly unlikely to cause any kind of problem with baby's suck.

How Should I Handle Pumping?

The ideal time to pump is right after the first feed of the morning. You have the most abundant milk supply at that point. I generally encourage mothers to wait until baby is a couple of weeks old and their supply is somewhat stabilized to begin pumping. The easiest way to pump is with a double pump, and with the changes from the Affordable Health Care Act, most policies cover a breast pump. 

The easiest way to store your milk is in Milk Trays. You don't have to keep buying bags or filling your freezer with bottles. The milk tray will freeze your milk in one ounce cubes which can be stored in ziplock bags after they are frozen. Be sure to write the dates on the bag (you will probably have several days or a week's worth of milk per bag). 

Once you have introduced the bottle, you will also want to pump during the time that the bottle is being given so that your breasts will continue to receive the same amount of stimulation. Skipping a feed without pumping could also lead to engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis - NOT fun!!

How Do I Introduce the Bottle?

First of all, YOU aren't going to be the one to give baby a bottle! Let Dad , Grandma, your bestie or even an older responsible sibling be the one to give the bottle. Remember that while someone else is feeding baby, you are pumping!

It is important that baby receive a bottle at least every 2-3 days. I can't tell you how many moms call me distraught because their baby who took a bottle or two really well at one month won't take any kind of bottle at 2 months. When I investigate a little bit, I discover that baby hasn't had any bottles for about 3 weeks. That's a problem. Babies are creatures of habit, and the bottle is a habit you have to continue to cultivate if you want baby to accept it.

What Kind of Bottle Should I Use?

Generally when mothers introduce the first bottle during "The Bottle Window" just about any bottle will work. However, you really want to find a bottle that requires baby to suck using the same basic motion that he uses at the breast. You also want to find a slow-flow nipple. 

Just about any bottle will work

Several good options that have worked well for our moms include the First Years BreastFlow bottle, the Mimijumi bottle, The Tommy Tippee bottle and both the Medela Calma and the Medela standard slow-flow bottle. Each has pros and cons. I would just buy one bottle of a particular brand at first to see how your baby does with it. Don't make a real investment into a particular brand until you know that they are going to work.

No Judging!

I feel like I need to close a discussion of the use of bottles with a final caveat. Whether you decide to introduce a bottle or not, you need to be comfortable with your decision. Every situation is unique, so there is absolutely NO ROOM for any mom to judge another mom based on how she decides to handle this issue. The most important thing we can do as moms is get in the habit of affirming each other every chance we get!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little Man Ties

If you have a little girl, you know how easy it is to find absolutely adorable outfits for her. Want sequins? They make baby girl sequined outfits. Want bows? There are lots and lots of baby bows! Want feminine and frilly? You'll find pink tulle all over the internet!!

But adorable little boy clothes are not as easy to find. Granted, there are some cute baby boy suits and vest outfits. And you can find baseball, football and other sports-themed clothes. But they certainly aren't as plentiful as little girl clothes.

Just a few of the many available designs.
That's why my friend Sharon Edwards created Little Man Ties. These adorable little ties fasten with velcro around baby's neck, and come in a variety of styles and colors. We have ties sized for 0-6 months, for 6-12 months and for 12m-2T. Sharon can even custom make you a larger tie if you want. Just today we had somebody request a 3T.

Easter is just a week away; we've got some adorable looks for Easter Sunday!! So if you're looking for a way to dress your little man up, come on by and check out the Little Man Ties today!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Melissa's Story: Why I Do What I Do

By Melissa Florence, MA, IBCLC, RLC

The number one question I get asked is “How in the world did you decide to become a lactation consultant?”  That is a very good question because looking back my goals were to get married, become a nurse/teacher and have 3 children all before I turned 30 (because 30 is old). Ha!  I am now a 35 yr old divorced and single mom to one awesome girl.  It is funny how things change, how we change.  If you know me well then you have heard me say at least once “Everything happens for a reason,” and that is so true. The good and bad happen to us for a reason. So what does this have to do with me? If I had not had my daughter I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Before I had my daughter I had decided to “try” to breastfeed. I had my daughter in September 2003, and breastfeeding went well for a few days then rapidly went downhill. At this time in my life I was going through a divorce, was living with my parents and had very little money. I was a WIC mom. When things started getting rough I called the lactation consultants that I was told to call. I was one week post-partum and had a C-section. I was not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds, nor was I supposed to drive, but I wanted to breastfeed so bad that I ignored all of that --  my child comes first! I set up an appointment and went in. I had $50.00 to my name. The appointment was around thirty minutes, and it cost me $45.00.  Twenty five minutes into the consult my daughter latched and started nursing well! I was ecstatic until the time was up. I asked if I could stay until she finished and was told, “Sure, but it will be another $45.00” which I did not have. I pulled my daughter off (she was screaming), put her in the car seat and walked out. Needless to say we both cried the whole way home.

"Everything happens for a reason." 

The next few months were spent nursing, pumping, supplementing and popping fenugreek like it was candy. All while going through a divorce, dealing with a newborn that had horrible reflux and a not-so-great latch, who was screaming almost all the time and absolutely could not be put down. So when I say I feel your pain, I really do! I would say that I had the “perfect storm” of things going wrong.  After 4 ½ months I dried up -- no more milk. It was because of the stress I was under. I was devastated, and I was ticked off. Why couldn’t anyone help me? Why was it so hard to find breastfeeding support? I made a decision that “God willing” I would not let what happened to me happen to another mother.

 I was raised in believing that if you have a problem you fix it yourself. That is what I set out to do. I wanted to figure out where I went wrong, learn how to fix it and help other moms in the process.  For the sake of this blog not being 10 pages long I will fast forward a little bit. After much, much research on the internet I learned that not only did the tremendous amount of stress I was under lead to my breastfeeding demise, but the fact that I have hypothyroidism also contributed to my milk troubles. Wow!  During all this time Jesus and I became BFFs. I prayed and talked to him constantly, “Please Lord help me understand why this is happening to me. I know there is a reason.” Little did I know just what God had in store for me!

In 2005 I received my Bachelor's degree; my daughter was 2 years old. In 2008 I became a CLC (Certified Lactation Consultant).  In 2009 when my daughter was 5years old I received my Masters degree in Maternal & Child Health with a focus in lactation. In 2010 I received my IBCLC certification!  I stayed busy! I spent numerous hours away from my daughter going to school. I had many sleepless nights working on my thesis while my wonderful daughter was next to me sound asleep. The three things that got me through all of that were
1. God (remember we were Bffs. We still are…) 
2. My family’s love and support. They helped take of my daughter so that I could pursue my passion.
3. My daughter. I wanted my daughter to see that you CAN do anything that you put your mind to. That no matter what happens, God has always “got your back” and that family ALWAYS helps each other out in times of need. Lastly, I wanted to show my daughter that everything happens for a reason.

God put me through all of this so that I could help YOU!

In 2011 I had the tremendous blessing of becoming a part of A Nurturing Moment, The M.O.M. Foundation and the ministry of helping all moms. It was then that God revealed the reason.

 So here is God’s reason for what I went through, the good and the bad. God put me through all of this so that I could help YOU. He allowed this so that I could help ALL mothers who need breastfeeding support. I went through this so no other mother would go through the pain that I went through, if I can help it.  I am a part of The M.O.M. Foundation because I was that mom who needed help and didn’t have the money to pay for it. If God had not allowed me to get married, have a baby while going through a divorce and struggle to make it all work there is NO way I would be able to do what I do today. 

So, if you need help, I am going to be there for you physically and spiritually. I will help my moms succeed, I will pray for every mother that I work with and I will NEVER turn away a mom because of her inability to pay for my services. Remember, at one time I was “that” mom!  So that is why I do what I do.

You can bless The M.O.M. Foundation tomorrow.

Tomorrow if you go to Woody Anderson Ford and test drive a car they will donate $10.00 to a non-profit of your choice. If you have time tomorrow it would be a blessing to The M.O.M. Foundation if you could do this for us and in turn for the moms that we help everyday. I am truly blessed by God to have the privilege of working with Glenni Lorick, of helping moms, and of showing everyone -- especially my daughter -- that God is good and that “Everything Happens for a Reason”!

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Natural Hospital Midwife Birth in Alabama!

Roberta Ress, CNM is the only Certified Nurse Midwife
delivering babies in a hospital setting in North Alabama.
by Anna Bertone, Guest Blogger

When I became pregnant with my first child in May 2012, I was living in Chicago and finishing graduate school. I selected a midwifery practice with privileges to deliver at an “Alternative Birthing Center” within a local hospital. In my view, this was the ideal arrangement because I had support for a natural birth, all of the comfort amenities (tub, ball, peaceful setting), and, if I were to need an emergency procedure, I could be wheeled out the door and down the hall in a matter of seconds.

When work required that my husband and I move to Huntsville in my 8th month of pregnancy, I was scared and confused by the apparent lack of birthing options in AL. Where were the midwives? The Birthing Centers? The natural birth classes? After days of web searching and phone calls, I spoke with a former CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) who put me in touch with Roberta Ress, CNM at Carlota OB/GYN practice in Athens. We met for the first time when I was already well into my pregnancy. With that meeting, my hope was restored that a natural birth in a hospital setting is indeed possible in Alabama.
Roberta delivers at Athens-Limestone hospital. She is supported by her OB/GYN practice and the wonderful hospital nurses. My Birth Plan was well received and respected by everyone I came in contact with during and after delivery. 

I won’t pretend that my birth was easy or “ecstatic”, as some women claim. It was eight hours of HARD WORK following a day and a half of sleepless pre-labor. I’m not sure I could have done it without Roberta and the nurses. Some of the nurses had experienced their own natural births. I think this made them even better at encouraging me and knowing what to do (or not to do). For example, no one pushed drugs, or made me feel as though I was up against the clock, or was being too loud. No one complained about how I was chugging coconut water like a shipwrecked sailor the entire time. They brought me mats when I was laboring on the floor, demonstrated the many ways a hospital bed can change to support different positions, attached a bar to the bed, and pointed a fan on me. Roberta coached my breathing when I started to “drown” during transition, and my husband and doula held my hands and assisted me throughout. Carina was born Jan. 14th at 7:33 AM.

Ladies, I highly recommend hiring a doula. A doula is a friend, an educator, a masseuse, and an experienced mother. Even if you have a husband, partner, or family member present, a doula can show them how to help you best. I worked with Aleah Charney. You can visit her website

Thanks to A Nurturing Moment for creating a space for women to connect on issues such as these. I love your services and products!

Anna Bertone
Feel free to call/email me with any questions about Carina’s birth!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IBCLC: The BEST Job in the World!!

I have the BEST job in the world.
Nope, you can't argue with me.
Nope, it doesn't matter how much I don't get paid.
Nope, getting a call at midnight is not a nuisance....
I told you, I have the BEST job in the world.

Here are the top ten reasons why being an IBCLC absolutely rocks!! 

  1. Newborn babies smell so sweet and are so soft, and I get to hold them all the time!
  2. Seeing a mother go from tears of frustration to tears of relief is priceless.
  3. Teaching is a key component of my job, and I love to teach!
  4. I have the opportunity to see babies I worked with grow into toddlers, preschoolers and even young adults.
  5. The friendships I have built with mothers over the years have enriched my life beyond belief.
  6. IBCLC's are an amazing group of people to call colleagues!
  7. I get to learn new things all the time as I research conditions that are new to me.
  8. God designed the breastfeeding relationship so when I help a mother nurse successfully, I am enabling her to do what her Creator intended her to do.
  9. I have the privilege of "weeping with those who weep" - when a mother is struggling I can encourage her. When she is broken-hearted I can pray for her. When she needs affirmation, I can give it.
  10. Nothing compares with the amazing privilege of touching the lives of moms and babies every single day.
If an IBCLC has made a difference in your life, take a minute to thank her and maybe even leave a comment here for her!

Monday, March 4, 2013

ANM Opens Satellite Offices

Sometimes amazing things happen when you are least expecting them! That's how we feel about the past six weeks here at A Nurturing Moment. We are so excited to be able to offer enhanced IBCLC support to mothers across the Tennessee Valley with the addition of two satellite offices.

Madison Satellite

It seems like it was just a coincidence (although we know it wasn't) that Melissa Florence (one of our IBCLC's) was getting her hair at Studio 106 when the owner Dana Burrows mentioned that she was looking for businesses to rent her upstairs rooms. The wheels began turning, and Melissa just knew that God was giving us this opportunity to better serve our moms in Madison, Harvest and East Limestone.

Melissa went to work transforming a bare upstairs room into a comfortable, welcoming satellite office for A Nurturing Moment. She has begun seeing mothers and babies there and is able to provide breast pump and baby scale rental, as well. She is available for in-home consults, if that is easier for mom and baby. She particularly enjoys coordinating with the pediatricians and family practitioners in Madison so that their patients don't have to come all the way to Huntsville to be seen by a lactation consultant.

The Madison satellite office also serves as a pick-up point for mothers who order diapers, breastfeeding supplies or anything else they need from our Huntsville store. The Mommy milk meet-up breastfeeding support group will meet the second Wednesday of each month at 3:00 pm in Madison. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 256-658-8206.

Fayetteville Satellite

About the same time that the door was opening for our Madison satellite, we began to see the doors opening for a satellite in Fayetteville, TN,  as well. Dr. Sarah Thelen had contacted us about providing lactation support to her patients in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, Kelly Clements, another one of our IBCLC's who happens to live up that way and whose husband teaches in Fayetteville, said she would be interested in working with Dr. Thelen to make sure those moms and babies got the support they need. Dr. Thelen was happy to make space available in her office for our Fayetteville satellite which is also open by appointment. Kelly will see moms in the office or wherever they need to be seen. Like the Madison satellite, the Fayetteville satellite serves as a pick-up point for items the mothers have purchased through the Huntsville store.

Kelly will be coordinating with a LaLecheLeague leader in Fayetteville to offer a support group for moms in the area, and we will post details on our Facebook page under Events. She also has breast pumps and baby scales available to rent. For more information or to schedule a consult with Kelly, call 256-529-2445.