Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Sale Begins Friday

Monday we will celebrate the working men and women who make America what she is. In the past, ANM has been open on Labor Day, but this year it happens to coincide with a very important 15th birthday celebration and first JV football game, so we made the decision to close.

But that doesn't mean we won't have a Labor Day Sale! In fact, our Labor Day Sale will be Friday Aug. 30 and Saturday Aug. 31.

So just what are we putting on sale? We asked you for ideas on Facebook today and we loved your input. So here are the details of the Labor Day Sale!

  • 20% off all Baltic Amber - we will be making an order Saturday, so if we don't have what you want, we'll order it, and you'll STILL get 20% off!
  • 20% off all Birthing Gowns and Gownies -- after all you need to look pretty when you're in labor!
  • 20% off Medela breastfeeding supplies.
  • 10% off any Best Chair or Arm's Reach Co-sleeper order, or take an additional 10% off the already reduced price of any chair on the floor!

Monday, August 26, 2013

How NOT to Help a New Mother!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
You'll find some constructive ways to help a new mom here!
A few days ago I was helping a new mother nurse her baby as she recounted how a friend had come by her house while she was still in the hospital and "cleaned up." She expressed her aggravation that her friend had moved important papers, misplaced things she needed, and totally rearranged stacks of baby clothes that she had carefully organized. She never asked her friend to clean up for her; in fact, if her friend had simply taken a moment to ask if it was all right to straighten up, the new mother would have said, "No, thank you."

She isn't the only ANM mother who has experienced the frustration of "Help" that causes problems.  One mother said,  " I had a friend come and help clean up my house right after my baby was born and 'file away' in the closet the only card I had with the pediatrician's phone number. I went into hyper panic mode when I went to find it and couldn't."

Another mother relates what happened to her this way:  "When our son arrived at not quite 38 weeks, we were in the middle of cleaning and organizing so hubby's  family came to 'help' while we were in the hospital. Yeah, the living room, kitchen and bedrooms were 'clear' but no one dusted or actually cleaned, and they merely moved everything into our guest room which was piled up with whatever 'didn't have a place' to them. And paint cans, shoes and a few other items were just put outside on our July. Ruined a pair of shoes my late mother gave me...ruined leftover paint...Took us over a year to 'fix' the mess and find things. Over two years later I still find things shoved places and I fuss at my dh who reminds me who the REAL culprits were. This time I am making sure everything is spic and span, and if they want to help, then they can actually CLEAN, not move our stuff to 'help'! They also helped with stocking the fridge, but this time I will also have a detailed 'what we keep or need in the house' list since hubby is gluten-free, and last time we ended up with foods that neither of us ate." She adds that no one actually came to help AFTER their son was born, and it would have been nice to have some help then!

Check out these terrific suggestions
It seems that grandmothers are the worst offenders (Note to self, remember the Grandma Rules at all times). You won't believe some of the problems grandmothers have caused: "My mother washed all our kids' laundry while we were away on a weekend trip...she was so proud that she "finished off" the small bag of ecosprouts we had hanging out in the laundry room(she had no idea we only used it to launder cloth diapers)! The only problem was we then had nothing to wash the dirty diapers we brought home from the trip!"

Another grandmother offered kitchen help that wasn't so helpful: "My mother kept unloading my
dishwasher and if she didn't know where something belonged, she would just pick a place that made sense to her. Took us FOREVER to find the colander!"

A third mom wrote that " My mom does this every time she visits. The worst thing she ever misplaced was the week before Christmas. I had bought my husband a new wedding band and had it engraved. She 'put it somewhere safe' without telling me and couldn't remember where she put it! Thank goodness I found it on Christmas Eve buried in my HUSBAND'S underwear drawer!"

How CAN You Help?

Obviously with so many moms expressing frustration caused by well-intentioned helpers, we need to figure out what you CAN do to help a new mom. Some safe options include food preparation (be sure you know if there are dietary restrictions), child care for older children, and running errands. The key is to ask the new mother exactly WHAT she would like  you to do. Remember that this isn't about you, it's about her and her needs.

La Leche League leader Stephanie Stenmark offers excellent advice to anyone who wants to help out: "Never move paper work, and always ask if you don't know for sure where they put something. Really just stick to laundry, wiping counter surfaces, bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping. Never try to organize someone else's belongings!"  

What is the best thing someone could do to help you with a new baby?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Windi Works for Gassy Babies

by Elizabeth Hill, Guest Blogger

What did one burp say to the other?  Let's be stinkers and go out the back way!

My two month old must think this is really funny. He does not like to burp.  He bears down if he feels one coming up.  This often leads to hiccups and invariably leads to a gassy belly. 

I had read about The Windi on one of those "all the cool moms have these" lists.  It's distributed by fridababy, the makers of the NoseFrida.  I ,being a cool mom, also wanted to give them a go - especially since I often have a windy baby.

Saturday morning, he's windy. I get out The Windi.  It's a little tube for insertion into the rectum with a larger grip with ridges to hold.  The instructions are clear.  Massage the tummy, put a little baby oil on the tip and insert.  I don't use baby oil, so jojoba oil was used in my experiment.  The procedure may need to be repeated several times to work.  It said you will hear a swooshing sound when the gas is released.

I massaged and inserted.  He, with one eyebrow raised and a quizzical look, began to bear down, nothing.  We repeated the procedure three times and then it was as if a trumpet sounded.  We both giggled.

With my talented pusher, The Windi was not quite as spectacular as I had hoped.  I guess I hoped for something that would just magically remove all the air from his tract without all of the effort on his part. 

So yes, The Windi works.  I believe it would be really good for a baby who has a hard time pushing out his or her air.  With the massage, and baby's instinct to bear down when something is inserted into the rectum, the gas does come out. 

The stems are not reusable, and the frugal part of me really thought about giving it a good washing and trying it again.  But, I do feel it best to dispose of them after use.

If you have a windy baby, I would recommend giving The Windi a try.  It's always nice to have another tool to help keep your baby comfortable and yourself sane.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Post Partum Depression is NOT a Life Sentence!

By Teresa Fleischmann, Guest Blogger
The five year plan. That was our goal. Five years of marital bliss, complete with traveling, fun date excursions, late night movie theater outings and fancy dinners. Once we got all of the “fun” out of our systems, we would settle down and start our family. We quickly learned, as many have, that God’s plan was very different than our own.

When I was 15 years old, I found out that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The doctor explained to me that because of my irregular menstrual cycle, and hormone imbalances, I would likely have a difficult time conceiving. At 15 it fell on deaf ears, but when my husband and I began trying to get pregnant, we were prepared for a lengthy process.  We were completely shocked and obviously ecstatic when we conceived our first baby just 3 months later. I was overjoyed! I remember finding ways to tell random strangers about my pregnancy. I felt different, and wondered if other people could tell I was pregnant.  I avoided caffeine, deli meats, perfectly pasteurized feta cheese, and treated the salad bar at Jason’s Deli like the black plague. We excitedly shared the news with our parents, but withheld the information from our siblings and friends wanting to wait until we cleared the “danger zone” of the 1st trimester. 

One and a half weeks into our new found status of “soon to be parents” we experienced what too many parents have endured, a miscarriage. I was devastated. I felt inadequate as a woman, as a wife. My husband, Derek, and I handled the news very differently. He quietly, keeping himself busy in the garage, while I cried and got angry, not understanding why it happened, almost wishing I had just never gotten pregnant in the first place.  After a couple of weeks of awkwardness, feeling like society told us we must grieve silently, we came to a mutual agreement. As soon as possible, we would try to get pregnant again.
From Kids

As the months blew past, with one negative test after another, we decided to seek medical intervention. We were already aware of my PCOS, but were dealt another difficult blow when testing revealed male factor infertility. We sought the help of a reproductive endocrinologist, and after 2 years of infertility, which included Clomid, Femara, injectables and 5 unsuccessful intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), we decided we would take a break before one last pregnancy attempt with in vitro fertilization (IVF). The break was much needed. Sex on a schedule had become daunting, and my poor husband had a far too dramatic experience one day when he was stuck in traffic while attempting to deliver his precious, time sensitive, “specimen” to the lab. If you are local, and you recall seeing a fired up redheaded man frantically weaving in and out of traffic, shaking his fists in the air, trust me, you had NO CLUE why he was behaving so erratically! Looking back now, there were so many comical moments during that period of our lives. Well, at least they are comical years later.

This is where our story takes an incredible, miraculous turn. The morning that our IVF deposit was due, I found out that I was pregnant. Naturally. No drugs, no medical procedures, no scheduled intercourse. If my math is correct, it was a couple of drinks and some 4th of July “fireworks”. This time we decided to shout it from the roof tops. We told everyone. We laughed; we jumped for joy; we cried tears of excitement and also relief! It seemed unreal, and to be honest, I was cautiously excited.

From March of Dimes 
The first half of my pregnancy went well. I somehow avoided morning sickness, and as a larger framed woman, I really enjoyed the freedom to wear horizontal stripes!  Toward my 3rd trimester I developed preeclampsia, and at 30 weeks I was put on bed rest. The day of my 37 week appointment I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was 150/105. I was already taking 2000mg of blood pressure medication per day, so my OB decided it was time to have a baby. A few short hours later I was at the hospital being induced.

The birth plan that I had prepared was completely thrown out the window when I experienced complications during delivery. I had shoulder dystocia (which lead to an episiotomy and an insane 3 minutes of continuous pushing while a nurse palpated my abdomen) and placenta accreta (which caused hemorrhaging and the manual removal of the placenta by my doctor, which had also broken into numerous pieces.) My baby was born unresponsive, but by the grace of God, regained consciousness 19 seconds after delivery. He was born a hefty 8lbs 1oz, which was quite large for a baby born 3 weeks early! We named him Ian James (after his grandfathers) and our room was quickly flooded with family members who were head over heels for this adorable little boy.

From the Utah Dept. of Health Pregnancy Risk Line.
It wasn’t until later that evening, when our visitors had left and we moved into our recovery room, that we really had a chance to process what had happened. My doctor came and sat with us for a while, and explained both the shoulder dystocia and the placenta accreta. He joked that he was “getting too old for this” and in 20 years of practice he had experienced both complications on several occasions, but never together. We discussed how incredible it was that both Ian and I were completely healthy, and how 50 or 100 years ago we possibly would have both died, or at a minimum, I would have lost my uterus. I felt so incredibly blessed to be holding a healthy, happy little baby!

Our time in the hospital was enjoyable, and we had a constant stream of visitors. I was tired and sore, but also on cloud nine. We were discharged later than expected due to some complications from the circumcision, but we were so glad to return to our own home and our own bed. Our first night at home was hard. Ian slept so well that we had to wake him to feed him and I did not sleep at all.

Nursing was much more difficult than I expected and quickly became a chore. Ian was not gaining weight and scheduled feedings were not going well. I was committed to breastfeeding and had read all the books. Nursing sessions were taking more than an hour and it stressed me out that I didn’t know how much milk he was getting. I started getting irritable and couldn’t sleep. I was in a constant panic that he wasn’t getting enough food, and after four straight nights without a single minute of sleep I called my doctor’s office and told them I needed help. They prescribed me an anti-depressant, and the first night I took it I finally got a few hours of rest. The next day I felt like a rockstar, and even invited a friend over to chat and hold the baby. Unfortunately that only lasted for one day, and by that evening I was back to severe mood swings and insomnia. I was so upset with myself. I prayed and prayed for this baby, why was it so hard? Why did I have this feeling like I wasn’t good enough? Like I couldn’t take care of him?

Exactly one week after Ian was born I had my first suicidal ideation. It hit me like a smack to the face. I was nursing him in his room and out of nowhere I thought “Just do it, kill yourself. Derek can find a new wife and they can raise Ian together. It will be better for everyone that way.” Sadly, I also had thoughts of exactly how I would carry out the action. As quickly as the thought entered my head it also passed. I set Ian down in his crib and went and found my husband in the bathroom. I explained what had happened and told him he needed to take me to the hospital. We went to the ER, but decided, with the help of the my OB, a psychiatrist and the ER doctor that I would go home and attempt to take some sleeping pills to see if that helped. Lack of sleep can cause people to have crazy thoughts. That evening was a little better and I did feel refreshed. As the next day came, the mood swings returned, and so did the insomnia. One week later, I had another suicidal ideation, and after consulting my doctor, chose to be voluntarily admitted into the behavioral health unit of the hospital. I spent 5 days there, and was only able to visit with my baby for 2 hours each evening, in a supervised room. I began taking mood stabilizers, and was forced to discontinue nursing. I was devastated. To this day my heart is heavy thinking about the 5 days of his life that I missed. I still occasionally feel shame that I had to spend time in the hospital, but I remind myself that I am a better Mommy because of it. As a matter of fact, the alternative was leaving my child motherless.

After changing psychiatrists three times, regular counseling sessions, and coming off of mood stabilizers and back onto an antidepressant, my mood finally leveled off. My mother was able to go home (she lived with us for 3 months to help me care for Ian) and we were able to settle into our new life as a family of three. By the time Ian was 6 months old I had returned to my “normal” self. My final diagnosis was severe postpartum depression, borderline postpartum psychosis. I won the honor of being one of 2 patients with this diagnosis in the history of my OB’s career.
So, now that I have pulled you down into the dredges with me, let me offer up some hope. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” This has become my life verse. As I finish up this post, my now crazy 2 year old son Ian is napping in his room, and so is my adorable 9 month old daughter Cora. I was blessed with a second child (rather quickly after the first) and by the grace of God, I experienced an excellent pregnancy, a complication-free delivery, and most notably, I have not struggled with any depression! I am exclusively nursing Miss Cora, and am thoroughly enjoying being a mother of two. Postpartum depression is not a life sentence! It is also nothing to be ashamed of. If you are struggling with depression, please, please, please, tell someone, and get the help you need.

I may not ever in my lifetime know why I endured miscarriage, infertility and postpartum depression, but I do know that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. I also know that God specifically chose Ian and Cora as my children, and me as their Mother! Motherhood is not always glamorous, and at times is frustrating and just plain hard. But I promise this, IT IS WORTH IT! It is worth the pain of labor, the risk of complications, and even the deep, dark, misery of depression. This is proven to me daily in every smile, every coo, every giggle from my kids, and even in those shiny silver badges of honor on my belly!! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Words, Faith and the Mommy Wars

What a week for breastfeeding moms this past week has been! We've just completed World Breastfeeding Week, and I honestly can't recall a single week where so much has been written about mothers breastfeeding in public. Much of it has truly been constructive, but some things I've read (especially comments on articles), even from breastfeeding advocates have been filled with inflammatory language and insults.

Unfortunately when it comes to areas where mothers are prone to disagree, many women feel threatened and end up hurling abusive language at the other side without regard to what damage their words might cause. Whether the debate is over breastfeeding, scheduling, parenting style, mothers working outside the home or any other aspect of being a mother, it seems very difficult for some women to see that there are MANY good ways to be a mother.

Accepting and Supporting Each Other Despite our Differences

Recently several mothers have come up with a unique campaign that we would all do well to embrace. Breastfeeding mothers actively show support to their formula feeding counterparts, and vice versa. Some would be quick to say, "How can we support the decision to formula feed when breast is so much better?" Perhaps we need to take a moment to consider the fact that some mothers really do struggle with supply. Rarely, a baby may actually have a health condition that precludes breastfeeding. Unless you know all the details of a mother's struggle, you really can't understand her decision. I have worked with moms who did everything in their power to make more milk, but still had to rely on 1 or 2 formula bottles a day. I guarantee you that those moms did NOT love their babies any less than the mom who was exclusively breastfeeding!

So how do we approach potentially volatile parenting topics? When someone criticizes or questions a parenting choice you've made, how should you respond? If a friend or family member chooses a different style of parenting than yours, what do you say?

First of all, it's important to know WHY you are parenting the way you are. If you have it settled in your mind, and you know that what you are doing is the best for your baby, then you don't need to feel insecure or attacked when someone else does something different.

Secondly, remember that every baby is different, and every family dynamic is different. You are the expert on your baby, just as your friend is the expert on her baby. Trust yourself to do what is best for your little one, but also trust other mothers you know to make wise, well-thought out choices that work for their families. 

It's What You Say AND How You Say It!

I am unabashedly Christian in my world-view, so that definitely affects the way I approach conflict. However, whether you believe the Bible or not, there are some incredible nuggets of wisdom that can help guide all of us through the murky waters of the Mommy Wars. The Bible has a lot to say about our speech that we would do well to consider in this debate.

My youngest child just started high school last week. He's been at Westminster Christian Academy his entire life, but this year we have a new Head of School. In a letter to parents before school began Mr. Bartley set forth three principles that he hoped would guide communication between everyone in the WCA school family in the coming year. They were so outstanding that I asked his permission to share them here with you. As you think about each of these principles in the context of the Mommy Wars, imagine what a change we would see in our culture if we actually began to apply them! Mr. Bartley's words are in bold.

1.     Do not boast or defend yourself but rather talk humbly and repent peacefully.
Do not brag or try to show how great you are; if criticized or if you fail in some way, take responsibility calmly for your part and don't point to what aided your error.
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Galatians 6:14
Can you imagine how amazing it would be if instead of trying to defend ourselves and our choices, we just left it at a simple explanation. NO bragging necessary!

2.     Do not talk unkindly of others but rather affirm and sincerely praise others.
Don't cut anyone down to others or to their face; find sincere ways to compliment people.  When criticism must be done, lovingly attack the flaw, not the person.
"If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:15  
From Encouraging Treats by Nicole
Wouldn't it be awesome if we NEVER said anything ugly or unkind about another mother behind her back? What if we looked for things to affirm in other moms even when they do things differently than we do? If there really is an issue that is truly putting baby at risk, then lovingly share the research - not in a militant "my way is the ONLY way" manner, but with a sincere compassion for that mama and her baby.
3.     Do not complain or murmur but rather express gratitude and praise.
Don't murmur against life as if it were not a gift laced with many mercies.  This is not "Pollyanna" optimism, but a putting of all things in the context of God's grace.
"But the fruit of the Spirit, peace, patience...faithfulness, gentleness..." Galatians 5:22-23                            
 Oh if we could just learn not to complain!!! Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us, and we need to embrace it joyfully and thankfully. If you believe that you are parenting in the best way possible, then take every opportunity to show gratitude. Be sure to thank those who have helped you along the way in this journey of motherhood!

The Power of Your Words

Christian artist Hawk Nelson has a great song about this topic! One line of the song says
"Words can build you up, 
Words can break you down"
How true this is! So when you are talking with other moms, be sure that you choose words that build up, not words that tear down! If faith truly is an integral part of your life, make sure your words show it!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Challenge to American Airlines!

From La Leche League, Canada
Over the years, I have spent many, many hours in the air flying from continent to continent with nursing babies. Never once has anyone said anything negative to me about it, and I've never been harassed in any way. I've flown a variety of airlines including American, Delta, international carriers, and other US carriers. Unfortunately, one mother was not so lucky. Her friend Hannah explains what happened:
While breastfeeding during her 5-hour flight, my dear friend, who would like to remain anonymous, was treated poorly by an American Airlines flight attendant. My friend reached out to customer service and in response American Airlines outlined their policy requiring nursing mothers to “cover-up." The federal government and nearly every state have laws in place that protect women nursing in public. Are the legal rights of breastfeeding infants really lost when the plane leaves the ground? 
“On July 21, 2013 my husband and I were travelling home with our 5 month-old son on an American Airlines flight. After lift-off, I allowed our son to begin nursing as it helps his ears not hurt and prevents him from crying for the rest of the flight. I was sitting in the window seat, my husband was sitting in the center seat, and our son’s head was toward the window so no one could really see what was going on. There was a girl about ten or twelve years old sitting in the aisle seat next to my husband. She had her headphones on and was chatting with her friends in surrounding seats – my son’s eating did not seem to be bothering her. 
A few minutes after my son started nursing, a stewardess walked by our row, shook her head at me, and shot me a very displeased look. I told my husband, and we both agreed that she probably wouldn’t go any further, since I was being discreet and no one else seemed bothered. A few minutes later, the same stewardess returned to our row, leaned over the girl in the aisle seat, and told me (after a bit of hesitation as she couldn’t find her words) that I needed to put a blanket over my son “because there are kids on this flight.” My husband promptly responded that there was no problem with what I was doing and that we preferred to not use a blanket. The stewardess left our row and walked to the back of the plane. A few minutes later, she returned again and told the young lady in the aisle seat, “I’m going to move you back here because you’re probably really uncomfortable.” By that time, our my son was asleep and the girl had yet to take notice in my nursing of him.
For the rest of the flight, that stewardess never offered us drinks and avoided looking at us, but my son happily nursed and slept. We had passengers all around us saying how thankful they were that our son was sleeping, commenting 'He’s the best baby on the plane!'
I filed a complaint on the American Airlines website describing the employee’s inappropriate, harassment-style behavior, saying that it made me hesitant to fly with American Airlines again. On August 3, 2013, I received the attached letter in response – Not an apology and further reason to believe that harassment is not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers flying with American Airlines."
Please SHARE and tell American Airlines that a woman nourishing her baby in the most natural way possible should never be shamed into covering-up!
 This is the letter that American Airlines sent in reply to her complaint. The first thing about this letter that bothers me is the idea that some might take offense to a baby being breastfed. Would they be offended if that baby were being given a bottle? Would they be offended if that baby were screaming because the pressure change hurt his ears and he couldn't relieve the pressure by sucking?

The second thing that concerns me is the idea that unless a mother is using a cover, she can't nurse discreetly. Some babies refuse to nurse with a cover. The cover actually brings more attention to the breastfeeding. A mother can absolutely nurse discreetly without a cover.

The third thing that is upsetting is the fact that we have a culture which simply does not encourage breastfeeding! The flight attendant should have been so thankful that this mother was able to get her baby to sleep and keep him quiet in the confines of a crowded airliner. She should have gone the extra mile to show appreciation to a mother who was being so considerate of those around her. She should have made sure that the nursing mother was offered plenty of liquid. She did NONE of those things. Instead she belittled and bullied the mother. It is behavior like this that contributes to our current culture surrounding breastfeeding.

Will American Airlines accept the challenge to
take leadership in creating a supportive
culture for nursing mothers?
This is World Breastfeeding Week. This year we are celebrating peer counselors, those people who support the mothers around them in breastfeeding. Certainly we don't expect an airline employee to become a peer counselor. However, wouldn't it have been lovely if that flight attendant had said a simple "thank-you" to the mother for soothing her baby? Wouldn't it have been kind if she had brought her a bottle of water and asked if she needed a pillow or anything else? That is the culture that we need to foment. American Airlines, you have the opportunity here to take leadership in this area and use this experience to propel you into the forefront of creating a culture supportive of breastfeeding mothers in the air! Will you take the challenge?

If you would like to send Mr. Rhodes an email encouraging him to take this challenge, here is his email:

If you want to send a letter to American Airlines encouraging them to take up this challenge, here is the address:
American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612  MD  2400
DFW Airport, TX  75261-9612