Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pumping Time for Working Moms

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Recently an employee at a large company asked me about pumping. The supervisor was only allowing nursing mothers on a 12 hour shift to pump at lunch and during two 15 minute breaks. She wondered if that was okay.

According to the law, it is definitely NOT okay. In fact, it is downright illegal! The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that hourly employees be given as much time as necessary to pump their milk as well as a place to pump that is NOT a bathroom.

How Often Can I Pump?

The law does not set any specific time limits on how often you can pump. But nursing mothers often need to pump at least every 3 hours to maintain a good supply. So it is not unreasonable to expect a mother working a 12 hour shift to need to pump about 4 times. Depending on how her body responds to the pump, she may need to pump for 15-20 minutes, then she needs to have time to get set up and to clean up afterwards. Obviously a pre-mandated 15 minute break is simply not adequate for most moms.

What If I Don't Work for a Big Company?

While it is true that the companies who employ a total of fewer than 50 people MAY be exempt, those companies are NOT automatically exempt. It is up to the company to prove a genuine hardship would be sustained if they had to meet the requirements of the law.
From The Primal Parent

What If I Am Not Paid Hourly?

At this point the law does not specifically address salaried employees, only hourly employees. However, measures have been introduced to change that. The Supporting Working Mothers Bill did not pass last year, but breastfeeding advocates will continue to push legislators to extend pumping benefits to all working mothers.

What if My Employer Refuses to Comply?

While it is true that Alabama is a fire-at-will state, the law is very specific about mothers who receive recrimination or any harassment for demanding their pumping rights. If you think you have been discriminated against because you expected your employer to follow the law, you can file a complaint here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top Ten Gifts for an Expectant Mother (Who Plans to Nurse)

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Best Chairs Story Time Series chairs
are ideal for new moms!

Recently a friend asked me if I had a list of gift ideas for expectant mothers. I told her I would come up with one! So I immediately asked our ANM mamas for their suggestions. This list is based on their input combined with my own thoughts of what an Expectant mama really needs. Of course, the assumption here is that mom will be breastfeeding!

10. A comfy chair to rock and nurse baby. Some moms prefer a glider and some a recliner. Either is good, but it needs to be wide enough for mom to comfortably hold a nursing baby. Since this is a real investment, you need to make sure you get a quality piece of furniture that will last. Mom will spend many hours feeding baby in her chair, so she needs to LOVE it!

9. A place for baby to sleep right next to Mom and Dad's bed. A bassinet or Rock and Play will work. But our personal favorite is the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper. This unique co-sleeper adjusts to the height of the parents' bed and attaches securely to the bed via a strap that is secured between the mattress and boxspring. It allows baby to sleep in the separate but proximate environment recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, while keeping baby close enough to easily bring into bed for middle-of-the-night nursing.

The Arm's Reach Co-sleeper is great for new parents!
8. Comfortable nursing clothes, especially loungewear. One of my favorite lines is Baby Be Mine. The soft fabric and innovative styling makes their maternity and nursing sets a favorite of our moms! Any new mom will love the versatility of loungewear that works well for going out or staying home!

7. Motherlove Nipple Cream - this is the most soothing nipple cream I have ever seen. It goes on very easily and does not have to be washed off before feeding baby. Actually the very best thing for mom's nipples is a little bit of her breast milk expressed and allowed to air dry on her nipple. But if she has any soreness or dryness, the Motherlove Nipple Cream is amazing!

6. Gift certificate for a home visit from a lactation consultant. Any new breastfeeding mother will have some questions during those early days when she's home from the hospital. Having a lactation consultant come to her home will allow her to relax in her own environment and get those questions answered. The consultant can actually work with her in the chair she normally nurses in and with the pillow that she has. This is a huge peace-of-mind gift!

5. A massage for mom. A prenatal massage done by a massage therapist certified in prenatal massage is a safe, wonderful way for mom to relax. Some massage therapists are even able to do a massage that will help prepare mom's body for labor.
The best nipple cream ever!

4.  A Baby Carrier. Being able to wear her baby makes a mother's life so much easier. Ring slings and Baby K'tans are the easiest for nursing a newborn. Soft Structured carriers like Tula, Boba or Beco are nice as baby gets older.

3.  A good book. There are several great books that are terrific for new mamas. The Baby Book by William Sears is a classic read for every new mama. Another terrific book is Attached at the Heart by local author Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, the founders of Attachment Parenting International. Finally, the La Leche League classic, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a great read for every expectant mom who is planning to nurse.

2.  Create a Meal Plan. This great site will allow you to set up a schedule for the new mom and invite friends, family, co-workers, neighbors etc. to be involved by bringing her meals during the first few weeks postpartum. This is a terrific idea because the last thing she needs to think about for at least 6 weeks is cooking. This was one of the top gift ideas suggested by our ANM moms!

1. Housecleaning Service. The other top recommendation from our mamas was the gift of a housecleaning service. Mom's job is to take care of the baby and to get breastfeeding established. Giving her several months of housecleaning by a professional is one of the gifts that she will probably cherish the most!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Placenta Encapsulation in North Alabama has a new face!

by April Opoka, Guest Blogger

After being away from AL for almost 15 years, I recently returned and, come to find out, I am the area’s first Full Circle Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, and soon to be the first Full Circle Placenta Encapsulation Educator/Trainer (coming 2015)!

I am excited to offer these services to the mamas of Huntsville and surrounding areas for many reasons, but the whole reason I ever got involved with placenta encapsulation to begin with is that I suffered severe perinatal mood disorders starting at just 8 weeks gestation with my first child and lasting until well after I gave birth. If I had known then about placentophagy (ingesting your own placenta), I would have literally eaten my placenta right where I gave birth, not unlike other mammals. Yes, it was THAT bad!

What are the Benefits?

Benefits of Placentophagy include increasing milk supply, preventing or lessening the risk of "baby blues" or PPD, preventing post-birth anemia and minimizing blood loss, stabilizing hormones, replenishing B-vitamins, protecting from infection and bleeding due to retained placental tissue or membranes in the uterus, and natural pain relief from the labor and birth of baby. In addition, men can benefit from taking placenta pills as well, as the hormones contained within may help in bonding with the new baby. This would be particularly helpful in cases where the mother is unable to care for the new baby.

What Hormones are in the Placenta?

Hormones retained in the placenta include the following: 
Oxytocin - referred to as the "love hormone," this helps with bonding, pain relief, and happiness
Cortisone - combats stress
Interferon - stimulates the immune system
Prostaglandins - anti-inflammatory
Hemoglobin - stimulates iron production in the blood
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII - lessens bleeding and promotes healing
Prolactin - stimulates milk production and healthy mammary function
POEF (Placental Opioid Enhancing Factor) - enhances opioid-analgesia so that there should be less need for pain medications post birth

What Questions Do I Need Answered?

Here are the answers to those questions you might not have even thought to ask...but need to!
·         So, what qualifies me to take your placenta and turn it into something palatable that could very well help you with symptoms of postpartum depression, anxiety, fatigue, boosting milk supply, etc.?
Well, that’s a loaded question. Do I just tell you about my training with Full Circle, the Bloodborne Pathogens for Doulas and Placenta Encapsulators certification, and the Alabama Food Handlers certification? Or do I back up, before I entered the land of unicorns (what I call mamas like me, and likely you, if you’re reading this) and tell you that I also have a professional degree in science/medicine and have had ongoing education, training and actual work experience in medical diagnostics, sterile technique, stem cell banking from umbilical cord blood, transfusion medicine, clinical trials management, and academic and pharmaceutical research, with previous employers including The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, and numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies? You see, it’s all relevant. I firmly believe you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who adheres so closely to proper sanitation methods and pays such close attention to potential risks and issues such as cross contamination and infection. Yes, letting anyone encapsulate your placenta and return it to you for your consumption has risks, and a certain level of trust is placed in the person you choose for this important task. I believe I am able to not only earn your trust, but ease your mind that I will handle this task with the utmost care and attention to detail.
·         What are the laws in Alabama regarding placenta encapsulation?
Well, there actually are none. I can see the good and the bad in this. The good part is that there’s nothing saying you cannot possess your placenta and do with it what you wish, thus, there should be no good reason that any hospital should refuse you this right. However, there are hospitals that refuse you this right, and there is no law on paper saying they have to give it to you.
·         The number one question I’m asked is “What is the process?” So, basically, you want me to encapsulate your placenta. Now what?
It’s pretty simple on your part, but you really, REALLY should prepare the few things you need to prepare well in advance of your estimated due date in order to make things easier on you and me both, when the time comes. After all, who wants to worry with details while in labor, pushing, having just given birth, or on their babymoon? No one! The following is a run-down of the process:  
  1. Talk to/inform your care provider of your wishes to take your placenta with you.
  2.  Request a copy of your initial labwork, or prenatal panel test results from your care provider which show your lab results for Hepatitis, HIV, and Syphilis. This is a standard battery of tests that is run without most people even realizing it. Trust me, if you’re seeing an OB and you haven’t purposely opted out of this testing, it has been done. I will need to see a copy of these results before I will process your placenta on my equipment. Period. This is actually not for my protection, but for YOUR protection. This is one part of my process that gives mamas a bit more peace of mind. Nobody who has positive test results will have a placenta processed on my equipment!
  3. Complete the prenatal questionnaire and contract included in your welcome packet that will be emailed to you upon requesting my services. You may include your test results with this completed paperwork and your first payment and then mail it to me.
  4.  READ the welcome packet. It details things like handling and storage of the placenta after birth, whether vaginal or C-section (they are different), and what NOT to do. If you call to say you’ve given birth to your wonderful little bundle of joy, and you’re ready for me to pick up the placenta, but it’s in pathology and you have no idea if it has come in contact with cleaners, preservatives, or even worse, if it has been “switched at birth” with the other unicorn’s placenta down the hall who may or may not have an encapsulation specialist that is dutiful about requiring STD results, that’s a problem. This shouldn’t just worry me, but it should really worry you. Please don’t let the placenta out of your or your designated person’s sight. Keep it in a hard-sided cooler, on ice, in your room until you can put it in your own refrigerator. Freezing is not ideal and I don’t recommend this unless processing will be delayed, for whatever reason, beyond 3 days post birth.
  5. Gather what you need to carry with you to the birthing place: 2 Ziploc bags, one labeled with your name and phone number, and a hard-sided cooler, along with anything you haven’t already given to me (paperwork and/or final payment) in an envelope.
  6. Give me a courtesy call when you’re in early or active labor so I can plan. Then, CALL me so I can come get the placenta and get straight to work. I pick up placentas from sun up to sun down. If you should happen to give birth in the middle of the night, please call first thing the next morning.
  7. If you gave birth in a hospital, I will meet your designated person outside the entrance of the birth center and transfer the placenta to my cooler unless we make other arrangements ahead of time.
  8. If you had a doula and she and I have a placenta agreement in place, you may let her take the placenta and I will get it from her.
  9. I will process your placenta, usually in less than 48 hours, depending on blood/fluid content, weight, thickness, etc., and return your placenta preparation(s) to you, at your home or at the hospital, promptly.
  10. All preparations come with instructions and indications for use, as well as an open invitation to call me anytime you have questions or concerns, even if you’re a year or more postpartum.
·         What placenta services are available?
Basically anything you want! I can do Raw preparation, Traditional Chinese Method inspired preparation (with or without herbs), ½ Raw and ½ TCM(i), Tinctures, Salves, Smoothies, Prints, Cord Keepsakes, etc.
·         How much does it cost and how do I contact you?
For current prices and descriptions of services offered, please see the Placenta Services portion of my website at You may also contact me through the contact form on the website, or for immediate assistance, you may call me at 256-333-0504.

I’m truly passionate about serving mamas through their birthing years and I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about any of the services I offer. Please give me a call, email, or check out my website for more information. New things are coming in 2015, like the area’s first offering of hands on placenta encapsulation training, and Birth Reclamation Ceremonies.