Monday, January 26, 2015

Your Superpower: Making Breastmilk!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Did you know that you have a superpower (well, maybe more than 1...but today we're just focusing on one)? If you are a female, your superpower is that you can make breast milk! You are able to completely sustain another living being on this incredible liquid that your body makes. It is really mind-boggling to think about, but the whole human race would have long since died out if you didn't have this superpower!

Your Amazing First Milk
The bottle on the left contains colostrum; the bottle on
the right contains mature milk. Picture from Wikipedia.

Some mothers actually begin leaking colostrum while they are still pregnant. As soon as your baby is born and the placenta is delivered, there is a huge hormonal shift that puts your body into milk-making mode. From the moment he is placed on your chest skin-to-skin right after birth and takes his first meal at your breast, you are giving him just the right amount of colostrum. His tiny stomach can only comfortably hold about 5-10 cc of fluid, and that is just what he gets in his first feed.

Colostrum is pretty thick and has a yellowish color. Some moms call it "Liquid gold!" It really is very valuable because it does some amazing things for your baby!

  • It coats his intestinal tract forming a protective seal against any pathogens.
  • It is very high in IgA and IgG, two immunoglubulins that offer your baby tremendous protection.
  • It has higher concentrations of Vitamin K than mature milk.
  • It is low in fat, but high in proteins and enzymes that a newborn needs.

Your Milk Keeps Changing

Between day 3 and 6 your milk will "come in." Your breasts will feel full, and the colostrum will begin changing to milk. It is really important to avoid getting engorged; the best way to do that is to nurse frequently. 

Your milk is absolutely amazing in so many ways:
  • It has natural DHA and ARA, two fatty acids that are critical for brain development. Although many formulas have added artificially created forms of these two acids, they do not function the same way that the naturally occurring substances do.
  •  Although it is relatively low in protein, it is high is specific proteins that your baby needs like taurine. 
  • It contains lipase and lysozyme which helps breastmilk to be more rapidly digested and utilized by your baby. That's why breastfed babies need to nurse every 2-3 hours.
  • It is low in iron, but lactoferrin makes that iron highly bioavailable to your baby!
  • Specific IGA antibodies that form in response to any bacteria or toxin a mother is exposed to.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Southern Nannies Plus Makes Finding a Nanny a Little Easier

by Rachel Jenkins, Guest Blogger

Southern Nannies Plus Inc. has been serving Birmingham, Alabama and the surrounding areas for the past 13 years. We are happy to expand services to Huntsville, Alabama, and hope to offer this community a positive experience for seeking in-home help. Whether you need a nanny or you just need errand services, the marriage of Southern Nannies and Errands by the Hour offers Huntsville a  great advantage.  We strive to go above and beyond the expectations of our clients. We think of everything you would think you need…and more. 

Southern Nannies Plus Inc. is a childcare screening and referral agency. We prescreen and qualify nannies for potential clients as well as act as the mediator to ensure that both the nanny and family are happy. We also offer screening of other domestic help such as household managers and personal assistants.

Errands by the Hour was created because there was a demand for domestic services without having to hire someone full or part time.  A client might need a onetime errand, or they may use our services weekly.  We offer the basic services such as grocery shopping, pet to the vet, car to be detailed, laundry services, ironing and more. We also have the “Name your need” service where even if we don’t have it listed we will try our best to accommodate our clients.

How are the nannies and or other domestics screened?

Our top priority is providing the best care for your children. We believe our hands-on application of these services creates the best relationships between nanny, client and agency.

Southern Nannies extensively screens each applicant. We have an intensive ten point system to ensure the candidates we refer are of the highest standard.   Any nanny referred by our agency has submitted to the following checks:

  • CPR Certification 
  • Negative Tuberculosis (TB) skin test Driver’s License validity and driving history 
  • Minimum of six references (child care and non-child care character related) 
  • State & National background check administered by a licensed private investigator 
  • Physician’s statement of good health 
  • Identification search 
  • Must pass a child care assessment test when caring for children under the age of five 
  • Minimum age requirement of twenty one.   Note: When caring for newborns I prefer to refer a seasoned nanny, someone who is 25 or older. 
  • Candidates must have their own vehicle suitable for use with the children if no car is provided by family. 
  • Non-smoker

Note: Drug screening is possible for an extra fee and can be done throughout the employment process.

This is part 2 of a 2 part blog. To find out if a nanny is right for your family, see Part 1 here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Nanny Care: Is It Right for You?

When both parents work outside of the home, they have to make important decisions about child care. Sometimes they make a decision they are less than happy with because they simply do not have all the information they really need. Rachel Jenkins of Southern Nannies Plus, Inc. has put together a two part blog series that will examine one option that many parents often overlook.
Nanny Care: The Advantages and Disadvantages
by Rachel Jenkins, Guest Blogger

What are the advantages of having a nanny?
Not all nannies are Mary Poppins, but your
child should love your nanny!

Parents who have employed a professional nanny will swear by them. They like not having to deal with daily pickups and drop-offs at a center or worry about not going to work because the child is sick and can’t attend daycare.
Mornings can be stressful for most households without the hassle of having to get the little ones fed, dressed, bundled up and loaded in the car to drop off at daycare. With nanny care your baby stays in familiar surroundings, and he can eat and nap on his own schedule. Plus, he's exposed to fewer germs and may get sick less often as a result. The first 12 months a baby is still building up his immune system, and keeping him at home can drastically reduce the number of trips to the pediatrician.
A good nanny will love playing with your children.
Furthermore, there is the child to teacher or caregiver ratio verses the one on one care received through a nanny. Most parents who debate the nanny/daycare issue are sold on the idea of hiring a nanny because they don’t want their child having to vie with other children for attention as he would in a daycare setting. Parents can be very concerned about their children not being tended to first when there is a problem. Having a nanny will ensure those worries go away.
Scheduling can also be more flexible with a nanny than with a daycare center — there may be wiggle room for last-minute changes. If an important meeting pops up at work, for example, you'll have better luck negotiating with your nanny than you would with a center that closes at the same time every day. (Assuming, that is, you haven't pushed the envelope by adjusting her work hours too often.)

What are the disadvantages?

Your nanny may even foster your child's
creative side!
Nanny care is largely unsupervised, making it doubly important that you find someone you trust.  If Nanny decides to leave her position, you will have to scramble to find a replacement. However, through Southern Nannies Plus Inc. we offer nanny sitter services to help meet such needs. I’ve been in the business for over 13 years and have only had to replace 5 nannies. We are thorough with our screening in order to prevent these things from happening.
You can help lessen the disruption of a nanny's departure by specifying in your contract  how much notice she has to give you — a month is customary, and gives you some time to look for a replacement.
There is also the concern for your child's social life. Daycare and preschool automatically put kids in everyday contact with peers, whereas home care does not. To offset this drawback, you may want to sign your child up for classes or encourage the nanny to take her regularly to the park, story hour at the library, or on similar outings to give her that important interaction with other kids. There are also Mother’s Day Out programs that the nanny can take your child to in order to meet his social needs.

In today’s world nanny care is no longer considered a luxury for the wealthy. In some families with multiple children the cost to hire a nanny verses daycare are so close that they can choose the best option based on their needs rather than on financial constraints.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Getting Your Breast Pump Through Insurance

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
It has been over two years since mothers have been able to get their breast pumps through their insurance providers. We still come across some situations where a mother is unable to get her pump through insurance, but more and more mothers are having success. Some insurance providers just do the bare minimum and provide a manual breast pump; however, many providers are giving mothers top notch double electric pumps by recognized manufacturers like Medela and Ameda.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Medela pumps are available many places!
Most state plans do provide coverage for breast pumps; nevertheless it is dependent upon the individual plan. For more information on getting your BCBS pump, check out the information here. You should be able to get your Ameda or Medela pump through BCBS 30 days prior to your due date. 

Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield is a little different. They will provide you a breast pump, but you have to call CVS Caremark at 1-800-262-7890 to get your pump. They will provide you an Ameda double electric pump. They will also provide 150 Ameda bags every 90 days.


Recently Huntsville Hospital, one of the area's largest employers, switched to Cigna. They will reimburse the cost of a dual electric breast pump or pay $400 towards the cost of renting a hospital grade pump. Parents may purchase their pump and submit for reimbursement.

The Ameda Purely Yours is also a great pump. 


It has been an ongoing frustration that military families are not given the same access to free breast pumps as their civilian counterparts. However, a measure included in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is changing that!  They are now mandated to provide a breast pump of some kind to nursing mothers. We don't know yet what they will provide, and the information on their webpage still says they don't provide it. However, we expect that to be updated in the near future!

Other Providers

There are two key on-line providers who will work with every major insurance provider to help you get a pump. So if you have Aetna, United Healthcare, or any other insurance, be sure to check with either  Aeroflow or Edgepark. They will work with you to make sure you get what you are entitled to!

If you have an experience that would help our moms in this quest, please leave it in the comments! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Little Gourmet Nurser

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

No two babies are alike, and there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all breastfeeding advice. Certainly there are some basic important principles that all nursing mothers need to follow like early, frequent feeding, making sure baby is positioned so that the head and body are in line, and making sure the latch is deep. However, some babies do really well just nursing on one breast per feed, while others need to nurse on both breasts. And some babies need a technique called switch nursing to keep them awake and actively nursing throughout the feed. If your baby is a picky little eater who seems to want to nibble forever or a sleepy baby who falls asleep quickly at the breast, then this technique might be right for you!

Your Sleepy Nurser

Sometimes newborns just have a really hard time staying awake to finish a feed. I always encourage moms to use breast compression to keep baby actively nursing. Simply stroke the beast toward the nipple as you are nursing. This will accomplish 2 things: first it will move the nipple in baby's mouth reminding him that he is actually supposed to be suckling; however, it may also move some milk into his mouth, thereby triggering a swallow and continued sucking.

Once baby is no longer responding to breast massage and compression with active sucks and swallows, it is time to take him off and switch sides. Some babies will reach that point in as little as 5 minutes. That's fine. Take him off, stimulate him or burp him, and put him on the other breast. When he stops actively nursing there, you will go back to the first breast. 

You may end up nursing 2-3 times on each breast. Think of it as a multi-course meal. He starts with his appetizer on the right side for example, then gets his soup on the left. Then he goes back to the right for his salad and back to the left for his entree, if he's still hungry there's no reason he can't go back to the right for dessert and even get after-dinner drinks on the left. Remember to begin each feed on the opposite breast from the one you started with last feed.

Watch Your Baby, Not the Clock!

The key to switch nursing is watching your baby and being tuned into his eating. As long as he is actively nursing, he stays on the same breast. Don't worry about what the clock says. Focus on your baby's active nursing.

Mothers often experience a second letdown 7-12 minutes into a feed, so switch nursing allows baby to be suckling actively again the second time he goes onto each breast, thereby getting more calorie-rich, nutritious milk than he would get if he were suckling less effectively.

You will know baby is getting enough if he is content after nursing. Once your milk is in (between days 3 & 6 usually) a newborn should have at least 6 wet diapers a day and 3-4 poopy diapers a day during the first month or so.

Not for Everybody

This technique isn't for every baby. Mothers who are producing copious amounts of milk for example, would do better to just nurse on one breast per feed. Some mothers may find this works great in the newborn period, then find they are able to move toward just nursing on one side per feed or just one time each on both breasts. Remember that YOU ARE THE EXPERT ON YOUR BABY!  You need to do whatever works best for the two of you. If in doubt, contact a lactation consultant who can help you figure out what is best for YOUR baby!