Saturday, November 26, 2016

ANM Makes Life Easier for Moms!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

You're sitting at home with your newborn wishing you had some Motherlove nipple cream today. You could order it on Amazon and get it in 2 days. OR you could call us and have it delivered to your door today! We guarantee delivery on anything in the store from breast pumps to galactagogues to diapers within 24 hours of the moment you place your order. Ninety percent of the time, you will receive your merchandise the very same day. If you live in one of the outlying areas, it may be the next day.

You will always get free delivery on your Best Chair!
Prices range from $2 to $15 depending upon where you live. We will bring your purchase directly to your door. Obviously the closer you live to the store, the cheaper the delivery rate. However, if you prefer to meet in a central location close to where you live, we can negotiate a significantly reduced delivery fee. We've been meeting moms to drop off purchases in various places for several years. Any purchase over $250 merits free delivery, so when you order your chair from us, it won't cost you an extra penny to get it delivered to your door!.

Curbside Assistance

We also offer free curbside assistance for those times that you have a sleeping baby in the car, a tired toddler, or are feeling under the weather and don't want to share your germs. Call us when you get here (256-489-2590), we will meet you at your car, pick up your payment and bring your purchases to you. If you're just dropping off a pump or scale that you've rented, there's no need to even get out of your vehicle!

Our goal at A Nurturing Moment is to make your life as a mother easier. We nurture mommies so that you can nurture your baby!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Alabama Makes mPINC Improvements!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

According to recently released data, Alabama improved its mPINC score by 5 points to an all-time high of 72 in 2015. You might wonder what in the world that means, and why it is cause for celebration, so I will gladly explain it! The mPINC survey is conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) each year to assess maternity and infant feeding practices at hospitals and birthing centers across the country. The acronym stands for Maternal Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care.

The mPINC survey questions measure infant feeding care practices, policies, and staffing expectations in place at hospitals that provide maternity services. The survey measures a range of factors affecting breastfeeding. Our 72 puts us well ahead of Mississippi (60), Arkansas (67) and Puerto Rico (69). Nevertheless, we lag behind Utah (75), Louisiana (76), Alaska (82), Washington (83) and Colorado (85) - and most of the country, to be honest. We ranked 47th out of 53 respondants.

Labor and Delivery Care

Some of the really encouraging results include that 76% of our facilities are making sure that mothers and babies have 30 minutes of skin-to-skin contact within 1 hour after a vaginal birth, and 51% are making sure that this happens within 2 hours after a cesarean birth. However, less than half are making sure that mothers have the initial breastfeed within the first hour of life. More disturbing is that only 24% perform routine procedures with baby on mom's abdomen/chest.

Feeding of Breastfed Infants

The really good news here is that 90% of Alabama facilities do not give water or glucose water to breastfed infants. However only 76% make sure that the first feed for infants whose mothers have declared their choice to breastfeed is actually breastmilk. Most disappointing is that only 18% of Alabama facilities would say that formula supplementation of breastfeeding infants is rare. 

Breastfeeding Assistance

Here is our only 100% - we as a state are perfect in documenting feeding choice in patient charts. We are also very good about having facility staff provide breastfeeding instruction to parents and teach breastfeeding cues. In 78% of our facilities staff actually directly observe a feed. However, only 32% do not routinely offer pacifiers to breastfed infants. It is worth noting that 97% offer prenatal breastfeeding classes, and 83% have a designated staff member coordinating lactation services.

Contact Between Mother and Infant

A startling 41% of mothers and infants are separated during the transition period immediately following birth. Only 24% of facilities report not separating mothers and infants during the stay (in a normal, healthy situation). And only 8% perform routine infant procedures, assessment and care in the mother's room.


Since the first mPINC survey in 2007, Alabama has improved in many areas. Our overall score has increased by 17 points. While that is exciting, it is not enough. We still have a very long way to go to truly normalize breastfeeding in our state. Sadly, 41% of our institutions still routinely provide discharge packs containing formula samples and coupons.  85% of Alabama hospitals receive free formula. Only a dismal 20% of Alabama hospitals have written breastfeeding policy that incorporates all 10 steps of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The only Hospital in North Alabama to actively seek this designation is Madison Hospital. Nevertheless, as mothers demand more support for breastfeeding and gravitate toward facilities that support them, we can expect to see our numbers continue to improve! I look forward to seeing the 2016 numbers next year!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Breastfeeding Calendar Pre-Sale Ends Next Week

February is courtesy of Kat Parker Photography.
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Wouldn't you love to have a year's worth of beautiful breastfeeding images in your 2017 calendar? Noted area photogrpahers have come together to create a masterpiece that you will treasure. Featured photographers include Lighthouse Photography, Jennifer Myers, Jennifer Daniels Photography,  Heartstrings PhotographyThe Paper Jay, Count It Joy, Regina Kyle, Kat Parker Photography, Sylvester Photography, AP Photo Creations, Sarah Buchanan Photography, Krystal Ness and Kim Jones Photography.

Lighthouse Photography captures the magic of October cotton.
You have the opportunity to purchase a calendar now at the presale price of just $15. We have extended the deadline for presales through November 20 in order to allow as many of you as possible to get your preorder in. Your $15 is a tax-deductible donation to The MOM Foundation. Each year The MOM Foundation helps scores of local mothers in a variety of ways by providing free gently used nursing bras, cloth diapers, low cost breast pump rental and sliding fee lactation services. You can actually just click here to make that order.

Jennifer Daniels Photography brings us December.
So as you make out your Christmas shopping list think about which of your friends needs this gorgeous calendar. It would be the perfect Christmas present for your favorite doula, lactation consultant or midwife. Just think what a great pro-breastfeeding message it would send to have this calendar hanging in your pediatrician, Ob/gyn or family doctor's office. Go ahead and preorder now while you're thinking about it. Calendars will be available for pick-up at A Nurturing Moment by mid-December. Or you can request to have your calendar sent to you for just $5.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How You Give Birth Affects Your Breastfeeding Relationship

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

When thinking about birth option, mothers often fail to take into account the impact of birth on the initiation and establishment of the breastfeeding relationship. In this video I talk about that impact, and offer suggestions for mothers who want to get off to the best possible start.

Several key points to remember include the following:

  • Research shows that babies born in an unmedicated birth tend to latch better right after birth than babies born to mothers with epidurals.
  • Regardless of birth method, the single most important factor is skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
  • It has been suggested that frequent feeding during the first 96 hours of life help to create prolactin receptors on your milk glands increasing the total amount of milk your body will ultimately produce. It isn't unusual for a newborn to nurse as many as 18 times a day in the early days. Let your baby nurse as frequently as he wants to.
  • If you have a Cesarean, push for skin-to-skin in the operating room. If your hospital does not allow it, provide evidence for its efficacy and push. (the article referenced above includes several studies). The more mothers who push for it, the more quickly it will become accepted as routine practice.
  • Make sure your care team is aware of your breastfeeding plan. As long as you and baby are both healthy, there is absolutely no reason for you to be separated at all. The AAP recommends that the newborn remain with mother throughout the recovery period. 
How did your birth impact your breastfeeding? Please leave a comment to help other mothers!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Alabama BCBS to Cut Breast Pump Reimbursement

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

In a decision that will really hurt Alabama breastfeeding mothers, BCBS of Alabama has decided to lower the reimbursable amount for breast pumps from $220 to $98 effective November 1, 2016. This move is designed to help cut spiraling healthcare costs. However, the cost to Alabama mothers and babies is significant. We already have one of the nations' higher infant mortality rates with a 2015 rate of 8.7 per 1000 live births compared to the national average of 5.8. Only Mississippi had a higher rate of babies dying before reaching their first birthday.

Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed babies. Infant formula, while necessary in some situations is a substandard feeding alternative. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the standard for all infants. Employed mothers are at a distinct disadvantage because in many cases, they are returning to work at just 6 weeks postpartum. The Affordable Health Care Act, however, has mandated that insurance companies provide breast pumps for mothers.

Heretofore, Alabama mothers covered by the state BCBS program have been able to choose between several very good breast pump options including Medela, Ameda, and Spectra, depending upon which Durable Medical Equipment provider they used. This has been a tremendous boon to breastfeeding in Alabama. From 2012 - 2014 our breastfeeding rates went from 57% to 67%. More importantly, however, the number of mothers exclusively breastfeeding climbed 4% from 9% to 13%. It is safe to say that the ready availability of quality breast pumps had an impact on that rate increase.

Just how did BCBS decide the amount that should be allowed? The looked at Amazon. Yep, that's right, Amazon. According to a communication from Dr. Darrell Weaver, Health Director
of Alabama BCBS, they did some price shopping on Amazon and discovered that for about $98 a mother could get an Evenflo pump. Did they get any input from lactation professionals about the quality of that pump as compared to a Medela or a Spectra? Certainly if they had, they would not have made this disastrous decision. Dr. Joshua Johannson, president of  The Alabama Breastfeeding Committee actually wrote a well-researched letter to Dr. Weaver asking him to reconsider this devastating decision. Dr. Johannson is not only a well-respected Ob/Gyn; he is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, so he is well aware of just how necessary a good-quality breast pump is, especially for working mothers. One source to whom I spoke said that Alabama BCBS did not get any input from the national BCBS organization before making this decision.

Please take immediate action by writing Dr. Weaver as well as your state senators and representatives. Ask them not to allow this change to take place on November 1. Together we CAN make a difference.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Suck Training Might Help Your Baby

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

For many years, I have been teaching parents how to use suck training to help their babies suckle more effectively. While the majority of babies have no problem suckling correctly, some babies truly do struggle with achieving a correct suck which involves the tongue over the bottom gumline and a consistent motion of the tongue from the base of the nipple toward the tip.

Recently I was able to demonstrate this technique on video as I worked with a mother whose baby needed some help with suckling effectively.

This video can help you figure out how to use this technique to help your baby learn to organize his suck, or learn to suckle more effectively. Suck training ing is especially useful for babies who have had a tongue-tie revision. It could even be effective with some babies who present with symptoms of a posterior tongue-tie as a conservative initial approach to treatment. While revision may still be necessary in most cases, this technique may allow some babies to suckle normally and effectively.

Always consult your lactation consultant  healthcare professional working with your baby's tongue-tie for specific guidance about your baby's situation

Saturday, October 15, 2016

2017 MOM Foundation Calendar on Sale

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

The 2016 MOM Foundation Calendar was a real hit with our community. So we are thrilled to announce that we are now accepting orders for the 2017 MOM Foundation Calendar. The preorder price is just $15. You can either order in person at A Nurturing Moment, or send your payment via Paypal to

If you want to have your calendar mailed to you, please add $5.00 for shipping 1-3 calendars. If you order 4 or more calendars, please add $10 for shipping.

We have received some absolutely amazing photographs for this year's calendar; you can see a sampling here. But we still have room for a few more. If you have a professionally made breastfeeding picture that you would like to have submitted, please have your photographer contact me at We ask that all photos be submitted no later than October 31. We will have the calendars printed in November, and they will be available for pickup in December. Preorders will end November 10.

These make terrific Christmas presents for the nursing mothers in your life. It is also a great gift for your favorite OB or pediatrician. I think every health care professional who deals with infants should have this lovely reminder of the importance and the beauty of breastfeeding on display.

If you have questions, please call me at 256-489-2590 or send an email to

Thursday, October 13, 2016

An Open Letter to Sex-Deprived Dads from Sex-Deprived Moms

Image from Prevailing Life with Greg Faulls.
by A Very Wise Mama

Recently one of our ANM mamas posted this in a closed group. It is critically important to keep the husband-wife relationship strong, and I'm so glad she gave me permission to post it here anonymously.

Open letter to the sex deprived dads from sex deprived moms

1. Yes we want to have sex, but sometimes not as much as we want sleep or eat or not be touched.

2. That doesn't mean stop trying, because we still need to know we are wanted.

3. We might not be comfortable in our mom body, so genuinely tell us you still find us attractive but be patient and understanding.

4. Those core muscles used for rolling around in bed, yeah.. They are gone. Pregnancy takes a toll on our body.

5. We're seriously physically exhausted. Even more so if we are breastfeeding. You might just need to be okay with doing most or all of the work.

6. Women need to be in the mood mentally. So if we are stressed out, overwhelmed, or had a really hard day - help us get our minds right before you try. Talking helps. Sometimes silence. Sometimes its a cuddle. Sometimes its space. Ask us what we need, don't assume our need.

7. We can go from in the mood to not at all when we don't feel valued. It's as fast as a passive aggressive comment. Such as "So I guess I'll make dinner." 

8. We don't want to have sex if we feel gross. Make time for us to take a shower and brush our teeth.

9. Come to bed. Seriously, you aren't getting laid if you are sitting in your chair watching a movie.

10. No means no. Drop it and try again tomorrow.

11. We don't want to have sex if we feel like a crappy mom. So make sure to remind us that we aren't one.

12. "Me time" to unwind does nothing for us if you or the kids are screaming or wont leave us alone.

13. The bed is not the only place to have sex, so stop blaming the baby.

14. Hey, we don't both have to orgasms and chances are you have more opportunities to masturbate than we do. If baby wakes up, you can go finish yourself while we have to breastfeed. That's not fair and you know it.

15. We may have random pains from time to time, so if we tell you something hurts, don't say "Well it didn't last time."

Photo from
16. Our bodies aren't the same as before; more than our weight changed. What worked before baby might not work now. Let's figure out those changes together, instead of stubbornly hitting the same tricks and being pissy when the results are different or even painful. 

17. Just because I'm trying to make out with you doesn't mean I'm trying to have sex with you. I know it's not the right time, and I just need some passionate kissing. Please don't shut me down!

18. Finally, this is NOT the longest you have gone without sex...Ater all, you survived high school! 
Anyone got something to add? Please leave your additional suggestions in the comments. Then feel free to say the things that your husband needs to hear. In fact, why not just hand him the phone so he can read it for himself!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Handout for Busybody Breastfeeding Critics

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
I've heard one too many mothers say that they were victims of harassment while breastfeeding a hungry baby. Unfortunately we just do not have a breastfeeding culture in this country. Therefore, it is up to us to help educate the people we meet. Most mothers really never have an issue with anyone making ugly comments, but just this week a mother was told by a department store associate to nurse in the ladies' lounge. While the mother was nursing her baby with a cover in the lounge, an older woman told her that she was disgusting and should have brought a bottle! THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!!! 

To help combat this incredible cultural stupidity, I created a two-sided document that you can print and cut apart so that you have an immediate response to anybody who tries to harass you for breastfeeding. Just copy the two pictures below and insert into a document (landscape orientation), then scale to fill the page. The front side contains a copy of the Alabama law, and the back side gives a rundown of just a few of the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Become a Foster Parent and Give Hope to a Special Child

“Foster Care”?  What is Foster Care?  “Become a Foster Parent” What the heck is that?

 How would I even start thinking about that?A strange kid in my home…. Could I do that? What does that mean? Where do they come from? What is wrong with them? Where are their parents? 

These are all things that came into my head as I learned about Foster Care and the whole process. I researched and researched, and I kept finding all of these perfectly worded articles and websites with smiling children and rainbow backgrounds.

 I didn’t actually LEARN about Foster Care until I started working in the field. I am Shawna Lowe, Therapist at Alabama Mentor. I will try my best to answer some of the most frequent questions we get asked from prospective Foster Parents. We currently have a GREAT NEED for Foster Parents in North Alabama.

 First, let me tell you about my company…

    Founded in 2006, Alabama MENTOR is a leading home and community-based services provider. We specialize in providing Therapeutic Foster Care for youth of all ages with emotional, behavioral and other complex challenges as well as their families. Through a range of personalized supports, we empower the individuals and families we serve to lead healthy, stable lives in the communities they call home.

So, Alabama Mentor is a company contracted by Alabama DHR (Department of Human Resources) that manages “Therapeutic Foster Care”.

 What is “Therapeutic Foster Care” you ask?
It is when a child is taken away from their biological family, who has a mental health diagnosis and needs a place to live. Alabama does not have “orphanages” anymore, that is outdated. Now we have loving homes that take care of children and give them the most “normal” life possible.

 What are the requirements?
• 40 hours of training
• Financial stability
• Character references
• 25 years old (minimum)
• Reliable transportation
• Spare bedroom
 • No criminal record
You don’t need to be a superhero—just a regular person who’s ready to bring someone into your home and help give them a better life by sharing yours. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retiree looking for a way to continue contributing to society, a stay-at-home mom looking to earn money at home, or a working family with children of your own. There’s no magic formula—you just have to be you.

Where do the children come from?
Youth may come from anywhere in the state of Alabama.

 How long do they stay? 
They may stay 3 months or 5 years. It is very difficult to tell how long a child will be in Foster Care.

Do I get paid?
As a Mentor, you’ll earn a reward that can’t be measured in dollars—and money to help pay for basic necessities.

Will I get help?
Our Therapeutic Foster Care program offers a range of comprehensive supports, including:
• Weekly individualized counseling from a Program Service Coordinator
• Therapy with the child, Mentor and members of the child’s family of origin, when appropriate
• Psychological evaluations and consultation
• Psychiatric and counseling services
• Medication management
• Advocacy and support for court and school systems
• 24-hour emergency on-call services
• Skill development and ongoing education opportunities for foster parents
• Case management and Individualized Service Plans (ISPs)
• Program oversight and continuous quality improvement

What will it look like?
The child will live in your home, as if they were one of your children. They will go to your local school and daycare after school if necessary. They will follow your family’s daily routine and lifestyle.

What if I have a family? 
Your entire family will have to be on board, including your spouse.

Do I have to live in Huntsville?
No! We have Foster Parents all over North Alabama. If you do not fall into the “Madison/Huntsville” Office, we can get you in contact with one of the many Alabama locations we have.

 Thank you so very much for your time and attention to this article. We are in GREAT NEED of Foster Parents at this time. If you are thinking about becoming a Foster Parent with Alabama Mentor, or have additional questions please contact 
Tiffani Smith @ 256.774.2934 

 -Shawna Lowe, MA  is a therapist with Alabama Mentor 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Nurturing Moment Live: Milk Supply

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Today we kicked off our new series, A Nurturing Moment Live. Each Tuesday between 10:00 and 11:00 am Central time, we will go live talking about a specific issue related to breastfeeding and babies. This week we talked about milk supply.

We highlighted the importance of early, frequent feeds for establishing a strong supply. Then we also talked about diet and hydration. Finally we focused on the use of galactagogues when necessary.

Let us know what topics you want us to deal with in future weeks!

Here is today's video. Let us know what you think!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Aldersgate Offers Free Sack Lunches in South Huntsville

Emma McCauley is the youth
minister at Aldersgate UMC.

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Emma McCauley just came in to tell me about a wonderful program that Aldersgate United Methodist Church is providing this summer: Free Sack Lunches at Ken Johnston Park. Every Monday - Friday from now until July 29, anyone can go to the park from 11:30-12:30 to receive a delicious sack lunch. They will be taking a break on July 4, however.

Meeting a Need

In her role as youth pastor at Aldersgate, Emma and her co-workers in the youth and children's programs were concerned about the kids in their ministries who normally receive a hot lunch at school, but would go without this summer. They did some research and discovered that over 2000 children in the South Huntsville area are dependent upon the hot lunch program in their schools. So she opened a dialogue with the Food Bank and Manna House where she learned about the government program Feed America. Although the grant application process was arduous, Emma and her coworker Lydia persevered and are now Feed America grant recipients, receiving meals for children every day from the Food Bank of North Alabama.

Right now they are providing daily lunches for about 30 children a day ranging in age from 2-17. The sack lunches for children consist of a meat, a fruit, milk, and a salad of some kind. However, Aldersgate is also providing meals for adults at no cost. The adult meals are either peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a meat sandwich and granola bars with a dessert treat. Lowe's has donated a palate of water (1888 bottles), so everybody who comes gets a bottle of cold water.

Another fun feature that virtually eliminates any food waste is the share table where children can put anything they don't want from their meal. There is always somebody who would love an extra milk or potato salad.

Several times a week they have Sno-Cones or water balloons just to make things fun for everybody. Follow them on Facebook at Picnic in the Park to see what's happening next.

Special Moments

The other day a young mom was there with her 3 year old and her own father. While Granddad played with the little boy, the mother was actually able to enjoy a healthy meal. The Granddad lives out of town, but was in town visiting and was able to have fun with his grandson at the park and create some very special memories.

One young man who will begin high school in the fall comes each day on his bike and takes 7 meals home to his family. His mother is unable to bring all the children each day because one child is sick, so he is actually able to eat the Feed America meal (which must be eaten on site), but then he takes home a meal from Aldersgate for each family member.

Young people from the church as well as families with small children and even retirees have come together to serve meals to their neighbors. Emma says, "God has called us to serve our neighbors, and that's what we're doing. It can be as simple as a sandwich and a bottle of water. But it's something all ages can do together."

If you or someone you know needs a good meal for lunch head on over to Ken Johnson Park. They will be delighted to see you!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The MOM Foundation Seeks Beautiful Breastfeeding Images

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

The 2016 MOM Foundation breastfeeding calendar was a hit, not only with photographers who were eager to showcase their work, but also with the moms who purchased them. More importantly, it provided some funding to help with the various projects of The MOM Foundation including the following:

  • Bosom Buddies provides gently used nursing bras to low income and teen moms
  • Half-Price Symphony Breast Pump Rental is also available for those moms
  • Professional Lactation Consultation services are offered on sliding-fee scale for all mothers
  • The North Alabama Cloth Diaper Bank provides cloth diaper loans to families in need
Now it's time to kick off our 2017 Calendar promotion!

Calling All Photographers

We are doing things a bit differently this year. Once again we are inviting photographers to submit breastfeeding photos. Each photographer must submit a high resolution image to as well as either a 10X14 or a 16X20 mounted print (or canvas if you prefer) for our August event (details below). The first 31 photos submitted will be featured throughout the month of August in this blog. We will ask each photographer to help us contact the mom to feature her breastfeeding story one day in our Nurturing Moments blog during World Breastfeeding Month. Multiple images may be used in the blog feature if the photographer wishes. 
There is an entry fee this year because we are planning a special event on August 6, where the fourteen images for the calendar will be chosen. If you choose to submit a 10X14, the entry fee is $10. If you would prefer to submit a 16X20, the fee is $25. All submitted images will be returned to the photographer.

A Celebration of Breastfeeding Beauty

On August 6 we will have a very special night at Lifhthouse Photography Studios in The Lumberyard hosted by A Nurturing Moment and Mary Ellen Pollard. We will have wine and cheese as well as musical entertainment. Each of the submitted photos will be displayed, and attendees will vote for their five favorite images. The top 14 vote recipients will be featured in the 2017 MOM Foundation calendar. Tickets will be $10-12, but all participating photographers will attend free of charge. Those photographers who have paid $25 to enter a 16X20 canvas will also receive special recognition in the program. Calendars will also be available for presale that evening with guaranteed delivery at least 2 weeks before Christmas!

Submit Your Photo Now

Are you excited about having your work featured in our blog? Are you looking forward to being part of the 2017 calendar? Then submit your photo today! In your email let us know if you plan to have a 10X14 or a 16X20 canvas for the Celebration. Remember that we will be featuring photos in our blog based on the order in which we receive them! 

Last year's calendar was absolutely beautiful (we still have a few left - recently discounted to just $10), but I can't wait to see what our amazing photographers put together for this year!!

Get your ticket here! The first 25 people to purchase tickets will get the Early Bird price of $10! Or you can come into A Nurturing Moment to get your ticket.

Count Your Many blessings

A couple of nights ago a Facebook post from my sweet friend Ashley Sparks caught my attention. As I read it, her words resonated deep within my spirit. I've lived in third world countries and know just how very true it is that we are blessed beyond belief in this country. Yet even here in the USA there are mothers wondering how they will feed their children dinner tonight. If you've got that figured out, then count your blessings! 

Thank you, Ashley, for this poignant reminder!

Ashley Sparks

May 24 at 7:39 pm

I'm sitting here scrolling through Facebook and I see some friends who are very well off doing exciting things in exciting places that I may never get to do. My first thought is "Man, I wonder if they have any idea how good they have it. This is just the stuff of dreams to most people." 

And then I realize I am sitting here on my front porch, holding an iPhone. A home is the stuff of dreams to most people in the world. A smartphone is an extravagant expense to the vast majority of the global population.
*They probably wonder if I know how good I have it.*

I am listening to my children playing just inside the door, laughing and squealing. Motherhood is something many women dream of, but are unable to achieve even after years of fertility treatments or adoption heartbreaks. There are also many mothers who have had to tell their precious children goodbye far too soon.
*They probably wonder if I know how good I have it.*

I watch my loving, supportive husband pulling into the driveway after a day of gainful employment with benefits. We live in a nation where work is often hard to come by, and full-time jobs with insurance are a coveted commodity. Too many people are jumping from part-time gig to part time gig, praying that their hours aren't cut so that they don't have to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table.
*They probably wonder if I know how good I have it.*

We are heading to have dinner at a restaurant with my mother-in-law who came into town to see preschool graduation and spend time with her grandchildren. Many parents would give anything for their parents and in-laws to be on this earth to see their grandchildren.
*They probably wonder if I know how good I have it.*

I am preparing for the summer, wondering how I will keep my kids on a good schedule with no school for a whole 68 days. Meanwhile, millions of mothers worldwide would give anything for their children to have access to school for even a few hours a week in a ramshackle building with no supplies.
*They probably wonder if I know how good I have it.*

Right now, somewhere, someone is desperately hoping and praying for the very things you take for granted. Take the old hymn to heart daily: Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tri-Care Shows Just How Much They Care about Mamas!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Those who sacrifice to serve our nation deserve the very best possible care. TriCare was late to the game, but now they are are providing the very best for nursing moms! Nick Letson and his wife Krystal of Heart Sail, Inc. in Decatur, AL, love working with TriCare families to make sure that new moms have exactly what they need.

TriCare will provide you a double electric breast pump as well as all the supplies you could possibly need for up to 36 months per birth event. That means that the mom who is pumping for her toddler or preschooler will still get supplies! It also means that the mom who has two babies eleven months apart gets a new pump for each one.

Heart Sail makes it a point to keep track and follow up with TriCare moms to make sure that they have all the supplies they need. Every 90 days moms are eligible to replace all disposable parts, so Nick's staff calls each TriCare mom to see exactly what she needs. They then ship her new storage bags, pump parts, tubing etc. according to her needs.

TriCare moms can receive Medela, Ardo, Ameda, Spectra, Avent, Evenflo, Tomy or Lansinoh pumps through Heart Sail. Even if you don't live in the Tennessee Valley, you can receive your pump from Heart Sail unless you live in Florida or Indiana. All you have to do is fill out this form on their website!

If you purchased breast pump supplies after December, 2014 and still have your receipt, Heart Sail will provide you the necessary forms and help you get the reimbursement you deserve. Furthermore, if you received a pump through TriCare, but didn't get the supplies you need or are not continuing to receive supplies, let the good folks at Heart Sail take care of you. You can actually just pick up the phone and call them at 855-309-5454 toll free, and they will work with you to make sure you are getting all the benefits that TriCare is willing to provide. Heart Sail will take care of all the paperwork, and you will get your pump!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC  
About eighteen months ago, Svenja and Andrew came to my Breastfeeding Multiples class on a Saturday morning. Not too long afterwards they gave birth to their twins. Svenja was determined to breastfeed them, and 16 months later they are still happily nursing. Despite having a C-Section and feeling like her milk was a bit delayed in coming in, Svenja was committed to giving her babies as much breastmilk as possible. When a nurse who understood her reluctance to give any formula to her babies suggested the possibility of donor milk, Svenja knew she had found a solution that would work for her.

Recently Svenja sat down with me to talk about her breastfeeding adventure. If you know anyone who is expecting twins, be sure that they watch this terrific video! We offer our Breastfeeding Multiples class the first Saturday of each month at 10:00. The cost is just $20, and you will leave with the knowledge you need and the confidence that you, too, can nurse your twins!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Surviving Postpartum Depression, Round 2

By Teresa Fleischmann, Guest Blogger

Have you ever experienced something terrible and assumed you had “paid your dues"? Despite all of my head knowledge about the likelihood of experiencing a postpartum mood disorder a second time, my heart was convinced that my first experience was a fluke. There were warning signs. With Ian I had struggled through miscarriage, infertility, difficult pregnancy, traumatic birth, and he was my first baby. After having an amazing delivery with my second child, my daughter Cora, and experiencing no anxiety or depression postpartum, I figured “been there, done that!” What I failed to recognize, was that every pregnancy and postpartum experience is unique.

In August of last year, 2015, I gave birth to my third child, Luke Jeremiah. To be completely honest, I was not super excited when I found out I was pregnant again. After the birth of my daughter we knew our family was not quite complete. We could see God revealing to us that there was another child in our future. Unfortunately, in 2013/2014, we suffered two consecutive miscarriages, with the later one requiring a D&C. Seeing that second line on a pregnancy test had become terrifying, instead of exciting, as if I was just waiting for something to go wrong. I remember telling my doctor that if we lost this one, I was done. My faith had become fleeting, and I was not sure how much more I could take, emotionally, or physically.

God is Faithful and Luke grew healthy and strong. Aside from the annoyance of Gestational Diabetes, my pregnancy was complication free. Delivery went a little awry when I experienced a repeat shoulder dystocia (I had that with Ian as well), but by and large it was nowhere near as complex or traumatic as my first birth. Luke came to us at a hefty 8lbs 15oz, and instantly I knew our family was complete. The first few days at home where enjoyable, but on day 3 I felt the onset of anxiety, OCD and insomnia. I quickly filled my Lexapro prescription, and within 4 days, I was sleeping well again (at least as well as you can with a newborn!) My husband and I clumsily settled into our new life as a family of 5.

Several weeks later, when Luke was 6 weeks old, I got very, very ill. It’s a long painstaking story, but in summary,  I had a stomach and intestinal parasite that led to a bacterial infection. I could not keep anything down, and within 2 weeks I had lost more than 30 pounds. I looked sickly; I was weak. My muscle was deteriorating. The doctor threatened to hospitalize me. It was scary. The stress on my immune system caused me to break out in the shingles. I quickly started spiraling downward. We decided it was time to ask my mother to come stay with us to help with the kids. She got there just in time.

Have you ever experienced something terrible and assumed you had "paid your dues"?

Within a few days of her arrival, the intense insomnia began. I started having flashbacks to my postpartum period with Ian. I became terrified and detached. My anxiety and OCD became more crippling, and my antidepressant wasn’t cutting it anymore. By the time we put all of our “if the crap hits the fan again” plans into place, I was experiencing full blown paranoia and horrible, horrible intrusive thoughts.

My psychiatrist added an antipsychotic medication to my treatment plan, and within a week or so I became stable. My mom stayed for about 6 weeks to help me get my feet back under me. I attended weekly counseling sessions diligently, and my AMAZING support system of family and friends surrounded me and helped in any and every way possible.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it is hard to fight the stigma. Hard to admit that I experienced a Postpartum Mood Disorder again. Hard to swallow antipsychotic medication. Insanely hard to remind myself that those horrible, horrible intrusive thoughts were not my own. But, alas, it is only a stigma. I have battled a real, miserable, horrible, monstrous beast named Postpartum Depression AGAIN, and by the Grace of God and the help of my support system, I have come out victorious!

If you or someone you know is experiencing a Pregnancy Related Mood Disorder, please reach out for help. Fight the stigma. Fight for your family. Your family needs YOU! With the proper treatment plan you absolutely will get better!!

I am so very thankful for the two following resources. Both provide free materials, information and social support for women and their families.
Postpartum Support International 
Postpartum Progress           

Teresa Fleischmann is a volunteer at home wife and Mom. She is a Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum PTSD, Postpartum OCD & Postpartum Depression survivor. She founded the Huntsville Postpartum Support Network providing in person and online support to women experiencing PMADs. If you are a local mom in need of online support, you can email your request here. She is also a state co-coordinator for Postpartum Support International, and co-leads an annual fundraiser for Postpartum Progress called Climb Out of the Darkness. You can register to join her here at