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