Resources for the breastfeeding community ... always under construction.
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Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with us!

Breastfeeding and returning to work? ... We have a perfect gift for you. 

Everyone can download a free door hanger for pumping privacy at work, and families in our service area can register for our World Breastfeeding Week give away for a chance to win a 'Breastfeeding Works!' support kit. Details below.

World Breastfeeding Week 2015 is dedicated to supporting women to combine breastfeeding and work. Regardless of the work setting having the necessary support makes all the difference.World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1- 7, 2015. For more information go to

Click to download door hanger template

Click to go to giveaway registration form

Drawing is for Tennessee Residents in Williamson, Davidson, Rutherford, Coffee, Cannon, Bedford, Warren and Maury counties

Help for those night blooming little ones!

Blessed Beginnings is pleased to introduce our newest team member, Ellen Miller.

Ellen will be providing in-home overnight postpartum and newborn care in Williamson, southern Davidson and Maury counties. 

Contact Ellen for more information.


"My childhood dream to become a nurse became a reality in 1977 when I received my bachelors degree in nursing and became an RN.  Since then, except for three years, I have worked in a hospital maternity unit in labor and delivery, postpartum, nursery, and NICU. 

Working with mothers and their new babies is my special love.  In 2014 I had a wonderful opportunity to continue the work that I love most by becoming a part of Blessed Beginnings and providing overnight care services for new families as they step into the adventures of parenthood."


Pumping Resources for Back to Work

Click for resources from the Office on Women's Health - Breast feeding, employer solutions

Holiday (and travel) breastfeeding tips

Holidays often involve travel and time away from home spent with family and friends, but having a breastfeeding baby in tow does not have to end in disaster. In fact it can, at times, be an easier arrangement than not breastfeeding. Since advance plans and preparations can make the adventure less adventuresome, here are some  general considerations to get you started.
General Information
At Airports
Air travel

  • Is your car seat safe for air travel? If not, check it with your luggage.  
  • Choose bulkhead seats (for more leg room) or window seats (for more privacy).
  • Call the airline before your flight for specific breastfeeding or pumping “policies”. Speak to the flight attendant when boarding for potential help if flying alone, and inform fellow traveler(s) in the adjoining seat(s) of breastfeeding plans to allow a change of seats if desired.
  • Wear accessible clothing. Include a nursing cover (if desired), a change of clothing for yourself and baby, including diaper changes, and a few small age-appropriate "distractions" in a carry on bag.
  • Consider a safe baby carrier or sling for hands-free carrying, or gate check your stroller (must fold in half). It will be tagged for the gate attendant and ready when you de-plane at most airlines.
  • Nurse on take-off and landing if the baby is interested. Swallowing helps equalize ear pressure and lessen discomfort.
  • Be aware of TSA’s breastmilk handling guidelines. Print out a recent copy of the guidelines in case you encounter resistance.
‘Traveling With Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice, Traveling with Children, Clarification on Ice Packs and Empty Bottles’ 
A few points:
  • Expect extra time in getting through security.
  • Separate your breast milk, empty bottles, and ice packs from other liquid and containers in your carry-on and notify the security officer that you have these items before going through X-ray screening.
  • You may be asked to open milk containers or have your milk swabbed for an explosives test, but you should NOT be asked to taste the milk.
  • If the TSA agent is to handle your milk, ask that he or she change gloves.
  • If transporting large amounts of pumped milk, be prepared to justify bringing large quantities. Otherwise bypass this process by checking any breastmilk not needed during the flight in a small insulated cooler with frozen gel ice. See recommended milk storage guidelines below.
  • Breast pumps are considered personal items and can be counted as one of your two carry-ons. You may consider bringing a smaller hand pump as an alternative.
  • Breastfeed or pump and change baby's diaper before boarding. For longer trips consider nursing or pumping needs that can be accommodated during lay-overs.
  • Plan for pumping on board. Consider timing restrictions, power supply, privacy, milk storage and sanitization.
  • May be limited to times during allowed use of electronic devices.
  • Some seats have power outlet availability. Otherwise use battery operated or manual pump options.
Car travel
  • Scrap planning on rigid arrival times. Plan for frequent stops (every 2-3 hours) or  consider travel during baby's sleep time. If pulling over on roadways, always use hazard lights. 
  • Never breastfeed in moving vehicle. Properly used seat belts and car seats save lives. Even in a low-speed impact the force of an unrestrained adult reflects a life-crushing impact, and it is impossible to prevent the force of an unrestrained infant from being pulled out of your arms. Pump and bottle feed if you are unable to manage feeding stops.
  • Plan for nursing or pumping. Consider power supply, milk storage and sanitation.
  • Some pumps have car adapter power availability. Otherwise use battery operated or manual pump options.
  • Use breastpump wipes or bottled water if you will need to clean your pump or bottles on the road. Otherwise simply keep pump kit in cooler with frozen gel ice between pumping sessions. 
Holiday food and drink

  • Sometimes the holidays come along with unwanted extra pounds. To lose weight safely, plan on a steady loss of 1- 1.5 pounds per week. Breastfeeding mothers need a balanced diet with at least 1,500-1,800 calories per day, to be well- hydrated and have moderate exercise.
  • Holiday cheer may bring up the question of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. Only time removes alcohol from breastmilk, and this calculator helps you figure out how long.

General considerations away from home
  • Inadvertent weaning or decreased supply can happen as a result of stress, missed feedings or poor nursing by a distracted baby. Nurse or pump frequently to avoid engorgement and protect your milk supply.
  • Build a breast feeding “nest” away from home. Excusing yourself at times to avoid nursing in "public" can give you the perfect opportunity to rest, relax and recuperate from the stress of being away from home. Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.
  • Think safety.  Ensure a safe sleep space for baby at every nap and every night to bed, and always follow safer sleep practices especially if you choose to bedshare
  • Breastmilk may protect babies from germs encountered while away from home, but don’t be shy about reminders for washing hands too. It is cold and flu season, and anyone offended when asked to wash their hands has the dirtiest hands in the room … guaranteed! Helping keep babies healthy should be an intentional plan.
  • And last, here are a few suggestions for handling that breastfeeding criticism or unsolicited advice from well-meaning family and friends.
Approach #1: Smile, thank them for their concern and then change the subject. 
Approach #2: Educate. Breastfeeding babies are unfamiliar territory for some folks. Explaining on demand feedings, maintaining milk production or that ‘babies doing a lot of growing, do a lot of eating’ can go a long way to calm unwarranted concerns.
 Approach #3: Deflect. Say “Thank you for your concern, but our pediatrician recommends (insert rationale for the concern warranting unsolicited advice).”
Approach #4: Avoid the issue. Sometimes the path of least resistance is to excuse yourself and nurse the baby in peace and quiet and not open up your breastfeeding plans for community discussion.
Approach #5: Keep your sense of humor. Generally we spend holidays with those we love (and would like to continue loving) so remember that bitter advice often goes down better with a dose of humor.

Photo source

Come join the 2014 Rutherford County World Breastfeeding Week celebration!


Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with us!!

New parents or parents-to-be? ... We have the perfect gift for you. Register for our World Breastfeeding Week give away for a chance to win a 1.5 hour personalized class of your choice. See details below.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1- 7, 2014. For more information go to

Click to go to registration form

Class information

Reflections ... Creating breastfeeding "controversy" undermines meaningful support

Public breastfeeding conversations can easily become contentious, in part due to the intensely personal nature of the parenting choices we make. Any insensitive or judgmental remarks about the motivations, work ethic, and dedication of mothers- or the interpretation of any remarks as such- can immediately create an escalation of inflammatory rhetoric.

The very same passion that allows effective support of breastfeeding families can easily blind breastfeeding advocates to any other interpretation of their comments, and the impersonal nature of on-line interactions only serves to magnify the possibility of misinterpretation. In rare instances the anonymity of such conversations can even embolden a small minority to engage in intentionally hurtful commentary that shows their true character perfectly.

Unfortunately, media outlets frequently incite such interactions through provocative headlines with little motivation other than encouraging increased traffic. Issues related to infant formula promotion, nursing in public and extended breastfeeding are topics frequently used for this purpose, and although easy to find, such "conversations" are intentionally not linked to here.

My advice to mothers ... Give intentional, educated consideration to your parenting decisions without influence from any unsupportive sources, recognize the voices of controversy for the sabotage they are, and surround yourself with every bit of support you can find. There is support regardless of your decision!

To those of us fortunate enough to find our calling in working with new families during  this oftentimes fragile period of parenting ... Stay mindful of each individual's story. Regardless of the details every mother does the best she can ... in the place she is ... with the resources she has. While many mothers will exclusively breastfeed, there will be mothers whose informed decision does not include any plan to breastfeed and others who despite their best of efforts will find breastfeeding to be impossible. It is our responsibility to support all new families in a way that enables them to work toward their individual goals and to never feel anything but proud of the hard work they are doing!

photo credit: ChrisL_AK via photopin cc
photo credit: kuckibaboo via photopin cc

Education Partnerships  

Blessed Beginnings is proud to partner with Harpeth Obstetrics & Gynecology to provide childbirth, breastfeeding and CPR classes for new families.  Harpeth OB/GYN values quality education and wants to give you every opportunity to have your questions answered and concerns addressed in an intimate setting prior to the “big day” and keep you up-to-date on community resources that are available for support once you deliver.  

Harpeth OB/GYN is set apart from so many other practices ... No other practice offers this service to their patients!  Classes are held in the Harpeth office in the physician towers at Williamson Medical Center.  Class size is limited to create a more intimate environment for learning and discussions. 

  • Comprehensive Childbirth Class 
Our Comprehensive Childbirth Class is is a one-day comprehensive class that covers labor, delivery and postpartum care, newborn care, and breastfeeding. After attending this class, you will feel more prepared and better equipped to enter into that life-changing stage of becoming parents! We meet on Sunday afternoons from 1p-7p. The cost of the class is $125 per couple and includes all of your books and materials, as well as a catered dinner!
  • Infant CPR & First Aid Class
Our Infant CPR & First Aid class is designed to develop the skills and confidence needed to care for your baby in an emergency. Unintentional choking and suffocation are the leading causes of all injury deaths for infants under one year of age making this class essential for new parents and for caregivers such as grandparents or babysitters. During the two hour class you will learn the most current recommendations for rescue breathing, CPR, and care of the choking infant. The cost of the class is $40.00 per couple with any additional caregivers $10.00 each.
  • Breastfeeding Works! under development for 2014
Breastfeeding Works! will help prepare you for breastfeeding beyond the basics. Topics include pumping and storing milk, choices for long-term breastfeeding and ensuring a smooth transition back to work or school. This class is designed to pick up after the Comprehensive Childbirth class. Mothers going back to work should attend at least 3-4 weeks before returning to work. 
Contact us for more information or for registration forms for any of our classes.

Breastfeeding success ... Active support for new mothers after delivery

Most first-time mothers, and some experienced mothers as well, will struggle with certain aspects of breastfeeding. Many of these issues can be overcome, however, with adequate support, including professional lactation  care such as access to IBCLCs. Providing support resources to new mothers beyond  hospital discharge is one of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, and while these evidenced-based interventions to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates and duration are increasingly becoming a part of routine hospital-based lactation care, every mother should should develop her own plan BEFORE delivery that assures active post-discharge support in the early postpartum period.

Here are some options to include in your research:

Middle Tennessee Breastfeeding Support Brochure from the Nashville Breastfeeding Coalition

Five GREAT sources for the breastfeeding help that new moms need:

  • Hospital-based lactation services: Contact the individual hospital to discuss what options are available for in-patient and out-patient breastfeeding assistance.
  • WIC breastfeeding services: Contact your local Heath Department for information on applying for the Women, Infant and Child Nutrition Program and for services that are offered at your specific WIC office. (Tennessee information here.)
  • Private lactation services in clinics or in-home settings: Blessed Beginnings serves 13 Middle Tennessee counties through in-home lactation consultations and postpartum doula services.
  • Support groups: Many varieties of formal breastfeeding support are available including hospital-based groups, La Leche League (LLL in Tennessee here), local mother-to-mother groups, and virtual supporton-line forums or chat groups.
  • Telephone support: Many options for telephone support are available including local hospital breastfeeding lines, your primary physician(s) office, LLL, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, the InfantRisk Center, and various industry sponsored helplines. (Be aware of potential concerns with utilizing infant formula sponsored services.)

Tennessee is providing a new breastfeeding hotline with IBCLCs available 24 hours a day seven days a week and translation services in 200 languages. Share this wonderful resource with every Tennessee mother and mother-to-be!

A combination of prenatal, in-hospital, and post-discharge support enables you to establish breastfeeding and address any difficulties. Ideally that support should include immediate family members- especially your partner and the baby’s grandparents- and close friends. Know where to find your support and when to surround yourself in it ... It is an essential key to successful breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding success ... Supportive communities

While "Nurse the Baby" seems such a simple directive to offer, breastfeeding can be a complicated arrangement for many mothers. Even if every mother-to-be has the resources to make a completely informed decision regarding how she intends to feed her baby, the support to make it through the early period of learning to breastfeed, and the physical assistance to survive the sheer work that adjusting to a newborn creates, for many mothers the "trouble" may still lie ahead of them.

New parents need a close circle of support in the early weeks of breastfeeding. Friends and family have an immediate and profound effect on how likely (or unlikely) a mother is to be successful. Sleep deprivation is a large factor in many struggles with managing a newborn. New parents can't have too much help, and they won't get enough sleep. Additional  layers of support should be extended through mother-to mother support groups, on-line communities, and professional lactation support when needed.

Thoughtless commentary from those outside the direct breastfeeding relationship on how and where and when mothers "need" to breastfeed is frankly unnecessary. When breastfeeding is recognized as normalcy those type of conversations about the nursing in public "issue" become immediately recognized as subtle (or not so subtle) sabotage- as  Jay Parr's commentary brings into perfect focus.

Many mothers continue to pump in restrooms at work.

While recent changes in healthcare coverage requirements have improved resources for lactation care and breastfeeding equipment, returning to work or school still creates additional challenges for extended breastfeeding. For some mothers this period is as fragile a time as the first two weeks. Additional support is almost always needed for some aspect of managing repeated separations from the baby.

Support specifically aimed toward breastfeeding is more than a nicety. Breastfeeding is a public health issue. While some mothers will make informed choices to never breastfeed and others will not be successful despite the best of management and the very hardest of work, the truth is that much of what contributes to many mothers not being able to reach their desired goals are issues that are not beyond our collective control. Responsible communities must protect their vulnerable members, and new parents and their babies are among those deserving that attention. Supporting them is the right thing to do.

Resource Information (from five excellent sources):

Tennessee Breastfeeding Website     

La Leche League in Tennessee

Nashville Breastfeeding Coalition

Workplace Resources

Breastfeeding laws
Federal protection through ACA

TN businesses taking pledge to support breastfeeding

Tennessee Laws 

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006, 2011) permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding.  Specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901. This law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq.) and § 39-13-511(d) were amended in 2011 by Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chap. 91 (SB 83) to remove a provision permitting mothers to breastfeed only infants 12 months or younger in any location. (2006 Tenn. Law, Chap. 617; HB 3582)

Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305 (1999) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (1999 Tenn. Law, Chap. 161; SB 1856)

photo credit: Jared Klett via photopin cc
photo credit: Children's Bureau Centennial via photopin cc