Ask the Experts :: Ascension St. Vincent’s Answers Your Questions

We partnered with Ascension St. Vincent's for this article. It is sponsored content.

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, then you know Birmingham Moms Collective hosts the Bloom event each year for new and expectant moms. But it’s 2020. And virtually everything about this year is different, am I right? Bloom is no exception. Due to pregnant moms being higher-risk and due to social distancing guidelines, Bloom 2020 went virtual. In case you missed it, catch up here

We partnered with Ascension St. Vincent’s (“where babies come from!”) where they recently answered many of our readers’ questions surrounding the birth experience and caring for a newborn.

Labor and Delivery


Many mothers-to-be have questions surrounding the “dreaded” epidural! I never wanted to ask questions beforehand about it because I figured ignorance is bliss, right?! But for those who want to know, Ascension St. Vincent’s is happy to reassure anxious moms.

Katherine Thompson, a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Ascension St. Vincent’s calms mothers-to-be by letting them know it’s a very routine procedure. It is something they do all day, every day. Did you know Ascension St. Vincent’s never uses students or anyone new to administering epidurals? They employ a team of experienced nurse anesthetists whose main goal is making moms comfortable.

Often moms are concerned there will be long-term side effects or back pain from the epidural. That is extremely rare. Many times when postpartum moms come in for their checkup and complain of back pain, it’s usually due to the delivery itself or from hauling around that carseat everywhere!

The benefits outweigh the risks of an epidural, but if you have any further questions or concerns, check with your doctor.


When recovering from giving birth and dealing with severe lack of sleep, breastfeeding is often the last thing on a new mom’s mind. And many newborns don’t latch well, are too sleepy, or are generally uninterested in nursing at first. Thankfully brand new babies don’t require much milk those first few days, which allows moms time for their milk to come in.

Increasing Milk Production

Heidi Powell, a registered nurse and lactation consultant at Ascension St. Vincent’s has seen it all and is here to help when you’re in the hospital and once you’re back home. She even has advice for increasing milk production as well as what to do if one of your breasts produces significantly less milk.

The more often you stimulate the breasts (nursing or pumping), the better. For example–in the beginning–aim to remove milk 8-10 times per day for 15 minutes as opposed to pumping 4 times a day for 30 minutes. The frequency trumps the duration. And if one side seems lacking, start each nursing session at that breast. Once you switch sides, continue to stimulate the “slacker breast” with a hand pump or pump an extra five minutes each time. Uneven milk production is very common, but these suggestions can help even out the difference.


Diet is important, too. New moms need to make sure they are eating enough calories and drinking enough liquids to keep up their milk supply. Adding oats, papayas, and brewer’s yeast to your diet can help as well.


Sleep . . . oh glorious, elusive sleep! Most parents are counting down the months until their baby sleeps through the night. In the meantime, Dr. Max Hale, a pediatrician within Ascension St. Vincent’s, offers great sleeping advice for your newborn.

Back is the Best

All new parents want to make sure their babies are sleeping as safely as possible. Dr. Hale says putting your baby down to sleep on his or her back decreases the risk of SIDS by 35%. Also be sure to remove everything else in the crib including blankets, stuffed animals, toys, and bumper pads. Babies can gravitate toward those objects and get stuck, unable to move away and breathe.


Co-sleeping, while it sounds appealing when new parents are so tired, is another no-no. Babies need to sleep alone for their own safety.

We’re thankful Ascension St. Vincent’s continues to provide excellent care for moms and babies today and every day!