What Every New Mother Should Know To Pick Out the Best Therapist

woman_walking_long-road-600x400Since World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we’ve been focusing on postpartum anxiety and depression. It’s important to be aware, to recognize your needs, or those of someone you love, so that you can get help.

There’s no question about it: Psychotherapy works. But it doesn’t work if you don’t find the right therapist. If you believe it works and are willing to pursue it, a big question looms: How do you pick out a therapist?

The guests on our show said some different things, so I want to pull those together. Here are three factors to consider.

Credentials and experience might matter.

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4 Facts Every Breastfeeding Mother Must Know About Laser Hair Removal

Listen to the podcast, “Look Good, Feel Good, Breastfeed”

shutterstock_motherwithbaby_onbedIt’s been four months since Baby was born. Mom is doing well, and has been exclusively breastfeeding her baby. But she’s noticed some hairs on her chin—postpartum hormonal changes! It happens—and she wants to have laser therapy to remove them.

Unfortunately, the laser therapy staff say they won’t do the procedure until Mom has weaned her baby from the breast. Let’s face it: That could mean she’d have to wait a year, two years, or more! She’s convinced them to go ahead with laser hair removal if she can get a note from her doctor that it’s okay for her to have the laser treatment.

Her doctor should be willing to write the note. That laser hair removal is unsafe for the breastfeeding mother is a big MYTH! But if you’re a breastfeeding mother considering laser hair removal, there are four facts you should know:

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Top Tips on Babywearing Your Premature Baby

Listen to the podcast, “Babywearing Your Preemie in the NICU, A Beginner’s Guide “

btbb_9-12-16_nicu_2These days, you hear a lot about babywearing for healthy, full-term babies. But there’s almost no buzz about wearing your preterm baby. The latest buzz was created by Jennifer Canvasser when she was a guest on my radio show. Many mothers—and nurses!—don’t know it’s possible to wear a preemie. It is! In spite of the tubes and the wires, and your baby’s small size, you may well be able to wear your preemie and carry him against your body. Want to know more?

Listen to the show, and read on for the top 7 tips any parent who wants to wear their preterm baby must know:

Check out different types of carriers.

Both Jennifer and an earlier radio show guest, Samantha Bunnell, identified four different types of carriers: the mei-tai, ring sling, soft-structured carrier, and woven wrap.

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Ten Tips for Breastfeeding Your Baby Who Bites

Listen to the podcast, “The Breastfeeding Journey From Day 1 to Year 1 and Beyond”

It’s an unpleasant truth of breastfeeding: Sometimes, older infants with teeth (or in the process of getting them) bite. It doesn’t happen when the baby is actually feeding; it’s not possible for the baby to draw milk from the breast and bite at the same time. But it can happen right after a feeding, or while the baby is taking a momentary break.

Whenever it happens, such biting is a hassle. Fortunately, there’s something you can do. Here are ten tips for handling your baby’s biting:
  1. Watch for signs the baby is “reaching” when latching on. If the baby is straining his neck and reaching while getting a deep latch, that’s a big clue that he’ll slip down on the nipple later, setting him up for biting.
  2. Know how to remove your baby from the breast without pulling. Slip a clean finger into the corner of his mouth, between his lips and your nipple, to break the suction.
  3. Watch for signs the baby is “changing gears.” Long, slow, rhythmic sucks are the sign of effective feeding, and a baby who’s been satisfied will then shift to faster jaw motions that are not rhythmic and don’t compress the nipple and areola. If your baby has been biting at the end of a feeding, you’ll want to be aware he’s nearing “done.”
  4. A baby who’s had enough to eat may be prone to distractions, which may cause “accidental” biting. Older infants are naturally more social and curious about their surroundings, but turning his face may take your nipple with him, and seem like a bite!
  5. Be alert to signs he’s slipping from a mouthful to the nipple, where he’s most likely to bite. Remove him from the breast–slip a finger into the corner of his mouth to break the suction, first–immediately.
  6. If teething is the cause, be ready to offer your child something soothing–a teething ring, a chilled damp washcloth, or something similar. If discomfort is what’s prompting him to bite, giving him something “ok” to bite will help you both!
  7. Remember not to take biting personally. He’s not biting you; he’s biting as a reflex. Try not to scold. It’s natural to react strongly to such a bite, but a yelled “NO!” might result in your baby being fearful of nursing. If you can, have a teething alternative ready and say something like: “Bite this, not Mommy.”
  8. Use positive and negative feedback appropriately. When you break the suction, let him know not to bite you. When he takes the teething ring, offer an extra hug or nuzzle.
  9. If your baby bites, you can push his head towards your breast for 1-2 seconds. Pulling away may seem more instinctive, but that doesn’t help him release the nipple. Pulling him closer will cause him to open his mouth, allowing you to remove him quickly. This approach isn’t as effective if biting has become a habit, but if it’s used the first or second time your baby bites, it might nip the habit in the bud. (Note: Avoid this approach if your baby has a stuffy nose.)
  10. Be consistent. Babies are smart, and yours will soon get an idea of what the boundaries are.
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Dr. Mark Belsey to Appear on VoiceAmerica’s “Born to Be Breastfed” with Marie Biancuzzo

Listen to the podcast, “Happy Birthday, Baby-Friendly! The Inside Story on a Life Changing Initiative”

Dr. Mark Belsey, Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative expert, is the guest on “Born to be Breastfed,” on VoiceAmerica’s Health & Wellness Channel during World Breastfeeding Week.

Mark-Belsey-webHerndon, VA – 08/01/16 — Marie Biancuzzo, host of “Born to be Breastfed,” announced today that Dr. Mark Belsey, former director of Maternal & Children Health and Family Planning at the World Health Organization, will be a guest on her show on August 1, 2016. The show will air from 6 PM to 7 PM ET on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel, and it will be available as a free podcast on iTunes. Discussion will focus on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, from its origins to today.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative launch,” explained Marie Biancuzzo. “and I wanted to recognize the effort, which has finally received long over-due interest in the U.S. in recent years. Dr. Belsey and I will talk about how the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative came to be, and why it matters for everyone. We’ll also talk about how the Initiative provides valuable guidance for any organization engaged in caring for mothers and babies. It’s not just a pie-in-the-sky ideal. BFHI is a set of steps that, if together, are essential to good health care.”

“We’ve talked about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative before,” Ms. Biancuzzo said. “but I’m looking forward to Dr. Belsey’s insight, as the former director of WHO’s Maternal & Child Health and Family Planning unit.”

Listeners are invited to tune in at 6 PM ET (3 PM PT) to the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness channel. The show will also be available as a free podcast through iTunes.

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Breastfeeding: Essential to WHO’s Goal of ‘Health for All’ Worldwide

Listen to the podcast, “Happy Birthday, Baby-Friendly! The Inside Story on a Life Changing Initiative”

BTBB-WBW-Health-For-All_2016_900pxThe World Health Organization’s (WHO) Constitution came into force on April 7, 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as World Health Day. However, it wasn’t until almost thirty years later—in 1974—that the word “breastfeeding” first appeared in the context of a World Health Assembly resolution. The second time was in 1978, when “Health for All” became the slogan. The main aim of “Health for All” was to remove obstacles to health, specifically malnutrition, ignorance, contaminated drinking water, unhygienic housing, and medical problems.

Breastfeeding mitigates many of those obstacles, a fact which has since been well-recognized by the World Health Organization. Malnutrition is unlikely when an infant is receiving his mother’s nutritious milk. Illiteracy, contaminated water, and unhygienic housing make formula preparation and dilution a huge risk; breastfeeding makes these moot. And, because breastfeeding provides a “remote immune” system, it helps with problems such as disease and access to doctors, drugs and vaccines.

This isn’t to say that breastfeeding is without obstacles! Families and healthcare personnel often know little about breastfeeding. From a cultural standpoint, we view modern technology—including formula—as improved ways for promoting health, and we view breasts as sexual objects, to be used for pleasure and marketing.

Here’s the conflict, then: Is formula a facilitator or an obstacle to health? Are cultural norms a boon for women, or an obstacle to breastfeeding? In 1991, the World Health Assembly saw the elimination of free formula in the hospital as a strategy for improving breastfeeding rates. But Dr. Mark Belsey thought that eliminating formula from people who had grown accustomed to it would raise other problems that needed some forethought. After all, how will the babies be fed if the families and hospital staff didn’t know how to breastfeed?

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Anorexia: Finding a “Cure” You Would Never Have Imagined

newborn_hospital_shutterstock (640x427)
In my ear, I heard Jackie Novant’s voice on the phone in real time today. But in my head, I heard another woman’s voice from several years ago. I was thinking of my days as a nurse on a high-risk antepartum floor, and I could hear a 26-weeks pregnant woman explaining why she didn’t want the cheese and crackers we had provided for her afternoon snack. I replayed the conversation in my head now, recalling how none of us were able to persuade her to eat the snack she so clearly needed.
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