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Art in the Everyday

One way of normalizing physiological childbirth and feeding is using a vehicle like art. Art is a storied human tradition which serves as a record of what is important to us as a culture. The sexualization of the breast in American culture is so pervasive that very young girls start to cover their chests foreshadowing the years to come. Take a peek at these beautiful images. If we portray breastfeeding as the compassionate and physical act of nourishing an infant we can chip away at the ugliness and chastisement women face in the United States.

http://www.francescacesari.com/in-the-room-gallery/

Be well, #lenthern

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New Beginnings

Spring is associated with a time of rebirth across cultures. Here in New York City, the trees are flowering and the tulips are in full bloom. Despite having a mild winter the city is buzzing and ready for warmer temps. Change is in the air.

It might be wafting in the wind, but change makes most people less than comfortable. I'm reminded by the quote, "If you want something you've never had, you must do something you've never done." Mitigate unrealistic expectations and make necessary moves to better yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year round, why should you?

Be well, #lenthern

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WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK IS AUGUST 1st - 7th, 2015

I've never felt so much conviction and purpose on my path in life as a pediatric nurse as when I certified as a breastfeeding counselor in July 2015. The support ALL postpartum women need is a crucial component to global health and supporting breastfeeding in all its forms is a HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE.

@4thtribodies among so many handles on Instagram and other social media outlets are celebrating WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK (August 1-7th) and doing a beautiful job of bringing attention to a practice commonly called "disgusting" and "pornographic." The quote below puts things perfectly --

"The presentation and durations of breastfeeding and breastfeeding experience are vast. This week we celebrate you all. Attempted nursers, exclusive pumpers, special needs breastfeeders, long term nursers, tandem feeders, SNS'ers, those struggling through the early days, those who fought hard and found their stride, those to who it came easy. Those who fight to normalize, those who feel best covered, those who feed. There isn't a wrong way. We celebrate and support you all."

I commit my professional life to the support and normalization of breastfeeding as an act of attachment, bonding, and nourishment between mother and child. I reserve no judgments for women who make a different choice for their families. As a pediatric nurse, I help guide new families with anticipatory guidance to help them make informed decisions regarding their children's health. Join me in supporting all women, all families and all children this week, and every week to come.

Be well, #lenthern

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Exterogestation

This is a new word in my professional lexicon, but this is a concept essentially ignored in the breastfeeding/formula conversation. Naturally this discussion involves polarizing attitudes full of inside and outside opinions on how to best nourish one's baby. Expert culture is pervasive, regardless of credentials. So much so, that the cringe worthy term "mommy war" is attributed to the contention. The focus in 2015 is: is breast milk superior to formula?

"Superior." Above average in excellence. My baby is better than your baby; breast is best. The science of feeding a baby has eclipsed the humanity of the act. Overt mechanisms of power and control, or social inclinations of being born in the 21st century -- a part-time nursing theorist like myself wonders: what about mom?

I'm due to begin my lactation counselor certification in a couple of weeks. Breastfeeding by definition is a dyadic process, with the nursing mother secreting hormones to facilitate the nourishment for baby. Together the anatomical union of two people and physiological components for success work synergistically to facilitate exterogestation. In our current breastfeeding culture, only the mother who carried the baby nurses. Therefore, if no other feeding mechanism is implemented, it is only the mother who can promote this gestation.

You can't birth a baby and put him on the 6 train. The idea that we give birth to such immature newborns has not been lost on those who study infant nutrition. Exterogestation suggests that the dyadic process of infant feeding, bottles and supplementary feeding systems included, are a crucial part of development. Ways of being able to feed an infant without a breast have been devised since antiquity. Let's agree not to indulge the divisive few and elevate the mothers, the fathers, the caregivers who are nourishing all of our future. When discussing formula, speak intelligently to its science, but don't fall victim to the pandering discussion meant to sell products. Change the conversation to promote attachment and bonding regardless of bottle or breast. 

Be well, #lenthern

 

 

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Cut yourself some slack.

Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is here. So many exciting things happening with PPM that I want to shout from the rooftops! I logged into my website to get to some much needed updating and realized it had been MONTHS since my last post.

Naturally, I felt like berating myself for not staying on top of this. But after a few breaths, I remembered...balance is hard. Being hard on yourself can be motivating, but it can also be defeating. Everyone is trying to do the very best they can with what they have, and it's advice I give new parents every day. Why not try to take a spoonful of my own medicine?

I'm running a business while working a 40 hour-week job and that's just the professional side of my life. I have to learn to cut myself some slack. Balance is hard. I should probably do a little more yoga and a little less stressing about the little stuff. Trying to be a good patient takes patience, but it's my intention for the rest of 2015.

Although not pediatrics or health related, here's a link for an article about women who just graduated from Harvard Business School. It's rejuvenated my resolve and strikes at the heart of what Pediatric Peace of Mind is all about:

"There are three circles: What you're good at, what you love to do, and what will allow you to make money. When you can find the intersection of those three things, then you've hit the jackpot."

http://www.refinery29.com/2015/05/87290/how-to-find-job-2015-harvard-business-school-graduation?utm_source=email&utm_medium=editorial&utm_content=everywhere&utm_campaign=150528-women-of-harvard-business-school

Add a little compassion for yourself, and you're golden, baby.

Be well, #lenthern

 

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NYU Child Study Center

Happy February everyone!

This month has been flying by, but I wanted to share a great resource for parents and clinicians alike -- NYU Child Study Center's Educational Workshop Series.

Their website explains,  "The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center hosts weekly workshops on various topics related to raising healthy kids, managing behavior, and emotional health and illness. The workshops are led by our expert clinical faculty who will provide insights, tips and advice on working with children and adolescents."

Workshops are held at 6:30 to 7:30pm on Thursdays at:

The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center
One Park Avenue
7th Floor

New York, NY 10016

Register ahead of time, and I hope to see you there!

http://www.aboutourkids.org/families/csc_workshops_series

Be well, #lenthern

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A VERY good idea

Politics aside, let's take a moment to laud President Obama for doing his part in bringing paid sick leave into the zeitgeist once more. The Family and Medical Leave Act was passed in the early 90s and US citizens have not seen an update since. FMLA only applies to full-time workers at companies with more than 50 employees, thus "leaving out freelancers, contract workers, entrepreneurs, and people who work at small businesses" and at most this is 12 weeks UNPAID time.

Can we collectively say as a society: anything that can be done to help our citizens raise healthy children and keep people well should be a top priority. Tech companies should be emulated for their commitment to hire and retain women in the workforce, and that starts with the knowledge that employees don't have to choose between their baby and their source of income.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/intel-wants-you-to-bond-with-your-baby?utm_source=thedailygood&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailygood

Be well, #lenthern

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The Ginsberg Effect

Happy Friday!

Such a beautifully composed article about identity, balance and the journey of parenting an infant. I love the father's perspective, something that is way too often overlooked. The statistics shared in this article were insightful:

"In a 2013 Pew study, 60 percent of men described their childcare hours as “very meaningful”; only 33 percent of men said the same about their paid work. And men appear to be just as dissatisfied with the stickiness of gender-based norms as women: Nearly half of fathers report dissatisfaction with the amount of time that they are able to spend with their children—twice the rate of mothers who say the same."

This sentence really resonated with me:

"At the close of my 20s, it struck me that any success I had managed to achieve would not have been possible without a certain single-minded devotion to my studies and work—to the exclusion, at times, of healthy habits and relationships." 

Support systems and their influence on personal identity I believe are integral in understanding how someone will parent. Balance is difficult; something to meditate on in 2015.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/01/what-ruth-bader-ginsburg-taught-me-about-being-a-stay-at-home-dad/384289/

Be well, #lenthern

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Hazy Shade of Winter

Good afternoon from frozen Manhattan!

I love winter probably as much as I love mothers and neuroscience, so today is a great day. I read a fascinating article about what happens at the psychobiological level when a person becomes a parent. My favorite part of the brain, the amygdala grows larger in the weeks after having a baby. Playing an integral role in emotional regulation, the amygdala's rapid change enhances socialization including postpartum attachment and bonding. So. Cool.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/what-happens-to-a-womans-brain-when-she-becomes-a-mother/384179/

 

Be well, #lenthern

 

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Mother, we just can't get enough...

As gratuitous pictures of oneself remain a constant of 21st century life and "selfie" a vocabulary word, I thought I'd share some beautiful (although perhaps graphic) photos of the first seconds of life. During my obstetrical rotation in nursing school I was witness to the birth of seven babies, both vaginal and c-section deliveries. The very first section I saw was unplanned; the mother was wheeled into the OR after hours of pushing, strapped down, medicated with anesthesia while I'm wondering how every moment in both of our lives had led us to this sterile alabaster icebox. As she began to vomit, I wiped her face and told her she was the bravest woman I had ever met, that her husband would be allowed to see her shortly and that the only way I was leaving her side was with a police escort. We were two strangers sharing this intensely intimate moment completely lost in time.

When things started really rolling I was told by the RN to get up against the wall and not faint. I'll spare you the details of the crowbar and the organs and the blood. I was at the foot of the bed when the OB pulled out the baby. Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman" was playing as she took her first breath of air. I saw this new life before her mother did. And then if you know me, I did the most predictable thing. I cried.

Life is messy, it starts out really messy, but I think these pictures are beautiful. They remind me that in one moment everything can change, and to practice gratitude along the ride.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2015/01/01/christian_berthelot_cesar_takes_a_look_at_the_first_few_seconds_of_life.html

Be well and Happy New Year, #lenthern

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It might not be Calvin and Hobbes, but...

I haven't heard much on the anti-vax front in a while, so of course today I read about a charter school in Traverse City, Michigan having to close its doors due to a pertussis outbreak. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough is part of the DTaP vaccine (in combination with Diphtheria and Tetanus) given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and a booster at 4-6 years of age.

Here is some information about Pertussis from the Department of Health:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/diseases/immper.shtml

Words are certainly informative, however pictures and graphics are also incredibly helpful in educating individuals and families about the importance of vaccines. Maki Naro is a cartoonist and blogger who wants to remind us that, yes, vaccines do work.

https://medium.com/the-nib/vaccines-work-here-are-the-facts-5de3d0f9ffd0

Be well, #lenthern

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New Beginnings

So excited to have the new website up and running! 2014 has been a truly incredible year for Pediatric Peace of Mind and there is so much planned for 2015. Stay tuned for articles, links, photos, and information regarding pediatric health and more!

Be well, #lenthern

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