49. Infant Mental Health: Finding the Beautiful Moments

We all picture the joyous new mother. Happy, put together and radiant. The reality is often very different. Many moms are relieved that their baby. A mother’s mental health has a direct impact on her baby and we as pediatric clinicians are in a perfect position to support her. Dr. Rena Menke, a clinical psychologist with 15 years of experience working with pregnant and postpartum mothers, walks us through a model of care that promotes parenting skills and supports infant mental health. Dr. Menke describes how we can help parents by finding “beautiful moments” between a caregiver and their baby.

[00:01] Dr. Rena Menke Shares Her Story With Us

  • How Dr. Menke shares her journey to the infant mental health field
  • What to expect in infant mental health according to Dr. Menke

[04:13] 3 Moments Between a Mother and Her Baby

  • Why pediatricians need to consider mental health in treating patients
  • Dr. Menke connects a mother’s mental health to that of her child 
  • The reality about motherhood you need to realize 
  • She talks about her program, “Early Relational Health”
  • Is it exclusive for mothers?
  • When is it best implemented?
  • The 3 types of moments to watch out for between a mother and her baby

[14:20] Creating Beautiful Moments

  • How to advise mothers in overcoming challenging moments with their babies
  • Dr. Menke shares how to practice empathy with parents 
  • What pediatricians can learn from the infant mental health field 
  • Check out some resources on early relational health!
  • Links below 
  • Building a “partnership” with parents to create beautiful moments 

[24:28] Building Meaningful and Healthy Relationships

  • We talk about the things that pediatricians do best 
  • What confidence brings to parents in terms of taking care of their children
  • Simple exercise parents can do when talking about their kids 
  • How meaningful and healthy relationships are built 

 [32:31] Closing Segment

  • Final takeaways:
  • Infant mental health was pioneered by Selma Fraiberg, author of “The Magic Years”
  • Perinatal mood and anxiety disorder prevalence is about 40%.
  • Early relational health is an intervention developed by pediatrician, David Willis
  • A primary care physician or provider may identify an infant-parent dyad that may need some support.
  • Identifying the 3 key moments between the mother and her baby 
  • We may need to take a breath and pause as we help guide through interactions that we are concerned about
  • There’s formal online training for interested clinicians to learn more about upstream prevention intervention
  • Rena’s contact details below
  • Child psychiatry access programs are available across the country. Links below
  • For information on how to develop integrated behavioral health in your practice, please reach out to me in the show note links

Key Quotes:

“I think what’s wonderful is we now know that there are so many different resources for moms and babies… ” – Dr. Rena Menke

“When parents are feeling confident and able to care for their children, then they have more ability to choose what they’re doing.” – Dr. Rena Menke

Email [email protected] to connect with Dr. Menke or check out http://med.umich.edu/ to know more about her work.

Resources Mentioned:

If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter or email me at [email protected]. To learn more about me visit https://www.medicalbhs.com/

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Dr Lia Gaggino

Dr Lia Gaggino Host of the Pediatric Meltdown Podcast

Dr. Lia Gaggino has worked as a pediatrician for over 30 years on the west side of Michigan. During her career as a primary care physician, she has been privileged to care for children and adolescents, and know that their success is closely tied to mental wellness.

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Dr. Lia Gaggino has worked as a pediatrician for over 30 years on the west side of Michigan. During her career as a primary care physician, she has been privileged to care for children and adolescents, and know that their success is closely tied to mental wellness.

Recent Episodes

  • All Post
  • ADHD
  • Advocacy
  • Aggression and Disruptive Behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Building Better Workflows
  • Depression
  • Genetics
  • healthcare disparities and inequalities
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Medications
  • Mental Health
  • Other
  • Pain
  • Parent/child
  • Physician Well-Being
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep
  • Social Media
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Trauma

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