Tag Archives: Health Questions

Ask Dr. Paolo is back

Ask Paolo logoYou may have noticed a few blog post and workshops about Dr. Paolo Molino a psychotherapist.  Dr. Paolo Molino has been helping the Expat community for years. He is a psychotherapist of Gestalt psychology. He is also a family man with his wife and two children.

He expertise covers many areas such as:

  • Affection disorders (depression,emotional dependence )
  • Personality disorders ( borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder , antisocial personality disorders)
  • Parenting Roles (coaching and support)
  • Sexuality related problems (male and female)
  • Relational problems (couple’s or family’s)
  • Family constellations (group or individual session)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

If you have any questions about dealing with different cultural relationships, dealing with being away from family, or dealing with children behavior just to name a few examples many expats go through.  Click and  Submit your questions.   *your question can be submitted anonymously

If you need to contact him directly for an appointment here is his information:

Paolo molinoDr. Paolo Molino, psychotherapist,
Piazza Cesare Beccaria Area, Firenze.
Cell 331-1064726
email: paolomolino@gmail.com.
Website: http://www.paolomolino.com

Obstetrician Doctors Here and Weight Gain


So why is it that the Obstetrician doctors here have big issues with weight gain during pregnancy for expat moms?  I am not talking weight gain above the standards of other countries. Here you can find an example of what doctors follow in the US for standards of weight gain during pregnancy. click here  In Firenze, I am finding many expat mothers (myself included) built with a broad structure, because of our genetics, are being treated on a weight scale as some small Italian women.  I am not trying to be stereotypical or racist, but genetics in different cultures do create different size women.  The standards for them are going to be different then an average Italian woman.  I see it already in the cloth sizes, where I have to get many of my clothes from the UK because the sizes here are disproportionately small and short.

I had a healthy pregnancy with my first child. I gained a good amount of weight (40 lbs. (20kg) by the end of my pregnancy) most water and baby (my boy was 10.4lbs (5kgs)) when born. This was 2 weeks after due date.  A very big baby but not because I was gaining weight. My sugar levels were fine with my first and no problems at all during pregnancy.  Now my second, conceived and born here also was a big baby (9.5lbs (4.9kg)). The first doctor I went to in the public system was going off about my weight gain at the end of first trimester.  I was starting my second trimester and I was showing quickly already.  I knew I was doing the same as my first child. I knew that I felt good and my blood work was normal as well.  Therefore, I switched doctors to a private doctor that took into consideration and looked at my levels of weight etc. from my first pregnancy.  As long as I stayed like my first pregnancy and blood work and tests came back normal; then all was OK.  In fact, I delivered a healthy baby without problems.  It was another C-section but that was because my first was born by C-section.  I was not allowed to go natural again after one C-section.

Anyway, did any of you have issues with doctors and weight in pregnancy here?


Straight Facts About Braces

Why is orthodontics important?

Without treatment, orthodontic problem may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and trouble with chewing and digestion. A “bad bite” can be a factor in tooth loss and chipped teeth. Orthodontics can have psychological benefits too – boosting a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned.

When should a child first see an orthodontist?

Although there is not a universal best age to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child see an orthodontist at an early age. This could be as young as 3 or 4, but should be no later than 7.

Early examination enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and determine the appropriate time to treat them. After the initial evaluation, the orthodontist may simply recommend periodic checkups. The proper age to treat malocclusion varies with the type and severity of the problem.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?
Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. An orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!

What can happen if orthodontic problems go untreated?
Untreated orthodontic problems may contribute to tooth decay, diseased gums, temporomandibular joint problems and loss of teeth. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping and other forms of dental injury. Sometimes, the increased cost of dental care resulting from untreated malocclusion (bad bite) far exceeds the cost of orthodontic care. In addition, if left untreated, malocclusion may result in harmful effects on the oral health and psychological well-being of the patient.

What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?
Orthodontists are the dental specialists in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities: they are expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with the patient to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. They are uniquely qualified to correct “bad bites”. The American Dental Association requires orthodontists to have at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in an accredited program, after graduation from dental school.

Read her other post: The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up

October is the Month of Dental Prevention. The American Association of Orthodontists has chosen October as Orthodontic Health Month. It provides the opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontics, the importance of early orthodontic screening no later than age seven, the lifetime value of orthodontics and orthodontists’ special educational qualifications.

Written by Dr. Daniela Signorelli

*** The material is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. If anyone is interested in having more information, there is  AAO’s  website : http://www.braces.org


Vaccines 2013

It seems many moms are asking if the vaccines giving here are the same as in the US and UK.  For the most part vaccines given are the same but might be given at a slightly different schedule then in the US or UK.  In the overall though by age of  12  your child will be vaccinated the same as those in the US and UK.

Here is the schedule in Italy

Here is the English definition of the Italian names and abbreviations  for the vaccines listed above.

DTPa: Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis (DTaP: <7 yrs)vaccinazioni-infantili

dTpa: Tetanus, diphtheria, & acellular pertussis (Tdap:>7 yrs)

IPV: Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)

HBV/EpatiteB: Hepatitis B (HepB)

Hib: Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)

Varicella: varicella (VAR)

MPR: Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

PCV: Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)

 Men C: Meningococcal (Hib-MenCY>6 weeks; MCV4-D>9 mos; MCV4-CRM>2 yrs.)

HPV/papillomavirus:  Human papillomavirus (HPV2: females only; HPV4: males and females)

EpatiteA: Hepatitis A (HepA)


For a list of the Vaccines in the US click here:


For a list of the Vaccines in the UK click here:


To vaccinate or not? What are your thoughts?

I have to say a women, in the vasculitis group I belong, is in tears because she now thinks that she gave her two daughters an autoimmune disease. The diseases for both her daughters came out after this vaccine. I am almost sure mine came out after I having mono and got the hep b vaccine at the same time. This was done, because it was required by nursing school to have the Hep B vaccine before that semester started. I do believe that if you are predisposed genetically a vaccine can activate it. I think I was because in my family we have one person with an autoammune disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I worry and decide with each vaccine I give my children. This is one that I would be against and try desparately to teach them to wait to have sex.
So what are your thoughts for or against the HPV vaccine, and why? (Note: I know this is a very controversial topic so please lets respect others opinion as that others opinion and not harass them for it)


Posted by Blog Administrator

Things that children put in there mouths

childI have heard some stories of “my child ate this and my child ate that”.  Children love to explore and then they like to taste so it might be inevitable for a child to go through life without something that they ate and were not supposed to. If your child ate something you will need to determine the next step.  If it is an object and not chemical or medicines, check to see if the child is breathing.  If he is getting air then that is a good sign it did not get stuck.  Next determine if it is a battery, magnet, or sharp object, these are very dangerous and require a trip to the emergency room.  The others should be brought to the attention of your doctor, where most likely you are going to be checking your child’s stool for the object he swallowed.

You can read more about what happens if your child swallows something that is not a medicine or chemical here:

Accidental Ingestions: Objects (Not Medications / Chemicals) – pediatricanswers.com

pillsIf it is a chemical or medicine, you need to act quick. You have to call poison control which is called (Centri Veleni in Firenze)

The number for Firenze is TEL.055/7947819 

You will need to have this information most likely in Italian, so maybe have a sheet with it on your frig:

  • The victim’s age
  • The victim’s weight
  • The victim’s existing health conditions or problems
  • The substance involved and how it contacted the person (was it swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through skin contact or splashed into the eyes?)
  • How long ago they swallowed or inhaled the substance
  • Any first aid which may have been given
  • If the person has vomited
  • Your location, and how long it will take you to get to a hospital

For a list of other numbers in other areas of Italy: Il centro antiveleni

Here is a list of a few different things that children have been noted for swallowing.

cryonsArts and crafts supplies
Nails, Pins, & Tacks
Fabric from sleeves and necks of shirts
Bathtub water
pencil eraser

What are your stories?  Has your child swallowed something strange?

Some Related Articles:

The Poison Control Center – chop.edu
Top 10 Things Kids Accidentally Swallow – babyzone.com

Why does my kid freak out? The science behind toddler tantrums. – Slate Magazine

Definitely read this article if you have a 2 or 3 year old.  Mine have grown but I do remember my one son whom would go crazy at this age with things like taking a bath, cutting hair, cutting finger and toe nails, tags in shirts, itchy wool sweaters, shoes and so much more.  This article is great it explains why they have all this frustration.

Why Does My Kid Freak Out?The totally legitimate reasons your animal child just threw spaghetti in your face.

via Why does my kid freak out? The science behind toddler tantrums. – Slate Magazine.

Parcheggio rosa: Pregnant Moms and Moms with Newborns

Parcheggi-rosaHave you seen these around town? 

 If  so post below where you have seen them.

Now throughout town there is parking spots for pregnant moms and moms with newborns (0 – 12 months).

There have been some articles that the spaces are limited and a lot of the times  occupied by others that are not pregnant, so I hope you find one since this is one step closer for township helping the pregnant mothers and those with young children.

Also in Florence you can get “viva la mamma” parking permit at parterre that let’s new moms park anywhere in the ZCS and ZTL parking  area and not just in your neighborhood, it’s 30 euro and lasts until baby turns 2 years old. You can get this for ZCS by downloading the form and paying 30 euros.

Viva la mamma ZCS Download

Scheda 5.4 – Donne in stato di gravidanza e nuclei familiari con bambini fino a 2 anni (ZTL Area) Download

Whom can get a permit for parking:

Pregnant mother a resident in the Commune of Firenze

Families residing in the town of Florence and with a child of two years and younger

Pregnant mother nonresident in the Commune of Firenze for medical visits or labs testing if you have reducedmotor skills

Documents needed:

Certificate of pregnancy ASL or gynecologist if the request header includes the dates of your pregnancy

Self-certification of an affidavit of request (where, if the request is made after the child’s birth, if you declare the date of birth of the child and his residence in the City of Florence)

Copy of / the “liberetto” of the license plate of vehicles ( max is to two plates)

Copy of the identity document of the applicant

Copy of driver’s license

Act delegating person accompanied by identification of the mother applicant.

A Listing of Places where you can find some of these signs in Firenze:

– Campi Bisenzio (FI) Centro Commerciale I GIGLI

– Empoli (FI)

– Parcheggio Alberti

– Parcheggio sotterraneo della Fortezza da basso


– Parcheggio sotterraneo della stazione di Santa Maria Novella

– Parcheggio sotterraneo “Porta al Prato”

– Parcheggio sotterraneo “Sant’Ambrogio”

– Vicino Montelupo Fiorentino (FI)

– Centro Commerciale Ipercoop Sesto Fiorentino (FI)

Related Articles:

Parcheggi rosa, è guerra agli abusivi – ricerca.gelocal.it/ilpiccolo

Picky Eaters: Why do my children not want to eat?

I have been seeing a lot of posts about picky eaters.  It seems that when the child hits the age of being able to say “No” and learn that they can control things especially food, they do.

picky eater

“Fussiness and the aversion to try new foods tends to peak between the age of 2–6 years. And even children previously thought of as “good eaters” can start rejecting any new food and even refuse familiar foods they once enjoyed.” Dealing with fussy eaters:  www.netmums.com

My child was not immune to this behavior as well.  He went from eating lots and everything, then at the age of 2 only white pasta or plain meats etc. It was like all of sudden a switch went off and all the flavor was sucked from the food.  Why did he go from eating everything, (Mexican, Asian, cheese, tomato sauce and more) to just plain food? Was this control issues?  I know I was going crazy trying to figure out what to do.  How to get him to eat at the same time not be a short order chef making many different meals.  I for one was not going to do it, but when you see your child refuse to put the food in their mouth you panic.  You think he is going to starve, he is not listening to you when you say eat your food, he is just doing a power trip, will he be getting enough nutrition eating only plain pasta?  The questions go on and the frustration with it.  I see this with the posts by the moms.

pressure eating

You can not force a child to eat if they do not want too, but you can control the environment around them to help them back to eating again.

food helpingLet them Help out:

I have found that with my child doing things like having him help me cook was a great start.  I would let him stir batters, add ingredients to the bowl, even make small lunches with sandwiches that he felt proud to be helping.    He also loved it when I gave him two options of veggies and said which one do you want.  Give selections is great for getting them involved and lessen the power trip they have on the food.  They feel they picked it, so they have a sense of pride, and will eat it.  We give the selections and they choose, that is how we can help them select healthy foods in the future.    There are a few more pointers in the article below.

Help Them Know When They’ve Had Enough: choosemyplate.gov

Give finger foods as well:

kids eatingChildren sometimes just need to eat with their hands.  So sometimes throw the fork and spoon out and let them have fun with finger foods.  Sandwiches, cut carrots and cucumbers, corn, anything that can be picked up and eat with fingers.  They will get older and have plenty of meals with using a fork, knife and spoon. Annabel Karmel posted a few in the link below, I just love her cook books of kids foods.

10 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Finger Foods : These bite-sized snacks and meals are perfect for picky eaters. From Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Finger Foods

mushrooms1Have fun with it:

Create a theme night and have them even dress up, create foods that go with that theme.  Use cookie cutters and make the food in different shapes,  Use brightly colored foods and even swap meals (lunch for breakfast or breakfast for dinner) There are many options below in Melissa Stavarski’s Pinterest Fun Food for Kids check it out.

Fun Food for Kids: forkly.com

Encourage new foods:

funny food

This will carry on  into their teens and possibly young adult life.  You will need to introduce, and keep introducing the foods.  My son would do this to many times.  He really thought he hated cheese (all cheeses) but basically it was the word he hated.  He loved mozzarella (not a cheese to him) and he found out he liked ricotta, cream cheese.  I had to introduce and keep doing it getting him to at least try it.  He is 11 now and finally realize that it doesn’t hurt to try and that he might actually like it.  We just added Burrata to his list of likes a month ago.

Encouraging children to try new foods – Netmums

family mealsStick to routine:

You can not expect your child to eat if dinner fell on when he is supposed to go to bed.  He is tired.  There were times when we would go to friends house to have dinner and they followed the Italian time scale for eating (late around 8 or even 9).  I followed the American still eat at 6:30 7:00 the most.  So my young child would sometimes fall asleep at the table and needless to say did not eat a thing.  Also, do not allow juice or milk outside of meals.  I personally only allowed milk for breakfast and water the rest of the time they only got juice or soda on special occasions.  Juice and Milk will fill up your child and then you can forget them eating.  Some more good eating advice can be found at this link.

Healthy Eatingkidshealth.org

portion controlPortion Size:

Believe it or not little children do not need large amounts.  Most likely you are feeding too much.  Our minds have been set nowadays to larger portions even for ourselves so we mentally believe that our kids are not eating enough.  You can find more on portion control in a previous post.

Kids Eat Right – Portion Distortion – firenzemoms4moms.wordpress.com

Table Time- Making It Right:

Seating seeingit at the table with your children and eat with them and chat with them.  No tv, radio, cell phones or internet distracting you and your child from eating.   Give the time with them and enjoy listening to them.  They will feel more at ease if you are sitting with them and chatting with them.

This is something I have always done.  Even if my husband could not make it, I would always have my dinner with my children.  I use it now to catch up on school events.  They also see me eat the foods and not anything different, and important factor for them to see only one meal is served and that is it. They were also told to sit at the table the time that we are having the meal no to get up until all were done.

food dessertDo not use dessert as a reward and do not pressure them to eat.  Both cause for a stressful environment.  It teaches them to  expect dessert all the time and  that it is the best part of the meal which could cause them to really like the sweets and down the line could lead to obesity.  Pressuring them to eat cause them to not eat even more, especially if they are doing it as a control.  This has been noted to cause eating disorders during their preadolescence and adolescent years.  A good article about pressuring to eat in the years 2-4 and what can happen is below.

Pressuring Children To Eat Increases Risk Of Obesity – medicalnewstoday.com

Bullying Scars the Adult Mind

Bullied kids were about three to five times more likely to have an anxiety or panic disorder or agoraphobia through their 20s after adjustment for childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships,

via Bullying Scars the Adult Mind.

Rare Diseases do you know what they are? « Firenze Mom

Rare Diseases do you know what they are?

Rare Diseases are usually chronic diseases that affects a small percentage of the world population. There is no really known cause but research is going on for testing if they are genetic, environmental and other causes. Why do I bring them up? Well there are so many out there and more and more people are getting diagnosed with them and others are dying from them. The best way to move forward in finding a cure and helping those that have not been diagnosed yet is to spread the word.

via Rare Diseases do you know what they are? « Firenze Mom.