Breastfeeding Your CHD Baby


Amelia Willis is a full-time heart mom to her two-year-old son Jensen. He was prenatally diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Before his birth, Amelia’s family temporarily relocated from North Carolina to the Philadelphia area so he could undergo his palliative surgeries at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Jensen had a very complicated stage 1 surgery (a.k.a. the Norwood procedure) that required multiple surgical revisions and he ended up on extracorporeal membrane oxygen (ECMO). Jensen also suffered a paralyzed vocal cord which left him unable to breastfeed and left Amelia heartbroken. After many months of pumping, fortifying, and learning how to nurse, they finally managed to have a successful breastfeeding experience. Jensen was able to nurse like any other baby for an entire year! Encouraging other moms about breastfeeding has become Amelia’s passion, whether someone’s child is healthy or not, she believes everyone can use support!



Lauren Watson is a wife, part-time small business owner, and full-time mother of two children: Jackson, who is almost six, and Addyson, who will be two in November.  Addyson was diagnosed in utero with tricuspid atresia, hypoplastic right heart syndrome, a VSD, an ASD, and transposition of the great arteries. Lauren breastfed Addyson before and after two heart surgeries, both of which involved complications and questions about Addyson’s survival.    Lauren is a native Texan, who grew up in the Dallas area, but who now lives in rural East Texas on wooded land with a creek.  She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas in 2004.  In her brief moments of spare time, she enjoys sewing, cooking, watching movies, online advocacy for CHDs, participating in the political process, and playing outdoors with her family. She also homeschools Jackson and helps her husband manage their online plant nursery.


Marie Biancuzzo started helping mothers, babies and families to succeed at breastfeeding more than thirty years ago. Fondly remembered for decades by mothers, she earned their trust by helping them to cut through the misinformation, bust the myths, and believe in themselves. Among her peers, Marie has received international recognition as a clinical expert, book author, and national-level change agent. She was a founding member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, the past president of Baby-Friendly USA, and the founding editor of Nursing for Women’s Health.

Marie has both depth and breadth of expertise from having worked in community and teaching hospitals, with mothers and health care providers, in nearly all subspecialties of maternal infant health. From the mother’s hospital bedside to the university classroom, Marie has honed her skills at helping people be good consumers of health care information.

A native of the Rochester, New York area, Marie now resides in the Washington DC area but crisscrosses the country as Director of Breastfeeding Outlook, the education company she founded in 1998. Through her courses and seminars, Marie works to help nurses and other professionals learn how to help families with breastfeeding and related perinatal topics. Recognized for her warmth and personable teaching style, Marie continues to provide direct assistance to mothers, as well.
 Marie writes weekly for her blog, Marie’s Outlook. Marie is also the Host of Born to Be Breastfed on VoiceAmerica.

Links Mentioned in our Show: 

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