Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Einstein Refunds

Looks like I'm not the only one apprehensive about plopping my baby in front of a Baby Einstein video. If you're unsatisfied with a Baby Einstein DVD that was bought between June 5, 2004 and Sept. 5, 2009, Disney will refund ($15.99) or exchange the DVD for a book or music CD (up to four per household).

Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has been pressing lawsuits for years, claiming that baby videos -- such as Baby Einstein -- are harmful. Because of Linn's persistence, the company dropped the word "educational" from their marketing in 2006, but Linn wanted further action: Accountability and compensation for their "unfair and deceptive practices."

A letter from Linn's lawyers cites studies that show television exposure between ages 1 and 3 is "associated with attention problems at age 7." And educational or not, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under 2.

To read about the new refund, read this. Here's what Linn had to say about it:
"We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds."
But is it an acknowledgment? According to Susan McLain, the general manager of Baby Einstein, this refund is just an extension of the customer-satisfaction refund that has always been in place, but it's basically just to get Linn off of their backs: "We strongly believe that, unlike Linn, our customers find value in our product, and rather than continue to fight with her, we decided to leave it up to those consumers."

Looks like Linn is the nagging gnat that won't die. Here's McLain's side of the story:
"For the past several years, Baby Einstein has been under attack by propoganda groups taking extreme positions that try to dictate what parents should do, say and buy. Our philosophy has always been to focus on creating products that parents and babies love, and to not get sidetracked and pulled down into their street fight.

Unfortunately, with Susan Linn's latest stunt, we cannot be silent any longer. Linn's obvious dislike for Baby Einstein has now turned into a sensational, headline-grabbing publicity campaign that seeks to twist and spin a simple, customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt. This is clearly not the case.

Linn's moves are carefully crafted to prey on parental guilt and uncertainty...Linn’s latest public relations blitz simply distorts the facts and misleads the public. In the end, this smear campaign has everything to do with Linn trying to generate ink and funding for her cause, and not about the value that consumers find in our product."
I think it needs to be said that Baby Einstein does offer redeeming products, such as developmental toys, books and CDs.

What do you think? Will you be sending back your DVDs? Do you really feel duped by the Big Bad Baby Einstein? I mean -- what rational parent really thinks that a child can become a genius through the boob tube?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Colorado child denied health coverage

Remember when I wrote about little Alex, a perfectly healthy child denied health insurance for being too chubby? Well now another child in Colorado was denied health insurance -- this time for being too skinny.

The naturally petite girl, Aislin, happens to be a picky eater (A toddler? Picky? Shocking!), but according to her mother, Rachel Bates, she's not sickly. She has a "minor gag reflex" which causes her to not like certain foods, and she's currently improving in therapy. Yet according to United Healthcare, Aislin's height and weight didn't meet their company's standards.

Because of this publicity, the health insurance company has now decided to insure the child -- after denying her TWICE before this.

What kind of country are we living in? In both of these cases the children happen to be healthy, yet the insurance companies still deemed them too risky for their bottom line. These extremely lucrative companies are leaving vulnerable children to suffer because -- what? -- they may lose their bonuses? I understand how this aligns with the ideals of capitalism, but how does this fit into the ideals of America? If freedom and liberty don't make us money, do we abandon them?

If these two cases are indicative of what's happening around our country -- and I know they are -- then we should all be embarrassed. The Leader of the Free World should look around -- their followers are all pitying us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Elisabeth shares embarrassing post-partum moment

Elisabeth Hasselbeck returned to the View yesterday after taking time off to have her third child, Isaiah. Watch what happened when she attempted to send a mass picture message of Isaiah's first child.

The combination of sleep deprivation and increased nudity is a set-up for public embarrassment. When Noah was about four months old, I was feeding him at La Guardia airport's waiting area. I used a blanket to cover myself -- although his flailing around didn't help -- and when he was done, I stood him on my lap, giggling and cooing. Finally I look down and notice I'm completely exposed to an entire waiting area of strangers, having forgotten to clip my nursing bra and fix my shirt. At least I gave them all a good traveling story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The pain is in your head

A new study reported in the November issue of Pediatrics finds that children who experience frequent stomach aches can reduce their pain by controlling it with their imagination.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stepdad shoots daughter's boyfriend

A Florida man is facing second-degree attempted murder charges for shooting an 18-year-old boy. Why, you ask? Because he was having sex with the man's 16-year-old stepdaughter.

According to reports, Wade Edwards came home from work early Thursday night and opened a bedroom door to find the teens going at it. He closed the door, went downstairs, and returned with a gun. Edwards shot the boy four times in the leg and hip as he scrambled to get dressed and run out of the house. He collapsed in the yard and ended up needing surgery.

Police said that Edwards is not remorseful for what he did.

Now, fathers, I know how disturbing -- even traumatizing -- it is to see something like that. But attempting murder? Really? Gone are the days when fathers would clean their guns before a date. Now they just pull the damn trigger.

Has the balloon burst for the Hennes parents?

In case you've been living under a rock, you know the story of the storm-chasing, UFO-tracking, wife-swapping family that captured national attention when their 6-year-old was claimed to be soaring 7,000 ft. above Colorado in a make-shift weather balloon. Authorities scrambled to save the child -- rumored to have fallen out -- while we all held our breath.

Balloon landed, no child.

Turns out he was just hiding because he thought he'd be in trouble.

Naturally, the news networks jumped on them -- including CNN's Wolf Blitzer who simply asked why the child didn't come out when he heard his name being called. The child's response? "You guys told us to do it for the show."

Excuse me, what?

Check out the dad's backpedaling when CNN questions what the child meant by this:

What do you think? Is this all a hoax for fame?

Man simulates labor

Who has a higher threshold for pain -- men or women? A doctor set out to answer this question by voluntarily experiencing a simulation of labor. Electrodes were placed on his abdominals to mimic the feeling of contractions.

While the video is entertaining -- especially since it ends with him saying "women win, men don't, end of story" -- here's my issues:

1. He used gas to manage the pain. Some of us went through NATURAL CHILDBIRTH over here. Man up!

2. What about the back pain? The nausea? The leaking? The PUSHING?

3. There's no way for men to REALLY know what childbirth is like because labor is the culmination of carrying your child for nine months. There's often a mental preparedness when that day finally comes, which in large part is due to the fact that you'll soon have a baby in your arms. If someone put sticky things on my abs and cranked up the pain for 10 hours, I'd have a much more difficult time than I did in labor. It's apples and oranges.

Regardless, how many women want to hook their husbands up to this contraption?

Train drives over baby; no one injured

An Australian mother forgets to use the brakes on her 6-month-old baby's stroller, and he falls to the tracks seconds before a train barrels through. The stroller was destroyed, the baby unscathed.

Watch this heart-stopping video:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parenting Roundup

As I've mentioned over at Mama Never Said, this week I've been a little lax on posting. Forgive me, my baby has been trying to hack up his lungs.

Here's a wrap-up of what's been going on in the parenting world:

*A 40-year-old German woman delivered a healthy baby while in a coma.

*In another unconscious-mother story: A British woman credits the sound of her baby's voice in pulling herself out of a five-week coma.

*A new report suggests the number of abortions worldwide has declined, while the number of unintended pregnancies hasn't gone up. This is being attributed to an increased availability of contraceptives. Every country is different though -- read about that here.

* A substitute teacher heavily pressured a 10-year-old student to stand up and say the pledge after he refused based on principle. According to him, our country's lack of gay rights proves that we do not, in fact, have "liberty and justice for all."

* Utah abortion laws are protecting a teenage girl who paid someone to beat her up in order to terminate her pregnancy at seven months. Strangely, while the state's abortion laws forbid legal medical late-term abortion (forcing her to take these extreme measures), these same laws state a woman cannot be prosecuted for seeking an abortion. Happily, the baby survived the beating and is now living in state custody while her mother is on trial.

*This is beyond disturbing.

*Co-sleeping deaths largely attributed to parents using alcohol or drugs.

*Congratulations to Heidi Klum and Seal who welcomed baby girl Lou Sulola Samuel on Oct. 9.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chubby baby denied health insurance

As if we couldn't despise the cold, cruel health insurance companies enough: A healthy, breastfed 4-month-old baby in Colorado was denied health insurance because he's "fat," making him a financial risk.

Alex Lange is in the 99th percentile for height and weight, and according to the Denver Post, insurers don't take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy. No one in Lange's family has weight issues.

The silver lining to this discriminatory, absurd practice: The Rocky Mountain Health Plan -- where the Langes attempted to get coverage -- released a press release announcing a "companywide policy change...now [providing] health plan coverage for healthy infants, regardless of their weight."

“A recent situation in which we denied coverage to a heavy, yet healthy, infant brought to our attention a flaw in our underwriting system for approving infants,” says Steve ErkenBrack, president and CEO, Rocky Mountain Health Plans. “Because we are a small company dedicated to the people of Colorado, we are pleased to be in a position to act quickly. We have changed our policy, corrected our underwriting guidelines and are working to notify the parents of the infant who we earlier denied.”
Whew, looks like Alex won't have to substitute Slim Fast for breastmilk.

Photo: Denver Post

Friday, October 9, 2009

Product Recall

Let's cut to the chase: Don't use anything from Simplicity. Two more deaths have been reported with Simplicity convertible bassinets -- originally recalled in August 2008 -- and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled millions from the brand. To check if you're using a recalled product (some bassinets are under the name Graco!), visit cpsc.gov or call CPSC at 1-800-638-2772.

131,500 Safety 1st Smart-Light Stair Gates are being recalled because of faulty hinges. Go here to find out if your gate is compromised.

Target is recalling 43,000 Circo Booster Seats because the restraint buckle has been opening unexpectedly, putting children at risk for falling. If your booster seat was bought between December 2008 and June 2009 -- with codes XJ0811, XJ0812, XJ0901, and XJ0902 -- return them to Target for a refund.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lucky number three

Pennsylvania couple Amanda and Matthew Faher gave birth to identical triplets last week -- a rarity that is estimated to be a one in a million chance.

That's not the only oddity of the story:
  • The 3 babies were born on Sept. 30 to 30-year-old parents
  • At 33 weeks gestation
  • On the couple's 3rd wedding anniverary
  • In room 1233
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, they are done having babies. Good luck to the new family!

For my own weird number connection, read this.

Photo credit: Tribune-Review

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Attention Fever phobics

With flu season upon up, we're bombarded with tips and warnings and fear-mongering. Without fail, every year our 24-hour news cycle sings that same old tune -- and this year we have The Swine to top it off.

Here's some advice you're not likely to hear: Avoid fever-reducing drugs.

Yet this is exactly what Dana Ullman of the Huffington Post suggests, citing the 2,000-year-old understanding that a moderate fever is beneficial.
"It is widely recognized that fever is a vital defense of the body in its efforts to fight infection. A fever enables the body to increase its production of interferon, an important antiviral substance that is critical for fighting infection. Fever also increases white blood cell mobility and activity, which are instrumental factors in fighting infection."
Aggressively suppressing a fever strips the body of its natural fighting process, according to Ullman. There are exceptions: A fever above 104 degrees for over six hours, or any fever in an infant under four months old.

The article also cites the inherent danger in aspirin and acetaminophen. Aspirin can cause Reye's syndrome -- a potentially fatal neurological condition -- in children, and can increase the risk for bleeding disorders. Acetaminophen -- widely assumed to be safer than aspirin -- has been associated with asthma and eczema in children; and is the number one overdosed drug reported to U.S. poison control centers.

Are you a Tylenol addict? Do you give your children OTC drugs?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

230 babies die every hour from childbirth

While we may gripe about maternity leave and day care expenses here in the U.S., at least we're alive. A new study released at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics on Tuesday reports that 2 million babies and mothers die around the world each year from childbirth complications.

Childbirth claims more lives than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.

According to the AP, 3 out of 4 of the maternal and infant deaths occur in Africa and South Asia, and poverty is the main culprit. Improved health care and better training would drastically slash this number, considering 60 million of the 136 million yearly births take place outside of health facilities without any skilled assistance.

It's time that awareness is brought to this unnecessary, barbaric tragedy, and that money is invested where it matters: Our future generation. As the study says, "The world will continue to miss the unheard cry of the 230 babies who die every hour from childbirth complications."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Autism steadily rising

A new study reports that one in every 91 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with some developmental disorder on the autism spectrum -- a 50 percent increase in what was previously estimated. The report, published in the October issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal, Pediatrics, also shows that the rate for boys is up at a startling 1 in 58.

Why the sudden spike?

Is it an increase in parent/doctor awareness? A growth in the span of the autism spectrum? Vaccines? Toxic waste exposure? Diet? Even after the countless hours of research, studies and media coverage, there still isn't a definitive cause for autism. The only thing for sure is that more cases are being reported.

Some question the accuracy of this statistic, especially since the study relies solely on verbal interviews with parents and children, not doctors. Also, there isn't a biological marker for who is and who isn't autistic. It can't be traced in blood or urine. There are no physical marks. The only way a child can be diagnosed is by observing how he/she behaves. Are we too quick to label a difficult child as autistic?

Despite this, testimony from 78,000 parents is hard to ignore.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cuddle up with Mr. Placenta

If you're anything like me, after birthing the bloody placenta you may have marveled at the life-sustaining organ that nourished your newly born child, and then you moved on to something less gross. But in many parts of the world, placentophagia -- the eating of the placenta -- is said to be a sacred ritual that may prevent postpartum depression, slow postpartum hemorrhage and boost milk production.

Not ready for a placenta patty? Perhaps a Placenta Teddy Bear would serve as an appropriate remembrance souvenir for your little one. And I don't mean a teddy bear that looks like a placenta (hello, nightmares). No, no -- I mean a cuddly bedtime friend made out of your actual organ.
[re]design -- the socially engaged, environmentally conscious design enterprise -- introduced Designer Alex Green's "Twin Teddy Kit" at this weekend's Doing It For The Kids expo.

Simply cut the placenta in half and rub the organ with sea salt, allowing it to dry out. Then, treat it with a mixture of tannin and egg yolk until it's soft and pliable. Finally, sew the pieces into a teddy bear -- natch. I know that when I got home from the hospital I was itching to fill my abundance of free time with a celebratory -- albeit creepy -- DIY craft project.

What do you think? Cuddly or cringe-worthy?

Photo credit: Inhabitots.com

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Always on top

So much for silently laughing at high school "Plastics" for peaking at 18 years old. A 30-year Swedish study shows that popular children grow up to be healthier adults.


Peer status affects a child's identity, which affects behavior, which affects life choices, which may affect health development. The study, reported by Reuters, says that children with lower social status and fewer friends are more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes later in life. Suicide and drug dependence rates are higher among the D-list as well.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's bedtime honey, grab your computer!

Disney is planning to launch a new initiative to get more children to read their classic stories this upcoming Tuesday -- books not required. For $79.95, parents and children can log on to DisneyDigitalBooks.com for hundreds of electronic-version Disney books.

The computer will affectionately read to beginning readers with musical accompaniment and sound effects. For older readers, unfamiliar words can be heard with a click of the mouse -- No need to sound them out. There's also no need to ask Mommy or Daddy for help when there's a built-in dictionary. Trivia, games and story-builder tools will help to create a more interactive experience.

While Disney is touting this site as revolutionary, publishers -- like HarperCollins and Scholastic -- have offered digital children's books for years.

Reading is undoubtedly important for children development, but is this just another excuse to plop kids in front of a screen? Will children snuggle up to their Mac Books at bedtime? Is this a trend you'll jump on?

Monday, September 28, 2009

mixed up at implantation

An Ohio couple went to a fertility clinic, got pregnant, and is due to give birth any day. The problem? It's someone else's child.

A fertility clinic implanted the wrong embryo into Carolyn Savage, so she is now feeling the movements of another woman's baby. The Savages decided to deliver the baby boy and hand him over to the biological parents, Paul and Shannon Morell of Michigan, without hesitation.

Unfortunately, this was the Savages last change to carry their own baby, due to their age and previous pregnancy complications. They plan to hire a surrogate for their fourth child.

The clinic hasn't told either family what exactly went wrong.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The problem with baby back-sleeping

ABC News reported yesterday that because babies are now being put to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), 1 in 40 babies will develop a flat head, increasing the risk for ear infections, language disorders and learning disabilities.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants up to a year old, and since The American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending babies sleep on their backs in 1992, the number of sudden infant deaths has been cut in half.

But at what cost?

Lying in the same position puts pressure on a certain area of the skull, which can be molded back into shape with a helmet or band. There's no cure -- or known cause -- for SIDS. So while there are possible complications involved, pediatricians believe that the amount of babies saved by sleeping on their backs outweighs the risks.

Detecting a problem before four months of age is crucial to prevent flat heads, and back sleeping is believed to be less crucial once the baby can easily roll from front to back.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mommywood: A baby girl for Buffy

Sarah Michelle (Gellar) Prinze and husband Freddie Prinze Jr. are now first-time parents to baby girl Charlotte Grace. The I Know What You Did Last Summer stars welcomed the newest member of the Prinze clan on Sept. 19.

After much time out of the spotlight, Freddie is slated to star in the upcoming 24 season and Sarah recently filmed the pilot for a new HBO show, The Wonderful Maladays.

Congratulations to them both!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

mothers re-entering the workforce

The New York Times recently reported that more stay-at-home mothers are ditching their sweats for suits. In our current recession, many educated women that "opted out" of working to be stay-at-home moms are now dusting off their resumes, due to laid off spouses or tighter financial constraints.

The article is pretty upbeat, showing the resilience and success many women have found in the job market. But it raises an interesting question: Is abandoning a professional path too risky? Always?

This is the argument that Katie Allison Granju makes on her Home/Work blog for Babble. With the divorce rate as staggering as it is, with our economic prosperity obviously uncertain, it's important to consider the long-term ramifications of leaving a stable job behind. Granju uses her own personal experience and anecdotal stories to show the danger in being financially dependent.

I don't think anyone will deny the immeasurable benefits to being able to raise a child. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't fantasize about that opportunity. But in today's world, is it realistic?

Rather than condemning women for following their hearts and staying at home, Granju makes an important argument:
"What would be truly revolutionary would be a real Mother's Movement in this country, in which meaningful grassroots organizing would actually be taken to the voting floor by the women who represent us in Congress and to the boardroom by the female executives in the companies that employ us. Together, as mothers, we should be building support for the family leave, affordable health care, and child care options that would make this entire 'opt out' conversation moot. We need universal, paid family leave that allows one parent sufficient time at home to care for an infant, and we need more career-track, part-time jobs with real benefits, so that women with babies and young children don't have to make a potentially life-altering choice between immediate family needs and longterm financial security. Further, we need a well-coordinated system of public and private childcare that allows the many women who 'opt out' of paying work altogether following the birth of their children - simply because they can't find or pay for acceptable care - to make their choices based on the bigger picture."
Amen sister.

There is nothing more important to the future of our society than quality parenting. We're raising the next generation of doctors, teachers, activists. We're directly shaping the minds that will create innovative inventions and inspirational art. We're recognizing and nurturing their talents, their ambitions. What job is more important?

So why do we struggle? Why do we regularly feel heartbreak and guilt?

The idea of a Mom movement is inspiring, but what Mom has the free time to organize it? What, with our need to make an INCOME and all.

How do you handle the work/home dilemma?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teen pregnancy and religion

A new report in Reproductive Health found that the most religious states have the highest teen pregnancy rates, even after considering other factors, such as income and abortion rates.

Joseph Strayhorn, a professor at Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh, and Jillian Strayhorn sifted through religious data from the Pew Forum’s US Religious Landscapes Survey, income data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and birth and abortion rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The states labeled as "religious" have high percentages of people that attend service at least once a week, pray at least once a day, claim to receive a definite answer to a prayer request at least once a month, and believe Scripture should be taken literally, word for word. These are states that have large amounts of people that believe there is only one way to interpret religion and that religion leads to eternal life.

The study suggests a possible explanation: Religious communities are less likely to teach and support contraception, perhaps due to abstinence-only education.

According to a National Public Radio poll, "the historical impetus for abstinence education has come from evangelical or born-again Christians." More than twice as many evangelicals as non-evangelicals believe the government should invest in abstinence-only programs rather than sex education.

It should be noted that this data only applies to the state level, not the individual level. The study does not assume that religious teens get pregnant more often than non-religious teens. It does, however, find an astonishing state-level correlation.

Do you agree with the assumption that abstinence-only programs are to blame? Does religion discourage the use of contraceptives? Are religious women choosing to start families younger than non-religious women?

What do you think?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Race against racism

A new article published in Newsweek found that kids naturally judge others based on their skin color as young as six months, and avoiding the subject doesn't avoid the issue. When it comes to race, colorblindness doesn't exist. More than that, the new book Nurture Shock argues that changing the way we talk about race to our young children could cause long-term change in the character of our society.

So what should parents do?

Studies at the Children's Research Lab at the University of Texas and at the University of Colorado have found that children as young as 3 should be talked to about race. Children's brains at this age are programmed for categorization and in-group favoritism. They assess their surroundings and group things according to what's visible -- skin color being an obvious category. It's in this developmental period when children are forming their first conclusions about race, whether or not a parent discusses it.

In fact, children as young as 6 months will stare significantly longer at photographs of faces that are of a different race from their parents. They obviously notice the difference. How could they not? In one study, a group of 3 year olds were given a deck of cards with drawings of people on them. When asked to split the deck in two piles, 68 percent divided the cards according to race, while only 16 percent used gender.

Beyond finding that children are not, in fact, colorblind, the article cites that many parents are uncomfortable talking openly about race. A 2007 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that out of 17,000 families with kindergartners, 75 percent of white parents never, or almost never, talked about race. Vague terms like "Everybody's equal" and "Under the skin, we're all the same," does not qualify as an explicit discussion on race. It's common to think that pointing out racial differences will encourage children to see divisions in society, but it's apparent that brown skin looks different from white skin. It's right there. Out in the open. Pretending like the difference doesn't exist, or making the topic forbidden, forces children to become intimidated by the mystery of race.

According to the article, talking about race should be just as easy as talking about gender.
"What jumped out at Phyllis Katz [then a professor at the University of Colorado], in her study of 200 black and white children, was that parents are very comfortable talking to their children about gender, and they work very hard to counterprogram against boy-girl stereotypes. That ought to be our model for talking about race. The same way we remind our daughters, 'Mommies can be doctors just like daddies,' we ought to be telling all children that doctors can be any skin color. It's not complicated what to say. It's only a matter of how often we reinforce it."
Are you comfortable talking to your children about race? How do you approach it?

For more about what I think, read this.

I get by with a little help from my phone

My husband and I have been toying around with the idea of scrapping our Verizon wireless service and following the masses over to AT&T for the iPhone. We're both massive Apple fans, yet I've been reluctant to switch over. Despite the nagging and nagging and NAGGING from Justin, with all of the other changes in my life -- is this necessary? Now?

But, Justin, you'll be happy to know -- I've been nudged a little further in your direction. Enter the iPhone apps for new moms, thanks to lilsugar.

No more keeping a pen and paper by your side to record nursing lengths and dirty diapers. No more keeping a safety pin on your bra to remember which side you nursed last. No more adding in your head to keep track of naps and diaper changes, which, let's be honest, is challenging on three hours of sleep.

Most promising, in my opinion:
  • Baby Tracker: Diapers ($1)
    • Track wet and dirty diapers, including a short description of the color and consistency and a clock to determine an approximate next change. The history can even be downloaded and printed for the doctor. For future parents: Yes, color and consistency are major deals. I know.
  • Total Baby App ($8)
    • Juggling information for multiples? Track diapers, feedings, naps, baths, doctor visits, vaccinations, growth carts and more for children of the same and different ages.
  • Baby Tracker: Nursing ($5)
    • Log the length and side you last nursed on, as well as the amount consumed for both breast and formula-fed babies.
  • Baby Brain ($5)
    • Control freaks and schedule-aholics, try to contain your excitement. Record all bodily activities (nursing, eating, changing, napping...) into Baby Brain and your phone will analyze the information daily, weekly or monthly to help form a set schedule. The information can even be sent over to your doctor in one click. I think my heart just skipped a beat.
For pregnant mamas-to-be, find helpful iPhone apps here.

Seeing that I don't have an iPhone -- yet -- I can't vouch for its usefulness. Anyone use these apps? Are there other apps you can't live without?

Kids taken away for nude vaca photos

You know those cute photos you have of your little one splashing around in the bath? Did it ever cross your mind that they could be incriminating?

An Arizona family had their three children -- ages 5, 4 and 18 months -- snatched away and put into foster care after a Wal-Mart employee developed some nude bath-time photos and alerted the authorities.

But it wasn't a child-porno shoot -- it was a family vacation in San Diego. A few of the 150 vaca. photos brought to Wal-Mart contained snaps of the children in "various stages of nudity" en route to the bathtub.

After a state investigation for sexual assault evidence, the parents were cleared of any wrongdoing. Naturally. The family is now suing Wal-Mart, the city, the state, and the Arizona attorney general for punitive damages for defamation and outrage.

Do you censor your photos for the person developing them? For the Internet? More shocking: Do people still develop pictures?

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Grandparents Day

This Sunday, Sept. 13, is National Grandparents Day -- a day to spoil the biggest spoilers of all, and to show your appreciation for their pure, unconditional love.

The holiday was originally created by Marian McQuade to comfort the lonely elderly in nursing homes and to strengthen the heritage bond between grandchildren and grandparents. In 1978, Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day.

My mother, a proud first-time Grandma.

If you have the time and resources, on-line photo sites like Snapfish (now offering free shipping until Sept. 13) have high-quality, affordable and fast photo gift ideas. And really, what grandparent has enough pictures of their little ones?

You can make customized photo books, mugs, magnets, calendars, or mousepads for under $20. If you want to splurge for a little more, try making a shirt, tie, apron, or even a blanket.

For those crafty mamas with toddlers, check out ideas here and here. And if all else fails, I'm sure a day with the grandchildren is enough to say "thank you."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mommywood updates

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden welcomed the newest addition to their family yesterday in the early morning hours of 9/9/09. Sparrow James Midnight Madden was born at a Los Angeles hospital, weighing in at 7 lbs., 14 oz.

Madden took to Twitter to announce his son's arrival, joking,
"1st day of his life & my son is already a trending topic on twitter. That's right son, ur just like your old man. wait, i've never been a #TT."
There's been a lot of outspoken opinions about the little boy's name -- as there always is in the celebrity baby naming biz -- but I'm sure the couple thoughtfully picked out Sparrow, and I'm sure it means a lot to them. Let's limit the negativity, people.

Although, I do find this picture from Mamarazzi amusing:
Sparrow joins 20-month-old sister Harlow Winter Kate in the Madden clan. Best wishes to the family.

In other "news,"

Katherine Heigl is joining the ranks of Angelina Jolie and Madonna.

Heigl announced on the Ellen DeGeneres show, scheduled to air tomorrow, that she and husband Josh Kelley will adopt a special-needs 10-month-old girl from Korea.

According to ABC News, Heigl said her name is Naleigh after her mother, Nancy, and sister, Leigh. Heigl told USA Today, "I'm done with the whole idea of having my own children."

Congratulations to the couple.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The invase abuse of power

So here it is. Today President Obama delivered his much-anticipated, hysteria-inducing speech to children across the country. Children who weren't pulled out of school by their parents, of course. I think the amount of children inspired by this speech will far outweigh the temper tantrum parents threw. But maybe I've been brainwashed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

American parents: New levels of absurdity

I wanted to keep this blog strictly news with a few of my own opinions thrown in when the subject is juicy enough. But this, dear, dear readers, baffles me beyond impartiality.

I'm sure you know by now that President Obama is planning to give a speech to American students on Tuesday, Sept. 8 via a live feed from the White House Web site. In his words,
"I'm going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education; about the importance of staying in school; how we want to improve our education system and why it's so important for the country. So I hope everybody tunes in."
According to the U.S. Department of Education,
"During this special address, the president will speak directly to the nation's children and young about persisting and succeeding in school. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning."
It seems simple enough. Presidential enough. Praise-worthy, certainly.

So am I missing something? Today's Yahoo! leading story: Parents angry at Obama

According to the article, "Some parents and conservatives are blasting the president, calling the speech an excuse to brainwash American children."

Let me get this straight, Conservatives. Teaching children the importance of education is brainwashing -- but President Bush blatantly lying about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq being connected to Al Quaida was...?

I guarantee if Bush had wanted to address the American students on why it's important to stay in school it wouldn't have even been newsworthy. What about when President Bush (#1) televised an anti-drug speech in 1989? Or when President Reagan televised his commencement speech and Q&A session to 171 school districts in 1986? Is it because it's the big, bad, scary Obama? Aren't we pulling at straws here?

Apparently the big tadoo is over an accompanying lesson plan for children to follow along with, including questions like "What is the President trying to tell me?" and "What resonated with you from President Obama's speech?" To me, this sounds like basic discussion questions that we ALL had to in english class. Just because you don't like the book doesn't mean you don't have to understand what the author is trying to say. I'm sure if a kid TRULY didn't believe in what Obama was saying he or she could say, "Nothing resonated with me because..."

How DARE that man inspire conversation about our educational system? Who does he think he IS? The PRESIDENT?

Here is what Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said about Obama's plan:
"The address scheduled for Sept. 8, 2009 does not allow for healthy debate on the President's agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates."
Greer also called this an INVASIVE ABUSE OF POWER. Must I bring up Bush again?

I'm guessing that many of the people who agree with Greer are also in favor of teaching creationism in schools. You know, throwing science -- based on evidence and proven facts -- out the window to brainwash teach children that God created the world in seven days and planted fossils to throw us all of track. Oh, the hypocrisy.

And why do children HAVE to agree with him, Greer? More importantly, why wouldn't you want your children to agree that education is important? It's not like he's launching a campaign for health care reform or government spending. Isn't quality of education a bipartisan, no-brainer, issue?

Yet Conservative talk show personalities like Tammy Bruce and Glenn Beck have encouraged parents to keep their kids home from school that day.

How about the video contest the U.S. Department of Education is launching, inviting students to respond to this INVASIVE ABUSE OF POWER by creating videos describing how they will improve their education and explaining the role of education in fulfilling their dreams?

But oh, it's SOCIALIST!
How exactly?

Who are you parents that are so angry? Who are the 63.6 percent of Facebook users who think President Obama shouldn't make this speech, according to a circulating poll? What exactly is the harm in teaching children to value and take responsibility for their education? I'm so exhausted from the large number of Americans who regurgitate garbage they hear -- garbage that sounds scary and titillating and scandalous -- without ANY facts to back up their arguments. Obama is a Nazi. A muslim, socialist Nazi responsible for 9-11. FOX News said so, it must be true.

Man, can this guy catch a break? It's not like he's trying to get us into an undeclared war based on rumors and lies. It's not like he's getting a blow job in the oval office from an intern. He's trying to make sure the American people are healthy and educated. That monster.

I know that the media and the government are hard to trust at times. I'm with you on that one. But can't we lift the veil of partisan politics, just for a moment? Step away from "labels" that neatly define what we think? Can't we just think like logical, rational people that share the same sense of humanity and mortality?


Go here and here for more information on Obama's speech.

I'd really love to hear your opinion on this, especially those who don't agree with me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bubble bath? CHECK! Rubber ducky? CHECK! Cancer-causing chemicals? CHECK!

How can something so ugly belong on something so cute?

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found two known cancer-causing chemicals -- 1.4-dioxane and formaldehyde -- in dozens of baby bath products, including the beloved Johnson & Johnson "pure and gentle" baby shampoo.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both chemicals are known animal carcinogens and most likely human carcinogens as well. The formaldehyde in bubble baths and washes -- you know, what they embalm corpses with -- has been known to cause skin rashes for children with sensitive skin.

The Organic Consumer Association's 2009 study found that many cosmetic companies greatly reduced the amount of carcinogens in products, proving that it doesn't need to be there.

It CERTAINLY doesn't need to be on my baby.

Check out your ingredient labels for these red flags:
  • Sodium myreth sulfate
  • Ingredients with "xynol," "ceteareth" and "oleth."
  • quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • diazolidinyl urea
You can also use the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic safety database to search for tainted products by checking the "Contamination concerns" box.

Here are some of the safest options for your little ones:

For more safe baby products, go here and here.

What if a stranger slapped your child?

Who hasn't been here: Your child has a meltdown in a store. Perhaps you expect unsympathetic glares, maybe even a rude comment. Just imagine a stranger coming over to you, saying "If you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you," and then proceeding to do so with multiple slaps to her face.

This is exactly what happened to one mother in a suburban Atlanta Walmart.

According to the AP, 61-year-old Roger Stephens of Stone Mountain was arrested and charged with felony cruelty to children after slapping a 2-year-old girl at least four times in the face for crying.

Can you even imagine?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Levi Johnston: Father of the Year

Levi Johnston, the father of ex-Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's grandchild, spilled to Vanity Fair in this month's issue that Palin planned to adopt her 17-year-old daughter's baby to hide the teenage pregnancy. He also attacked her parenting, her political motives and her hunting skills.
"Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid."
But let's step back for a minute. This is Levi Johnston. A boy who the AP reported is A) angry that the Palins limit his access to his son, and B) pursing a career as an actor/model. Of course he is. He's on minute 14 of his fame trip, people.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a fan of his mother-in-law. Not in the slightest. But this doesn't make me like her any less. It's obvious that this kid is taking advantage of knocking up the right girl at the right time. Does he love his son? Probably. But this blatant betrayal of his son's grandmother and family, thrusting his baby back into the limelight, is irresponsible and immature. Don't make me side with Sarah freaking Palin, Vanity Fair.

And on top of it -- what's up with Vanity Fair hoisting this kid up on this platform? We're not talking about US Weekly here. Besides what this says about our country's cultural obsessions and journalistic integrity, if we just stick to the political facts then she sinks her own boat. And she did. There's no reason to keep her name in the headlines. We're giving them exactly what they want.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NYC students offered free swine flu vaccines

Public and private New York City students -- numbering over a million -- will be offered free swine flu vaccines in an effort to prevent the second, more serious, wave of the virus that is expected to hit this coming fall.

According to Salon, the vaccine should be available in mid- to late October -- most likely as a nasal mist -- after it's tested and deemed safe and effective.

Smaller states, such as Maine and Alabama, are planning to offer vaccines as well, but many large areas are waiting for direction from their state health departments as to how to run their vaccine clinics. Perhaps once the largest school district in the country is effectively administered free vaccines, other major cities will follow suit. However, some cities, like Boston and Dallas, have already rejected school vaccinations altogether.

But people in New York City have a more prevalent fear of the swine flu than those in, say, Boston. New York was the first large city in the country to have such an alarming number of infected people, shutting down entire schools and claiming more than 50 of the 500 nationwide swine flu-related deaths.

A White House report estimates up to half of the U.S. population could be infected this time around. But, of course, if proper measures are taken to contain the virus -- such as staying home when sick and perhaps getting a vaccine -- then there's no reason to stress.

Will you be getting a swine flu vaccine? Will your kids?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pump and get dumped

The Ohio Supreme Court decided in a 5-1 ruling on Thursday that Totes/Isotoner was legally allowed to fire a breastfeeding mother for taking an extra break to pump.

When LaNisa Allen was hired as a temporary warehouse worker for the outerwear company in West Chester, Ohio, she informed them that she needed to pump her breast milk and requested a private area with an outlet to do so. Management told her she could sit in the restroom and pump at her lunch break. Even though she fed her 5 month old before her 6 a.m. shift, she found herself engorged, in pain and leaking before her scheduled 11 a.m. lunch break. So -- as anyone who has experienced breast engorgement, or anyone who has experienced an organ about to explode, can understand -- she snuck off to the restroom for an unscheduled break at around 10 a.m. to empty her breasts. With milk for her son. To eat. Just clarifying.

According to the Ohio Supreme Court Web site, approximately two weeks later, one of her supervisors came into the restroom and told her that she was breaking the rules. She had to wait an hour for her break. Later that day, Allen requested that her 10 minute break at 8 a.m. be extended to 15 minutes. She asked for 5 minutes. 1-2-3-4-5 minutes. They said no. Actually, they didn't just say no, they fired her.

For insubordination, naturally.

Allen then sued the company, knowing that Ohio's civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on gender AND discrimination based on medical conditions that arise from pregnancy or childbirth.

Here's the kicker -- The trial court found that lactating is not a condition arising from pregnancy or childbirth. Please, take a minute to let that sink in. Are you getting this? Here's what the court said in the original case:
“Allen gave birth over five months prior to her termination from [Isotoner]. Pregnant [women] who give birth and chose not to breastfeed or pump their breasts do not continue to lactate for five months. Thus, Allen’s condition of lactating was not a condition relating to pregnancy but rather a condition related to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding discrimination does not constitute gender discrimination. See Derungs v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 374 F.3d 428, 439 (6th Cir. 2004).”
Oh yes they did.

How is breastfeeding discrimination not gender discrimination? California would agree with me. And lactating is most definitely a condition arising from childbirth. Those who are not pregnant and who do not give birth DO NOT randomly start producing milk. Yes, some women choose not to breastfeed. Some women CHOOSE to take a path that is biologically, evolutionarily, unnatural and feed their children with an imitation of breast milk; a man-made substance that strives to be as healthy as breast milk but fails. This, of course, is a different issue. There's an entire movement out there teaching women that the benefits of breastfeeding are unmatched -- for the baby, the mother and the country as a whole. There's a movement to increase the number of breastfeeding mothers, backed by huge, heaping, monstrous piles of studies. You can hear the shouts reverberating coast to coast: Breast is best!

Except for the lower-income factory worker who has no choice but to work. Then it's, Well you could have CHOSEN n0t to breastfeed, you know.

Come to think of it, maybe these women didn't CHOOSE to wean their child. I'm sure many women who opt out of breastfeeding do so from the corner in which they're trapped. On one side, society is closing in with torches and signs and angry, judgmental slogans. On the other, society has its greedy hand outstretched: Rent, food, gas, diapers. Who has the luxury to live on one income? Definitely not lower-income factory workers. Add that to the inflexible, unsympathetic, hard-headed, discriminatory companies like Totes that make it near-impossible to maintain a milk supply, and it's no wonder that many women crumple in defeat.

Here's the argument: Companies don't have to tolerate pumping because breastfeeding isn't a result of childbirth because many women choose not to breastfeed because companies don't tolerate pumping.


And besides the logistical mind-screw, do any of these judges know the unbelievable pain of engorgement? Allen should have asked her supervisor to chug a bottle or two of water, just enough to cause that aching, bulging, my-bladder-is-going-to-burst feeling. Then, when he (or she, whoever) goes to the bathroom say, Not so fast. You have to wait an hour. It's just an hour though -- no big deal.

Justice Maureen O'Connor (one of the three women on the bench) and Chief Justice Thomas Moyer agreed that lactation is, in fact, linked to pregnancy, but Allen's termination technically wasn't discrimination.

The one lonely dissenting opinion came from the male Justice Pfeifer:

"Ohio’s working mothers who endure the uncomfortable sacrifice of privacy that almost necessarily accompanies their attempt to remain on the job and nourish their children deserve to know whether
Ohio’s pregnancy-discrimination laws protect them.

I would hold in this case that employment discrimination due to lactation is unlawful pursuant to R.C. 4112.01(B), that clear public policy justifies an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine for women fired for reasons relating to lactation, and that LaNisa Allen deserves the opportunity—due to the state of the record—to prove her claim before a jury."

Bottom line: Totes decision to fire Allen was absolutely discriminatory. All she needed was FIVE extra minutes in her morning break. Five minutes. I can guarantee there are nicotine addicts who spend at least five minutes taking cigarette beaks. Not to mention, it's not like being hooked up to a machine and artificially pumped -- while sitting on a restroom TOILET -- is something a woman wants to do. It's uncomfortable, annoying and boring. But she was trying to selflessly do what's best for her child and what's natural for a post-pregnancy body while providing for her family.

Arrogance. Ignorance. Blatant sexism.

Looks like I'll be buying my umbrellas elsewhere, Totes.

Pregnant mamas: Prenatal Precaution

The American Thyroid Association recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers take a daily supplement with 150 micrograms of iodine to ensure fetuses and babies produce enough of the thyroid hormone. A deficiency may lead to mental retardation.

Think your prenatal vitamins are cutting it? Maybe not.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, only 51 percent of prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amount of iodine. Check the ingredients on your bottle to determine if you need an additional supplement.

Pregnant women need 220 mcg of iodine to reach the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), and nursing mothers need 290 mcg.

Product Recall: Baby Jogger stroller

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the stroller company Baby Jogger recalled 41,000 Baby Jogger City Mini strollers.

According to the CPSC, the seatbelt buckle can break or unlatch, allowing a child to fall out. The agency warns parents to stop using the strollers immediately.

The City Mini strollers, made in China, were sold nationwide from November 2007 to July 2009.

For a free replacement buckle and installation instructions, call Baby Jogger at (877) 506-2213 or e-mail recall@babyjogger.com.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Product recall: More SIMPLICITY cribs

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, another 400,000 drop-side Simplicity cribs are being recalled, making 2.5 million recalls for the brand in the last four years and 13 tragic deaths. The CPSC reported that an 8 month old suffocated and died from a defected drop-side feature. Apparently the plastic hardware can dislodge, causing a gap between the railing and mattress where an infant can fall and suffocate.

The company is no longer in business.

IMPORTANT: Some of the products were made under the name Graco, and one of the play yards used the Fisher Price rainforest motif. Please check the model numbers here to see if you're using a recalled product.

Contact the CPSC at 800-638-2772 or info@cpsc.gov to report any incident with a Simplicity product.

RIP Reading Rainbow

It's the end of an era. Yesterday was Reading Rainbow's last episode on PBS, after 26 years and over 24 Emmys. Yes, Reading Rainbow was still on. I know, right?

The show started in 1983, hosted by actor LeVar Burton (NOT Omar Gooding, as much as my husband insisted) and was designed to teach kids the importance of reading. Every episode featured a different story, a new adventure, another compelling reason to pick up a book.

It was not to teach kids how to read, which, according to NPR, was part of the show's demise.

When Reading Rainbow came on the air, the main goal was to get more children psyched about books, assuming they already had the basic skills needed to actually read. Then, under the Bush administration's Department of Education, the focus of educational television was shifted toward the mechanics of reading, like spelling and phonics. While the show's original premise was important and inspirational, it wasn't deemed as critical in the Fight For Literacy to warrant the funding.

But 26 years ain't bad.

Here's to you, Reading Rainbow. You'll be missed.

And now, to reminisce:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Six-figure fine for firing breastfeeding mother

A Los Angeles taqueria owner will have to pay over $46,000 for firing a cashier worker because she used her break time to breastfeed her premature baby in her car.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing Commission found Jesus Acosta, owner of Acosta Tacos, liable for sex discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the commission ordered Acosta to pay Marina Chavez $21,645 for lost wages and $20,000 for emotional distress, as well as a $5,000 civil rights violation fine to the state of California.

California law requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees a reasonable break time to do so, unless a break would seriously disrupt the employer's operations. California mothers can also breastfeed anywhere, public or private.

Find out your state's breastfeeding laws here. Read about New York's new Breastfeeding Mother's Bill of Rights here.

This is the first state case where denying the right to breastfeed was ruled as sex discrimination.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not to belabor the point

Check out Cookie magazine's 15 breast-feeding myths.

To cut or not to cut: May not be a question

Public health officials are considering whether to implement a campaign promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States, in an effort to prevent spreading H.I.V.

Circumcision is controversial -- to say the least -- historically, religiously, passionately debated by mothers and experts across the spectrum. While foreskin has become unfashionable in the U.S., widely considered to be unhygienic and weird, The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't believe the medical benefits are sufficient enough to warrant a recommendation. I repeat: The American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend circumcision. Not to mention 4 out of 5 men worldwide aren't circumcised. What's up, America?

Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to push circumcision for not only babies, but adult heterosexual men who are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the New York Times, this is based on studies showing that in AIDS-riddled African countries, circumcision reduced infection risk by half. However, the trials focused on heterosexual men at risk of getting infected from female partners. This doesn't account for the largest group of at-risk Americans: homosexual men. In fact, circumcision does not seem to protect homosexuals in the first place.

Where do you stand on the circumcision debate? How do you feel about the government stepping in on this one?

Economic recovery

In lieu of our country's current economic state: A 2001 U.S. Department of Agriculture study estimated that -- due to fewer medical problems and hospital stays -- at least $3.6 billion could be saved nationally if only 50 percent of mothers breastfed for at least six months.

Breastfeeding Mamas: You've got rights.

New York mothers are having a good month, legislatively speaking. First, Gov. Paterson extended health care benefits for adult children, and now he signed The Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights into law.

It's a well-intentioned law: The government recognizes that mothers aren't getting adequate preparation and support in this seemingly natural but extremely challenging endeavor. There's also a commercial interest (formula companies) duping women into thinking formula is just as healthy and, of course, easier. Because, let's face it, Big Business doesn't make money when women breastfeed. Additionally, many hospitals are skimming over the breastfeeding tutorials and pushing bottles on newborns.

The Bill of Rights – designed by a team of pediatricians, Women Infant and Child (WIC) personnel, New York City Department of Health staff, and lactation specialists – will be distributed in prenatal healthcare facilities, hospital maternity floors and post-delivery recovery rooms to encourage and promote the truth behind this beneficial practice.

The new law includes:

  • Before delivery: The right to commercial-free information on the nutritional, medical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding, as well as an explanation of the hurdles breastfeeding mothers may encounter and how to avoid or solve them.

  • In the hospital or birthing center: The mother’s right for her baby to stay with her immediately after birth – for both vaginal and C-section deliveries – as well as the right to breastfeed immediately; to refuse bottle feeding or pacifiers; to be informed about and refuse drugs that may dry up breast milk; to breastfeed anytime, anywhere; to receive help with breastfeeding.

  • Bringing baby home: The right to refuse take-home formula samples or formula advertising packets; to access breastfeeding resources in the community; to receive information on how to safely collect and store breast milk.
The law also reminds women that breastfeeding in public is entirely legal.*

This is on top of the national campaign, Healthy People 2010, working to increase the number of breastfeeding mothers to 75 percent by 2010. Anyone unaware of the monumental benefits to breastfeeding, read this.

Will this law counter the tremendous influence of corporations -- like formula companies and health insurance agencies -- needing to make a buck? Will this law stop rude strangers from sneering? Men from sexually harassing? A breast-obsessed culture from thinking it's lewd and vulgar? (But exposed breasts in R-rated moves -- that's fine. And throw 'em all over HBO, what the hell. But feeding a baby? You've gone too far.)

Coming from a breastfeeding mother, New York's (highly dysfunctional) government and the Obama administration get an E for effort.

*Babble magazine published a great article about breastfeeding laws back in May: Did you know that 15 years ago Florida mothers breastfeeding in public could be arrested for CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE and/or HARMFUL TO MINORS? Wrap your brain around that one.