I don’t know about you, but as a busy mother of two children, two years apart, life was nothing short of insane when they were preschool and elementary school age. That was absolutely the most chaotic time of my life. I was in graduate school for educational psychology while pregnant with my oldest child and held a Master’s Degree and a graduate student in the School Psychology program when I was pregnant with my second child. In other words, I spent both of my pregnancies being drilled about theories related to parenting, education, psychology. The dangers of overusing and even abusing technology to substitute active parenting were interwoven throughout most, if not all, of my graduate courses. As a pregnant mom, my plan was to incorporate all that I learned in school with all that I learned from reading every parenting book I could get my hands on. (more…)
Last week, breastfeeding in public became legal in all 50 states. Hooray! We did it, ladies! While this is an amazing accomplishment and a step in the right direction for mother’s and women’s rights, surprisingly enough, it was still illegal for the longest time. Now, moms (finally) have laws and rights that specifically protect them from harassment while nursing in public. But that doesn’t stop the public from feeling offended or uncomfortable by this natural act.
Back in July in Minnesota – a state that already has laws that protects nursing mothers – Stephanie Buchanan was at a public pool with her sister-in-law and her three-month-old son. Once Buchanan started to feed her son, she told CNN affiliate WCCO that “a patron came up, a lady, at the pool and told me that I needed to cover up because her sons were swimming”. She refused, and a few minutes later, was approached by an employee of the pool who asked her to go into a more private area. She again refused, and the police were called to the scene. Mary Davis, Buchanan’s sister-in-law shared her thoughts on the double standard of nursing to WCCO: “People have no problem seeing puppies feed from their mama […] But the minute mama’s breastfeeding, some people, it makes them uncomfortable. … They have a certain set of expectations how a mother should breastfeed” Buchanan protested this by organizing a “nurse-in” where hundreds of mothers across the state of Minnesota went to the pool to openly nurse in public. Buchanan also plans on filing a police report. Thankfully, she has the law on her side.
Breasts only biologically exist to produce milk for nursing and feeding young children, but they have been so overly-sexualized by the media and the patriarchy that we as a society have completely forgotten their purpose. Breastfeeding in public has become so taboo because of societal beliefs and norms. Lawmakers have been afraid of legalizing public nursing because women would feel inclined to ”whip it out and do it anywhere” which was a popular belief back in 2003 and – believe it or not – was still a main factor in why it took so long to legalize this completely natural act.
The last two states to pass the legislatures were Utah and Idaho. Utah Representative Curt Webb expressed his opinions during a hearing on the act. The Salt Lake Tribune picked it up: “This seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all. I’m not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face”. A Utah woman even talked to Buzzfeed News about her experience breastfeeding in public. She was excommunicated from her religion because the church leaders believed the act was sexualized and immodest. But it’s not sexualized and immodest, it’s a natural connection between mother and child; all mammals do it.
And this is exactly why Stephanie Buchanan protested her public pool. Some people today still believe that breastfeeding in public is an act of indecency. The fact of the matter is mothers can’t control when or where their kid gets hungry (they certainly wish they could, but this is not a perfect world). This is not an indecency issue. This is a sexism issue. Representative Paul Amador fought for the bill in Idaho’s state legislature and got it passed 66-0 with no debate or fight. He said to the House: “Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018 and we still haven’t passed this law in Idaho. I think we can take a proactive stance here through legislation to promote the natural bond and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government”. Amador is a new father of a 5-month-old son, which may have helped sway his opinion on the issue.
With this incredible and progressive landmark, we can only hope that the stigma of nursing in public will become a thing of the past. It is important that we educate those younger than us and let them know that nursing is not an act of indecency, instead, it actually creates and strengthens the natural and healthy bond between mother and child.
MOMS, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
- National Conference of State Legislature has a list of each nursing law state by state.
- Parents.com lists the same information as NCSL and is not as technical and easier to read
Are you wondering when you can start your baby on more interesting foods? Look no further! We have all your answers right here in a month-by-month guide starting at breast milk/formula and ending in mac and cheese!
Birth – 4 months
Only feed your baby breast milk or formula – NO solid food at this time!
See “Breastfeeding Battle” to see how to know if your baby is getting enough milk.
A simple rule to follow for the first 4-6 months, according to babycenter.com is to give your baby 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight. Therefore; if your baby is 6 pounds – you give about 15 ounces of formula in one 24-hour day. If your baby weighs 10 pounds – give them 25 ounces in the day, etc.
Signs your baby is hungry
Lip smacking, rooting (turning towards you), or putting hands to mouth.
Your babies hungriest times take place during growth spurts, which occur during 10-14 days after birth, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.
Signs your baby is overfed
Vomiting after feeding (spitting up is completely normal, but vomiting is not), tummy pain, drawing legs up, or a tense tummy.
If your baby is crying or whimpering – try changing their diaper, burping them, or some snuggle time before turning to a bottle.
4 – 6 months
Can hold head up, sits upright in a high chair, doubled birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds.
What to feed?
Pureed vegetables, pureed fruit, pureed meat, semi-liquid cereal, or small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (no cows milk until 12 months). Begin with 1 teaspoon of food mixed in with 4-5 teaspoons of breast milk or formula. Increase to 1 tablespoon of food with breast milk or formula gradually thickening the mixture over time. Wait 2-3 days in between foods so that you are offering new foods one at a time.
6 – 8 months
Signs your baby is ready for solid food
Same as 4-6 months.
What to feed?
Same as months 4-6 plus strained fruits, strained vegetables, pureed tofu, pureed legumes. Begin with 1 teaspoon fruit or vegetables gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings or 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal in 2 or 3 feedings. Again, wait 2-3 days in between new foods to watch for signs of allergy.
8 – 10 months
Can pick up objects with thumb and forefinger, can transfer items from one hand to the other, puts things in mouth and can move jaw in a chewing motion.
What to feed?
Same as 6-8 months plus small amounts of pasteurized cheese, cottage cheese, mashed vegetables, mashed fruits, small bits of o-shaped cereal, scrambled eggs, pasta, small bits of meat and beans. ¼ – ¼ cup of dairy, ¾ – 1 cup of fruit or vegetables, 3-4 tablespoons of protein-rich food. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.
10 – 12 months
Signs your baby is ready for other solid foods
Swallows food easily, has more teeth, doesn’t push food out of mouth and tries to use a spoon.
What to feed?
Same as 8-10 months plus bite sized pieces of fruits, vegetables, and combo foods like mac and cheese. ⅓ cup dairy, ⅛ – ¼ cup combo foods. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.
Summer is all about spending as much time soaking up as many rays as you can before the cold winter arrives. The best way to do that safely is by slathering yourself in the best sunscreen you can find. But there are so many options, it’s hard to know which kind is the best for you and your family.
Let’s start with UV Rays: what exactly are they? UV stands for Ultraviolet radiation, and it’s a part of the “electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye” (Skin Cancer Foundation). There are two types of UV rays: A and B. UVA rays are slightly more harmful and can cause skin damage, aging, and cancer. UVB is the shorter wave of the two that also causes skin damage and some skin cancers. Most importantly, UVB is the reason why you get sunburnt. The best way to protect yourself against these rays is by using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.
It’s important to choose a sunscreen that has a high SPF and broad-spectrum levels. SPF stands for sun protection factor. The higher the SPF on the bottle sunscreen, the longer the sunscreen blocks the UVB rays and protects your skin from the sun. Broad-spectrum protects from UVA and UVB rays, which helps prevent against sun damage.
When choosing a sunscreen, it’s best to check in with yourself first. What is your skin type? What kind of protection do you need? I have sensitive skin and like to use Neutrogena brand sunscreens. Their body sprays have a sheer formula that leaves my skin feeling fresh and not at all greasy. Some of their sunscreens are also waterproof, which makes it perfect for beach days. For the face, I usually stick with them, or I use Aveeno. I like both brands because they are primarily skin care companies, and make sure that their formulas are breathable and healthy.
If you are more athletic (which I am not), I recommend Coppertone sunscreens. Their SPORT brand is water resistant and stays on through sweat, making it perfect for any heavy-duty athletic activities. It also, like Neutrogena, has a breathable formula that won’t cause breakouts or clog pores.
For kids, I recommend Kiss My Face brands. I used it as a kid and found no issues with it. Their formula is organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, and is safe for all skin types.
Hope these tips suit you well and let you have lots of safe fun in the sun!