Can cardboard cutout of breastfeeding mom normalize nursing in public?

The topic of breastfeeding in public is still a taboo subject in some parts of the country. But with the help of support groups like The Niagara Region Breastfeeding Coalition, that may change sooner than you think.

The association sponsored a life-size cardboard cut-out with one goal in mind – normalize breastfeeding in public. The image has been popping up in shopping malls in Ontario, Canada along with a message that reads, “When breastfeeding is accepted, this won’t be noticed!”

This image brings me back to a few years ago when my friend invited us to her daughter’s birthday party at a local mall. It was so crowded that we barely had room to walk. It was difficult to maneuver around with an infant and stroller. The day was a disaster before we even arrived at the party location. To make matters worse, my daughter – then six months old – became irritable and hungry.

I wasn’t familiar with this particular mall, and I didn’t have time to find out if there was a private area for breastfeeding moms. I just found a bench in the middle of the mall, and nursed by daughter. During that time, a woman came over and nicely informed me on how to find the private lounge. I appreciated that she took the time to let me know about the room. But in the back of my mind, I really didn’t care. My crying baby couldn’t understand the difference between a private room and crowded location. Why should she have to wait to eat?

If you’re hungry or thirsty, you’re free to eat wherever you want. Why can’t it be the same for breastfeeding a child? I really hope the sign becomes standard across the globe. Heck, I hope someday that nursing in public isn’t so taboo and women are able to nurse anywhere without any backlash.

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Photos: Island Health & Ted Sherarts via Flickr

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) delivers the weather forecast weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Photos: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Beginning in 2013, photographer Eunique Jones Gibson has been bringing history alive with fresh faces. Inspired by her sons, she launched the Because of Them, We Can campaign. The initial idea began as a celebration of Black History Month, but expanded to an entire year’s worth of positive images of children dressed up as heroes including Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela as well as groups like “Mothers”, “Fallen Soldiers” and “The Freedom Riders”. The photo series was so successful and so well received that in 2014 the program was expanded to highlight women in honor of Women’s History Month.

The latest stop in the inspiration train is Por Ellos Si Podemos. Por Ellos Si Podemos highlights important figures from Hispanic cultures to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15). Eunique states:

“We announced earlier this year that our goal is to create a banner of excellence that all children can raise together… Especially the ones whose dreams, goals and self esteem remain under attack… With that said, we are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month by highlighting some of the trailblazers within into the Latino community via Por Ellos Si Podemos.”

While shooting the initial campaign, Eunique spoke to parents from different backgrounds. They all agreed that the inspirational message “Because of them, we can,” needed to be reinforced for all children. Take a look at what some of those parents had to say:

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Take a look at some of the adorable and inspirational photos from Por Ellos Si Podemos.

You can learn more about Ms. Jones’ Because of Them We Can Campaign by visiting http://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/

Photos: Eunique Jones-Gibson

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Your guide to being an overly paranoid, germ obsessed mom

With terrifying illnesses like Enterovirus and Ebola making headlines, it is no wonder moms like me are taking extra precautions against their kids coming into contact with germs. These are serious viruses, and we are right to be scared. But it does not take a fleet of fearsome new maladies to make me a paranoid germaphobe.

No, I stopped letting my children eat dropped Cheerios off the floor at Target long before it was in vogue. We hand wash like it’s a professional sport up in here. And I’ll challenge any mom to a shopping cart wipe-down, any time, anywhere. BRING. IT. ON.

I am not ashamed of being a germaphobe mom, and you should not be either. But just in case you aren’t as bad – some would say as good – as me, here are a few tips for being a paranoid, germ obsessed mom.

When a stranger picks up your baby’s dropped pacifier, pull out your martial arts moves. One time my daughter’s pacifier rolled underneath the table of another family dining near us in a restaurant. In my mind, I tumbled Kung fu style over to the chair beneath which the ill-behaved binky landed, and snatched it up before my fellow patron could retrieve it. But since societal norms dictate one should not perform martial arts during dinner (at least in public), instead I watched in dismay as the stranger reached down, and, ever so charitably, recovered the pacifier. Cue my grateful smile. Hiya!pacifier Your guide to being an overly paranoid, germ obsessed mom

Keep tabs on each toy your child’s friend touches during a play date at your home, so you can sanitize it afterwards. Please excuse my mommy Terminator vision, which is trained on your child’s every move when he comes over to play. I am just taking a mental inventory of what he palms, or puts in his mouth, so I can ever-so-discretely set those toys aside. Don’t worry; I will wait until you leave to furiously scrub them in hot water and soap.

If a child yours is playing with so much as sniffles, start plotting your escape. ”Was that my phone ringing? Oh didn’t you hear it? It’s probably my husband, with a HUGE emergency. Guess we have to go. Yes, right now. So sorry!” Um, so not sorry, actually.

If your child is sick, follow her around the house with disinfectant spray. “Did you touch that door handle?” I demanded of my oldest daughter recently, when she was hit by a nasty tummy bug, and puked all night. She couldn’t be sure, so I doused the potentially infected knob with anti-bacterial spray, just to be on the safe side.

Use meditative phrases when bringing your child into a Porta Potty. On a class trip to the pumpkin patch with my preschooler last week, I had no choice but to use a Porta Potty with her. Deep breaths. “Please don’t touch anything,” I begged my daughter. Oh God, did her hand just graze the urinal? DEEP BREATHS. Start chanting: “We will get through this. We will get through this.” porta potty Your guide to being an overly paranoid, germ obsessed mom

If a piece of raw chicken touches your countertop, consider moving. I mean, the house would not be a total tear down, but the kids cannot safely re-enter until the domicile is tented, and properly fumigated.

When your child returns from school, interrogate her about how well she washed hands, until she breaks. “Did you sing the entire Happy Birthday song, or didn’t you? Why did you hesitate? Is it because you touched the faucet with your bare hands? Tell me!”

Feeling more prepared to freak out over germs non-stop? Glad I could help.

Featured photo credit: Flickr

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Kate Hudson uses her kids as exercise equipment

Kate Hudson‘s slender frame may be envied by many, but don’t underestimate just how much strength this celebrity mom is packing.

“I love exercising with my kids,” the actress and mother of two recently gushed to Women’s Health. “I’ll walk around for a couple of hours with Bing on my back — that’s a workout. And I’ve been kick-boxing with Ryder. I can do squats with him on my back. He’s 10 now, so he’s starting to get a little heavy … but I can still do it. I’ll probably get another year out of him, then Bing’s next.”

That’s not the extent of how the beauty can use her boys as equipment, however. She elaborated, “I’ve also bench pressed Bing before now. The kids love it — and after about five lifts, you’re exhausted.”

Kate Hudson kids workout Kate Hudson uses her kids as exercise equipment

“I’m really passionate about being active, but it’s hard,” the 35-year-old creator of the Fabletics gym line went on to share. “I think it’s something that women need to inspire each other to do. Even I need a girlfriend to get me to a spinning or yoga class. But if you have something that you feel good in, it’s the first step to get you into the gym.”

I can second that not having to sort through a pile of workout close you feel terrible in can help get you out the door, as well as that working out with kids can (at least every so often) be fun.

I fondly remember being ‘bench-pressed’ by my own dad as a child, as well as riding on his back while he did push-ups. My husband has done the same with our boys, and one of my favorite pictures of him with our youngest is from this type of workout/giggle fest.

Personally, I can’t say I’ve joined in with the pushups or bench presses, but I really ought to give that squat thing a try. Those are at least muscles I’ve got!

My workouts with my two boys typically involve carefully selecting a closed-to-car-traffic area, then packing up their bikes and helmets so they can ride and chase each other like wild things while I run. It’s nice to see them have some freedom, but also be nearby in case they need me need to tattle on one another.


Photos: PR Photos

More celebrity parents weigh in on exercise:

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Why I refuse to let my daughter have a cat

Having kids are a blessing, but they can also be a handful. Adding animals to the mix would only add to the madness in our household. My daughter has been asking for a cat for a while now. While I refuse to let her have one, I turned to mush when my friendly neighbor came over with a katydid.

I couldn’t decline the kind gesture. Besides, having this insect as a pet would be a great way to test whether or not our family could handle having a feline around the house.

I don’t know anything about katydids. After some research, I learned that they’re also called bush crickets and long-horned grasshoppers. They eat things like leaves, flowers, and seeds. I figured that having a katydid around the house should be pretty easy. It’s not like we have to take it for a walk or even take it to the vet. My husband on the other hand wasn’t too excited about our guest.

With every chirp he shoots me an evil stare, as if I was the one who went out to purchase the darn thing.

“Can we get rid of that thing?” he asked.
“Absolutely not,” I answered.

I knew that our daughter would love having a pet, even though it’s not the cat she wanted.

Their first encounter was met with curiosity. “What is it?” she asked. Her inquiring mind rambled off a bunch of questions on how to care for the tiny green insect. Judging by her reaction, it’s obvious she wanted to keep it.

IMG 9572 650x433 Why I refuse to let my daughter have a cat

Princess and her leafy “cricket,” as she likes to call it, became fast friends. She’s enjoyed feeding it leaves before bed – making sure the nocturnal creature has enough food to last through the night. But sadly, her new friend only survived two days. I’m not sure how it died. However, it does confirm one thing – we are certainly not ready to take care of a cat.

Photos: Stacy-Ann Gooden and Morguefile

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) delivers the weather forecast weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Read more: Why I refuse to let my daughter have a cat