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Time magazine, shame on you

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz May 11, 2012 06:00 AM

No question today, just a rare vent.

I was the speaker last night at Barefoot Books in Concord, (a fabulous book store, more on that another time) at an event for mommy bloggers, co-sponsored by Boston Parent Bloggers and Raising a Reader Massachusetts. Billing me as "Boston's Original Mommy Blogger," they wanted me to talk about how I managed to separate my own parenting experience from my 19 years of writing the Globe's parenting column, which I began when my son was 6-months old.

The truth is, it was never hard. I don't ever remember writing in the first person and rarely referred to my son. That was for safety reasons, sure, but mostly it had to do -- at least in the beginning -- with the baggage I brought to the job: I was a news reporter, schooled to keep myself out of the story. By the time my son was 4, though, I also came to the realization that keeping him out of my copy was in his -- and our -- best interests. By our, I mean, our relationship.

Last night, I gave these moms the advice I lived by: "Keep your kids out of your blogs, -- don't use their names and certainly don't use their pictures." No matter how cute they are, how charming the stories, no matter that your children may be too young to know you're writing about them, it can come back to bite you. Most children do not want the public's attention on them, even in a good way, and what they don't seem to mind at age 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 could turn someday into resentment: "Mom! How could you?!"

In that context, it made sense that one of the moms asked my opinion about this week's Time magazine cover. I hadn't seen it, so someone pulled it up on their phone.

I'm not talking about the content, which is on attachment parenting; the content is beside the point.

Even if this mom was willing (and I assume she was) to pose as provocatively as she did and to include her own son in the photo, wasn't there someone who could have said to her, "You know, you might want to rethink this picture...."

And even if she said, "It's OK, honest," surely some of Time's journalists are also parents, not to mention former kids themselves who might remember being embarrassed by something their mom did, something big that might have put a dent in their relationship, something that might have been, well, as hard to live down as this photo will be? Surely someone could have said, "We may just be ruining this kid's life by putting this picture on our cover. Do we really want to do that?"

Shame on you, Time.

Oh. And just for the record, moms nursing older children isn't exactly a new trend. Here's my column on the subject.

Meghan Mueller talked breastfeeding with Moms readers

Posted by Kristi Palma October 5, 2011 12:28 PM
meghan.jpgMeghan Mueller is the State Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Massachusetts WIC Program.
Mueller recently chatted with our readers about the topic of breastfeeding. Click the replay button below for the transcript.

How can we expect 90 percent of new moms to breastfeed without support in the workplace?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse April 5, 2010 02:07 PM

The importance of breastfeeding is underscored in the recent Health Care Reform law, which requires employers to provide "reasonable" unpaid breaks for breastfeeding mothers to pump. And a study published today in the journal Pediatrics make clear the benefits of breastfeeding: If 90 percent of new moms in the United States breastfed their babies exclusively for the first six months, researchers estimate that as many as 900 more infants would survive each year, and the country would save about $13 billion in health care costs annually.

Which is wonderful, but without paid maternity leave, consistent workplace accommodations, or a way to implement the new law, how are 90 percent of new moms supposed to pull that off?


Would you breastfeed someone else's baby?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse February 19, 2010 10:37 AM

A Chicago couple is suing a hospital for negligence after the new mom was handed the wrong newborn to nurse.

According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, Jennifer Spiegel was awakened by an Evanston Hospital staff member at about 4 a.m. the day after she delivered her son. A hungry baby boy was brought in, and Spiegel started breastfeeding him.

Soon after, a nurse walked in and told her that it wasn't her baby. "She said, 'The baby you're feeding isn't yours,' " Spiegel, 33, told the Sun Times. "It was just an awful, internal feeling."

Awkward? Sure. Awful? Possibly. But worth suing over? I don't think so.




Breastfeeding in public?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse December 18, 2009 01:18 PM

Mother of three Mary Martinez was ousted from a Target store in Michigan earlier this month, after she began breastfeeding her hungry 4-week-old daughter in the electronics section.

Though there were few other shoppers in the area, Target security approached Martinez and her husband, Jose, and told them to leave.  "He said, 'It's against the law. You have to go,'" Jose Martinez told Fox News.

The police were called, and even after an officer admitted that breastfeeding in public was not, in fact, against the law, the family was escorted out of the store.

I'm not sure whether this smacks of ignorance or is indicative of a cultural issue. So I'm throwing it out to you: Do you think this happened because of our society considers breasts to be sexual objects? Or were the security guards just ignorant about the rights of a woman to breastfeed in public?



Breastfeeding dolls: "Yay" or "No way"?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse August 12, 2009 02:42 PM

When I first heard about this doll, I wasn’t sure what to think. On the one hand: I’m definitely pro-breastfeeding, this doll does emphasize that nursing is about nourishment, not sexuality, and there are tons of dolls out there that come with bottles, so what's the difference? On the other hand: When I was nursing my youngest child, my then-2-year-old daughter didn't need a specialized doll in order to mimic what I was doing -- a stuffed animal and her imagination were enough.

The breastfeeding doll, called “Bebe Gloton,” is stirring up debate, with some people calling it creepy and other saying that it would encourage sexual activity or promote teenage pregnancy.

Which makes me wonder: Why are we OK with our little kids playing with highly sexualized Barbie and Bratz dolls, but not this?


Mixing breast milk & formula

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 1, 2009 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara -- my wife and I were recently blessed with our first child, a daughter. We have found that feeding her with breastmilk during the day, and formula at night before bed, has worked really well, and she ends up sleeping through a good portion of the night.
From: Newdad, Dorchester


My toddler son is a 'boobaholic'

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff September 6, 2008 07:09 AM

The following is from a Q&A this week with readers by Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz:

Question: My son is now 14 months old. We've had a great breastfeeding relationship since he was born, but in the past month or so, has turned in a "boobaholic." Every time he's around me, he's pushing up my shirt. God help if my breasts are exposed because he will latch on, even if he's not drinking that much. I'm wondering if this is developmentally normal and what it could signal. Is he saying he wants more bonding time? Is he just an opportunist?

Barbara_Meltz: It could be he wants more bonding, especially if there are any kind of changes in the family, or if there has been more separation than usual. It could also just be a stage.

You need to be able to set a gentle but firm limit: "It's not time to nurse." and gently guide him to some other activity that you can do together, including reading a book, or cuddling, if that's what he needs.

It's perfectly OK to let him know that there are good and bad times for nursing. But meanwhile, I'm wondering: Are you ready to be done nursing? Maybe it's time to think about that?

For more from Barbara Meltz's latest chat, click here Barbara's next Q&A with readers is on Monday, September 16.

Nursing mothers of the world unite!

Posted by Barbara Meltz August 8, 2007 04:35 PM

At 10 am this morning in time zones around the world, nursing mothers bared their breast. It was all part of International Breastfeeding Week, which ended today.

Here are the pictures to prove it.
In Cyprus....

cyprus breatf jpg.jpg

In the Phillipines...

phillipines bf jpg.jpg

and in Singapore...

Singapore World Breastfeeding C.jpg

All things breastfeeding

Posted by Barbara Meltz July 31, 2007 02:44 PM

If breastfeeding is on your mind, you're in luck. Tomorrow through Aug. 7 is World Breastfeeding Week, which gives me a perfect opportunity to offer some accumulated readers' Qs on the subject, along with some As and resources.

Q. Is breastfeeding really best for my baby?
A. Yes. Notice there isn't any hemming and hawing in that answer. Among other things, it reduces the risk of ear infections, allergies and type 1 diabetes for your baby. If you're a skeptic, read this, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and this, from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Q. But what if I try and can't make it happen?
A. Know that you tried, let yourself be sad about it, and then move on. On the other hand, don't give up until you exhaust all the support and resources that are available. For instance, get yourself to Cambridge Hospital this Friday, August 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, the Baby-Friendly Committee of Cambridge Health Alliance offers a free family event to support breastfeeding moms, and staff will be available to answer questions. Cambridge Hospital is located at 1493 Cambridge St. Oh yeah, also free refreshments.

Q. I'm worried that I may need to stop prematurely because I need to take medications.
A. There's some new research and a database on this. Talk to your doctor about it.

Q. I'd like to nurse as long as I can. Is there an outside limit?
A. That's a cultural issue more than anything else. Read this.

Q. When I nurse in public, my husband is always embarassed. Advice?
A. Practice at home until you are able to be discreet enough for his comfort. Some women prefer to retreat to a private space, others wear nursing-friendly clothes, and still others invent dorky-looking cover-ups like this which, in my opinion, bring more attention to you, not less.
To me, if the choice is this


vs this,

coverup jpg.gif

is there really a question?

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
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