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The sun descended into the ocean, a fiery orange ball igniting disco-like flashes across the rolling waves.


Sunburned, the kids were weary, beginning to fray. Parents faced the aftermath of a full day at the beach, involving lots of sand tracks through the house and messy baths because of said sand. The grandparents turned their attention to dinner: It was burger night.

Unlike everyone else, my son’s burger was plain; he wouldn’t let lettuce and tomato ruin his hamburger. The cousins sat together at the bar, boys to one side, the giggly girls the other. Coughing and vomiting suddenly hushed all laughter and conversation

“Ewww! Gross,” the girls shrieked.

A cousin had pranked my son, hiding a small succulent piece of lettuce in his burger. Everything in my kid’s stomach from the day now decorated his once-plain burger.

I caught my weary head in my hands. This scene was a vivid reminder that our son had issues with vegetables. He started rejecting fresh produce as a wee toddler but it wasn’t until he began gagging and throwing-up that I accepted his aversion wasn’t in his mind or a childish act of rebellion. With the exception of applesauce, he simply couldn’t tolerate the texture of produce.

As he grew, he enjoyed junk food of every kind like any kid. Candy. Ice cream. Cookies. Soda. Chips. When junior high arrived, energy drinks were the rage and my son’s friends introduced him to Monster and later, Red Bull. I felt a helpless as a mom, trying to balance what I knew was ‘normal’ while also agonizing that unlike most kids, my son refused carrots or grapes. He looked the picture of health, but I worried a lifetime of bad eating habits would dog him.

My admonitions that he re-try fruits and vegetables every so often—Give them a second chance!—didn’t only fall on deaf ears, they deepened his resistance. All things considering, I let go. I couldn’t fix this. Instead, I choose to prioritize my relationship him.

And then, one day, everything started changing. My son was required to read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma Young Readers Edition for his high school freshman English class. Using the question “What’s for dinner?” as a prompt, Pollan unpacks what is hidden in the everyday foods we consume. My teen son’s curiosity was whet. What he learned appalled him.

“Do you actually know what we are eating, Mom?”

His reaction was pure disgust as he learned what processed food is. Frowning, he read food labels. Around the dinner table he singled out corn, but not in the way you may think.

“Corn-filler is slipped into just about everything we eat. It’s terrible for you!”

I was getting lectured but I didn’t mind. Every fleeting anxiety I’d had about his posture toward food vanished. Overnight, he had morphed into an advocate for health and wellness, urging me to quit buying white rice. White rice, he explained, was stripped of all its protein and minerals so it had a longer shelf life.

“Brown rice is loaded with protein. Get that.” Nodding, I listened in silence. This book was teaching him in ways I couldn’t.

When he changed, I had to change, too. Whole-grain bread for sandwiches and protein-packed energy bars fill my grocery cart. For breakfast, granola fresh out of the grocery storage bins or oatmeal, the old-fashioned rolled oats kind, Not the instant packets, Mom!

I had been regularly buying ice cream for my teens but suddenly it got freezer-burn. Sugary cereal got stale in the box. He quit asking me to buy Cool Whip, previously used to top whatever he fancied. He cut back on all of the processed foods I’d stocked the pantry with. Pretzels, Cheez-Its, unacceptable. Energy drinks? No way. He boosted his water intake. Gratefully, he had always liked fish and we stepped up our consumption.

On an ordinary school night, I tap on his bedroom door. “Tea.”

He’s quit dessert and instead, ends the day with hot tea. Taking chamomile back to his room also gives me a chance to say good-night to my high schooler. In the morning out of the corner of my eye I see him remove a bag of Pringles from his brown-bag lunch.

“That’s junk, Mom. Empty calories.” He reaches instead for almonds and cashews.

“I’m still getting the hang of this!” Truly, I am.

There may come a day when he reattempts a hamburger with lettuce. But even if he doesn’t, his foundational thinking about food and health no longer troubles me.

I know I can’t take any credit for this victory and honestly, it doesn’t matter. I long ago accepted that it takes a village to raise a child. Today, I recognize that books are influential members of this community as well. 

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Going back to work after having a baby is hard. Regaining your footing in a world where working mothers are so often penalized is tough, and (just like most things during the postpartum period) it takes time.

The challenges we face as working women returning from a maternity leave can be so different from those we faced before, it can feel like we're starting over from scratch. But mothers will not be deterred, even if our return to the working world doesn't go exactly as planned.

We are resilient, as Serena Williams proved at Wimbledon this weekend.

She lost to Angelique Kerber in the final, just 10 months after welcoming daughter Alexis Olympia and recovering from a physically and emotionally traumatic birth experience.

Williams didn't get her eighth Wimbledon title this weekend, but when we consider all the challenges she (and all new moms) faced in resuming her career, her presence was still a huge achievement.

"It was such an amazing tournament for me, I was really happy to get this far!" Williams explained in an emotional post-match interview.

"For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried. I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

The loss at Wimbledon isn't what she wanted, of course, but Williams says it does not mean there won't be wins in her near future.

"These two weeks have showed me I can really compete and be a contender to win grand slams. This is literally just the beginning. I took a giant step at Wimbledon but my journey has just began."

When asked what she hopes other new moms take away from her journey, Williams noted her postpartum recovery was really difficult, and hopes that other moms who face challenges early in motherhood know that they don't have to give up on whatever dreams they have for themselves, whether it involves working or not.

"Honestly, I feel like if I can do it, they can do it. I'm just that person, that vessel that's saying, 'You can be whatever you want to be.' If you want to go back to workand to me, after becoming a mom, I feel like there's no pressure to do that because having a child is a completely full-time job," she said.

"But to those that do want to go back, you can do it, you can really do it."

Thank you, Serena. You may not have won, but this was still a victory.

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Since baby Crew became the newest member of Chip and Joanna Gaines' family three weeks ago, his proud parents have been keeping the world updated, sharing sweet snaps of their youngest and even giving us a glimpse into his nursery.

Now, Chip Gaines is showing off a pic that proves there is nothing cuter than a floppy, sleepy baby.

"My heart is full..." the proud father of five captioned the photo he posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Earlier this week Crew's mama shared how she gets him so sleepy in the first place, posting an Instagram Story showing how she walks around the family's gardens on their Waco, Texas farm to lull her newborn boy to sleep.



The couple are clearly enjoying every single moment of Crew's babyhood. As recently as 7 days ago Chip was still sporting his hospital bracelet. Joanna says with each child he's worn his maternity ward ID until it finally wears off. We can't blame Chip for wanting to make the newborn phase last as long as possible.

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It was a changing table must-have a generation ago, but these days, many parents are forgoing baby powder, and now, the leading manufacturer of the sweet smelling powder was dealt a big financial blow.

Johnson & Johnson was just ordered to pay almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who sued, alleging baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.

A St. Louis jury says the women are right, but what does The American Academy of Pediatrics say about baby powder?

It was classified "a hazard" before many of today's parents were even born

The organization has actually been recommending against baby powder for years, but not due to cancer risks, but inhalation risks.

Way back in 1981 the AAP declared baby powder "a hazard," issuing a report pointing out the frequency of babies aspirating the powder, which can be dangerous and even fatal in the most severe cases.

That warning didn't stop all parents from using the powder though, as its continued presence on store shelves to this day indicates.

In 1998 Dr. Hugh MacDonald, then the director of neonatology at Santa Monica Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, told the Los Angeles Times "Most pediatricians recommend that it not be used," adding that the consensus at the time was that "anybody using talcum powder be aware that it could cause inhalation of the talc, resulting in a pneumonic reaction."

Recent updates

A 2015 update to the AAP's Healthy Children website suggests the organization was even very recently still more concerned about the risk of aspiration than cancer risks like those alleged in the lawsuit. It suggests that parents who choose to use baby powder "pour it out carefully and keep the powder away from baby's face [as] published reports indicate that talc or cornstarch in baby powder can injure a baby's lungs."

In a 2017 interview with USA Today, Dr. David Soma, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children's Hospital, explained that baby powder use had decreased a lot over the previous five to eight years, but he didn't believe it was going to disappear from baby shower gift baskets any time soon.

"There are a lot of things that are used out of a matter of tradition, or the fact it seems to work for specific children," he said. "I'm not sure if it will get phased out or not, until we know more about the details of other powders and creams and what works best for skin conditions—I think it will stick around for a while."

Talc-based baby powder is the kind alleged to have caused ovarian cancer in the lawsuit (which Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal), but corn starch varieties of baby powder are also available and not linked to increased cancer risks as alleged in the case.


Bottom line: If you are going to use baby powder on your baby's bottom, make sure they're not getting a cloud of baby powder in their face, and if you're concerned, talk to your health care provider about alternative methods and products to use on your baby's delicate skin.

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In the days since a The New York Times report revealed a resolution meant to encourage breastfeeding was blocked by U.S. delegates at the World Health Assembly, breastfeeding advocates, political pundits, parents, doctors—and just about everyone else—have been talking about breastfeeding, and whether or not America and other countries are doing enough to support it.

The presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians say the controversy at the World Health Assembly reveals that mothers need more support when it comes to breastfeeding, while others, including The Council on Foreign Relations, suggest the national conversation needs more nuance, and less focus on the "breast is best" rhetoric.

The one thing everyone agrees on is that parents need more support when it comes to infant feeding, and in that respect, the controversy over the World Health Assembly resolution may be a good thing.

In their joint letter to the editor published in the New York Times this week, the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians, Dr. Colleen Kraft and Dr. Lisa Hollier urge "the United States and every country to protect, promote and support breast-feeding for the health of all women, children and families."

The doctors go on to describe how breastfeeding "provides protection against newborn, infant and child infections, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and sudden infant death syndrome," and note the health benefits to mothers, including reduced risks for "breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

"Helping mothers to breastfeed takes a multifaceted approach, including advancing public policies like paid family leave, access to quality child care, break time and a location other than a bathroom for expressing milk," say Kraft and Hollier.

Certainly such policies would support breastfeeding mothers (and all mothers) in America, but some critics say framing the discussion around domestic policy is a mistake, because the World Health Assembly resolution is a global matter and women and babies in other parts of the world face very different feeding challenges than we do here at home.

In an op-ed published by CNN, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations suggests the laudable goal of breastfeeding promotion can backfire when mothers in conflict-riddled areas can't access formula due to well-meaning policy. Lemmon points to a 2017 statement by Doctors Without Borders calling for fewer barriers to formula distribution in war-torn areas.

"International organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) promote breastfeeding ... and provide infant formula, but only by prescription. We believe that distributing infant formula in a conflict situation like Iraq is the only way to avoid children having to be hospitalized for malnutrition," Manuel Lannaud, the head of Doctors Without Borders Iraq mission wrote.

The various viewpoints presented this week prove that infant feeding is not a black and white issue, and policy debates should not be framed as formula versus breast milk—there is more nuance than that.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found opting to supplement with formula after first breastfeeding improves outcomes for infants and results in higher rates of breastfeeding afterward, and while the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, they are sometimes overstated. Another recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found breastfeeding has no impact on a child's overall neurocognitive function by the time they are 16. Basically, parents should not be shamed for supplementing or choosing to use formula.

This, according to Department of Health and Human Services says national spokesperson Caitlin Oakley is why the HHS opposed the original draft of the breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly (although critics and the initial NYT report suggest the United States delegation were acting in the interests of infant formula manufacturers).

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies," Oakley said in a statement.

That's true, but so is everything the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians presented in their op-ed, and that's why the U.S. should support breastfeeding policy.

Here's another truth: This is an issue with many perspectives and many voices. And we need to hear them all, because all parents need support in feeding their babies, whether it's with a breast, a bottle or both—and we're not getting it yet.

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