Can Feminism and Breastfeeding Coexist, Take 2

Babygirl is four months old. I buy my first can of formula from a small pharmacy in Guatemala and bottled water to mix it with.

It’s Okay to Buy Cheap For Baby, Go Ahead You Have Permission, It’s Fine

Adam Davidson's column on organic super magical natural health baby supplies is a fun little read. Feel happy! Feel smug! Be reminded that buying the cheapest possible shit for your spawn is not only okay it's good business sense. After all: "It’s easy to feel like a sucker once you realize that nearly every dollar you’ve paid over the commodity price is probably wasted."

Babies As Luxuries

In Guernica, Mira Ptacin tells her story about not earning enough money to afford private health insurance, but earning too much to qualify for state-funded care (Medicaid).

How Long Should Paternity Leave Be?

When Theodore Ross's son was born, he received two weeks of paternity leave. Was it enough? In an editorial for Al Jazeera America, Ross says no.

Finland’s Baby Boxes

The BBC has a great story about Finland's 75-year tradition of providing expectant mothers with a special box of baby supplies including a mattress, socks and mittens, bodysuits, snowsuits, bath products, cloth diapers, a picture book.

Not Having Children Is Letting Us Have It All

In June, I'll turn 28 and be the oldest any woman in my mom's family has been without popping one out. I'll also be far wealthier than my parents were at my age. I look around our condo and don't even know how a kid would fit in if I wanted one right now, and don't know what we'd have to stop buying to afford another person.

The Surrogates

Surrogacy usually costs more than six figures, but what is it like to be an actual surrogate? In The Washingtonian, Alexandra Robbins and Ali Eaves talked to women who advertised themselves on surrogacy sites, including 40-year-old Kathy Powers, who said she "craved pregnancy but not another child," which made her an ideal surrogate. Their story addresses other things like, what kind of relationship will the surrogate have with the child after birth (none for some, while others visit and send birthday and holiday gifts), and difficult questions parents using surrogates face, like how they would feel if they discovered that the baby would have genetic defects (in one case, the couple asked the surrogate to have an abortion, and the surrogate refused).

Super-Parents Products

We’ve come a long way, as a species. And we’re better at many things than we ever were before – not just slightly better, but unimaginably, ridiculously better. We’re better at transporting people and objects, we’re better a killing, we’re better at preventing infectious diseases, we’re better at industrial production, agricultural and economic output, we’re better at communications and sharing of information.

But in some areas, we haven’t made such dramatic improvements. And one of those areas is parenting. We’re certainly better parents than our own great-great-grandparents, if we measure by outcomes, but the difference is of degree, not kind. Why is that?

Practical Ethics, the ethical news blog by the University of Oxford, is tackling the question: Why aren’t companies selling us products to make us super-parents?

Well, there are some products (visit the “Parenting & Family” section at the bookstore and take a peek)—it’s just that everyone has their own personal beliefs on what it means to be a “super-parent” and raise well-adjusted children. Plus, children do this thing sometimes where they don’t listen to you no matter what you say or do.

Photo: basheertome

Bet On Your Baby

The true focus of Bet on Your Baby is not the children, but the parents. The real dramatic tension comes not from whether the kid will correctly make eight animal sounds in 60 seconds, but from whether the parents will escape the trap of penury by winning what the host, actress Melissa Peterman, explicitly terms a “life-changing” sum of money. Many young families are anxious about paying for college. The producers of this show have quite brilliantly figured out a way to dramatize that anxiety for our entertainment.

“How much would a $50,000 college fund mean for you guys?” Peterman asks the finalist husband.

“Obviously it would be amazing, you know, I’m sure all the families here feel the same,” he says. “That it would not only help a tremendous amount, but also relieve some of the things that you think about as a parent all the time.”

I have just discovered that there is a show on ABC where parents bet that their two- or three-year-olds can accomplish tasks like stacking cookies to win money for college. The first two episodes are on Hulu. It looks … kind of funny. But if you have seen this show and know it’s terrible, please warn us all now.