A new article in the journal Pediatrics is advising health professionals to stop using the term "natural" when describing breastfeeding because of its association with the natural parenting movement.
In "Unintended Consequences of Invoking the 'Natural' in Breastfeeding Promotion," Penn Medicine Medical Ethics and Health Policy researchers Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill argue that calling breastfeeding "natural" inadvertently links it with potentially "problematic" natural parenting practices like home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods and vaccination efforts.
By saying something is "natural," the researchers argue, gives the impression that it is also intrinsically better and healthier.
Of course breastfeeding is natural. It is a biological imperative. Open up the Oxford Dictionary and you'll see that natural means "existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind." That is exactly what breastfeeding is.
The fact that some parents who practice "natural parenting" tend to be suspicious of vaccines and happen to breastfeed is pure coincidence. Yes, the trend for parents to boycott vaccines has some alarming repercussions. But that has nothing to do with breastfeeding, and it's not worth undermining what remains, factually speaking, the most healthy nourishment for baby.
It's not about putting a positive spin on something. It's about stating a biological fact.
Not everything "natural" is the be all end all, though. In fact, there's still a degree of controversy surrounding topics like organic foods, homeopathic medicine and especially, vaccines. Yet when it comes to breastfeeding, to call it anything other than "natural" is simply inaccurate.
Breastfeeding is what nature intended. Natural parenting, on the other hand, is a movement and a lifestyle choice. To link the two is confusing to parents.
Frankly I can't believe an esteemed journal would put forth an argument over semantics so petty and potentially damaging at a time when the benefits of breastfeeding are well documented.
Show of hands who's excited about this amazing collaboration between the Goliaths of all things kid! Lego has joined forces with Disney to create a collection of 18 new minifigures of all the classics, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Peter Pan, Maleficent, Ariel, Aladdin, Stitch, Buzz, and Mr. Incredible.
From May 1 for $3.99 USD apiece, the minifigures will be available at stores and online. Not cheap, yet for many kids it really opens up the playing field.
As a parent, I can't stress how welcome this news is. After all, although Lego is arguably the most imaginative toy on the market, as a brand I have long been underwhelmed by its marketing.
For years, Lego was touted as the boys building toy. It was all action heroes, rescue vehicles and fighter jets.
Then, when Lego finally decided to target girls directly, what did it do? It created a supremely frilly line called Friends. The sets were oozing pinks and purples, and showed girls doing stereotypically "girly" things like riding ponies and eating ice cream and shopping at a mall.
In short, it was a big fail, in my opinion.
Needless to say I'm delighted to see a Lego product that is genuinely gender-neutral. For once, the appeal isn't markedly boy or girl, blue versus pink.
No doubt the new minis will have boys and girls playing elbow to elbow and side to side. And nostalgic parents can get stuck in there too, putting on their best Donald Duck impression. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...
Flying is a just fancy version of purgatory, isn't it? The latest horror saw one passenger shame another on social media for inventing "a whole new way to be awful at 35,000 feet." The culprit: the woman in seat 22B. Or her ponytail, more specifically.
On a flight from Houston to Boston, a woman unthinkingly swung her long ponytail over her shoulder, where it landed directly in front of the screen of the passenger seated directly behind her.
Congrats to the ponytailed young woman in seat 22B. You've invented a whole new way to be awful at 35,000 feet. pic.twitter.com/VWTPMI5JrM— Dante Ramos (@danteramos) March 29, 2016
Of course it being the year 2016, any mild annoyance mustn't simply be endured but must be broadcast and commiserated over with leagues of strangers on social media.
Within a matter of hours, the image racked up 7,000 retweets in a single day, wherein people mused over fun and somewhat sadistic ways to deal with the offender's ponytail - from cutting it off to dipping it in a drink or chewing gum.
Someone went one further and suggested it be used as a lever to help the passenger get up from their seat. Ouch.
All a bit harsh, methinks, given the long-haired woman was oblivious to the grief caused by her mane. And when her attention was called to it, she promptly returned her tail to its rightful seat.
But it calls to mind the greater problem we have sitting in close proximity to each other. We have so little tolerance for other human beings these days.
Don't breathe near me. Don't deign talk to me unless it's through a phone or via characters not totalling more than 140 characters.
What has made us so intolerant of others in our personal space, particularly on flights?
An overarching lack of manners and courtesy. As a former frequent flyer, I've seen the most disgusting violations you wouldn't normally see in polite company.
On planes, people often show a flagrant disregard for anyone around them. They behave in ways they wouldn't in their own home. They promptly whip off sweaty socks and haul around barefoot. They throw their garbage - dirty diapers and all - on the seats and the floor, safe in the knowledge that someone else will clean it up.
But maybe before we whip out a device to publicly flog an offender, we simply ask them to correct the transgression and take it from there.