I am the creator of EvolutionaryParenting.com, a site dedicated to disseminating the science of parenting. My greatest creation, though, is my 4-year-old daughter who proves to me and my amazing husband daily that as much as we think we know about this parenting thing, we're really just deluded. I earned my BA at UC Berkeley and now live in the unaffordable and perpetual rain zone of Vancouver, BC where I received my MA in Clinical Psychology from UBC and am completing my PhD in Developmental Psychology with a minor in wine drinking (which is how I have managed to survive this long).
As a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than losing my child. Yet every year there are too many families that face this exact reality. Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child(SUDC) affects 1.5 out of every 100,000 children aged 1 to 5. Unfortunately, SUDC research has zero federal funding and has raised only $1 million in the last ten years.
Can you imagine waking up to find the little person ... who made your heart grow ten sizes, who took your heart out of your chest and put it on your sleeve, and for whom you would do anything to prevent even an ounce of pain ... dead for no apparent reason?
It's hard to even contemplate, but the parents of these children live with that reality every single day. And they're looking for answers.
For some reason, it’s become acceptable to publicly insult our kids, especially in the name of “humor.” Read through a lot of parenting blogs and somewhere in there is the article where the parent decides to call their kid an asshole, a little shit, or some other variant. I see the shares these posts get and the comments flooding in about how they too have a kid that’s an asshole, and that kid is often a toddler. Based on these articles, you'd think we were being overrun by little toddler assholes, wreaking havoc on all our lives just for fun.
Here’s the thing though: Your kid’s not the asshole, you are.
Most of us know of the many health and economic reasons to breastfeed for mothers and babies. We are told regularly that “breast is best,” and although there continues to be debate about the degree that not breastfeeding results in health problems for an individual dyad in a Western society, we acknowledge that whether one does it or not, breastfeeding is definitely a healthy choice. However, most mothers who continue to breastfeed beyond a year, especially those who continue to nurse at night, face backlash from an unexpected source: the dentist.
Many families face a dentist who is adamant that they give up breastfeeding or give up night feeds due to the higher risk of cavities despite the other benefits to the families that breastfeeding may confer. What are parents to do? Give up breastfeeding or accept the risk? Or can families have their breast milk and drink it too?
Gisele Bundchen. Miranda Kerr. Jaime King. Natalia Vodianova. All supermodels (or ex- in the case of Ms. King), all beautiful, all breastfeeding, all have shared photos of themselves breastfeeding, and all have facedbacklash over said photos. Although many people saw these photos as beautiful or just another way to support breastfeeding, some have seen them as being “too sexual” or even harming the societal push to normalize breastfeeding again (yes, “again,” as there was a time when it’s just what was done, no questions asked).