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Not just one mother's battle

Today's is the first day of 2014 World Breastfeeding Week. Just earlier this year, Iowa Public Radio broadcasted a remarkable story about Linda Eaton. Eaton was an Iowa City Firefighter. Thirty-five years ago, she continued to breastfeed her child at work against orders from her supervisor, and a breastfeeding discussion was launched locally and gained national attention. 

#FoodFri Tweetchat: MomsRising's Food Power Event is Back! #FoodPower14

Happy Friday! Have you heard the news? MomsRising's Food Power event is back! We've teamed up with the The BLK Projek's Not Just Talk, a full-day conference of exciting women working in social justice. During the conference, MomsRising will host a brunch and workshop of fierce food justice women working to protect school meals, increase access to healthy food, and end junk food marketing to children. It will be an afternoon of networking, skill building, and YOU. RSVP HERE.

Top 5 Ways to Get Your Kid Ready for Kindergarten (And Pre-K)

Walking at the park with my ten year old during the last week of July, we noticed one single leaf fall off a maple tree.  I have gotten used to the signs of Autumn arriving in stores within hours of a the school-closing ceremony each June. I turn my eyes away and stay living in the current season with my children. We trade school books in for giant chalk on the sidewalk; we ditch the textbooks and borrow adventures to read from the library; we let the house get a little messy in exchange for spur-of-the-moment day trips.

After twenty-five years of teaching in early childhood education, I am used to the rush put on moms for “Back to School” shopping. I know that there is no need to rush it.  Having a child truly ready to learn; ready for kindergarten can (and does) happen outside of a store without pressures. It's every day. It's in play. It's in conversation. It's in listening and being present with the children.  Being prepared for Kindergarten is a process that starts in the first five years.

Detention: No Place for Children or Families

Over the past few weeks the stories of child refugees fleeing unspeakable violence in Central America, as well as their uncertain fate in the hands of U.S. policymakers, has been the focus of headlines around the country. What has been more difficult to follow is what is happening to the influx of refugee mothers who have recently fled to the U.S. with their children, many just toddlers and babies.

 

I went down to Artesia, New Mexico last week to see for myself what has become of these vulnerable families. What I found brought me to tears. Mothers and their children are being hidden away, held in inappropriate detention facilities without access to adequate services, medical care, or legal counsel. And they are being deported in the middle of the night without warning and without the opportunity to a fair hearing.

 

Talking to Children about Weight

A WebMD/Sanford Health survey found that parents of teens find it more difficult to talk about weight with their child than talking about sex, drugs, alcohol or smoking.

For adults, talking with children about their weight can be made difficult by adults’ own issues with weight and conflicting messages about weight from the media or society as a whole.

Unfortunately, the majority of our children’s healthcare providers don’t feel adequately prepared to talk with children about weight, either. Studies show that over 75% of physicians feel that they have not received adequate training to be able to counsel patients on changing diet or increasing physical activity levels.

Currently 1 in 3 children and adolescents (ages 2-19) are struggling with overweight or obesity, putting them at risk for a number of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and asthma.

Physicians have the capacity to help prevent and reduce the prevalence childhood obesity, which has tripled in the last 30 years, but need the proper training in order to do so.  

Living on $7.25: A Challenge for Us All

Last Thursday, July 24th, marked 5 years since the federal minimum wage was last increased, to $7.25 an hour.

It has been stuck there ever since.

To highlight just how difficult it is to live on $7.25 – around $15,000 a year for a full-time worker – a host of advocacy groups including MomsRising and the National Employment Law Project (where I work) has issued a challenge: try it.  

We call it the Live the Wage Challenge, and since last Thursday elected officials, advocates, faith leaders, and everyday people around the country have been doing just that: trying to live on $77 a week, the typical budget of a minimum wage worker after housing and taxes. 

That’s $77 to spend on food, transportation, household necessities, health care, entertainment, and everything else.

My most eye-opening moment as a participant in the Challenge occurred last Friday. 

Are Texas Jails Safe for Pregnant Women? (Updated)

What’s going on in Texas? Jails in the state are endangering pregnant women and their fetuses, despite the state’s professed interest in “unborn babies.”

In May, a woman named Nicole Guerrero filed a lawsuit against the Wichita County Jail for ignoring her when she was in labor. Locked alone in a cell, Nicole gave birth on a mat on the floor to a premature baby who died.

In July, a woman named Jessica De Samito in the Guadalupe County Jail worried she might face a similar fate. Jail officials were noncommittal about giving Jessica the methadone she needs to keep from going into sudden withdrawal - a physically draining process that can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

Celebrating Seasonality and Strengthening Culture

 

In his engrossing new book, The Third Plate, Dan Barber observes that our present food system is disconnected:

It operates in silos: vegetables here, animals there, grains somewhere else – each component part separate from the others and unhitched to any kind of culture.

This disconnection has resulted in vast monocultures in agriculture that create a litany of complex, sobering, and by now familiar problems. Should you need a quick refresher, industrial monocultures rely on fossil fuels, encourage animal cruelty, endanger pollinator health, deplete soil fertility, and are susceptible to crop failure in the face of an increasingly unstable climate.

Poised for progress on pesticides

Well, it's about time. The invisible problem of pesticide drift is on the policy radar in ways it's never been before — with changes in the wings that could protect kids and communities in very real ways.

From California to the Midwest to our nation's capital, drift is now a focus of public concern and policy conversation. And as the science linking pesticide exposure to children's health harms continues to stack up, pressure to protect kids from pesticide drift is growing stronger as well.

Here's the deal: In response to legal action by Pesticide Action Network and our partners — based in part on our on-the-ground data from community Drift Catchers — EPA is now taking a closer look at how pesticide drift can put children in farm communities at risk. They're assessing both "spray drift" and "volatilization drift," and are considering changes in how they assess drift-prone chemicals.

Even Republicans like their ACA plans!

Even Republicans like their Affordable Care Act plans!

A recent poll by The Commonwealth Fund showed that overall, 78% of Americans who signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act are satisfied with their coverage. Even 74% of the Republicans who signed up say they are satisfied with their new plans!

The Affordable Care Act is working.

Nationwide, the rate of uninsured Americans is dropping at a record pace. The reason is clear - new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act have made health coverage affordable and accessible to millions of adults and children.

It is important for us to get the word out that the vast majority of people who got coverage under Obamacare are satisfied! Why? Because the naysayers are still hard at work trying to undermine the new law instead of working together with supporters to continue improving access to healthcare.

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