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Pro vs Con: Should We Immunize Our Children?

I wrote this for Loop21, where I am a political contributor.

It’s a decision that many new parents struggle with: To vaccinate or not? Everyone has an opinion on the subject, from pediatricians who refuse to see children who aren’t fully vaccinated, to parents who swear by the Dr. Sears Alternative Schedule, to those who won’t let a needle touch their little ones on religious grounds. But which is the right path for your family?

We asked folks on both sides of the debate to make their case. Dr. John Snyder, associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Baystate Children’s Hospital is on the pro side; that is, he thinks children should be vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On the other side is Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit she co-founded in 1982 to “prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education.” We asked both the exact same questions; their answers have been edited only for clarity and space. Give it a read, then head to the comments to tell us where you fall in this debate. Let the discussion begin:

Read more here.

Why Does Paul Ryan Hate Women?


I wrote this for Loop21, where I am a political contributor.

I’ve never really believed in the notion of “bad” words. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve long believed that some words are inappropriate in some situations — for example, an emphatic f-bomb in the middle of a sermon, or a muttered “
merde” in the presence of elders. But both my parents have been known to use a well-timed curse and I learned early that words only carry the power you grant them. But there are some words that I don’t use, not because some moral authority says they are dirty, but because they come with bloody, painful yesterdays, and not-yet-scabbed over todays.

The n-word is one. The f-word is another (no, the other f-word). Two weeks ago, the Republican Party added a phrase to the short list: “legitimate rape.” It made its debut in a television appearance by Missouri congressman Todd Akin during an explanation of his stance on abortion (he’s against it, even in cases of rape), and I felt sick to my stomach when I heard it. It’s bad enough that someone who represents the good folks of many St. Louis suburbs has a view of rape that is not based on any type of reality and is especially offensive to millions of women who have suffered the pain and humiliation of rape. But when it was quickly revealed that the Republican Party’s pick to run for Vice President of this country has worked closed with Akin to limit the rights of women, this election took on a renewed sense of urgency. In the time since Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, much has come to light about his record and his views. During his announcement speech, Romney said of Ryan: “He’s a person of great steadiness, whose integrity is unquestioned.”

But I beg to differ. This man, husband to Janna, father to Liza, son to Betty, seems to have a deep, abiding disregard for women. How else can you explain his positions on the issues that matter most to the fairer sex?

Read more here

My Links: Why Black Babies Need Breast Milk, Too


I wrote this for Loop21, where I am a political contributor.

August marks the second annual National Breastfeeding Month, and as Surgeon General Regina Benjamin calls on the nation to make a renewed effort in helping all mothers breastfeed their children, it’s worth it to look at where African Americans stand when it comes to feeding our children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendsbreastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding until at least the child’s first birthday; and the World Health Organization recommends that moms continue at least until their children turn 2-years-old. But we are falling far short of those guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that just 26.6 percent of black moms make it to the six-month mark, compared to 41.7 percent of the total population. And only 11.7 percent are still going strong after a year, as opposed to 21 percent of all moms.

We sat down with Kimberly Seals Allers, founder of Black Breastfeeding 360º, to talk about what’s standing in the way of us breastfeeding our children, and how we can successfully remove the barriers.

Loop 21: Why is it important for black women to breastfeed?
Seals Allers: Every baby deserves the best infant nutrition possible. And in our community, the infant mortality rate is twice that of white babies, and the CDC says that disparity could be significantly decreased by increasing breastfeeding rates among black women. Also when you look at our infant health — the high incidence of ear infections, upper respiratory infections and asthma, and our high rates of childhood obesity — these are all health issues that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of.

Continue reading here.
 


I’m Kenrya Rankin Naasel, a lifestyle + parenting expert who—after much prodding from her friends—decided to share her hippie-dippie Black chick mama life.