You can’t log online these days without seeing another news blurb about public breastfeeding. From nurse-in protests in retail stores to waitresses paying for a breastfeeding mom’s pizza, the hot topic remains: Should moms breastfeed in public?

Ask the Readers: Would You Breastfeed in Public?

Me? I breastfed my kids until they reached one-year-old. But I didn’t breastfeed in public.

At a family party once, I nursed while I covered myself with a baby blanket. After that, I preferred nursing in a private bedroom away from everyone else. I would sometimes even have others bottle feed the baby while I sat in said bedroom pumping (I still don’t know how I thought that was an efficient idea).

And that was just at someone’s private home. In public, like the a mall for instance, I would time my outings and only go out with my kids when they didn’t need to eat. Once it was time to nurse, then back home it was.

This is my comfort level.

And then I’ve seen many women breastfeeding in public, from parks to libraries, and I have yet to be bothered. I don’t even flinch. So while I can see why not everyone should or would breastfeed in public, it’s crazy it’s become an issue.

Maybe it’s because the moms I’ve seen breastfeed in public do so discreetly. Were these crazy moms that the news are reporting doing something outrageous? And is there an appropriate “cover up” or even an appropriate place to breastfeed in public? For instance, how do you guys feel about moms breastfeeding in church, or during a meeting, or fully exposed?

(My husband once attended a public hearing where a woman stood at a microphone addresses a board panel while carrying and nursing her infant in one arm. Multitasking on a new level!)

Should there be a limit on breastfeeding in public? A general standard of what’s appropriate, from the time and place to how exposed a mother is?

I don’t know yet. So far, I haven’t seen anything that would make me complain to a retail store or restaurant. Again, it could simply be my own experiences: I might change my mind if I saw a mom leave her breast exposed even though her baby was already finished nursing, for instance.

So I turn to you:

Would you breastfeed or have you breastfed in public? What were the circumstances? What limits do you set on yourself when it comes to breastfeeding in public, such as how covered you are or where you breastfeed? Have you seen other moms who breastfed in public and it bothered you? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

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“My parents won’t listen when I tell them no TV!” a coworker vented. Her parents care for her kids in their home. And despite my coworker’s request to turn the TV off, they continue to keep it on all day. Other common complaints about grandparents include offering food parents forbid, buying kids too many gifts, and not complying with safety issues.

What to Do when Grandparents Try to Parent Your Kids

That’s not all—I’ve also heard parents complain about grandparents who smoke, who have all sorts of opinions about their parenting methods, and those who flat out refuse to follow their routine.

I use the term “grandparents” loosely—this can apply to any close friend or relative (heck, even strangers) who override your authority and, well, try to parent your kids their way.

What do you do when others try to parent your kids?

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5 Simple Tips to Encourage Empathy In Your Kids

“Can you write a post about how kids can learn empathy?” asked my husband. “I was having a tough time getting through to [our son] about how his actions were affecting his brother.”

I don’t have a blog post about empathy? I wondered. But I discuss it all the time.

And for good reason. Empathy has so many benefits, both for our kids and for more effective parenting. For instance:

  • Children get along better with other kids because they can put themselves in their shoes.
  • Children learn to regulate their emotions, such as during meltdowns and when they’re over excited.
  • Children can separate other people’s emotions from theirs. For instance, a child may get upset when he sees another child cry. But with empathy, he learns that the other child is the one who really needs help.

While I’ve listed so many benefits and have suggested empathy as a parenting tool, I’ve yet to illustrate just how we can encourage this skill with their kids.

Below are effective ways of teaching our kids to show empathy:

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9 Playground Rules You and Your Kids Shouldn't Break

The playground.

One of the best ways to keep the kids entertained, right? It’s free, it’s outdoors, and kids are left to their own creative devices.

Except sometimes spending time at the playground doesn’t go so smoothly. Too many kids clamor up the jungle gym. Older kids collide with toddlers. And parents are oblivious to their kids’ antics.

My husband recently came home from such an excursion: “I have a great topic for your blog,” he proposed. “Can you write about all the things parents and kids shouldn’t do at the playground? It was madness today.”

If you and your kids are alone or nearly alone in an empty playground, many of these rules don’t apply. An empty playground is a great way for kids to explore where they don’t always have to play “the right way.”

But with other kids around, we need to teach ours the proper ways to interact with them and how to use the playground.

And so, for my husband’s benefit and hopefully to ours as well, below are nine playground rules you and your kids should remember:

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You’re embarrassed to admit it. After all, you keep hearing advice about reading to your kids from day one. Or the book lists your kids are supposed to love. And story time at your local library is jam packed with kids—every single one who loves reading.

Yet you can’t seem to coerce yours to even sit on your lap for one book. Or maybe your kid would rather play with Legos, crayons, or run around in the backyard—anything, except read.

You can’t believe this has happened, but somehow, your kid hates reading.

With research listing the benefits of reading to children—many that serve them well into adulthood—you’re left at a loss. Reading is good for your kids, but how do you get them to like it?

If you’re like some parents, you may unknowingly be making well-meaning mistakes that turn your kids away from reading. In an effort to encourage reading, could you actually be discouraging it? Take, for instance, these five mistakes that make kids hate reading:

Read the rest of my guest post at Cloud Mom>

Don’t feel bad if your kids don’t like reading—there’s still hope. What else can parents do to make sure kids don’t hate reading? Let us know in the comments!

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