The Week in Parenting: Rationed Formula, Free Birth Control and What You Missed While Applying Sunscreen

It was all breast milk, “veginas” and same-sex marriage chicken flaps over the last week. The Berenstain Bears even got involved. Which goes to show that no matter how serious we get about the real issues affecting families (poverty, unemployment, the sheer impossibility of affording our kids’ college tuition), breasts and cartoon characters will always make news. Of course there is always a dose of reality to temper the cartoonish (whooping cough, anyone?) What you missed while applying those 20 million layers of sunscreen:

Is this shot going to work? A new study tracking a rising epidemic provides evidence the the current vaccine against whooping cough (you know it as DTap) is waning sooner than we thought. Most alarming quote from the NPR story: "Some 77 percent of children and adolescents who got whooping cough in Washington State last year were up to date on their required shots."

Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to put your hands up and step away from that formula: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg latched onto a new plan requiring new mothers who want formula in hospitals to sign it out like medication. As we would imagine, this lock-up got spanked with backlash.

Is depression inherited? In her frank essay, Daphne Merkin explores the "tyranny of the biological," asking whether a parent's psychiatric and emotional story will necessarily rub off on their children.

On “veginas” and being wonderful: What’s more important: Developing girls’ pride in their girlness (and all the parts that come with it) or augmenting their character? Lisa Belkin and hundreds of commenters ponder the question after a letter from an 8-year-old sparked debate over value, self-worth and gender.

Survival after childbirth is locating clean underwear: Chatter over the controversy of new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her itsy-bitsy maternity leave continued. Penelope Trunk and Valerie Young at MomsRising compile roundups.

Where college dollars go: A scathing new Senate report revealed fleecing by for-profit colleges, which “ask students with modest financial resources to take a big risk by enrolling in high-tuition schools,” yet aren’t delivering success.

Well checks, diabetes screening and contraception, oh my: New benefits for women under the Affordable Car Act began going into effect Wednesday, no copay required. Many religious groups are still fighting the provision over contraception.

Ask and we shall receive: Writer and naturalist mom Julie Zickefoose muses mindfully on children and the outdoors, the blue-winged warblers and dappled leaves of her own childhood, and how to lure our kids away from the “electronic fire.” All we have to do, she tells us, is ask.

“The Berenstain Bears (Don’t) Go to Chick-fil-A”: No that’s not a new book installment. Somehow, the flap over Chick-fil-A and same-sex marriage managed to net one of the most uncontroversial franchises in the history of children’s literature. No word on whether Brother Bear and Sister Bear will learn a lesson from this one.

More with less: The annual Kids Count report measuring U.S. children’s wellness came out and revealed what we’ve already felt: The recession has hit kids and families hard. But can we do more with less?

Everything we think is right is actually destroying our kids: The New York Times book review of psychologist Madeline Levine’s Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success is enough to make the most well-meaning parent shiver. Judith Warner tells us about Levine’s teenage patients, who are depleted, angry and sad, and have “parents who can’t steady or guide them, so lost are they in the pursuit of goals that have drained their lives of pleasure, contentment and connection.” Levine’s newest book (her last one was The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids) is already on our e-readers.

If you thought fighting after the kids go to bed is better: Apparently it’s not. A new study suggests that even moderate levels of household conflict impact basic brain function in infants, and sleep doesn’t necessarily protect them from mom and dad’s verbal battles.

And that's the week. Now go and make some headlines yourselves. Or not.

natalie-redIn between school drop-offs and coffee binges, Natalie Singer-Velush is ParentMap’s Web Editor. In her former life she wrote for newspapers and once pumped milk in the bathroom of the King County Superior Courthouse while covering a murder trial. She was also once chased by rabid raccoons. Natalie lives in Seattle with her husband and two school-aged daughters.

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