30 December 2009

Babies, breastfeeding and parenting gadgets

The recession getting you down? Well, we can all be thankful for one thing: economic hardship is a prime time for encouraging mothers to breastfeed. "You can save $1,000 to $3,000 a year just by breast-feeding," says Gina Cicatelli Ciagne, director of breast-feeding and consumer relations for Lansinoh, which sells breast-feeding accessories.

Speaking of breastfeeding, has anyone out there used one of those monitors that reminds you when you had your last feed? Well, I came across this new fangled device from Itzbeen called the 'Baby Care Timer' which is "a multi-purpose nursery tool that helps new parents remember the basic details of baby care. The ITZBEEN™ has four timers that count up with the touch of a button, and a host of other helpful features, all designed with the needs of a new parent in mind."

Sounds pretty impressive, eh?

But considering these hard economic times, is $24.95 money well spent on what appears to be a machine from the future?

Do you need all these bells and whistles and beeps to keep track of a baby? I mean it's a baby, not a bomb. The company claims it's made with the 'sleep-deprived' 'frazzled' parent in mind. Sure, it's rough to be awake for the first five years of your kid's life but again, parents get tired, because that's part of the deal. Besides, babies are pretty good at telling you what they need. Crying, after all, is one of the most strategic adaptive mechanisms that has told mothers and fathers since the beginning of time that a baby needs something.

What ever happened to good old fashioned parental instincts!?

24 December 2009

Hooray for homebirth

Well, hell has frozen over.

Just when I thought that the fight for homebirth in Victoria was stuck at the corner of 56th and Never Gonna Happen, Health Minister Daniel Andrews just announced that the State Government had allocated $400,000 for midwife-led home births through Casey Hospital in Berwick and Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne's west. A regional health service will also participate, but the Government has yet to decide which one.

For women who have relatively uncomplicated pregnancies, this is fantastic news and as long as the trial works over the next year, the project will be expanded throughout the public health system. While undeniably this is no good for women who may want to have a homebirth following previous caesareans (VBACs) or who are considered to be 'high risk' (e.g. obesity, 'older' mums), the fact that the State Government has actually listened to the enormous amount of feedback provided by homebirthing mums and midwives is astounding and shows real promise for a health system that can provide high quality care for women who don't want to birth in hospital.


23 December 2009

The charmed life isn't always so charmed

Lily Allen's angsty lyrics about heartbreak and deadbeat boyfriends may have made her an international success but in a candid interview, she talks for the first time about her widely publicised miscarriage:

"I couldn't even compute the emotions going through my head, but I was having to put out a press release about my miscarriage... I had this public sympathy for about five days and then everyone was on my case again and I didn't know what was happening to me… I just didn't deal with it at all. I didn't even start beginning to deal with it until the baby's due date. Then it just hit me like a house collapsing. I have therapy on and off but at that time it really helped me. Then I started to deal with it and move on. I still get sad. I still think. I don't mark (what would have been) my baby's birth but it's always there. […] I've had really bad, unbelievably awful times, but if I hadn't had them I wouldn't get the happiness I've got now. I'm very grateful because I could have turned down a very different path. It could have been awful. It really could."

Although I said in an earlier post that miscarriage isn't a news item (and it isn't), I think it's a great step forward for famous women to acknowledge that the a celebrity life is not always happy or easy or glamorous. On the same note, Sarah Jessica Parker spoke to Parade magazine and acknowledged that post-baby weight loss is very hard for 'real' women. "I hear a lot of actresses pretend they don't have help, and that can't be true," she says." It's really unfair to working women in America who read celebrity news and think, 'Why can't I lose weight when I've had a baby?' Well, everyone you're reading about has money for a trainer and a chef. That doesn't make it realistic. They don’t have the kind of help that I have if I need it," Parker tells PARADE. "I’m allowed to be a working mother because frankly, I can leave my child with someone I trust and love and a lot of mothers can’t do that."

21 December 2009

Wrapping up the post-baby bloat

Christmas may have come early for this (former) Girl Next Door but Kendra Wilkinson is dead set on dropping her baby weight in record time (surprise, surprise). In the latest edition of Ok!, she vows to lose the 55lbs she gained during her pregnancy. “I used to have some sexy abs, but I was like, ‘There they go,’ ” Kendra gushed to OK!.

Let's hope Kendra takes it easy. She had a caesar (again, surprise surprise) and we all know you need to wait about 6 weeks until getting back on the treadmill.

20 December 2009

Hi honey, I'm home.

Hello everyone! I bet you were wondering where in the blaze I've been. Well, after a long and crazy year of blogging, it came time for me to take a little break from the business for a while..

So I jetted off to South America to do some trekking in Patagonia for a few weeks, chilled out (literally) near some glaciers, hung out with penguins, and travelled to the southern most city in the world. Hopefully, I haven't lost too many of you in my absence but I'm revitalised and ready for another holiday season of blogging from the frontlines in Chicago for the next month.

So to kick off my first blog post back from holidays, I was surprised to read The Army general of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq has banned pregnancy among military personnel in his command, even among married couples. Basically, if you get knocked up on deployment you will be court martialied. Ouch.

In other news, Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen have named their new baby Benjamin.

Not to mention talk of placenta smoothies and placenta holiday revenge...

But if you are really stumped on what to get your childless friend for Chrissie this year, how about Yotaro, a Japanese baby simulator?

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a stuffed animal bear with a 'baby' face projected on it

13 November 2009

Miscarriage is not a news item

There must be something wrong with me this week *feels forehead*

First, I feel sorry for Kourtney Kardashian, and now I feel sorry for Celine Dion.

For those of you that aren't with it, Celine announced her second pregnancy a few weeks ago after many years of unsuccessful IVF cycles. Turns out she has had a miscarriage, which for non-famous women is bad enough, but when you're famous and you already jumped the gun and did the big tell-all, the whole backtracking and justifying can make a terrible situation even worse. What makes me enraged is that 1) Celine Dion's miscarriage has become a 'news' item and 2) all of the headlines (544 of them to be exact) in the last two days are referring to her 'failed' pregnancy with a good dose of underlying moralising given that she is in her 40s and her husband, well, he's much older.

In case everyone in the world has forgotten, miscarriage is a natural part of reproduction. It happens and even though I will never forgive Celine for bringing 'My Heart Will Go On' into the world, give the woman a damn break. After all, this exact situation is what supposedly drove Lily Allen into a serious depression following the media explosion surrounding her miscarriage last year.

12 November 2009

Birth in the TMFI generation

Um, overshare much? Minnesota gal, Lynsee (is that a postmodern spelling of Lindsey?) and her partner Anders decided to livestream the birth of their child, Solveig. Sorry, but I don't really see the point. Why on earth would you have any desire to potentially show off your lady purse to a bunch of strangers?

"We wanted to share this experience," Lynsee said. "If I were in a classroom, I'd be teaching about development. It was a way for me to teach… A way for me to use myself as a textbook."

Again, thanks but birth isn't the 9pm news.

10 November 2009

Weight gain is a sisterly affair

Oh how quickly things change. It was only 4 days ago that Kourtney Kardashian was blabbing about how much she loved being pregnant, how gaining weight was totally natural and how excited she was about becoming a mother.

Well, the honeymoon is over and Kourt has had it with the pregnancy pounds. "I gained three pounds since yesterday!" she complained to E! News. "I weigh myself every day," she explained. Her pregnancy total as of Monday night: 26 pounds.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that her sisters, Kim and Khloe are both dieting with Quick Trim and have been for the past few months? Kim thinks so:

"She is anxious to get on the same plan as us. She sees a definite difference in weight loss from us. I feel like I am in the best shape of my life right now."

The research on body image states unequivocally that sisters are the extremely important when it comes to female body image. Most women compare their bodies to their sisters and eating disorders are known to run in families, particularly in households where teenage girls are competing to be the best and the most beautiful. It doesn't surprise me that Kourtney is having a hard time gaining weight. How horrible would it be to listen to all of the praise heaped on to your sisters for their weight losses and you continue to pack on the weight?

Maybe, for the first time ever, I actually feel a bit sorry for old Kourt.

06 November 2009

Kourtney Kardashian: Motherhood is totally hard

For someone who is famous only for having a marginally famous father, Kourtney Kardashian has sure been making the tabloid rounds blabbing about how much she loves being pregnant.

"I'm totally excited to gain weight, and I'm embracing it," she tells Life & Style. "I run around naked all day at home! I like that my body is changing. It's a beautiful thing." I suppose that I should be happy that Kourt is 'embracing' her preggo bod but nothing about her seems particularly genuine and it seems like this baby is more of a publicity grab than anything.

This is my favourite part of the article:

"Scott (her partner) and I have been going to different parenting classes," Kourtney tells Life & Style. "They made me nervous at first, putting all kinds of information into my head, but they're helpful. They're a fun thing for Scott and me to do together."

God forbid information gets into your pretty little head, Kourt.

04 November 2009

Birth: Live

Lynsee, a 23-year-old teacher in Minneapolis, is expecting her first child any day now. And she's decided to share the whole experience with the world through a web cast from the the Twin Cities’ Moms Like Me website, which will broadcast the birth from the hospital as it happens. Only Moms Like Me members will be able to leave comments during the event, though anyone with an internet connection will be able to watch the live feed.

“We wanted to document the pregnancy and create a one-of-a-kind memento for our baby to have forever,” Lynsee told the website's partner KARE-TV 11, which is also following her pregnancy (she requested that I not publish her last name, for privacy reasons). "You'll be at some of the doctor's appointments... You'll be there in the delivery room, tastefully, but you will be there.’’

Apparently, Moms Like Me reps claim that this is also about trying to direct more traffic to their website in the spirit of TLC reality programmes.

Would you broadcast your birth? It's not like you can log off in the middle of a contraction. And seriously, why on earth would you want to share your lady purse with the rest of the world.

Sounds a little too much like Balloon Boy and his attention-seeking parents.

28 October 2009

Teen Vogue debuts teen pregnancy

You might not believe it but the model on the left, Jourdan Dunn, is pregnant. And 19. When Teen Vogue editors booked her for the gig they didn't know she was pregnant until she revealed the news for a feature on she and her fellow model friend Chanel Iman (on the right). While the pregnancy is not explicit, it is heartening to know that Editor-in-Chief, Amy Astley said the editors of the mag had no intention of pulling her from the Nov edition.

"Teen pregnancy is a difficult, real-life issue that Teen Vogue readers (with an average age of 18) are mature enough to be exposed to," Astley said in a statement. "Teen Vogue felt it was important to support, not punish, Jourdan Dunn, who contributed to a beautiful photo shoot and who will surely have an ongoing and successful career in fashion."

But, I wonder, if Jourdan was visibly pregnant would they still have put her on the cover of a 'teen' magazine given all of the moral panics about teen mums? Jourdan is almost eight months pregnant now and due in December so obviously the shoot was done very early in her pregnancy. As I noted in an earlier post, Jourdan and her belly were featured in a sort of Gladiator-esque pregnancy corset by Gaultier during Paris Fashion Week.

Of her pregnancy, Dunn has said: "All I could think about was what my mom was going to say, my agency, my boyfriend. When I told my mom, she started crying and blaming herself. She got pregnant with me at the same age, and she said, 'I don't want you to have to go through what I did.'"

Sure it is great that Vogue editors didn't want to 'punish' Dunn for her pregnancy but one wonders whether the realities of young parenthood are made clear to the readers of Teen Vogue in the issue. Dunn is a beautiful woman but pregnancy for celebrities or in the world of fashion is invariably enrobed in glamour and it might have been more useful or perhaps progressive on behalf of the magazine to allow Dunn to express some of her worries about parenthood in order to educate other young women as opposed to pretending that everything is great.

27 October 2009

Love your cervix

Have you ever wondered what your cervix looks like? How about after you've given birth?

Then you MUST check out The Beautiful Cervix Project created by a student midwife. This is an ode to being a woman, where cervixes aren't objects of a medical gaze, but objects of beauty in their own right. The creator not only photographed her own cervix throughout her menstrual cycle, but also has loads of photos of cervixes at different stages of life.

26 October 2009

Octomum drops her weight

Photo credit: splashnewsonline.com

Holy mother of octuplets! Have you seen Octomum!?

Like a pregnant version of a linebacker, Nadya hit 270lbs during her pregnancy and now she's back into her pre-baby jeans after a weight loss of 145 lbs without a trainer or surgery.

Losing 40 pounds immediately after delivering her octuplets, Suleman says she felt compelled to join a local gym after their birth. There, she fits in thrice-weekly midnight workouts (while a nanny watches over her sleeping children) with strength training but no cardio. "I get enough of that with the kids," Suleman, who gets by on three hours of sleep, tells Us.

Well, can't say that working out at midnight seems very healthy but I suppose it's better than dropping straight into the plastic surgeon's office.

22 October 2009

Breastfeeding is awesome in New Zealand

Check out a super new public breastfeeding campaign in New Zealand.

"Although New Zealand has breastfeeding rates that are consistent with other OECD countries, rates are low at six weeks, especially among Māori and Pacific women,” said Ministry of Health Deputy Director Margie Apa. She went on to say that barriers to breastfeeding, including “lack of breastfeeding support and information, mothers returning to paid work and finding it hard to continue breastfeeding, and negative attitudes to breastfeeding from the general public and family members” tend to more adversely affect minorities, teenage parents and low-income moms.

Small country, so progressive.

Kendra: TMFI

Ah Kendra. Miss ex-Playboy has opened up to In Touch about all things pregnant, including her discovery that her breasts are leaking milk to which she responded by screaming and likening herself to a cow.

How much weight have you gained so far?

Kendra Wilkinson: I have gained 40 pounds. I still have a month-and-a-half to go. I was 110 or 115 and now weigh 150.

How do you feel about the weight gain?
KW: There are things I love about it. I love that my hips are growing, even though it hurts. I want that butt and am starting to get it, so I’m excited.

What have you been craving?
KW: I’ve been eating a lot of breakfast — eggs, bacon and cheese sandwiches with wheat toast, a lot of waffles with peanut butter. Peanut butter is my biggest craving. I actually put bananas and syrup all over it, too.

Even though I don’t usually eat much meat, I’ve been eating a lot of ribs with barbecue sauce and steak. Also, my craving for chocolate came back. I never ate it before because it gave me migraines.

Has it changed your sex life?
KW: Yes, it’s changed our sex life — for the worse [laughs]. I am a wild girl in bed and I can’t really be that wild anymore because I have limits now. I have 40 extra pounds in my belly, so I get tired easily.

But no, of course, it’s still great. I have a great man in bed, he definitely knows how to please me. But, yeah, we’ll be better after when we have more energy!

Do you feel prettier pregnant?
KW: I have never felt this beautiful! The one thing I love about being pregnant is my skin, I used to have the worst acne. My whole life it’s been horrible — on The Girls Next Door, it was disgusting. This is the best skin that I have ever had in my life!

What’s the best thing about being pregnant?
KW: The greatest thing is probably just feeling like a queen. Everybody does everything for me. And Hank is always just giving me unconditional love — that different type of love that I’ve never felt before.

20 October 2009

Caesarean = rape?

Image credit: www.caesarean-art.com

As we all know, the caesarean rate (emergency and elective) has risen dramatically over the past decade in most of the industrialised world and 'natural' childbirth has become something of a vestigial organ.

For many women, a caesarean is not only painful but also traumatic. Somehow birth has become only about a healthy outcome and not necessarily about the process or the woman actually giving birth. There is now a growing subculture of women who compare their caesarean births to rape given the lack of control they felt they had over their bodies, the antagonism of hospital staff towards their birth choices and of course, feelings of violation. Recent articles about birth rape are linked to the story of an Arizona mother, Jessica Szabo, who wants to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) but is being refused by her local hospital. The hospital argues that all VBACs must have an 'elective caesarean'. In fact, she's so mad that she has written the following message on her minivan:

"Page Hospital enter my body without my permission ... sounds like rape to me!"

There is even an anonymous website devoted to caesarean-inspired art evoking the trauma and pain some women associate with the procedure. Truly haunting (see above).

What do you think?

14 October 2009

Foetal fascinations

So, I'm sure all of you pregnant gals out there have been wondering how you can commemorate your foetus' first photo more spectacularly than just shoving the thing in your purse and yanking it out for every person that notices that you're pregnant.

How about a turning your ultrasound image into a decorative canvas? Or a personalised ultrasound postage stamp? Or, my personal favourite: CUFFLINKS.

Has the world gone cuckoo? Cufflinks? Seriously?

I think I need a little lie down.

12 October 2009

Baby bumps on the catwalk

Hello, again. Excuse my absence, I've had a serious case of essay-marking-itis. Basically, that entails me sitting in an office for 12 hours a day marking essays until my hands crumple with fatigue from typing.

Anyway, looks like pregnancy chic was making it big at Paris Fashion Week....

Singer Roisin Murphy, who also happens to be 7 months pregnant, wore the peach coloured tutu (above) to a Paris fashion show. It was designed by Victor & Rolf.

Speaking of wacky pregnancy fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier created a pregnancy corset for pregnant British model Jourdan Dunn.

Um, not so sure about the pregnancy corset but definitely not so much on the tutu.

05 October 2009

Heidi does pregnancy covered in chocolate

Oh Heidi. It appears that the Kluminator not only has an entire book devoted to her beauty, Heidi revealed on Ellen that she also appears naked and pregnant and dripping in chocolate sauce.

The model, snapped by famous photog Rankin, said:

"We were doing our normal shoot and afterwards he said, 'Let's do some pictures for the book.' I said, 'I would love to be covered in chocolate.'

"So someone ran out to the store and got, like, I think, seven or eight of those squirty chocolate things and they just squirted it all over me and he took the photo.

"It was yummy... especially when you're pregnant."

Wondering how she got the chocolate off? "I licked half of it up."

Oh and weirdo Ellen gave Heidi a pair of baby high heels because she's convinced Heidi is having a girl. Um, me no likey.

02 October 2009

Moral panic Friday

So, here's a game I like to play that I call 'how to ruin your baby's life before it's even born'.

Just go to Google News and type in 'pregnancy' and see what headlines you get:

  • Smoking in pregnancy risks psychotic children

  • Obese women have higher risk of giving birth to baby with heart defect

  • Stillbirth in first pregnancy raises risk for subsequent pregnancy

  • Anti-depressants pregnancy risk

I actually miss the days when a news search about pregnancy immediately brought up fluffy stories about celebrities and maternity clothes.

Porn star beauty tricks, post-baby bodies and beautiful cervixes

A bit of a recap of the week:

Well, Jenna Jameson has actually started a blog in which waxes on the benefits of being 'totally tan' all the time and tips for quashing stretch marks:

"Well, like most women, the thought of huge cherry red slash marks running the length of my pubic bone to underboobs, was enough to make me cringe. I had seen and heard many different methods to ward of stretch marks, but I never knew of any that were tried and true."

Now, she just needs to do something about that midriff top.

Elen Pompeo has debuted her 2 weeks post-baby body and is taking a little break from Grey's.

For those of you that actually care about The Hills, Spencer Pratt is whingeing about how Heidi is trying to get pregnant and now he's afraid to have sex with her. Poor little muffin.

Oh and have you ever wondered what your cervix looks like after you've had a baby? A student midwife and doula has started the Beautiful Cervix Project and she has taken some amazing and very generous photos that will blow your mind.

30 September 2009

Working mums are bad mums

Welcome to this week's first cautionary tale.

Headlines are blazing upon the announcement of data from a UK study declaring "Working mothers' children unfit". What do they mean? Oh well, that apparently women who work more than 20 hours per week end up with fat, lonely and basically maladjusted 5 year olds.

And they didn't even bother to look at the male partners because they decided that the women's working hours fluctuated more. Professor Catherine Law, who led the study, is careful to state that this study does not mean that women should not work, rather parents need to be better supported. But seriously. This is the same research group that found that children are more likely to be overweight by the age of 3 if their mothers work. These results will inevitably be used against women in some form or another.

Sally Russell, a spokesman for Netmums, said: "The stress and guilt associated with being a working mum is something we are all too well aware of. This report adds to that guilt.

"With many more mums having no choice but to work these days and with government policy actively encouraging it, it is difficult to know how mums can do better. "

We should be applauding mothers for returning to work and managing their households and not 1) not punishing them for working out of desire or necessity or 2) pitting women who work and women who do not work in paid employment against one another. This research, whether it was intented or not, only fuels already entrenched debates about motherhood and who is a 'good' mum and who is a 'bad' mum.

Jenna Jameson is not just a porn star.

You have been warned. Oh and she wants you to know that she's not just a porn star.

28 September 2009

News you can use

Monday news roundup:

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada says a C-section should not be offered to a pregnant woman unless there is a valid medical reason to perform one. But, a University of British Columbia study found that 2 per cent of obstetricians were in favour of a woman's right to choose a C-section for herself, even in the absence of a medical indication.

Speaking of caesars, Charlotte Church says giving birth naturally was pretty rough: "It's absolutely, disgustingly horrendous.It's shocking I tell you that. I had both babies at home, two home births, just with gas and air. It was horrendous. I mean it was amazing and awesome and crazily whatever, a completely different experience but you know, I might do it again because I'm a little bit of a sadist that way."

Over in supermodel preggo land, the maternity style wars were on as Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen tooled around town with their bumps in all their glory

In case you missed it, Shiloh Pitt, 3, lost her front tooth. This has prompted such heated internet discussion, forcing Brangelina to issue a press release answering questions about the obvious gap in Shiloh's smile. Most people think Shiloh is too young to start losing teeth, so most of the web is settled on the idea that Zahara either clocked her in the face or she has been eating skittles for breakfast.

Speaking of half-pint celebs, Suri Cruise is not only a style maven for other three year olds, her mother, Katie Holmes points to Suri as her inspiration for her new fashion line she is launching with her stylist Jeanne Yang: "
It has been my dream forever to be in fashion and I'm truly inspired by my daughter Suri. She just loves dressing up so I decided to launch this exciting venture with Jeanne." Um, let's just hope that her new line doesn't include sparkly shell shaped handbags or kitten heels.

Oh, and Nicole Richie has snapped back into her size zeros in just under 2 weeks. Ho Hum.

24 September 2009

Maternal mortality is not sexy enough for the media

Photo credit: Marco Vernaschi, Pulitzer Center

Sometimes being a feminist academic and living in a wealthy industrialised country can screw up your view of the world.

Seriously, hear me out.

I've spent the last few weeks, recovering from a hangover of media blitzing about homebirthing and thinking about where women's interests are really best served when it comes to birth in Australia. It's so easy for me to say (and trust me, I have been) that women should be encouraged to have alternative birthing plans outside of the hospital. At the same time, however, as I teach a university subject about a history of medicine (and I hate myself a little bit for saying this) medicine has done great things for women when it comes to birth.

Don't get me wrong. I've always harbored a healthy skepticism for biomedicine and particularly obstetrics/gynecology. But before I get inundated with a barrage of emails about how evil obstetricians are and what a bad feminist I am, I have to say that each day as I scan the daily news items looking for inspiration for the blank space in front of me, every single day I flick through stories about women dying in birth in the far reaches of the world. Sometimes I write about them and sometimes my mouse keeps moving because I have the luxury (and many of you do as well) to fast forward on from tragedy if I feel like it.

But not today.

Marco Vernaschi, an Italian photographer, started off photographing war but has since moved his focus to maternal health care, particularly in Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's most dangerous places in which to be pregnant. One in eight women die giving birth and babies often don't survive the first two days of their lives.

"Standing in the only operating room in the only medical hospital in all of Guinea-Bissau, Marco Vernaschi watched a nurse take an unsterile needle out of her pocket and, without anesthetic, suture a woman’s vagina after a difficult childbirth. The woman screamed. Mr. Vernaschi took a photograph. Moments later, she was required to walk out of the filthy room and go home."

Vernaschi is now trying to shed light on the absolutely heart wrenching stories of life and death, of both mothers and babies with his photos. As I looked through these images, of women waiting on a dirty floor to give birth, of seeing women on rusty gurneys, babies dead and waiting for burial, it makes me feel very lucky to have the opportunity to live in a country where, even though birthing options are not perfect, at least women have the hope for change.

Hospitals have never been the perfect solution to such a natural process, but living in Australia, we rarely worry about dying from unsterile needles or just from having to wait too long for medical care. Medicine still saves women from pain and death and suffering.

Look at these pictures and thank your lucky stars for your life.

23 September 2009

Suri Cruise: fashion maven

Spotted: Suri Cruise in kitten heels.

The Daily Mail is speculating that our little Suri with the fringe on top is 'growing up too fast'.

At the moment, 65 'news' articles have been written about the sartorial proclivities of the world's most famous (and by the looks of it, fashion-forward) 3 year old.

The style-wars have clearly migrated from realm of celebrity women to their pint-size doppelgangers. Oh, you think I'm kidding?

Child Style magazine has just been launched, and this month's edition features 'couture' Halloween costumes, way too much advertising, and lots of mothers with too much time on their hands.

LeeLee, little kid cravings and lots of exercise

Does anyone remember LeeLee Sobieski? Well, um, she's pregnant and according to Us, she's been having some 'little kid' food cravings:

"I eat less ice cream than I ever did because the baby takes up so much space. Ginger is really good. I kind of want ginger to settle the stomach sometimes and then macaroni and cheese. I kind of like little kid food. I think I like eating what little kids eat."

She's still working out with her trainer which, according to the recently published results of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, is a good thing because the researchers found that first-time mothers who exercised at least three times a week during their pregnancy were less likely to give birth to a baby with excessive birth weight. Women who exercised during pregnancy were also found to decrease their risk of developing pre-eclampsia by 20%.

21 September 2009

Losing weight is a 'cinch': puke

Apparently, losing your baby weight is now a 'cinch' thanks to a modern-day corset thing by Anew that allows post-baby mums to 'look fit' without actually getting 'fit'. Sort of like another expensive version of Spanx so you can shrink your waist and your wallet without actually losing anything in between.

Not sure how I feel about this. The product website has this slogan 'Achieve your balance, Anew your life' sort of implying that if you can have a slimmer waist, somehow your life will be transformed. I think for most women, as 'empowering' as fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes may be, what really needs to be addressed are the life-altering changes that come with motherhood. It's never really about the weight. The weight is just an easy place to focus your anxiety. A corset isn't going to solve your problems and hiding the extra weight is really only a temporary cure.

Heidi 'letting it all hang out'

"The great thing about being pregnant and going to these things is that I don’t have to suck my stomach in,” the supermodel and Project Runway host told PEOPLE at Los Angeles Confidential’s pre-Emmy party. “It’s fabulous! I can let it all out.”

And let it out she did...in a fabulous party frock just a few weeks out from the birth of her fourth child. I can imagine that being pregnant for a supermodel has to be pretty weird and also liberating. When everyone knows you for your washboard abs and tiny waist, on some level, for women like Klum that have jobs that require that they manage the size of their bodies constantly, it's easy to see why being pregnant would actually be a relief in a way that for most women it really isn't. I wrote about this same idea in an earlier post about Milla Jovovich.
Milla, as many of you know, gained quite a bit of weight during her first pregnancy (70lbs). She often cited her feelings of empowerment and liberation in being able to eat whatever she wanted after a lifetime of having to watch every morsel of food that passed her lips.

Heidi Klum said the other day that she wasn't sure that she would be able to lose her baby weight in time for the Victoria's Secret runway show in December. In her last pregnancy, she had her baby in September and was famously back on the catwalk in two months. For her own sake, I hope that Heidi doesn't push herself back into her knickers just for the satisfaction of her fans. Having a baby is a big deal. She needs to recover in her own time and not according to everyone else's timeline.

In other news, the BBP has been selected for preservation in PANDORA by the State Library of Victoria. PANDORA is an online archive in which selected Australian websites, deemed to be of 'national importance' are preserved and made permanently available to the public for research and reference. Personal sites, like this, are usually only selected if they provide information of significant research value unavailable elsewhere. PRETTY BLOODY EXCITING!

18 September 2009

Bec Hewitt bounces back

Bec Hewitt (wife of Lleyton Hewitt, tennis player) is upheld as the best in body after baby in the last issue of Ok! Australia . What enrages me the most about the article is not necessarily that some editor deemed Bec Hewitt, quite possibly the most uninteresting 'celebrity' ever, but that the magazine suggests that Bec has 'bounce back secrets' which upon reading said 'secrets' are really just weight loss as a consequence of being a busy mother of two children. In fact, when I was reading the article, it made me think of Miranda in SATC in the episode in season 6 where she fits back into her 'skinny jeans'. When the other gals ask her how she did it, she says that she had a baby and no longer had any time to eat. While Ok! seems to pitch Bec's eating/exercise as some kind of 'regimen', in fact, what Bec has done to lose her baby weight is eat healthfully and exercise moderately when she has the time and from appearances, it seems that she is fairly fully occupied with her children. She note that she has some kind of fancy trainer. Whether this admission (or perhaps lack thereof) plays right into the fancy of celebrity motherhood as easy and worry-free is up for debate but what also got me thinking was that her husband's role was pretty much non-existent in her quest to reclaim her body. She mentioned that her brother looked after the kids when she wanted to exercise but the the affective work of caregiving was primarily her own. Mr. Tennis rarely got a mention.

Friday news you can use

I have my finger on the pulse so you don't have to:

Katherine Heigl has a new baby girl she adopted from Korea

Nicole Richie has been spotted kicking around Bev Hills minus her new little bird, looking remarkably svelte just one week post-birth

Jenna Elfman is pregnant with her second in real life and on her show.

Halle Berry is allegedly covering up her second bump...

16 September 2009

This and that!

OMG. You are probably so cross with me for disappearing for a week without warning. Well, let me tell you, it's been one busy week for me and pretty slow week for pregnancy news. I'll save the details for another day and get on with what I do best. Here is a smattering of things on my radar:

So, I'm amused to see the US News and World Report's 7 Strategies for a Successful Maternity Leave. What I find particularly funny (or perhaps ironic?) is that strategising about your maternity leave is really only necessary when you actually have maternity leave. Even more amusing is the tip to 'Find Good Child Care' while you are on maternity leave. If any woman here in Melbourne actually waited until her baby was actually born to work on childcare, no one would have care until the kid was three. Ladies here get on the waiting lists at the first whiff of pregnancy.

And if this isn't a cautionary tale, I don't know what is, in spite of the researcher's warning that the research should not be used to prevent women from choosing to terminate their pregnancies. I can just see the pro-life lobby falling over themselves to find a way to use this new 'risk' to challenge choice.

Australian obs are pissed off with Health Minister Nicola Roxon after accusations that they have been raising their fees as much as 20% by taking advantage of the existing Medicare safety net. Come January, however, Roxon is cutting them off when Medicare refunds are capped. According to new reports, the increase in charges helped turn obstetricians into millionaires with the highest earning 10 per cent of obstetricians now earning $1.8 million a year - $1.1 million of which comes from Medicare. Perhaps another reason to go with a midwife!

And finally, while I'm happy that Kim Clijsters made such a spectacular 'comeback' to tennis this week winning the US Open, I'm annoyed (again) that the fact that she is a mother somehow makes this astonishing victory more astonishing. Clijsters is a great player; why are our expectations so low for women when they rebound from motherhood?

09 September 2009

Danger: Exploding thighs!

Heidi Klum opens up to Page Six about her pregnant body, saying the last month is the worst:

"The last month is unbelievable, how rapidly your stomach goes. It's huge. The thighs, the butt -- everything explodes in the end."

"It's bizarre. Just as it's a miracle that you can grow a human being in your belly, it's a miracle that your body goes back to normal again," she says. "I don't think you ever get back to exactly the way you were, but you do get close. And I'm happy with that. Especially when you see your kid for the first time."

And of course, Heidi isn't worried about regaining her pre-baby body.

07 September 2009

Moral panic Monday!

Oh yes, I love a good cautionary tale.

Once again, young women are being urged to procreate hot on the heels of the Relationships Australia survey that claims three-quarters of generation X (aged 30-39) and Y (18-29) women plan to have children, but only 16 per cent are thinking about having them now. Is it me or does this same moral panic about fertility creep up about every six months? I wrote a bit of a manifesto back in January of this year.

Is it any coincidence that a survey like this, essentially asking women to give up their career aspirations and dreams of a few good years of independence to throw it all in just to have babies at 22?

I think not.

As we approach the mother of all rallys in Canberra this week (yeah, homebirthing!) and all of this current fuss about popping out children, I've been thinking about where feminism fits in the puzzle.

In spite of hard-won changes to Australian women’s legal and political status over the last 30 years, anxieties about pregnancy and motherhood clearly continue to brew in popular culture. Ways of combining motherhood with other feminist aspirations are rarely discussed in the current Australian political climate but become particularly visible when it comes to actually having babies and the way that you have them. Sure, this stupid Relationships Australia survey can somewhat irresponsibly encourage younger women to have babies in theory but in reality, WHERE IS ALL OF THE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT MOTHERS?! I mean come on, Australia is still lost in the woods when it comes to paid maternity leave, the maternity system itself is barely surviving and it is now almost impossible to get you kid into childcare within spitting distance of your house. So, I ask you, Relationship Australia, how do you expect young women to be mothers if we continue to live in a culture where motherhood is not valued? What makes me even more insane with rage is that instead of blaming the bloody government for not fulfilling it's obligation to support women as mothers, women often end up blaming 'feminism' (like she was a person) for failing to live up to it's promise that it's easy to 'have it all'. I tend to think that all of this moral panic about fertility may point to a ‘backlash’ against feminism(s) both by the Australian government and women themselves. The government absolves itself by telling women that they are getting to independent and they should be 'good' women and stay at home and have more babies and women complain to each other that climbing the corporate ladder is impossible with 2 kids and a lazy husband.


04 September 2009

The (Pregnant) Body Issue

To raise awareness for National Body Image Week, stars of all sizes celebrate their beautiful bodies by posing in their smalls for the latest issue of Who (on newsstands today), including former TV personality Toni Pearen, now 5.5 months pregnant.

"I've had all-day sickness and all-night sickness but when I get over all the difficulties it is an absolute miracle," Pearen says.

Nice to see pregnancy featured but perhaps a more realistic view would have been more progressive or would speak to the importance of body image on a deeper level. It kind of annoys me that we are supposed to feel really happy that magazines take the time to feature bodies of 'all shapes and sizes' but in reality, these are still celebrity bodies and Pearen is totally glammed up. I mean, seriously, Pearen admits she doesn't wake up in the morning feeling fantastic so it seems kind of strange to position her a la Demi Moore as though pregnancy hasn't changed the way she thinks about her body. And why does she have to be practically naked to be proud of being pregnant? How much do you want to bet she spent the last few weeks agonising over the photo shoot, ensuring her bump looked perfect? And how much photoshopping went into the final result?


03 September 2009

Coffee with a side of naked

What better way to say 'I'm a narcissist' than to release a coffee table book of yourself in various states of undress?

Well, leave it to 8 months preggo Heidi Klum to enhance her already overexposed profile with an ode to herself called (and you'll love this) HEIDILICIOUS.

Sorry, I'm trying to hold the vomit down.

Klum tells LA Confidential Mag: "It’s very naughty. I’ve been shooting with this photographer, Rankin, for seven years, and working with him is fun because he always makes me look different. And he always gets me to take my clothes off for some reason. We’ll do some job, and then he’ll say, “Why don’t we shoot some more things,” and I’ll wind up without anything on."

Wonder if any preggo shots are in here...From the cover, I'm guessing not.

My verdict? FAIL.

02 September 2009

Worrying trend: social inductions

Western Bulldog Brian Lake* has requested that his wife be induced 2 weeks before her due date so that he can 'focus on the finals'.

Since when did it become acceptable for football to trump the birth of your first child? And why on earth would his wife agree to such a preposterous and unnecessarily risky request?

When women are induced, there are given pitocin which is a synthetic form of oxytocin, the hormone that kicks off labour. With induction, there is no gradual build up with contractions become increasingly stronger and more frequent over an extended period of time. Induction essentially sticks women right into the second stage of labour so contractions are strong straight away. Some studies have shown that induction is linked caesareans because when you don't have a gradual build up to get your body used to being in pain, women often will have an epidural because the contractions are so strong straight away. As a result, for some women labour is slowed with the epidural, they can't push as effectively, the baby can become distressed and then needs to be born surgically. There are also considerable risks with induction including brain damage to the baby as a result of lack of oxygen if contractions are too strong or too frequent.

In my mind, unless induction is medically necessary, I can't conceive of how one could justify putting the lives of loved ones at risk. When Adam Gilchrist's** son Harrison had complications after being deprived of oxygen in his induced birth before the 2002 Boxing Day Test, he wondered if the induction was partly to blame. "Looking back, it seems stupid that I got myself into that position. I should have just walked away from cricket for the critical week or weeks, however long it took," Gilchrist wrote in his autobiography True Colours.

What is really worrying is that that having high profile people in the community participate in these sorts of things, it sets a precedent by which it becomes increasingly acceptable to have interventions in birth unnecessarily.

I am befuddled that his wife's obstetrician would consent to doing this. Considering we now live in an age in which patients have power as paying consumers of medicine, is an obstetrician breaching their duty of care to the patient by ceding to the patient's wishes for a scheduled birth (and of course the same argument can be made with regard to elective caesarean)?


*this is an Australian rules football player for those of you who are outside of Oz
**Australian cricket player

01 September 2009

Get paid for getting laid

First there were honeymoons. Then we had the babymoons. Now, we have the procreation vacation.

So, if you're planning to get a bun in the oven, why not get your baby jive on at an island resort?

Why? Because the Westin in Aruba is offering couples a $300 CONCEPTION CREDIT if they get pregnant while staying at the hotel between 1 Sept-19 Dec.

Let's hope the hotel is vigilant when it comes to changing the sheets.

P.S. Have you noticed the new bling on the blog? I'm a Top Health Blogger for Wellsphere.com!

29 August 2009

K.Wilkinson preggo photo shoot

You can take the girl out of Playboy, but you can't take Playboy outta the girl.

“I’ve been hornier! We’ll be off-roading, and we’ll go at it in the bushes somewhere! Or we’ll be driving, and he’ll pull over. Quickies are the best! If he lasts any more than a couple of minutes, I’m like, ‘I’m done!’ I’m not joking: I’ll stop.”

27 August 2009

Kim and Kendra: From nobodies to sort of somebodies

Stop what you're doing! Breaking news!

Kourtney Kardashian and Kendra Wilkinson want to breastfeed in spite of having breast implants!

"I was so scared that I wasn't going to be able to nurse that when I saw stuff come out of my nipples the other day, I was like, I can breast-feed?

Yes, Kendra, you can. Although it actually depends on how your implants were inserted. If the incision was made in the armpit or under the fold of the breast, you are generally okay. If the implants are inserted through the areola, breastfeeding can be difficult As long as the milk ducts and nerves were not cut, most women with breast implants can breastfeed.

In a completely unrrelated note: THE BABY BUMP PROJECT IS NOW ON TWITTER!

22 August 2009

Milla J shows off her post-baby bod for Maxim

Hello, Milla.

Twenty months on from giving birth to her first daughter, Ever Gabo, Milla J is stripping off for this month's issue of Maxim. According to the model/actress:

"Look, I do Vogue, OK? I'm not doing this [photo spread] to advertise a designer; I had a little girl recently, and I'm doing this to show my post-baby body!"

"Lingerie and a sheet were all I needed," she goes on. "I know it's all about my body. I want to give readers exactly what they want, and they want to see me."

Um, okay. I'm glad she has a healthy ego.....

Anyway, if you remember Milla gained 70lbs during her pregnancy so the transformation is pretty unbelievable.

21 August 2009

Baby bump facial: kind of weird

Don't get me wrong, I love a good facial but when I read about the Baby Bump Facial I was thinking, um, perhaps not.

According to the spa in Washington, the Mom-2-Be Baby Bump Facial ($75 for 30 minutes) "begins with light cleansing. This is followed by the application of a professional treatment mask with a high concentration of targeted firming active ingredients to address slackening skin and stretch marks, leaving the skin toned and even. The treatment finishes with the application of DECLÉOR‘s Perfect Sculpt Stretch Mark Restructuring Gel-Cream, keeping the belly hydrated and reducing the chances of stretch marks in late pregnancy."

If most women get annoyed with random strangers touching their pregnant bellies, why would you PAY A STRANGER to touch your belly?

I must point out that the appearance of stretch marks and similarly, your ability to get rid of them is largely a question of genetics. It is unlikely that any over-the-counter skin cream or salve is going to make stretch marks go away completely. If you are really worried about stretch marks, most experts agree that the only way to make them less noticeable is through cosmetic surgery, microdermabrasian, chemical peels, or laser therapy. You can also get a prescription for Retin-A (which is also thought to be work well in reducing the size of stretch marks). There are side effects from all of these treatments. A belly facial might feel nice but will not 'prevent' stretch marks, unfortunately.

19 August 2009

Boobs and bras

Confused about maternity lingerie? Khali Whatley, our good friend at Ma Mere is on board to give you some advice and the chance to get a free copy of her guide to choosing the right undies.

By the way, have you entered the caption contest to win a free maternity set?

The importance of a good maternity and nursing bra

There’s so much to consider when you first fall pregnant that the last thing on your mind is your underwear. However most new mothers don’t realise that wearing a bra with an incorrect fit or support system can cause complications during the later parts of pregnancy and into the nursing period. Therefore the beginning of your pregnancy is an important time to make sure that you have the right bra.

During your first trimester a network of lymph glands and milk ducts will start to develop in your breasts and a well-fitted maternity bra can make sure this happens correctly. Its important to be aware that bra underwires can affect the development of these ducts and glands inhibiting circulation, causing discomfort and even leading to infection. Maternity and nursing bras don’t have underwires for this very reason.

So what’s the difference between a maternity and nursing bra?

When it comes to features, they are basically the same. The primary difference is that a nursing bra has clips that allow breastfeeding. If you buy a nursing bra at the beginning of your pregnancy thinking it will last you until after you finish breastfeeding you will probably be disappointed.

Most women’s breasts increase in size during pregnancy and increase again after their baby is born and mature milk is produced. Their ribcage also expands as their baby and belly grows larger and retracts again once the baby is born. These changes affect both the cup and band size – and therefore the bra that should be worn.

The lack of natural muscle support in the breast increases the chance of sagging or changes to the breast shape at this time, so the right bra can provide the necessary support to maintain your breast shape.

With all of this in mind, you should be prepared to purchase several different bra sizes during and after pregnancy. You’ll probably buy fewer maternity and nursing bras than regular bras, which means they will be washed more frequently and therefore stretch and wear out faster. Hand washing and line drying (in spite of care instructions to machine wash) will prolong their life and make sure you get the support you need.

Would you like more information? Send Khali an email for a free copy of her Guide to Maternity Lingerie: khali.whatley[at]mamere.com.au

18 August 2009

And then there were 12.

It was only a matter of time before someone would try and outspawn Octomum.

A woman in her 30s in Tunisia who has undergone fertility treatments claims she is pregnant with 12 babies, 6 boys and 6 girls. While it's not impossible to carry such a large number of foetuses, British experts say that natural birth would be impossible, warning that the strain of carrying 12 babies could lead to the woman going into labour at 20 weeks. It is unlikely that a doctor actually implanted 12 embryos. Experts believe the woman probably took fertility drugs before she was artifically inseminated.
There are no words. Very few babies survive before 22-23 weeks and even at that stage, you need to have high quality pediatric care in order to keep the babies alive. Why on earth, would you risk it? And even so, who wants 12 babies? Octomum herself revealed in a candid documentary that she has basically ruined her own life and that of her children selfishly choosing to have so many babies at once.

17 August 2009

Bad Idea Monday

Dear Baby Clothing Manufacturers,

Did you really think these baby tees were a good idea?

Since when did nipple tassles and tits references become appropriate for people who don't even know what 'tits' or stripping are?


*For those of you that inspired to rage, Cotton On in Australia is to blame for the Tits/Shake Me/Easy tees. Send them hate mail. Nips comes from the UK.

16 August 2009

For the mother (I mean baby) that has everything.

Nothing says 'ostentatious' like this ultimate statement in the commodification of babyhood: The Juicy Couture pram.

Dubbed 'royalty on wheels' (*excuse me while I vomit*), for nearly AU $800, not only do you get a pram that is 'ergonomically optimised' with 'foam insulated handles' and four seat positions, you get an all-terrain vehicle that is decorated in a nauseating shade of Pepto-Bismol pink. But wait! There's more!

Your $800 is well spent because you also have the option of a 'faux fur footmuff''. WTF is a footmuff? You even get a 'customisable luggage tag'. What better way
for the label-obsessed yummy mummy to say 'My child is an accessory'.


14 August 2009

Bumpaholics Anonymous

Hello, My name is the The Baby Bump Project and I'm a Bumpaholic.

It wasn't long before a new annoying term about pregnancy would enter the cultural zeitgeist.
'Bumpaholic' is the concoction of Women's Health magazine (US) in which they discuss women who love being pregnant. Apparently, some women love being pregnant so much that they are having babies strictly for their own narcissistic pleasure: they crave the adoration from other people and feel more 'liberated' (don't even get me started on how much I hate the way that this term is misused) by their pregnancy curves.

Aside from the fact that 'bumpaholic' is a nauseating term, I would have to say that I wholeheartedly dispute the perception that the reason for a rising birth rate is because women love being pregnant so much. First of all, I think most women would agree that if you work full-time as a stay-at-home-mum or in paid employment, having lots of children is not easy unless you have money to burn on hired help. Secondly, I get super annoyed by 'I love being pregnant because I can eat anything I want' myth that is continuously perpetuated when it is so ridiculously clear that today, eating 'anything you want' in pregnancy is a cultural/medical no-no. In light of moral panics about obesity, I think you can ask any woman and she will tell you that the days of 'eating for two' are well and truly over. As I found in my own research, the majority of women I interviewed felt 'fat' at every stage of pregnancy and post-birth and while these women by no means 'hated' being pregnant, they certainly were not eating whatever they could get their hands on. Pregnancy was far from 'liberating' when it came to body image.

I think it's kind of odd to say that women are having more babies because they are obsessed with being pregnant rather than making the quite reasonable assumption that a woman is having more than one child because...she likes children? or loves being a mum? Feel free to correct me, but pregnancy isn't a walk in the park. I think that while many women do enjoy pregnancy, many other women merely look at pregnancy as just a hurdle to overcome for the sake of the really precious outcome. I mean seriously, why would women give birth at all considering the pain that often accompanies it? Clearly, the end utterly and completely justifies the means!

Does this mean we need a new 12 step program? I can see it now: Bumpaholics Anonymous.

12 August 2009

Pregnancy in 12 months or your money back

Sometimes when I read about products related to pregnancy or fertility (after picking my jaw up from the floor) I seriously fear for the future.

Cambridge Temperature Concepts, a British manufacturer, is now offering women a MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE if their new product, Duo Fertility, (£495) does not result in a pregnancy after 12 months.

That's right. If you don't get knocked up, you get your money back.

So what is Duo Fertility? Well! Just when you thought conception couldn't get any more un-sexy or more complication, this 'intelligent' fertility monitor measures your basal body temperature with such accuracy it can predict your ovulation up to six days in advance. According to the manufacturer:

"The sensor automatically measures and records your skin temperature, taking approximately 20,000 temperature measurements while you sleep (compared to just one measurement per day by most competing products). This allows easy detection of the upward shift in basal body temperature which is associated with ovulation."

Um, sounds comfortable. But here's the kicker:

"Data is transferred from the sensor to the DuoFertility reader wirelessly. You will then be able to see a simple display of your fertility status over the next six days on your reader, giving you plenty of time to plan a romantic evening in! You can consult the reader at your convenience - there is no need to have it with you all the time, and you don't have to use it at any particular time of the day or week."

Now, I know for couples dealing with infertility, planning and monitoring fertility is a part of daily life that most people don't even think about. BUT it REALLY ANNOYS ME that the manufacturer is GUARANTEEING a pregnancy. On the surface this totally implausible offer has the potential to lead many women, already suffering debilitating anxiety over their inability to become pregnant, to believe that if they simply monitor their fertility with this device they will magically become pregnant. If you actually read the fine print in the terms and conditions of the offer it says:

"There may be medical reasons (such as lack of ovulation) which will prevent our Products from assisting you becoming pregnant, but with which the product may assist in diagnosis."

What annoys me even more is that the company sells the product with the added bonus of free, ongoing consultation with fertility specialists. In reality, the company totally absolves themselves of responsibility:

"The consultancy services are for information purposes only, and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your doctor before using any Product(s), particularly if you are already under medical care. Always check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your condition or treatment. We are not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly for any form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use, misuse or reliance on information contained in or implied by the information provided to you during such consultancy."

What about the psychological trauma that results from using a device with the hope that you will get pregnant and then potentially ending up with no baby after 12 months of use?


11 August 2009

Angie's milk bar creepily immortalised

Straight from the man who brought you a sculpture of Britney Spears sprawled out on a rug on all fours giving birth to Sean Preston while holding a lion's head and Suri Cruises' bronzed baby poop, New York-based artist Daniel Edwards has decided to commemorate Angelina Jolie's tandem feeding in bronze based on her W magazine breastfeeding cover from last year.

The piece is called 'Landmark for Breastfeeding' and is meant to sit on a park bench. Edwards has depicted one of the babies to be of African descent in light of Brangelina's adoption efforts and humanitarian work.

"Hopefully, my sculpture inspires an increase of wetnurses to assist women who have concerns about mastitis, or passing HIV to their infant," he says of his vision for the creation.

Very deep. *rolls eyes*

07 August 2009

Tokyo preggos go nude

It's hard to believe that back in 2006, the image of Britney 'doing a Demi' for Harper's Bazaar was actually banned from display in Tokyo subway stations for being 'too stimulating'. A censored version with a big black band hovering over Brit's bump was used instead.

Being naked and pregnant, however, has suddenly become more popular with Japanese women. Apparently, a Japanese pop star called Hitomi posed naked and pregnant in an album photo in June 2008. According to local media, the picture was displayed on large billboards over busy streets in Tokyo and the related photo book became a bestseller, selling more than 10,000 copies in its first week of publication.

Now mums-to-be pay around 35,000 yen ($368.20) for a studio photo shoot, which takes less than two hours in "Ixchel."

"Before this boom, women didn't know where to go to take these kinds of pictures even though they wanted to. Because of media attention, they easily found our studio," said Natsuko Takada, the owner of photo studio "Ixchel."

This is really interesting because when I was in Tokyo in January 2007 I found absolutely no images of Japanese pregnant women who were showing skin. Maternity clothes were really dowdy and all of the parenting/pregnancy magazines targeted to young women used cartoons and other really childish images to talk about being a mother. Being a 'sexy' mum was definitely not culturally appropriate. Interestingly, as I noted in a post at the time, the only images of motherhood that were even remotely 'racy' were of Euro-American pregnant models.

06 August 2009

Nicole Richie: maternity designer?

Nicole Richie is now a maternity designer. She talked to PEOPLE exclusively about the new line for A Pea in the Pod, explaining that the collaboration works because “Pea in the Pod is such a known company for pregnant women. They carry great lines, and so when they asked me to create a line for them, I was really excited and eager to do it.” The collection hits stores on Friday.

05 August 2009

Jenna Jameson: back in the buff

Porn queen Jenna Jameson is reclaiming the naked crown 4 months on from birthing her twins. On the same day that she shot this ad for PETA, she was also shooting a new spread for Playboy. She credits her strict vegetarian diet , “healthy” relationship and paddle-boarding for her quick bounce back. Yowza.

04 August 2009

Breastfeeding baby doll

Oh man. Goodbye Barbie, Hello 'Glutton Baby' (Bebe Gloton, in Spanish).

Now it's no longer good enough for children to pretend to play house with a baby doll: children can now have a doll that they can breastfeed (and I assume this is targeted at little girls). The child wears a bra-like halter-top with daisies over the nipple area. When the doll is lifted to the flowers, it makes a suckling motion and sound.

Um...I don't know...The doll is supposed to spread the message that breastfeeding is natural...I can't help thinking that the daisies on the halter top look like pasties.

01 August 2009

Ma Mere and Baby Bump Project caption contest

Just when you thought that you couldn't possibly love The Baby Bump Project any more, lo and behold, I entice you with some more fun and frivolity.

Thanks to a fantastic new partnership with Ma Mere, an Australian online maternity lingerie store, my dear readers, you have the chance to win this gorgeous Blossom Gift Set (RRP $159).

What's the deal?
-All you have to do is caption the above photo. What is the pregnant model thinking and who wields power tools in their undies? The cleverest caption received between 1 August (today) and 11:59pm (UTC/GMT +10 hours) on 31 August will win the Blossom Gift set.

Is there a catch?
-In order for your entry to be eligible, you must be a fan of both The Baby Bump Project and Ma Mere on Facebook. Just type in each name in the search box on your Facebook home page and become a fan!

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and caption!

30 July 2009

Pregnant with no bump

Supermodels don't get pregnant, according to London Fog.

Giselle Bundchen shot these ads with a noticeable bun in the oven but um..her bump is mysteriously missing from the images which will be shown in a new campaign starting in October. Dari Marder, Chief Marketing Officer, explains:

"Although Gisele was photographed while pregnant, most of the shots have been retouched to respect her privacy during this wonderful and personal time in her life."

Seriously, since when has Gisele or Tom Brady, for that fact, every been worried about their privacy? She announced she was pregnant weeks ago!

London Fog = fail.

29 July 2009

Pregalates: Tash talks about the importance of exercise

Welcome to the first of many articles covering the issues of exercise during your pregnancy. There’s heaps of information out there, some of which can be conflicting and if you’re a first time mum, it can also be extremely daunting.

In my experience, the first thing people do when they find out they’re pregnant is start to worry about all the things they can’t do.

I’m suggesting that you turn that way of thinking around and focus on all the things you CAN do. Being pregnant isn’t a disease, women have been doing it for years all over the world and coping quite nicely thank you very much!

To drag your arse up to do anything when you’re pregnant is hard enough, but to drag your arse up to do exercise – get outta here!! Pregnancy is a time for sitting comfortably on the sofa with your feet firmly OFF the ground and your hand firmly IN a bag of chocolates…is it not?

Well, I’m here to try and convince you otherwise. I’m happy to share with you that nowadays, it’s widely accepted by midwives and GPs that exercising while you’re pregnant is more than just a good idea. It’s a way to keep body and mind focused on the job at hand – first class baby baking.

Stress hormones (or cortisol levels if we’re being technical) are heightened during pregnancy and as soon as you do any form of exercise, they get cancelled out with happy hormones (which can only be a good thing!).

Not only does exercise make you feel better emotionally, it also helps to reduce the likelihood of injury or those common complaints we all read about like back ache, water retention, sciatica (pain down the sides of your legs), difficulty sleeping, losing balance, weight gain….should I go on?

The first myth to dispel is that exercising whilst pregnant puts you or your baby at risk. Rubbish! (PROVIDING of course that you aren’t jumping out of planes or climbing bare rock faces unaided). It’s perfectly ok to start a new form of exercise and most people opt for pilates or yoga, swimming and walking. These activities are gentler than running or spin but still extremely effective.

Why you should consider exercising throughout your pregnancy:

• During labour you can concentrate on enjoying the process with the knowledge that your body isn’t going to give up on you
• Your body’s going to bounce back a helluva lot more quickly after all the fun’s over with
• You won’t feel as uncomfortable in your new body 24/7
• Varicose veins will be kept at bay
• Back ache will not raise its ugly head
• Water retention around the ankles will be something you associate ‘other’ people with.

I know what you’re thinking. “When am I supposed to find time to fit exercise into my day? I’m at work for 10 hours, asleep for 8 – I need to eat, wind down and relax.” By my calculations, that still leaves you with at least an hour when you’ve done all those other things, at least three times a week to do some exercise. I promise you (and I don’t promise things lightly, let me tell you 1) that your body, your pregnancy, your labour and your mind will all thank you for it in the long run and if you think you have no time BEFORE the baby arrives…..boy, are you in for a shock when it does finally grace you with its presence!!

I would love to hear from you! Email your questions about pregnancy exercise or anything else to tasha[at]pregalates.com

xx Tasha

Pregalates DVD giveaway question:

What is the scientific name given to the stress hormone that is heightened during pregnancy?

Remember: First person to email me with the correct answer wins . You must be a fan of both Pregalates and The Baby Bump Project on Facebook in order to be eligible.
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.