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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...
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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    baby looking up at mama

    Eating the placenta. It's not for everyone, which is why an increasing number of moms have opted to take "placenta pills," wherein the afterbirth is encapsulated and popped daily by postpartum moms for a little pick-me-up. But new research is warning this growing trend may not be the best thing for new moms -- or their babies.

    Scientists working for the CDC warn the popular pills, which are said to help ward off postpartum depression, have actually caused an illness in the child of one mom in Portland, Oregon.

    More from CafeMom: We Need to Talk About These Horrifying Baby Shower Cakes

    Born healthy, the baby was brought into an ER at 5 days old, with irritability, and tests were done. Docs eventually determined that the baby had late-onset group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS), which they traced back to the maker of Mom's placenta pills. 

    The problem? Researchers say the process of encapsulating the placenta does not "eradicate infectious pathogen," which means that those pills a mom is swallowing may contain diseases. That's bad enough for moms, but if a mom is breastfeeding while popping placenta pills, it stands to reason that said disease could then pass to the baby.

    More from CafeMom: 

    So far the CDC studies focus their solutions on doctors, rather than moms, and encourage them to ask mothers about what they may have ingested if an infant presents with a case of late-onset GBS infection. They also encourage educating mothers interested in placenta encapsulation about the potential risks of the process.

    Countless parents have reported that they found benefits from eating their placenta. Among them are women like Real Housewives star Kim Zolciak, who sucked down a placenta smoothie, and Girls star Gabby Hoffmann.

    But for moms who are debating whether or not to get their placenta encapsulated, this piece from the CDC findings may stand out: "No standards exist for processing placenta for consumption."


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Maxwell Drew Johnson and Jessica Simpson

    Jessica Simpson is one of those fierce female celebrities who can't be replicated. Except, well ... she kind of was. When Simpson and husband Eric Johnson welcome
    daughter Maxwell Drew, the world realized there was another little diva on the horizon. She's sweet, yet sassy. But don't take our word for it. Get a load of little Maxwell Johnson challenging her mom for the kick-ass woman crown. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    pregnant belly art
    pam_art_official/instagram

    Pamela Tapia had always dabbled in painting, but it wasn't until she got pregnant that she found her calling. She was working in a restaurant and got the brilliant idea to paint her own growing belly. Then people started asking: Can you paint mine too?

    Read on to see some of her beautiful work.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Kids lego store

    It's the moment many a kid dreams of: being trusted to shop solo. But for one New York State family, the decision to allegedly
    let a 10-year-old browse the aisles of a Lego store alone ended with a call to the cops, and the mom being arrested and charged.

    Yes, that's right. Police in Rochester, New York, accused 44-year-old Jia Fan of child endangerment for leaving her 10-year-old son at the Lego store while she was shopping in another area of the mall. She was issued an appearance ticket for the charge, rather than being hauled into jail.

    More from CafeMom: Mom Says 12-Year-Old Daughter Targeted by Predators on Popular Social Media App

    This isn't the first time a Lego store called the cops on a mom. A similar situation occured in 2014 with a 7-year-old on Long Island

    But if you're thinking, wait, a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old is comparing apples and oranges, we hear you. By the time they're 10, many kids are doing a fair amount on their own, and parents are A-OK with that.

    Laws in some states dictate exactly what age a child is old enough to be left alone, but most leave it up to the parents ... and New York is one of them. Here's the official take from the state's Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS):

    "OCFS is often asked questions regarding the appropriate age to leave a child alone, or what age is appropriate to allow a child to begin babysitting. There are no straightforward answers to these questions. All children develop at their own rate, and with their own special needs and abilities. Some children are responsible, intelligent, and independent enough to be left alone at 12 or 13 years of age. Likewise, there are some teenagers who are too irresponsible or who have special needs that limit their ability to be safe if they are left alone. Parents and guardians need to make intelligent, reasoned decisions regarding these matters."

    Makes sense, right? If a mom can't decide that her child is old enough and trustworthy enough to shop alone in a store, who can? We know our kids. We know if they're responsible or flaky, if they're prone to making bad decisions or good ones.

    We should be the ultimate arbiters of when they can be trusted to check out the latest Ninjago toys while we make a quick run to Sephora.

    More from CafeMom: Dad's Savage Punishment Note Inspires Major #ParentingGoals

    Police aren't saying how long the child was left alone, and it's understandable if store employees felt like they were being treated more like babysitters than what they are ... retail employees. We don't get to just drop our kids off in the toy store and hightail it out for drinks. 

    But if leaving your preteen kid alone in a store while you're in the same mall is going to land moms in jail, a whole lot of parents might be changing their plans this weekend ... 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    pink singer

    In case you needed another reason to fall in love with Pink, the mama of two served one up on social media. The "Just Like Fire" singer posted a photo of 6-year-old 
    daughter Willow perched on her bicycle, inside the family's home and half-nekkid. Because y'all, it's summer, and this is just how the Pink/Carey Hart abode rolls. 

    Hashtagging the image "#failingbeautifully," Pink said "Yeah my kid rides her bike inside. Without clothes. And helmets. While I ignore her and look at my phone."


    Does that look like a typical summer day in your house?

    Yup -- you and pretty much everyone else ... even if they won't admit it on social media.  

    More from CafeMom: 8 Reasons Moms Totally 'Can't' Be Sexy

    Pink is known for being an outspoken advocate of letting kids have a perfectly average childhood in which they do perfectly average kid things ... like stripping down to their undies because THEY ARE KIDS. Yes, even the girl children. Because allow us to repeat ourselves ... they are KIDS. 

    Naked summers are fun summers when you're Willow's age. They go hand-in-hand with push pops and squishing your toes in the creek bed. 

    So it's hardly a surprise that the fans Pink has cultivated with that attitude are coming out to thank her for being all about that life. 


    If you Google the words "80s childhood," chances are you'd see dozens of photos like this one, and they're all being shared by adults who withstood their parents' letting them ride the bike around the house in their underoos. Translation: Adults who don't feel like their parents harmed them in the making of said photos. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    Pink is just one of the brave parents out there screaming, "Hey, y'all, it's nice that we have lead paint–free cribs and car seats with actual safety mechanisms, but it's totally okay to let some of those '80s parenting tactics fly in 2017." Because little girls can get nekkid. And run around in their undies. And 20 years down the line, chances are they'll remember a really awesome childhood.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    It's that time of year when headlines about young children and hot cars begin popping up in the news -- tragedies that leave parents thinking about the unthinkable. That's almost what happened to Britta Eberle. Almost. The blogger behind the popular site This Is Motherhood shared a photo this week on Facebook of her toddler, who'd been forgotten in the car amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy summer day. The accompanying message is one that's quickly gone viral.

    The Eberle family arrived at a friend's home, and the child was left behind in the car because each member of the family thought someone else had grabbed her.

    "...No one remembered her," Eberie writes in her post. "And she sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us grabbed her. It was such a small mistake but it could have had devastating consequences."

    child left in hot car

    The little girl is luckily doing just fine. But Eberle decided to share her story anyway as a wake-up call to other parents about how easily mistakes can happen.

    "I usually think I'm a good mom," Eberle writes. "But I made a huge mistake today and I feel terrible. There are no excuses for what I did. And part of me doesn't want to share this. I don't want the world to know how badly I've failed. But then I think that I have to share this. I have to own up to my mistakes. I have to tell the world how far I am from perfect. And how if I did this, anyone could do this. And that scares me but also makes me judge a little less and makes me pay attention a whole lot more."

    More from CafeMom: 'I Left My Baby in a Hot Car': One Mom Shares Her Tragic Story

    Got that? Judge less. 

    Not surprisingly, the comment feed has already filled with people who are horrified, shocked, and appalled that a parent could accidentally forget a child in a car.


    In other words, plenty of folks refuse to believe the unthinkable could ever happen to them.

    Hopefully it won't. But moms (and dads) make mistakes. We do things imperfectly. And at the end of the day, Eberle has some wise words for them: Forgive each other -- and forgive yourself!

    "We are always so much closer to the edge than any of us realize," she writes. "Hug your babies tight and practice forgiveness. Forgive those that make mistakes, even if the person who you need to forgive is yourself."

    More from CafeMom: 

    This applies not only to leaving a child in a hot car, but to anything we do accidentally or because of circumstances that we can't control (think not breastfeeding "long enough," or losing it and yelling at our kids).

    We all have those stories and regrets. Most of the responses on the This Is Motherhood Facebook page are actually not judgmental at all. In fact, they're flooding in from other moms brave enough to fess up to being perfectly imperfect parents: 




    We can't change things that have already happened. But we can change how we treat moms afterward -- especially how we treat ourselves.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    Advertisers just got a lesson in how not to target moms, thanks to the beauty brand Dove's baby product line, Baby Dove. The company featured a breastfeeding mom in an ad timed to the UK's breastfeeding week. But while honoring nursing moms sounds like a good thing, it's the way the brand approached breastfeeding in public that has moms around the globe threatening a Dove boycott.

    The ad attempts to give a nod to the different ways moms feed their babies by serving up statistics that claim 75 percent (of who they don't specify -- moms? dads? aliens?) say "breastfeeding in public is fine" while 25 percent say "put them away."

    unilever breastfeeding ad

    The statistics aren't presented as a way to do things; rather, they show how people feel about public nursing. But the ad had some concerned that giving a voice to naysayers will prevent moms from feeding their babies when they're hungry, because they're being told once again that they should "put them away." And the reaction has been fast and furious.

    Twitter has been flooded with calls to #BoycottDove, and moms on both sides of the pond are weighing in on popular Facebook pages like Breastfeeding Mama Talk, expressing their concerns that the brand has given rise to anti-breastfeeding sentiments. 

    More from CafeMom: The Internet Is Losing It Over This Guy's Hilarious Reactions to Watching Childbirth

    More than a few have pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in using breastfeeding week to make lives harder for moms who nurse in public, something that already puts a target on mothers' backs. 

    angry tweet

    angry tweet

    More from CafeMom: 11 Must-Do Tips for Reducing the Risk of SIDS  

    Others are calling BS on marketing that pits moms against one another in a bid to make money.

    boycott dove tweet

    tweet

    Moms have to breastfeed in public, because kids don't only get hungry when the family is at home, lounging on the couch. But surveys show a full third of moms are still afraid to breastfeed in public, and one out of every 10 moms actually decides not to breastfeed precisely because of the fear of public nursing and the shame that's heaped on moms who feed their babies when they're out and about. Ads like this one certainly don't help to erase those fears.

    And, as if it isn't bad enough to make life harder for breastfeeding moms, anytime moms are put in a position of judging who does it better, all parents -- and their kids -- wind up losing. Moms parent differently because they have different kids, different family situations, and they are different themselves. Comparing us and pushing us apart only makes it harder for us to lean on that global village upon which we so depend to raise our kids to adulthood.

    Since the backlash started, Dove has responded with a statement that it supports both moms who breastfeed and those who do not.

    Dove response

    The brand is right -- there is no one "right" way to parent. But the right way to advertise to moms is via support, not by forcing them to take sides.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    baby photography
    Precious Baby Photography

    When Angela Forker started taking photos of babies, she tried to fit a "newborn photographer mold": neutral colors; minimal props; traditional poses. It was fun, but the New Haven, Indiana, photographer said it just wasn't her. Then came the scenes that have made her both a viral phenomenon and a highly sought-after photographer in the Midwest: bright, colorful, whimsical fabric "paintings," with babies right smack-dab in the middle of them.

    Read on to see how this photographer sent these babies on epic adventures in seriously creative photos.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    human chain at beach

    In case you needed a reason to smile today -- and really, who doesn't -- amazing photos are coming from a beach in Panama City, Florida, where a family of vacationers were pulled out to sea by a riptide. What's so amazing about that? Well, how about the human chain built by rescuers who linked hand in hand to stretch out into the ocean and rescue two kids and seven adults?

    Talk about the global village coming out to help keep our kids safe!


    The kids pulled out to sea were 8 and 11, according to CNN, and when mom Roberta Ursrey spotted her sons in the water, she and other family members tried to save them. Unfortunately, they too were caught in the current.

    More from CafeMom: Mom's Powerful Confession About Leaving Kid in a Hot Car Proves It Could Happen to Anyone

    That's when total strangers showed up to help. 

    "All race & ages joining together to save lives," wrote vacationer Rosalind Beckton of Texas, whose photos are quickly going viral, along with video of the chain of people that's some 80-people long working to get each person back to safety. 


    "I always feared the beach waters," Beckton, a mom herself, shared on Facebook. "I tell my son over & over don't go out far because of rip currents/undertow and all the added danger of the waters."

    More from CafeMom: 

    It's because of that danger that the human chain worked so well -- going in alone would have cost the rescuers just as it did the Ursrey family, but gathering together and providing an anchor to the shore enabled rescuers to stay safe while helping the family.

    "To see people from different races and genders come into action to help TOTAL strangers is absolutely amazing to see!" one rescuer, Jessica Simmons, wrote on Facebook of the experience. "People who didn't even know each other went HAND IN HAND IN A LINE, into the water to try and reach them. Pause and just IMAGINE that."

    It can be tough raising our kids in this day and age. The immediacy of Internet news means we know all about every bad thing that happens in our country and around the world. We see every day how powerless we are to keep our kids safe. And yet stories like this are an uplifting reminder that we don't have to do it all alone. There are people who are out there to help us and help our kids. 

    As mom Roberta Ursrey told CNN, "As a mama, I'm supposed to be able to protect them and do everything, and I couldn't do it that day. I had to have help, which I was eternally grateful for that."


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    boxed mac and cheese

    It's a staple in many a mom's pantry, but the boxed mac and cheese is under the microscope this week thanks to a report from the Coalition For Safer Food Processing and Packaging. Funded by a number of watchdog groups, the study released this week claims most macaroni and cheese mixes with powdered cheese contain dangerous amounts of phthalates, a chemical that's been linked in the past to hormone disruption and cancer. 

    So what's the deal?

    Scientists in Belgium tested 51 different cheese products available for sale in the US, and say they detected phthalates in all but one of the samples. The highest concentrations of the chemical were found in the cheese powder in 10 different boxed mac and cheese mixes, including ones with an organic label. Specifically, they say the average total concentration of phthalates in macaroni and cheese powder was "more than four times higher than in natural cheese."

    More from CafeMom: I Used to Be a Judgy Mom -- Here's Why I Stopped

    Before parents panic, it's important to note that food manufacturers aren't mixing chemicals into our kids' favorite dinner -- at least not phthalates. The substances are used in the packaging, not in the actual cheese powder, according to FDA. 

    Phthatlates, which are also found in everything from nail polish to soap to raincoats, have been deemed safe for food packaging -- at certain levels -- by the FDA. 

    "The substances in food contact materials may migrate at low levels when the materials come into contact with food," FDA Spokeswoman Megan McSeveney told CafeMom. "The FDA regulates all substances in food contact materials that are reasonably expected to migrate into food based on their intended use. This includes the use of some phthalates in food packaging." 

    McSeveney said the FDA uses scientific data to determine whether or not a substance that will come in contact with food is authorized for use. As yet, phthalates are allowed. 

    However, that doesn't mean things will always be this way. The FDA has received a submission -- an official form of a petition -- from the Environmental Defense Fund and a group of other agencies that called for the removal of phthalates from all food packaging. The agency sent back issues with the submission to the petitioners, so review of the request is on hold. 

    McSeveney says the FDA does continously review food additives and scientific findings. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    "The FDA’s safety evaluations generally focus on dietary exposure to the food contact substance, as well as available toxicity information on the substance, in order to determine if the exposure from the intended use is safe," she notes. "The FDA does not stop evaluating available information on a food additive once it is approved for use. The FDA continues to examine data on these compounds as it becomes available."

    In other words, the FDA's current stance: your kids' mac and cheese is OK. But they're keeping an eye on the science. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    All parents think their child is a miracle, but the mom and dad of toddler Eden Carlson have science backing them up on that. Eden suffered severe brain damage after she drowned in the family swimming pool in 2016, ultimately spending about 15 minutes submerged underwater. But doctors have been able to do the unthinkable for the Carlson family: They've reversed Eden's brain damage.

    A month after her accident, Eden was unresponsive to stimuli, and her body was constantly squirming. She was unable to do even simple toddler tasks, like walking or talking. But 55 days after her accident, doctors started giving Eden normobaric oxygen treatments, in which levels of oxygen are the same as at sea level. After 45 days, Eden seemed more alert and was able to move her limbs. Her family traveled to New Orleans for he next phase of treatment, where she went into a hyperbaric chamber for 45 minutes per day, five days a week, for 39 sessions.

    More from CafeMom: 4-Year-Old Dies of E. Coli & a Petting Zoo Is Being Investigated

    Researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine have released information about their unique treatments, and the results are nothing short of a miracle: Brain scans have shown that the gray matter in Eden's brain -- which showed significant damage after she was rushed to the hospital -- now show an "almost complete reversal" of the damage. Eden has regained her speech, and her motor function is almost back to its pre-drowning level. She's even up and walking! 

    The now-3-year-old Eden and her miraculous recovery are the subject of a paper in a medical journal, and her parents are hopeful that she's on the way back to being just like the other kids her age. 

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    The medical breakthrough isn't just big for the Carlsons. Unintentional drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the US, and every day 10 people die from it. One in five drowning victims is a kid 14 or younger. 

    More from CafeMom: This Is Why You Should Never Kiss a Newborn

    Even those who survive often have serious consequences -- the CDC estimates 50 percent of drowning victims who land in the ER require hospitalization or transfer for additional care. The brain damage caused by drowning has been linked to long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning impairments, and permanent loss of basic functioning.

    Drowning is such a major fear for parents because it can happen to anyone, and it can happen incredibly quickly -- almost literally in the blink of an eye. 

    But Eden's case could mean big things for the future of all drowning victims, especially kids, as doctors say it was Eden's still-developing brain that helped them in helping her.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Jackson Smith peanut allergy cure

    It's the kind of status update parents of kids with food allergies -- especially peanut allergies -- dream of posting. An Illinois mom has secured viral status with photos of her once seriously allergic son after eating not one, not two, not even three, but 24 peanuts! As Sarah Wynia Smith crowed in her Facebook post, "He scarfed down two handfuls of his allergen. And he liked it!"

    peanut allergy

    Smith is careful not to call this a cure, but she is not afraid to shout from the rooftops about son Jackson's success with what she dubs an "up-and-coming food allergy desensitization treatment program" called oral immunotherapy. In laymen's terms, that means Smith's son spent months eating small but increasing amounts of peanuts, carefully watched by doctors as they slowly exposed him to the very thing that previously sent the little guy into anaphylactic shock. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    Like an estimated 15 million Americans, Jackson has a food allergy, but his is particularly severe ... and affected everything about his life. 

    As his mom explains on Facebook, "I felt trapped and terrified almost constantly. He too was starting to get anxious about food that wasn’t safe. Any food with a trace of peanut in it could have literally killed him. This led to our family avoiding not only restaurants that served anything with peanuts (I know how “careful” food service is about cross-contamination), but things like baseball games, birthday parties, wedding cakes, potlucks. It was all just too anxiety-provoking for the benefits to outweigh the negatives to attending such things. It was very socially isolating in a way that I never truly appreciated until managing a food allergy."

    These days, that weight is lifted off of the Smith family, and immunotherapy like Jackson's is making major changes for a lot of other families too. 

    On study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences found that as many as 80 percent of kids with peanut allergies were able to incorporate peanut-containing foods into their diets after receiving peanut oral immunotherapy. And doctors have even developed a peanut patch to help expose kids little by little. 

    More from CafeMom: Toddler Who Drowned for 15 Minutes Fully Recovers After Cutting-Edge Treatment

    It's not easy to have a kid with food allergies. There are the parents who throw up their arms and think their kid's right to a PB&J is more important than another child's right to a safe classroom. And then there are the unwitting kids who pass on an allergen because they just down know any better. An estimated 40 percent of kids with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) non-profit.

    That's why stories like Jackson's are so important. They show that there is hope for kids like him, hope that one day they can go out and do what their peers do without fearing someone is eating some Reese's Pieces that could threaten their life. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    Because the existence of items labeled "reduced fat potato chips" and "sexy maternity wear" weren't enough to make the world explode, the folks behind Lunchables are now bringing us a new headscratcher. Behold two words you never ever thought you would see put together: Organic Lunchables.

    Yes. Your 80s childhood memories have just been desecrated. We'll allow you a moment of silence for your neon-coateed memories.

    But hey, now you can be that mom who gives her kids Lunchables AND the mom who tells the world her little darlings ONLY eat organic! It's a miracle!

    More From CafeMom: 

    Lunchables adding an organic option isn't exactly bad news. It's always great for parents to have quick and easy options for those days when they have just had it up to HERE. And if that quick and easy option is slightly healthier -- albeit expected to be priced about $2 more than the regular kind at $2.99 vs. the usual $1 -- that's good for all involved. 

    Well ... most involved, anyway. Some parents on social media are not exactly impressed with this move.

    [code]

    pic.twitter.com/NANfpwOWLy

    — janel b (@JanelBubba) July 25, 2017
    [/code]

    lunchables comment


    At the end of the day, it seems Lunchables are still Lunchables ... even if your kid's smothering their organic cracker in organic pizza sauce and topping it off with organic cheese. 

    More From CafeMom: Walmart Responds to Rumors That There's Lead in These Popular Kids' Shoes

    lunchables comment


    If you're riding that same "no way, no organic for me, thanks" train, don't worry.

    The old versions are still sticking around for the organic-scmorganic moms out there. (You know who you are, ladies, and there's no shame in giving in when your kids beg for a special treat either ... although whether they'll still pull out the pouty lip for a "certified organic option that's free of artificial preservatives, ingredients, flavors, and colors" remains to be seen.)

    On the other hand, if you're intrigued at the chance to go easy and organic on school lunch at the same time, you may just have the refrigerated section at the grocery store to yourself come August when the organic Lunchables hit the shelves.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    sperm
    iStock.com/Raycat

    If it feels like there are a lot more couples in your life who are struggling with infertility, you're not imaging things. And from the looks of a new study on men's sperm counts around the world, things are only going to get harder. Sperm is disappearing. Literally.

    The study, published in the most recent edition of the medical journal Human Reproduction Update, says sperm counts are down by as much as 59 percent for men in North America since 1973.

    More from CafeMom: Here's Why You Shouldn't Freak Out About the CDC's New Breast Pump Cleaning Guidelines

    The researchers from Hebrew University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City don't have a definitive reason for the case of the missing sperm, nor was that the aim of their study. But they note a concern that lifestyle issues play a major role, including men's diets and whether or not they smoke.

    The other major hypothesis from scientists? Men's sperm counts are precipitously dropping because chemicals in the environment are playing a devastating role ... in particular, prenatal chemical exposure and adult pesticide exposure.

    In a statement released to the press, Dr. Shanna H. Swan, a professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, noted, "Decreasing sperm count has been of great concern since it was first reported 25 years ago. This definitive study shows, for the first time, that this decline is strong and continuing. The fact that the decline is seen in Western countries strongly suggests that chemicals in commerce are playing a causal role in this trend." 

    Researchers say this means what moms are exposed to while pregnant could affect their son's sperm counts (and chance at grandchildren) years later. This falls in line with previous warnings that women who smoke during pregnancy can affect their son's future fertility, and those who eat hormone-packed meats can do the same. 

    But it's not all on moms (for once). Those chemicals our partners are being exposed to playing football in the park or eating veggies from the grocery store are also affecting our chances at having kids. 

    More from CafeMom: There Might Be a Pain-Free Alternative to Those Annoying Labor Progress Checks

    And while the study only analyzed data up until 2011, scientists warn this trend is not stopping. At least not until we get these dangerous environmental factors under control.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    kid helping mom with labor

    When a baby is born, life doesn't just change for the new parents. If there are older kids in the house, a birth changes their entire family dynamic too. It's no wonder an increasing number of parents are opting to invite their older children to take part in the birthing experience, allowing them to welcome their new siblings to the world.

    We asked moms and birth photographers to share some of the most amazing moments of kids helping their moms get through the labor experience. From little doulas to mini midwives, these kids show that birth is truly a family affair.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    newborn baby

    If you need proof that the human body is amazing, look no further than a recent birth in India. Doctors say a baby was born "pregnant" with his own twin brother. 

    If it sounds like science fiction, it's not. Known as fetus in fetu, and sometimes dubbed as a "parasitic twin," this rare congenital anomaly pops up in the news every once in awhile, when a baby is born with parts of another baby inside them. It only occurs once in about every 500,000 births. 

    Typically it's the baby's own twin who began to develop inside him or her. 

    More from CafeMom: Mom Warns About Sunless Heatstroke After Toddler Won't Wake Up From Her Nap

    pregnant with twin

    Technically, it's not a pregnancy. Not only was this baby a biological boy who did not have a uterus, but typically the second baby or part of one is found in the retroperitoneal area of the body (i.e., inside a part of the abdomen). 

    In the case out of India, doctors noted the in fetu twin during a prenatal scan, then removed it after the baby's birth. The mass had actual bones, arms, legs, and even a brain, although it was not a functional human being. 

    More from CafeMom: Mom Issues a Scary Warning to Parents After 11-Month-Old Falls From 2nd Story Window

    The mom's ob-gyn, Dr. Neena Nichlani, described the situation as a "case of monozygotic twin pregnancy sharing single placenta, where one fetus wraps itself around and envelops the other and robs the host of its nutrition." 

    "It can be implanted in skull, abdomen, or tail bone of the host," Nichlani told the media. "Sometimes it can also lead to the death of the host because both get nutrition from a single cord." 

    Fortunately, this little guy is going to be okay, although he'll have quite the story to tell for the rest of his life!


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    crying boy toddler porch

    Toddlers throw tantrums. And just about every parenting expert out there will reassure moms that it's typical toddler behavior. But when one California mom dealt with her toddler's tantrum by placing him on the family patio -- just outside an open window where she stood watching his meltdown -- she had no idea she'd be setting off a months-long battle with CPS ... or find herself arrested. 

    The mom, whose name was changed to Mary (no last name) in an interview with Mom.me to protect her family's identity, was apparently charged with misdemeanor child neglect, and CPS took both her toddler and infant away for months on end. Mary was breastfeeding, but said she wasn't allowed to pass on milk to her infant at first, and her kids ended up sick in foster care. A friend was finally able to take temporary custody, but Mary and her husband were only allowed to see their kids with supervision for months. 

    More from CafeMom: Babies With Down Syndrome Who Were Born 3 Days in a Row Reunite for the Most Adorable Cake Smash

    All this because a mom put her 2-year-old in time-out? A 2-year-old who was stealing his brother's toys and threw a hissy fit when his mom told him to stop?   
    The charges were all eventually dropped, and the kids were returned to their parents.    But as Mary told Mom.me:   "When this whole thing started, we kept on telling ourselves that we are glad there are good people protecting kids. But the longer it dragged on, the more we resented that everyone wasted time while other kids were in real danger." It's a real issue that can't be overstated. Sometimes kids are in real danger, and a call to CPS is warranted. No child should be left alone to suffer because someone is afraid to be that person who made the call.    But tantrums happen. And they tend to get worse when a kid is told no -- as Mary's child was -- and when he's disciplined, even via a simple time-out on the family patio under mom's watchful eye. This is part of typical child development, and it's important to assess the difference between "kid freaking out" and "kid being hurt."   More from CafeMom: This Mom's Sweary Surprise Pregnancy Announcement Is Winning the Internet  When in doubt, check in. Pop over to the house where the kid is carrying on like someone just stole his puppy, and see if he's being abused or if he's just very cranky that someone won't let him have his way.    Not taking the time to know the difference can turn lives upside down. 

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Robbie Tripp and wife

    A 26-year-old "entrepreneur" named Robbie Tripp wants the world to know that he is a body-positive feminist. His proof? An
    open letter to and photos of his wife, Sarah Tripp, which feature "declarations of love," like, "For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc."


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

     

    breast cancer mom gives birth

    Maria Crider was 11 weeks pregnant when she found the lump in her breast -- but her doctor was sure she was fine. "It could be a number of things. Cancer at your age is unlikely," he told the Orlando, Florida, mom. Unlikely didn't mean impossible. In fact, while cancer during pregnancy is uncommon, breast cancer is one of the most likely to pop up during pregnancy.

    Three weeks later, Crider got the diagnosis. She was 27, pregnant with her third child, and facing triple negative breast cancer, a form of the cancer that affects about 10 to 20 percent of all breast cancer sufferers and is most likely to show up in younger women.

    Crider spoke with CafeMom about her pregnancy and her battle with cancer, and her photographer, Bonnie Hussey, shared the moving photos of Crider giving birth to baby Logan and her fight to breastfeed her baby boy. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    target mom photo shoot

    Moms love Target. It's one of the universal truths that binds us together, along with yoga pants and secretly hiding in the bathroom to eat a chocolate bar once in a while so the kids don't see. And one Missouri mom has taken maternal worship of the big red bull's-eye to the next level. Page Miller scooped up daughter Avery, grabbed her photographer friend Heather Pippin of Inspired by a True Story Photography ... and set out for a maternity shoot that is pure mom goals.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    father disowns white supremacist son
    Pearce Tefft/Facebook

    Photos of the events that unfolded at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend have rocked the world. But for one North Dakota dad, the photos were personal. Spotted among the marchers at the "Unite the Right" march at the University of Virginia was Pearce Tefft's son Peter. And this dad's reaction to that news is going viral.

    What would you do if you found out your child was a white supremacist who proudly calls himself a "pro-white activist" when interviewed by news stations? Who uses phrases like "white genocide"?

    More from CafeMom: Twitter Is Roasting This Man Who Said Parents Aren't Teaching Their Daughters to Say 'No' the 'Right Way'

    This is Peter Tefft:

    [code]

    When we asked other #UniteTheRight attendees about their 'white genocide' claims, some of them responded violently pic.twitter.com/erxgZ3aFG1

    — Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) August 12, 2017
    [/code]

    Some parents might shake their heads and stay silent. But Pearce Tefft has made the brave choice to come forward, to speak out against hate and intolerance ... and to speak out against his own child.

    In a letter in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Pearce makes no bones about distancing himself from his child's beliefs:

    "I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son's vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home."

    Tefft admits that staying silent in the face of his son's actions in the past was a mistake -- a mistake that he related to the silence of people who allowed the Nazis to take power in Europe in the 1930s. So he's stepping out now, banning Peter from family gatherings and begging his son to "renounce his hateful beliefs and return home." He writes:

    "I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.

    "Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family's heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now."

    He later adds in his letter, "We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview." It's not easy when our kids disappoint us. They are our kids. We love them -- even when their views are diametrically opposed to our own.

    But we need to be wary of giving our kids a pass just because we love them. If we would be angry and horrified at the same actions in someone we didn't raise, then we should be angry and horrified at the actions in our kids.

    More from CafeMom: People Form Human Chain to Rescue Drowning Family at the Beach

    Pearce Tefft is in an unenviable position right now. But the world is depending on parents just like him to speak up, to say something, to tell their kids (yes, even the adult ones) that white supremacy is not and never will be okay.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    pregnant woman cup and spoon

    The debate over whether or not you can guarantee the gender of your baby has been swirling for decades. Some women swear they've found the secret to conceiving a boy or getting pregnant with a girl based on sex positions, time of the year, and more. If you're skeptical, you're not alone ... but scientists now say there may be a legit way to make sure you welcome a bouncing baby boy in the delivery room: food!

    The secret? Eating bananas. Well, bananas and other foods high in potassium. (And no, this has nothing to do with their phallic shape.)

    More from CafeMom: 

    The study, published by the Royal Society, claims that what a mom eats before conception can affect the gender of her baby. The researchers followed 740 women, who made seven-day food diaries before pregnancy. They found a correlation between high potassium intake and overall high nutrition before conception and a baby's sex.

    Want your next baby to be a boy? Then researchers say you should munch on foods that are packed full of potassium and calorically dense.

    Some great foods that fit the bill?

    Bananas (of course) Sweet potato  Halibut White beans  Plain yogurt

    Surprisingly, researchers also pointed to cereal as a boy-making food. Of course, there's no guarantee that a change in your diet will absolutely have an impact on your future baby's sex, but it couldn't hurt to try.

    You've heard the saying "you are what you eat"? Well, it may actually be that your baby is a product of what you eat.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    Does your child have an imaginary friend? Don't be ashamed to admit it -- nearly half of kids do, and scientists long ago decided that it might actually be good for our kids in the long run. But if you're a little freaked out by it, well, you're not alone.

    It's not always clear whether kids are making up imaginary friends because they're so creative or if there's some spooky supernatural stuff going on in their house. Don't believe in ghosts? Maybe this will change your mind ... parents have confessed online to some of the creepiest things kids have said about their imaginary friends, and some of it is bound to keep you up at night!

    More from CafeMom: 11 Times Kids' Halloween Costumes Were Legitimately Terrifying

    1. "My son, from the age of 3, always tells me about the 'creeper man' who lives in my mom and dad's bedroom. He brings it up after he visits them. I made the mistake once of asking what he looks like. My son said, 'Oh, he doesn't have a face.'"

    2. "'Mr. Gordy said there's money in the garden.' And there was."

    3. "My youngest son was 4 years old when he had an 'imaginary friend' named Sissy. He would tell me that she could only play at nighttime, which was why he was always playing in his room at night. He said that she would wake him up to play. He also told me that she told him her daddy had choked her and that was the reason that only he could see her. I know that when I would hear him up playing at night and I would go into his room, I would get goosebumps all over my body and the hair on my arms and back of my neck would stand up. It got to the point that I started making him sleep in my bed with me because she started scaring him rather than playing with him."

    4. "Once my son asked his imaginary friend, 'Can you please make me some grits and eggs too?' which is really creepy because my grandma made that right before she passed. So I asked who he was talking to. He said, 'Grandma Julie' -- freaked me out!"

    5. "[My son said] that Peter doesn't like me. And if I ever say that my son can't play with him again, Peter said he'll hurt me. He told me Peter died in a fire in his truck and that Peter said fire is 'real pretty, and I should be in it.'"

    6. "When my daughter was 3, she had an imaginary friend named Kelly who lived in her closet. Kelly sat in a little rocking chair while she slept, played with her, etc., typical imaginary friend s--t. Anyway, fast-forward two years later, the wife and I are watching the new Amityville (the one with Ryan Reynolds), and our daughter walks out right when dead girl goes all black-eyed. Far from being disturbed, she said, 'That looks like Kelly.' 'Kelly who?' we say. 'You know, the dead girl that lived in my closet.'"

    7. "My little brother's imaginary friend, Roger, lived under our coffee table. Roger had a wife and nine kids. Roger and his family lived peacefully alongside us for three years. One day, my little brother announced that Roger wouldn't be around anymore, since he shot and killed him and his whole family. I don't know if he remembers any of this, but his genuine lack of remorse was very disturbing."

    8. "When my brother was little, he acted like he had angels talking to him every second. One day my mom overheard him say, 'I can't kill him! He's my only dad!'"

    More from CafeMom: 21 Creative Halloween Costumes for Babywearing Moms & Dads

    9. "[My daughter] once woke me up around 3 a.m. to show me a scratch on her arm. She was about 3. When I asked what happened, she said the crazy kitty did it. We did not have a cat! I spent hours searching closets to make sure a stray or something hadn't gotten in."

    10. "When I was little, I told my dad, 'My friend said her daddy tied her up in the basement and hit her and hit her until she died, and now she's here! Her daddy is here too, but he doesn't like playing with her as much as I do.' I found out several years later that a little girl had been murdered by her father, who then hung himself in the attic."

    11. "My son has insisted he had a sister named Rosie since he was about 2. He said she was as old as him. I asked him to tell me more about Rosie, and he said, 'She's my sister but she didn't come with me.' It freaks me out because I had a miscarriage three months before I got pregnant with him."

    12. "[My child said her imaginary friend] died. She was struck by lightning and bled to death on the living room floor."

    13. "[My child] had two that would always show up together, 'S' and 'C.' C stopped coming around for a week or two, so I asked where C was. 'Oh, he died. He went into the woods with S and only S came back out.'"

    14. "When my mom was younger, she had an imaginary friend named Shaggy. When she was finished with Shaggy, she 'chopped him up and put him in the fridge.'"

    15. "My daughter used to tell me about a man who came into her room every night and put the sign of the cross on her forehead. I thought it was just a dream. Then my mother-in-law sent over some family photos. My daughter looked right at the picture of my husband's father (who has been dead for 16 years) and said, 'That's the man who comes into my room at night!' My husband later told me his father would always do the sign of the cross on his forehead when he was young."


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Thanksgiving table

    Happy Thanksgiving! It's that one day of the year when everyone -- even the crankiest of the bunch -- should be sitting down to take stock of the good in life and say thanks. If it were a perfect world, we'd all express our gratitude daily. But it's not always easy to know what to say. Still trying to figure out how to express gratitude over Thanksgiving dinner? Hopefully this will help. We've gathered our favorite quotes and sayings about gratitude and being thankful.

    More from CafeMom: 

    Looking for the right words to express how grateful one is can sometimes be tricky. One wants to be eloquent, but not too formal; speak from the heart, but not be too cheesy. And most of all, we want our loved ones to know how special they are to us and recognize how lucky our lives are. But what is the right thing to say -- what's the right way to express all that?

    We found quotes about gratitude and grace that will give folks the little push they need for inspiration. Consider sending these words to a family member just to let them know that their love means the world. And if it's too hard to say the words, go ahead and send them this slideshow.

    thankful quotes for thanksgiving