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13 Celebrity Advocates for Families

  • Covering Kids Award: President Barack Obama
    Can you hear them clapping, Mr. President? Eleven million children who'll giggle, laugh, and live long, healthy lives -- a few needle pricks notwithstanding -- thanks to you, who signed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) into law on February 4, 2009, just two weeks and two days after being sworn into office. The reauthorization of SCHIP, twice vetoed by former President George W. Bush, allocates $30 billion in federal funding to provide health care for kids whose families don't have coverage. Now, respectfully, can we do something about those measly maternity leaves?

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    (Photo courtesy of jurvetson, CC Licensed)

  • Righteous Nursers Award
    We can't get enough of the loud, proud, breastfeeding crowd, so let's shine the spotlight on three lactation champions. Snaps all around for Kelli Roman, the mom who first stood up to Facebook's ban on breastfeeding photos. Her petition, "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" has to date attracted almost a quarter million members plus nursing photos. Next, applause for the Marin Breastfeeding Coalition, a California advocacy group that launched a head-turning awareness campaign in January: These lactivists decked their 'hood with life-size cutouts of nursing women; the figures, which earned many second looks, informed gawkers that "when breastfeeding is accepted, it won't be noticed."

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  • Righteous Nursers Award
    Last but not least, props to Angelina Jolie, whose November '08 W magazine cover pic, shot by her guy, Brad Pitt, shows her nursing one of their twins. Thanks, Angie, for making it indisputable: Breastfeeding is beautiful.

    Bottles Up Award: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
    The busybody brigade included pediatricians and the paparazzi, and the whispering was loud and clear: Suri had to be bottle-broken, and fast. For nipples' sake, how could she be sucking on a ba-ba at 2 1/2? Did the couple known as TomKat, who smiled shamelessly as shutterbugs snapped their daughter holding a long-outgrown Evenflo -- in one pic she held a bottle in each fist -- not know how it would ruin her? Tooth decay and misalignment, speech impediments, and a lifetime of questionable drinking habits were all forecast for the celebritot. Kudos to Katie and Tom, who kept on with the p.d.b.b. (public display of baby bottle, that is) until they felt their child was ready to stop. The no-bottle-after-baby's-first-birthday rule is one so many of us break!

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  • At Your Service Award: Operation Shower
    A girl needs a lotta love while her little bun bakes -- and she might need extra if her guy's keeping the peace in the Middle East. "I wanted to recognize the price military wives pay, being alone while they prepare to give birth," says LeAnn "Lena" Morrissey, who, with cofounder Kris Jackson, started Operation Shower (operationshower.org) in 2007. Through their Shower in a Box and Unit Wide Shower programs, they've shipped boxes packed with tiny shirts, bath products, and other goodies to mothers-to-be across the country, and brought together pregnant women on large bases like Fort Bragg to be gifted with supplies and support. In all, with donations from Wal-Mart and other new-family outfitters, Operation Shower has surprised nearly 250 women whose partners are deployed.

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  • One Hot Mama Award: Salma Hayek
    "It's a lie! It's not true!" Salma Hayek exclaimed to Oprah, taking to task the some-would-say-myth that if you breastfeed, the baby weight disappears. "The only reason people lose weight like that when they're breastfeeding -- it's that they're not eating and they're breastfeeding, and this is not good for the baby," she declared. We give this glimmering paci to Hayek for her sane, honest attitude about postbaby weight loss; for her work with UNICEF in Africa ensuring kids there receive the tetanus vaccine; and for just being a real, cool mom. Salma, we love ya!

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  • Little Lungs Award: Jonathan Winickoff, M.D.
    Smoke gets in your eyes... lungs, skin, the sheets, and the sofa. And that's why Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and his team coined the term "thirdhand smoke," blowing the lid off the "secondhand smoke" theory that puffing tobacco out of sight protects spouses and kids. On the contrary, toxic cigarette residue sticks to objects and people, making it impossible not to pass on exposure. "The only real way to protect your infant is for everyone in the home to stop smoking," explains Dr. Winickoff, whose work led to an American Academy of Pediatrics program called CEASE (ceasetobacco.com) and new quitting initiatives that aim to reach parents in pediatricians' offices and hospital maternity wards. For turning the futures of babies everywhere from hazy to healthy, we salute him with a hearty, clear-lunged shout-out.

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  • Way to Rock a Due Date Award: M.I.A.
    Let's think back to what we did on our due dates. Ate. Paced. Complained. Counted our stretch marks. Complained some more. And definitely did not put on a tight, sheer, polka-dot dress, storm the 2009 Grammys, and tear up the stage with Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I., and Lil' Wayne. Nope, that was 31-year-old Brit rapper M.I.A., a.k.a. Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam. M.I.A. delivered a baby boy (no, his name's not Ickitt) three days post-performance, on February 11. A perfect encore to an unforgettable show.

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    (Photo courtesy of ethanhein, CC Licensed)

  • Moms in the House Award: Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
    The political road is a pitted one for all who travel it, but we have to hand it to both Sarah Palin and Kirsten Gillibrand for letting nary a bump slow them down! Alaska Governor Palin gave birth to son Trig, now 1, four months before being picked by John McCain as his '08 VP candidate; she sprinted the campaign trail baby on hip -- no eye bags or milk leaks in sight. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand offered stiff Supermom competition. The former Congressional representative endured a 13-hour House committee session the day before giving birth to baby Henry last May (she left work to a standing ovation!). A week after her child's 8-month birthday, Gillibrand was tapped to fill the senatorial slot vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    All politics aside, we present them this happy, slobbery pacifier: They seem to have found the magic formula for doing it all.

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    (Photo courtesy of geerlingguy, CC Licensed)

  • Smarty Pants Award: The E*Trade Baby
    Smart and sassy (we laughed our muffin tops off when he calmly spit up in front of the Super Bowl's 97.4 million viewers), not to mention market savvy, this kid and his financial commentary make us think twice about the future. For better or worse, the E*Trade tot is a hilarious reminder that today's little poopers will be running the world when we're the ones in diapers.

    Plus:
    2008 Stinky Diaper Awards: Celebs We Don't Admire
    2007 Golden Paci Awards
    7 Celebrities Who Have Adopted

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