Chicago Parent file photo Kasey Madden, mom of Sadie, fought for the right of moms to breastfeed anywhere, anytime in Illinois.

Why are you Bush bashing? I read your magazine every month. As a single adoptive dad of a newborn it has helped me get through the first six years of my son's life. My only complaint is the Bush bashing (“From the editor," July 2004). This does not belong in Chicago Parent. If I want Bush bashing, I will get The New York Times.

Peace is great. We are all for peace. But peace is not the absence of war, it is the absence of state-sponsored evil. I did not vote for our president, but maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the world will be a safer place for our kids. Maybe the Middle East has a chance for freedom, democracy and women's rights. Maybe a safer Middle East means a safer America.

We are at war and I believe as Americans we should stick together. If the civilized world sticks together we can defeat the terrorists. Please be honest and factual in your column. You say the 9/11 commission found no link between al Qaeda and Iraq but it did. They found no link between 9/11 and Iraq. ERIC SIMON, Berwyn

Don't forget mediation With great pleasure and appreciation for its message, I read your article, “Divorcing well," in the July 2004 edition. As a mediator attorney who has worked with many divorcing couples, I have long espoused the philosophy of healthy co-parenting that author Monica Ginsburg describes so well in the article.

While mediation was mentioned briefly, I think it's worth pointing out more directly that using mediation to dissolve a marriage is one of the best ways to minimize damage to the family. Mediation provides the arena for two people in conflict to reach their own agreement with the guidance of an impartial facilitator: the mediator. Holistic, efficient and less costly, the process promotes both parties taking ownership in mutually satisfying solutions, rather than hinging on the divisiveness created by litigation.

Because mediation is by definition non-litigious, choosing the mediation process to dissolve a marriage naturally sets the stage for creating the kind of healthy co-parenting environment described in the article. People learn to communicate more effectively through participating in mediation, and acquire tools to resolve conflict effectively moving forward-the very thing that enables parents to create the best environment for their children. It's my experience that, barring certain circumstances, it is almost always worthwhile to try mediation first, especially when children are involved. I have personally witnessed couples that have not effectively communicated in years reach agreements in a civil and respectful manner through mediation. ANNE CHESTNEY MUDD, Western Springs

Breastfeeding is not sexual I am grateful for Eryn McGary's article (May 2004) about my involvement with the Right to Breastfeed Act in Illinois. In August, a reader wrote in Feedback to express her concerns about this legislation and I thought I should respond.

The Right to Breastfeed Act is not a mandate to breastfeed; it does not mention bottle feeding at all. There is no judgment on a woman's decision to breast or bottle feed in the bill. But, since breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians (and others), it is just common sense to remove any barriers.

We even spend federal dollars on the Healthy People 2010 initiative, in which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks to increase the initiation of breastfeeding from its current 70 to 75 percent by that year.

In short, tax dollars are going toward an effort to nourish babies with breast milk. Yet, in half of our states, any buffoon with a confused notion of sexuality can discriminate against nursing moms and children.

For me, the decision to nurse my babies was easy, and I loved every moment of my cozy time with each of my three little sweethearts-every moment, that is, until I was so unjustly asked to stop and move. Before this law was signed by the governor, a bottle-fed baby enjoyed greater freedom than my sweet little Sadie and all of her breastfed peers– because they are nourished with mommy's milk. This just isn't right.

And please don't tell me to find a secluded place. If it's an appropriate place to bottle-feed, it's an appropriate place to nurse. I often have elected to move to a quiet place, but it isn't always practical, and should never be demanded.

The reader also wrote that she “had to look away" because she was so uncomfortable when a friend's breast was exposed while nursing. This is certainly her right, and is exactly what anyone uncomfortable with breastfeeding should do. It is a much kinder solution than demanding a nursing mom and baby move or leave. Adult biases should not trump a baby's right to basic nourishment.

In response to the letter writer's concern about modesty, here's what I wrote to Lifetime Fitness: “I need your admonition to ‘be discreet' about as much as you would need me to remind you to wear pants to work."

I am covered when I nurse my baby, not necessarily out of consideration for people who can merely look away, but because my own low body image threshold demands it. To be honest, I've never met a woman who uses breastfeeding as an excuse to expose herself. The motivation of a breastfeeding woman is to nourish and nurture her child. This isn't pole dancing, for goodness sake. It is loving and feeding a baby. KASEY MADDEN, LaGrange


Corrections A resource box in the August issue included outdated contact information for the Child Care Resource and Referral Service operated by Action for Children (formerly the Day Care Action Council of Illinois). The correct information is: phone, (773) 687-4000; Web site, www.actforchildren.org, and e-mail, childcare@actforchildren.org. Chicago Parent regrets the error.

About letters Chicago Parent welcomes letters from its readers. In order to publish a letter, we must have the name and phone number of the writer, and the name of the town in which he or she resides. Please send letters to: • Susy Schultz, editor, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302

• Or fax them to Susy at (708) 524-8360

• Or e-mail them to sschultz@chicagoparent.com.

We may edit letters for space or clarity. We will not divulge the addresses or phone numbers of letter-writers or forward messages to them.

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