To-wen is a previous TV reporter/host turned freelance journalist who writes about parenting, education and family life style for a variety of publications. She had a rude awakening when returning to her previous newsroom after giving birth to her first child. Since then she has been dedicated her career to advocating for family-friendly policy and gender equity at the workplace, blogging about breastfeeding as a human right, and speaking out about breastfeeding barriers in Asian-American communities and beyond. She is also an award-winning blogger and a national best selling author in Taiwan.
Blog Post List
March 3, 2016
What if you were born tomorrow? Think about this: If you were born tomorrow, what are your chances of growing up healthy in a wealthy family? Well, let me tell you. You have a 25% chance to be born in a family living in poverty and a 0.6% chance to die before turning one year old. No, I am not presuming that you were born in a developing or an undeveloped country. I am saying if you were born tomorrow here in America, an industrialized country. This is how. If you were born tomorrow in America, chances are both your mom and dad work. Women are now half of the entire paid labor force and moms...
January 14, 2016
Frequent travel is part of my job. When still breastfeeding, I often flew to work with my breast pump and storage bags; flew home with my breast milk in coolers. During that 30 months, my dear pump and coolers have been to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Columbus, Austin, Taipei, and other cities with me. They were my best travel buddies. It was never easy, of course. Carrying extra luggage, finding time and place to pump, figuring out ways to store and ship the milk, going through the TSA security check… all of these make my business trips harder. I took it as a norm. Like all the other working...
December 11, 2015
When I was still a working reporter serving as a staff writer at a Chinese-language newspaper’s Los Angeles Bureau, I sat on the floor in the bathroom stall between assignments to pump breast milk for my then 3-month-old son while my colleagues went to bathroom, knocked on the door and occasionally told me to hurry up. After each pumping session I moved to the office kitchen to wash the pump parts, trying to ignore my colleagues stating behind me and saying “don’t wash your dirty panties here.”
November 25, 2015
Thanksgiving is around the corner. Today my two-and-half-year-old came home from his day care with a thankful turkey. Thankful turkey, you know, the classic construction paper turkey lists what children are thankful for. We had this conversation. “Mama, look at my turkey!” “Wow! And what’s this?” “Things I xiexie for.” “And what do you xiexie for?” “Udon noodle soup.” “…Anything else?” “Mommy and Daddy.” So my little one is especially thankful for udon noodle soup. As for myself, I am especially thankful for my child’s day care teachers. (I’m thankful for udon noodle soup, too! It’s what...
October 17, 2015
New data from Gallup suggests that 56% of moms would prefer to stay home with kids than work outside the home, and 39% of women without young children would like the role of a homemaker. This is down from recent years. According to Gallup, in the late 1990s to early 2000s, more than half of women would have chosen to work outside the home, if given the chance. Soon after that, the numbers flipped back to what we see today. The current numbers look like what one would expect from a society with members happy with the status quo, and may lead to the question: Who are groups like MomsRising even...
September 30, 2015
Chinese University of Hong Kong recently implemented a policy allowing mothers breastfeeding breaks. The policy was criticized by an anonymous Internet user, claiming it’s “unjust to men.” The post went viral and became the subject of a backlash from other Internet users. Some said, “We’re sure the university would gladly apply the same break policy to any man who actually get pregnant, deliver the baby, and breastfeed.” Forget about the amusing (and silly) debate, a recently published Australian study said that man actually can—and should—help with breastfeeding. How many people does it take...
August 26, 2015
On August 26, 1920, women achieved the right to vote in the US, thus the Women's Equality Day. On this very special day, I want to do something that I rarely do--write a little bit about my thoughts on this heating presidential election. Living in America, I often have an illusion that we women are completely equal to men. Unfortunately, whenever I have such an illusion, things always happen to break it. Something like, just yesterday, the GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump once again called the FOX anchor Megyn Kelly a "bimbo." Trump's twitter tirade against Kelly was soon challenged,...
August 5, 2015
I was a working reporter when I first found myself become pregnant. Six weeks into my pregnancy, the space shuttle Endeavour made its last landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The press lined up as early as 2AM to secure a spot in order to catch a nice footage. I was among them. When the space shuttle finally landed at 1pm, I have been stood there for 11 hours straight without even one bathroom break. I had heat stroke and was a little dehydrated; I thought I might lose my baby.
July 2, 2015
This past Sunday I joined other dozens of mothers for San Diego Day to Normalize Breastfeeding at Kellogg Park in beautiful La Jolla. Yes, it’s the day to “normalize” breastfeeding, not to “protect” breastfeeding. I used to believe that breastfeeding is something that needs to be protected, until a recent trip to Taiwan. I called the island home for 20 years, but I have not visited the “home” for a long time. I was surprised by what I saw during this trip.
May 14, 2015
This past weekend I joined a dozen of local mothers (and fathers) for a stroll walk , raising funds and awareness for the importance of human donor milk. Why donor milk? Well, much has been said about the benefits of breast milk for babies. It is the feeding method recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) and the World Health Organization(WHO). And for the 500 premature babies born each year who contract a potentially deadly disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), breast milk is more than the recommended feeding method. It can mean the difference between life and death...
April 17, 2015
This year, thank to the Child and Dependent Care Credit, I saved $400. How far can $400 go? For my family, it equals to one week of mortgage, or two weeks of groceries, or five weeks of gasoline. It may not sound much, but is indeed very helpful. Coincidentally (and unfortunately), I had an accident just a couple of weeks ago. I was hit from behind by an unlicensed driver. My 22-month-old was in the car when the accident happened. Since the other party was not licensed nor insured, I had to pay for the damage with my own insurance. I have a $500 collision deductible and the $400 child care credit kicked in just in time to help me fix my car and replace my baby’s infant car seat.
January 12, 2015
Just a couple of months ago, I helped to translate Dr. Glenn Doman’s Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby to Mandarin Chinese. At the beginning of the book, Dr. Doman wrote, “The early development of mobility in newborns is a vital part of their future ability to learn and grow to full potential.” When translating this sentence, I looked at my 20-month-old. Surely we all know that learning begins at birth and the brain develops faster between birth to age 3 than any other period of life.
December 24, 2014
On a recent Sunday in my church, a nice lady tried to feed my 18-month-old a piece of chocolate. She wasn’t happy when I politely said "no." “Come on, why don’t you give him a treat? It’s just a leftover Halloween candy,” she said, turned to my child, “I’ll give you a treat when mommy is not around.” The incident made me think. Surely our culture is strutted with candy and other junk foods. Every so often, I feel that I’m fighting against the whole world just to protect my child from junk foods. But I cannot be the food police around him 24/7. That “leftover Halloween candy” remind me that,...
August 2, 2014
Today's is the first day of 2014 World Breastfeeding Week. Just earlier this year, Iowa Public Radio broadcasted a remarkable story about Linda Eaton. Eaton was an Iowa City Firefighter. Thirty-five years ago, she continued to breastfeed her child at work against orders from her supervisor, and a breastfeeding discussion was launched locally and gained national attention.
May 9, 2014
This Mother’s Day marks a milestone for me and my baby—my first (and so far only) child just turned one year old, and I have continued exclusively breastfeeding him for one whole year, in spite of the two fibromas in my right breast.
March 22, 2014
What you want to know about the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law Earlier this month, ACLU Nationwide sent a letter to a Colorado employer, documenting multiple violations of the federal “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law. While calling on DISH Network to provide adequate space and privacy for its nursing employees, ACLU sent a clear message to all employers in the country: it is the employer’s sole responsibility to accommodate nursing mothers. Effective on March 23, 2010, “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law requires employers to provide break time and a place for hourly paid workers...
February 3, 2014
I took advantage of California Paid Family Leave after my baby was born. During that 12 weeks, I bonded with my baby by breastfeeding him as often and as long as possible; I also built a very good milk supply. By the time I went back to work when my little one turned 3 months old, I had two gallon of breast milk stored in my freezer. The working environment I returned to was, unfortunately, very unfriendly to breastfeeding mothers. I went through a long, exhausting process of fighting just for a reasonable pumping space and a harassment-free office, which caused me to be stressed out with my...
January 17, 2014
My job requires frequent traveling. As a journalist, I've been reporting from places such as quake-stricken Haiti, war-torn Mexico, and typhoon-damaged Taiwan. These are challenging works. The biggest challenge, though, is collecting and transporting breast milk while traveling. After all, I'm more a mother than a journalist. Lucky enough, America is a very breastmilk-country, in comparison to many of the countries and areas around the world. I never had a problem with carrying breast milk through airport security checkpoints, nor with hotel staff members to storing my breast milk for me. To...
December 23, 2013
(c) Gisele Bündchen Instagram There has been lots of discussion about supermodel Gisele's breastfeeding photo. I'm thrilled that she is nursing her 1-year-old. I also envy her for being lucky to have such understanding colleagues that she could multi-task like that. For many mothers, it's not possible to have their baby with them on the job and even asking for a reasonable time and/or space to pump at work is a challenge. I used to work for a company where I had to pump in the restroom and was harassed by my colleagues for washing pump accessories in the office kitchen. The fight for my right...
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