By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Dec 16, 2004 at 5:03 AM

{image1}Once upon the '80s and '90s, if parents diapered their baby in cloth, slept with them in the same bed and carried them around in slings they were considered to be kooky or hippy or both. Recently, however, Dr. Sears introduced such practices to the mainstream through his best-selling books on "attachment parenting" and now, families all over the country are embracing this attentive, hands-on style of rearing.

Riverwest's Mia LeTendre is one of these parents, and she recently opened Mia Putia, a shop at 833 E. Center St., that helps attached parents find some of the products they need for their children -- and themselves.

"I wanted to help make the Riverwest community a place where people want to live and are able to shop locally," says LeTendre, who has a 10-month-old son named Siris.

Mia Putia, Sicilian for "my shop," offers a variety of local, national and international products including cloth diapers, incense, Burt's Bee's items, the Zen Baby line, essential oils, Doodle Bug products, German-made Weleda merchandise and more.

Most interesting is a body whip cleansing product that is sold by the ice cream scoop. "You use a little in the bath and it leaves a nice, lingering scent," says LeTendre, 24.

Although the sticker price is higher on some of the natural baby products than their mass-produced counterparts, LeTendre says it's worth the initial investment.

"Natural products ensure a healthier baby and you use less at a time," she says. "Plus, you don't need as many different products when you go natural. Johnson & Johnson makes diapers that cause diaper rashes so you need to buy their cream as well."

LeTendre, who grew up in central Wisconsin, and her boyfriend, Joe Linn, lived in Portland for a few years before the couple had Siris and decided to move back to the Midwest.

She is considering having parenting groups in her space and plans to network with local doulas and midwives to help educate about attachment parenting, natural childbirth, breastfeeding and homebirth.

"I had Siris in my apartment with a midwife," she says. "It was a great experience. Nothing went wrong."

LeTendre says owning a business was always a dream of hers, and now it's also a way to make a living without having to put her son in childcare.

"By owning my own business my boyfriend and I can raise our baby ourselves and also offer products to the community that I think are hard to find," she says.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.