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 grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.