Monday, June 02, 2008

Hot Topics

I recently mentioned how we have two months to go before due date. And that there is so much to do now to prepare. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, but oh so very happy and excited. I mentioned circumcision as one of the things weighing in, and it made me think about it more seriously.

So I wanted to address the circumcision debate, along with some other topics that, as I am learning, are controversial about baby and child rearing. Circumcision, vaccinations, public breastfeeding, and sleep. Mark and I have talked about these, and disagree only about circumcision. I would love to know your thoughts about these subjects.

Most men our age grew up with almost all circumcised male friends. It's a trauma that, mercifully, they do not remember. The argument for circumcision usually is about wanting the child to fit in and to not feel weird or different. And not to be teased because kids(and grown ups) can be so cruel. Also, that it is a matter of hygiene.
I believe these arguments are weak and false.
I could not knowingly let my little baby's sensitive little penis be cut and mutilated.
I just hope that I can convince Mark that it is not necessary at all and is just downright wrong. We'll see.

Vaccinations. This is also a real tough one. We are having a boy and the statistics for boys and autism are so frightening. Boys are five times more likely than girls to get autism. There are absolutely no studies done that I have found that medically link autism to vaccinations. But there are plenty of surveys(which even links vaccinations to every childhood problem) and personal accounts that do. There is the one case in which it was proved that a boy, who had a rare genetic disease, became autistic as a direct result of a vaccination in combination to his disease.
A catch-22. If I vaccinate, am I risking the health of my baby by exposing him to these risks? And if I don't, am I risking his health by leaving him vulnerable to measles and polio, and hepatitus B? No win.

And for a much less depressing subject: breastfeeding in public. I personally do not see the big fuss here. Imagine if it was illegal to breastfeed outside of your home? Some folks are freaked out by breastfeeding. I think that is their own personal issue. Women have been asked to leave restaurants, airplanes, and public parks because someone felt uncomfortable. Most women feel the need to go somewhere private to feed their babies and usually end up in the public bathroom or somewhere just as inconvenient and gross. I am not suggesting that public places have a nice clean comfy baby feeding room, but wouldn't that be so nice? I think that for the most part, folks are understanding, and we just hear about the isolated cases. Has anyone ever received any looks or remarks when feeding their babies in public?

The last touchy issue is about getting babies to sleep. Some parents use the cry-it-out technique when all else has failed. This is usually for older babies, nearing toddlerhood. Instead of going to the crib every time the baby cries, parents let the baby cry himself back to sleep until eventually the baby learns to self-sooth and get himself to sleep. With the books I have been reading, it is suggested that a routine, set up early and stuck to, should remove the need to ever to the cry-it-out thing. But what if some babies are just so resistant? I don't know. I have no experience with this at all. Yet. What are your thoughts?

It's amazing how many different ideas there are about parenting. It's amazing how many people get downright militant and defensive too. I think the most important thing is to do what feels right.


Anonymous said...

First, I recommend the book Child Development by Laura Berk. She refers to circumcision and "insecure attachment" regarding heeding infants calls.
You may have heard that the mercury-containing thimerosal was removed from vaccines a few years ago and, supposedly, autism rates have not gone down. If your OB is old enough, she should be able to explain the difference between the vaccines we survived and what's going on now. Also, two stories I have heard referred to multiple vaccinations in one day preceding severe behavioral changes. Chemist Boyd Haley has videos on you tube. I've also read that people are vaccinating infants earlier than used to be the case. Hepb, I think, was one problematic early vaccine I read about, maybe on the BBC website.
I've seen women respecting uptight people's feelings by covering their chests and not exposing themselves at all. If you are going to be alone, I imagine there is a greater safety issue than there used to be, but I've never been to LA.
Whatever strong-emotion arguments you and your husband are having maybe should be sorted out with the help of a therapist. There is a guy, Jeffrey Young, who helps couples recognize the emotional reasons behind strongly-held ideas and resolve issues effectively. His website is and when I emailed them, the woman who answered said that depending on the problem, someone might be able to consult with me on the phone. They may also be able to give you a referral to someone near you.
Good luck. :)
p.s. Sorry if you've heard all this before.

saffry said...

I breastfed Claire for 10 months, and I certainly didn't stay home the whole time. But I am very modest, although that wore off a bit as time passed. I definately am not a woman who would pull out a breast in the middle of talking to someone, it's just not me.

But I found that it was easy to find spots that were private and convenient. Start looking around now and you'll find lots of gems to visit later. Mall bathrooms with separate sitting rooms. Dressing rooms. Big Baby stores will often have Mother's Rooms. Parks where a bench or picnic table is in the shade away from a high traffic area. The car is always nice, comfy seats and a radio. In a restaurant, make sure you get a booth. Or you can just whip it out anywhere and strike a blow for motherhood and common sense.

I won't get into the vaccination debate like I did with circumcision. I got my kids done, but I can't fault others for their reaction to the conflicting reports.

paintrly1 said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

I have heard most of that before, but I appreciate your comments very much. Autism is so mysterious. And I just get very nervous anyway with what I have heard about multiple vacc responses in babies and children. There are so many conflicting reports out there, too, that it's impossible to be sure.

And our disagreements on the circumcision issue does not require therapy, but if we ever do in the future, I will seek it and appreciate all advice.

paintrly1 said...

Oh, and thanks so much for the book recommendation!

AllBeehive said...

Vaccines: We go on Wed. to get our 6 month shots and I can't tell you how nervous I am because of what happened after her 4 month ones. *gulp*

Boobies in public: You can definitely be modest about it, and it's usually easy to find a place. I've done it in restaurants, bathrooms, Malls, but by far Nordstroms has the BEST family rooms.

Sleep: Baby's sleep patterns naturally progress. I am against just letting a baby cry too early as you can't spoil a baby. Usually when a baby cries, there is a reason. But at a certain age, they do start to maniputlate you. I still don't think it is ok to let them cry for 15 minutes at a time. But if you've taken care of all of their needs and you need a moment to pull yourself together, letting a baby cry for a few minutes is ok. Babies do cry, and it doesn't make you a bad parent if your baby cries.

paintrly1 said...

Thanks, again, Christy!
I am so happy to hear that nobody so far has had any negative things with breastfeeding in public places.

And please don't worry! What happened to Hadley was just a coincidence!

Anonymous said...

re book:
You're welcome, and sorry about the therapy thing. I just love that guy's books.
I hope you can find enough information to help make the decision. It sounds scary.

ks1k said...

Oddly enough the subject of autism and vaccinations was on Good Morning America today. Jim Carey and jenny McCarthy were on and discussed it.


Corlis said...

Dear Joy Dear,

The days close in around you now for the birth of this miracle boy. Something happens now that is about continuum and glory, amazement and gratitude.

I was very happy to hear that you were having a home birth. As you labor, try to focus on women all over the world in so many different cultures who have done exactly what you are about to do. Submit to being a vehicle for this spirit who has some important work to do in the world with your brilliant guidance. Fear will inhibit the birth process. There is nothing to fear. Focus on the joy of holding and suckling your infant.

I understand Marks resistance to circumcision. However, in these matters, you will know not to allow anyone to mutilate your child. It is an old habit that continues. Have Mark read the History of Circumcision at That will help him to realize that by mutilating the genital of this infant, he interferes with the child's sexual enjoyment in his adult life and accepts, without question, the ritual practices of unevolved cultures.

Public breastfeeding of course if necessary. You will find that this becomes a non issue because most of the time you will want to cozy down during these times.

Get a breast pump now! If your breasts are engorged with milk, and chances are, they will be, the breast pump helps to get the milk flowing. Purchase "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding". It is an important book that you will want to own. You will refer to it often. If it hurts a lot when the baby latches on and continues to hurt, the baby is not latched properly. Baby's mouth should be completely open and the lips should cover the areola. Call LaLeche now and make a contact with one of their members. They make home visits if you need them in the beginning days of this activity. They are very helpful.

Baby should nurse ever two hours. If you start nursing him at 1pm, for example, you should nurse again somewhere between 3 and 4. Wake him during the day to nurse. Let him sleep at night. Drink an 8 ounce glass of water every time the baby nurses. What goes out, must go in! Offer both breasts. He will nurse longer on the first breast at each feeding. If you start with the left breast and then go to the right breast, start on the right breast at the next feeding. A safety pin attached to your bra that you can switch back and forth will help you to remember where you left off.

Sleep when the baby sleeps for the first month. I cannot stress this enough. You have one job and that is to nurse that baby. Laundry, cooking, all that other stuff is someone else's job for at least the first month.

Don't eat beans, onions, broccoli, cabbage...gassy foods, when you are nursing. Baby will feel that.

Cook now and put things in the freezer. Soups, stews, lasagna will all freeze well and that will make your life easier.

"it is easier to bottle feed a baby than it is to nurse a baby." Those are the words of a dear friend that I helped through the first six weeks with her new baby Isabella. The temptation to offer a bottle will be great. RESIST. RESIST. RESIST. There will be times in the future when Daddy and Grandparents will have a chance to feed the baby. This job is reserved for you and you alone.

CALL ME ANYTIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT AND I MEAN THIS. I am on Monhegan. I promise I can talk you through any challenge in the breastfeeding arena. Cynthia summoned me from my sleep at 2am and for the next 36 hours I was there to help her with any challenge. Isabella is now 16 months. She never had an ounce of formula and she has had one minor virus in 15 months. 207-594-7557....maybe we should talk a little before baby Covell arrives. Generally I am home every evening except that I am having dinner with Bob and Carol on Saturday. We all will miss you this summer Joy.

I understand the issues with inoculations. Here is my advice for what it's worth:
Do the important ones...rubella, dpt, measles, mumps, polio. They now offer flu is ok for the baby to have a virus. The rate of autism has sharply increased since I had my children and I believe that this is related to the inoculations.

As for pediatricians, I highly recommend a woman who has breast fed an infant for 1 year.
They are out there. You will find her!

Keep me posted. I will check the blog occasionally. You look glorious, radiant. What a lucky baby to have you for a Mom.

Much love,

PS. I sent these comments to What is your new email address?

Lynn said...

A doctor on NPR said that the official recommendation for water intake for non-pregnant adults is 64 oz. of fluid per day, of course including the fluid found in fruit,etc. Also, a cup of coffee counts as a half a cup of water. Overhydration is as dangerous as under. :)

Anonymous said...
maybe not relevant but it made me think of researching vaccine companies' safety records.