Saturday, August 20, 2011

Babies are perfect. Keep them that way.

 Let me vent a little bit about circumcision.* First, why do so many parents (and I include my first time momma self with this) automatically make this decision about our sons PENIS by just agreeing with what we feel is most socially acceptable. It is his genitals for crissakes! Would we dare make a decision to alter the our baby girls genitals if they didnt look a certain way that might be more acceptable to some people? Hell no. Genital mutilation is a shame, and needs to stop everywhere. It is something that I wish every parent would look further into, and understand what the real reasons are for having this done to their son. If you are not willing to stay with your newborn son and watch them strap him down, maybe give him some tylenol, and snip off the tip of the most sensitive area on his body, then you should probably reconsider letting a doctor do it to him.

There are so many myths associated with intact penises.

Myth Vs Fact:Circumcison

Myth – Circumcising baby boys is a safe and harmless procedure.

Fact – Surgically removing part of a baby boy's penis causes pain, creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. Risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part or all of the penis, and even death. Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings.

Myth – Circumcision is just a little snip.

Fact – Surgical removal of the foreskin involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.

Myth – Circumcision is routinely recommended and endorsed by doctors and other health professionals.

Fact – No professional medical association in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary. In fact, leaving boys intact is now the norm in the U.S., with circumcision rates well below 40%.

Myth – The baby does not feel any pain during circumcision.

Fact – Circumcision is painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. The analgesics used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it. Further, the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.

Myth – If I don't circumcise my son, he will be ridiculed.

Fact – Times have changed and so has people's understanding of circumcision. Today, although the popularity of circumcision varies across geographical areas, more than 60% of all baby boys born in the U.S. will leave the hospital intact. Most medically advanced nations do not practice child circumcision. Three quarters of the world's men are intact.

Myth – A boy should be circumcised to look like his father.

Fact – Children differ from their parents in many ways, including eye and hair color, body type, and (of course) size and sexual development. If a child asks why his penis looks different from that of his circumcised father (or brother), parents can say, "Daddy (or brother) had a part of his penis removed when he was a baby; now we know it’s not necessary and we decided not to let anyone do that to you."

Myth – Routine circumcision of baby boys cannot be compared to Female Genital Mutilation.

Fact – Rationales offered in cultures that promote female genital cutting – hygiene, disease prevention, improved appearance of the genitalia, and social acceptance – are similar to those offered in cultures that promote male circumcision. Whatever the rationale, forced removal of healthy genital tissue from any child – male or female – is unethical. Boys have the same right as girls to an intact body, and to be spared this inhumane, unnecessary surgery.

Myth – To oppose male circumcision is religious and cultural bigotry.

Fact – Many who oppose the permanent alteration of children's genitals do so because they believe in universal human rights. All children – regardless of their ethnicity or culture – have the right to be protected from bodily harm.

Myth – Circumcising newborn baby boys produces health benefits later in life.

Fact – There is NO link between circumcision and better health. In fact, cutting a baby boy's genitals creates immediate health risks. The foreskin is actually an important and functional body part, protecting the head of the penis from injury and providing moisture and lubrication. Circumcision also diminishes sexual pleasure later in life.

Myth – Male circumcision helps prevent HIV.

Fact – Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex, including the use of condoms, can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
This myth vs fact exerpt from
*Also, to add my own little blurp here: Many people have expressed to me their concerns over how clean it it to be uncircumcised, or intact. But let me assure you, cleaning the intact penis is just like cleaning a finger, you do not retract anything and it is just wiped clean. Personal hygiene is important for any person no matter the foreskin or lack thereof, and can be just as clean or unclean depending on the level of hygiene.

Some tidbits of Info you should know:
Here are some facts regarding circumcision that most parents are unaware of, and some websites and many physicians fail to mention:
  • About 117 boys die each year in the United States as a result of their circumcision, most from infections or blood loss.1
  • The current U.S. circumcision rate is steadily declining. In 2010 it was 32% 2. That’s a huge drop from 56% in 2006 and 65% in 2002.
  • Most physicians do not have their sons circumcised.3 Why not, if circumcision is medically advisable? Since most have performed the surgery as part of their training, they are the ones who should know more about its consequences than anyone else.
  • Contrary to frequent claims, infants do feel pain as intensely as adults, and very possibly even more. 4
  • Circumcision regularly removes a shocking 3/4 of the penis’s sensitivity through the removal of the ridged band, foreskin “lips,” and most often the entire frenulum. 5
  • Anesthesia is used in only 45% of circumcisions; the type of anesthetic varies.6 The most effective method does not eliminate all pain, and the most common type used, a topical creme, does almost nothing to reduce it. In fact, a major clinical test of the various types of anesthetics, on actual infants, was halted for humane reasons because of the intense pain.7
  • As adults, men circumcised in infancy are 4.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED). They are also 1.6 times more likely to suffer from alexithymia, a psychological trait disorder which causes difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s emotions. 8
  • Circumcision has never been proven to be effective in either reducing or treating cervical cancer, penile cancer, urinary tract infections, or sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. 9
  • Not one medical association in America, or anywhere else in the world, recommends infant circumcision; some even recommend against it. 10
This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.
  1. Bollinger, D. Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths. Thymos: J Boyhood Studies, 2010;4(1), 78-90.
  2. El Bcheraoui C, Greenspan J, Kretsinger K, Chen R. Rates of selected neonatal male circumcision-associated severe adverse events in the United States, 2007-2009 (CDC). Proceedings, AIDS 2010, Vienna, Austria. 5 Aug 2010.
  3. Topp, S. (1978, January). Why not to circumcise your baby boy. Mothering, 6, 69-77.
  4. Anand KJS, for the International Evidence-Based Group for Neonatal Pain. Consensus statement for the prevention and management of pain in the newborn. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155:173-80.
  5. Sorrells ML, Snyder ML, Reiss MD, Eden C, Milos MF, Wilcox N, Van Howe RS. Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. BJU Int. 2007;99:864-9.
  6. Stang HJ, Snellman LW. Circumcision Practice Patterns in the United States. Pediatrics. 1998;101(6):e5.
  7. Lander J, Brady-Fryer B, Metcalfe JB, Nazarali S, Muttitt S. Comparison of ring block, dorsal penile nerve block, and topical anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. JAMA. 1997;278:2158-62.
  8. Bollinger, D., Van Howe, R. S. (2010). Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation (in press).
  9. Van Howe RS. A cost-utility analysis of neonatal circumcision. Med Decis Making. 2004;24:584-601.
  10. CIRP. Medical organization official policy statements. Available online at:

*And lastly, if you have the guts, watch this video. It is nitty gritty, gets down to the core of the issue, and very profane. But its good and very informative. *

Think before you make this decision for your baby boy. He was born perfect, why would you change that? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boys, slow down!

      This time period in my life I will remember forever. It has been extremely challenging, but rewarding at the same time. Not being near Zack, being more broke then ever before, having no house no place to call my own, and so many other worries that honestly I do not want to dwell on right now. But this uninterrupted time with my boys is priceless. I am probably taking it for granted that I am able to be home with them, but hearing them both snoring next to me now makes me smile and feel happy. Happiness seems few and far between these days, but I am working on it. 


Lincoln practicing his ring bearing. Photo by Amanda Kirk.

A few months later, at Mimis house

  •        I just can not get down how to parent my 3 year old. I KNOW how to parent a newborn/baby, Attachment Parenting works for them so easy, you just respond to their needs, but it is such a different story with a toddler. Or, maybe it is just his specific personality. He is energetic, strong-willed, determined, stubborn, and loves attention. It makes for a hard combination.So, I am doing what I can. Trying to be consistent. Trying to be firm and at the same time show him I love him. I see so many women able to never yell, spank, or punish thier children. I strive to be like that, but in all honesty it is a tough battle. The kid will not, and I mean NOT respond to my gentle parenting, even a stern voice, or me trying to bargain or reason with him.... NOPE! So this is my current battle with my blondie boy. This, and the potty using, which I fear will not be happening anytime soon despite my efforts.
  • Today we went to target and got a bunch of $1 toys and books and are putting together "potty prizes" yay! lol, My whole thinking on the reason he is 3.5 years old and nowhere close to potty trained is 1.) He loves the attention I have to give him when it is time for a diaper change. 2.) I think he actually likes the feeling of poop all squished up on his ass. 3.) Maybe he has like poop seperation anxiety or something, who knows?
  • This boy can show some love, though. Gah, he can hug and kiss you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy and it makes up for all the frustration I have been feeling with him lately. 
  • He is so smart, remembering things by picture and his vocabulary is increasing everyday. 
  • He really enjoys running. Loves being outdoors and playing with the dogs, or some frogs.
  • Lincoln also likes watching hims some Veggie Tales, when mama needs to get a shower in or wants to just chill for a little bit, ya know. 
  • I think he is/would be ready for school, if only he could get the potty thing down. Mentally I feel he is ready, and it would be good for him to be around some other kids, see how they are listening and obeying the teachers and also how they use the potty.  
  • I think he weighs about 32 lbs now, but he looks so skinny...with abs. 
  • Some things he says alot right now, "are you mine?", while pretending to hold a phone up, "daddy, your on speaker phone, dont talk like that, alright, ok!", "mommy, your my son". He says "this is ridicurous", or im terrifying, starting to use big descriptive words... and pick up on some not so good words. Yikes, gotta really really watch what we say around him right now.
  • Loves playing hi ho cherry oh, go fish, and matching games with me now 
  • Sees the neighbor girls at Mimis house and says" I see my gerwls!" Loves playing with other kids his age, just hasnt had much opportunity to do it very often lately.


Sweet 8 month old. At Mimi's house

beautiful picture from my sister's wedding. Photo by Amanda Kirk

  • Asher is about 19 lbs right now. He is crazy chunky, and oh so delicious! 
  • My sweet little hippy quiet baby is starting to get his personality. He gets mad when Lincoln takes a toy from him, and will let out a wail. He is still so studious and attentive but is definitely more charismatic when it comes to some things. 
  • He has had an on again off again rash for the past three months. It got so bad we had to take him to urgent care since it was bleeding profusely. 
  • He has tried alot of different solids and will nosh and gum them but for the most part this boy really just loves loves loves his momma milk.
  • Falls asleep pretty well, but still shuffles and moves alot in his sleep...waking himself up and crying. 
  • In the middle of switching him to cloth diapers, once we have moved fully we will start it full time. Thanks Atije I cant wait to try them out on him! 
  • This is definitely in an oral stage, everything goes into the mouth! Everything he can pick up he tries to eat. 
  • He giggles and gets so excited to see Lincoln, its the best seeing the brothers together.

Boys! You are growing so fast, and getting so big.... slow down please, so I can remember it all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Mama's Milk Week!

Asher has been exclusively nursing now for almost 8 months, and it was been quite an adventurous journey. Looking back I am astonished I have got this far. I set my mind to it extended breastfeeding this time around, and the way things are going I do not see the end in sight anytime soon, and I am totally cool with that. Four months ago, my perspective was completely different. Asher struggled with latching for months and months. I pumped everyday all the time off my left side to keep production up. It was rough. He finally got bigger and perfected his latch. Now it seems like those tough days were eons ago, but honestly I wasn't sure I could get through it. With the support of the local Le Leche League groups and many different conversations with lactation consultants and midwives we perfected our struggle for successful breastfeeding, and to this day things are running smoothly. Asher finally started gaining and getting very chunky, and I am so proud of him, and yes...of me as well.
Lincoln nursed with supplementation for ten and a half months, and I am so happy I got that time with him.

 It was a personal goal of mine to breastfeed this long (and longer) with Asher and any successive children that we have. I will cherish these days for the rest of my life. The bond that is forged through nursing is awesome, and the benefits are amazing (this is an entire other post in itself). I love my little chunk.

Breastfeeding is not always the easiest of choices(it can come with its difficulties-finding support from others is the best thing you can do), but it is always the best choice for your baby.
Here are some great resources on breastfeeding to check out: