Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Myths about Circumcision You Likely Believe

Yesterday a friend of mine shared an article about circumcision.  I was surprised to see that she posted it since she circumcised her son.  This is what she had to say:

"Great article, the best I've ever read. Its very long, 6 parts but well worth the read. As the mother of a circumcised boy I tend to avoid these kinds of articles like the plague because I don't like people making me feel bad about a decision I made because I felt it was in my child's best interests. 

But as a parent I'm always trying to improve myself when it comes to things like carseat safety and parenting method. I always find myself learning more and more about what I'm doing wrong and I love learning so I can be a better parent for D and to my future children, so why would I not want to learn more about circumcision? Because there is soooo much conflicting information! This site says its best to not circumcise, this site says that site is lying that circumcision is best, this site... says that they are both laying and you should only cut off half... you get the gist. 

So once I made what I felt was an informed decision I stuck with it and didn't want to read anymore about it or watch any videos to make me feel the pain I felt when I handed Derek off to the surgeon, because what mother would want to relive that? I hoped I'd never have another boy so I didn't have to battle myself about this decision again, and I knew that if I had been a single parent D would still be intact because without Hubby wanting the circumcision I couldn't have done it, even if it had been for the best. 

But something urged me to read this article and I did, then I made Hubby (my stubborn husband who is very VERY pro circumcision) read it and we've come to the decision that we aren't going to circumcise any more of our children. So please just read this, it is chalk full of information and has actual references =)"

I applaud my friend of taking the plunge to find out more information.  I know it's not easy to learn the truth, but it is so important to try to continue to learn and to grow so we can be the best people and parents we can be.

Before i ever became pregnant my husband and i had decided that if we were to ever have a boy that they would be circumcised.  We felt that way because my husband is circumcised and because i thought that was just what you did.  I feel stupid now for begin so ignorant.   It was when my sister was pregnant with her first that she first introduced the idea of NOT circumcising to me.  I didn't even really realize that was an option! (again, i feel so stupid that i thought that)  I started to do my real research and i was blown away by everything i did not know.  I was so THANKFUL that i had found this information out before we ever had a son.  It pains me to think of the pain we would have inflicted on our child just so they could 'look like his father' and because i though that's what you were supposed to do.  Circumcision is something you can never take back.  Once it is done it is done.  I now believe it is a choice that should be up to the person who owns that body part.  The foreskin serves a purpose.  I'm amazed at how much i have learned about this piece of skin.  I am sad that my husband did not have the choice when it came to his penis and i am sad for the impact it has had in both his *and* my life because his parents were given the wrong information and did not seek to learn more.  I'm sad that i did not know growing up that my own father and brothers are uncircumcised and that i did not grow up knowing that was normal.  Again, i am so thankful that *i* did learn more and that our views have changed.   If my views can change, if my friends views can change why can't yours?

What are you afraid of?  Knowledge is power and it is only when we know better that we do better.  By choosing not to do your research you are choosing to be ignorant and that can cause more harm that you know.

I want to share this article with you and to urge you to read it, no matter what your view point on circumcision is.  You never know how you will truly feel until you finally receive all the facts.  It might hurt to read this article if you have already circumcised your child but remember, when you know better you can do better.  And even i learned some things from this article, so everyone can benefit from reading it.

I love this quote from the article:
As parents, we are entrusted by God or the universe or by nature with the care of our babies.  They truly are a gift, but one that we do not get to keep.  We have a responsibility to care for them as best as we can, because they cannot speak nor care for themselves.  Though they are babies now, and we have to make decisions for them, they will be adults, with minds and feelings of their own.  We need to make decisions for them that we will be proud to stand behind now and in the future.  If your son asks you why you had him circumcised, how will you answer?  "Because I am circumcised and I needed your penis to match mine?"  "Because I didn't trust you to be able to make your own decisions?"  When making this decision for your son, be brutally honest with yourself.  What does your decision serve: the child's rights, or your ego?"

And with that, will you be the bigger person and learn more?

Myths about Circumcision You Likely Believe

(This article can be a tad confusing to follow.  You'll read the first part by following this link and then you click on each of the next parts (2-6) to read the other points)

EDIT:  My friend decided to create her own blog to she could share your opinions and views and she started with her story of her son's circumcision and her journey to finding out the truth.  You can read it here: http://hippie-mommy.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-i-changed-my-view-on-circumcision.html

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Issues with the Milwaukee Ad Campaign

I am a little late on writing about this i wanted to be sure to write about my opinions on this issue.

By now i am sure you've heard about the Milwaukee Co-Sleeping ads and the controversy surrounding them.  If you haven't, here's a short summary. 

In a campaign to end co-sleeping in Milwaukee a series of ads were released to the public in the hope that it will scare parents into stopping co-sleeping.  Milwaukee has high 'co-sleeping' death rates and officials are trying to use scare tactics to bring those numbers down.  According to their campaign, for every 1,000 babies born there, more than 10 die before their first birthday. Among black families, the number is even higher, 14 out of 1,000.

I have a lot of issues with this campaign.  The first has to do with these two ads.

Pretty scarry looking huh?  My issue is that actually, yes, these ads are true!  Because sleeping with your baby in a bed with blankets, pillows, no adult in sight and not on their back *IS* unsafe!  But the ads are not trying to say there is a safe way to co-sleep, no, they are saying that ANY co-sleeping is just as dangerous as putting a knife in bed with your baby which is simply untrue!

According to research (here here here here here here here here here here here here here here) co-sleping can be safe, if not beneficial.  As you can see from the article above, time and time again sound research comes out that says co-sleeping can be safe, if done correctly.  The above ads would be an example of co-sleeping being done incorrectly and therefor unsafe.

Another issue i have with this ad campaign is that instead of trying to educate the population on how to SAFELY co-sleep instead officials are lumping all co-sleeping into the "danger" category.  They are not taking into consideration families finacial or living situations that may lead them to co-sleep.  Milwaukee was ranked the 4th poorest city in the nation last year.  I'm sure many parents do not have the money to buy a seperate safe crib for their babies to sleep in (And this is specualtion but i'm sure many homes have many people living in them so there is also lack of space).  I know the ad campaign is giving away free 'cribs' for those who cannot afford a crib but this does not solve the infant death situation since what they are giving are 'pack N plays' and pose dangers for babies to sleep in.  They are specifically excluded from being classified as cribs by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency that regulates the crib industry.

According to Consumer Reports:
"Play yards have also been associated with 47 infant deaths due to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment, between 1999 and 2004 (the most recent CPSC statistics)."

(Thank you to The Feminist Breeder for this new information)
I feel that be telling parents it is unsafe to sleep in BED with their baby that parents are going to instead resort to other places like the couch or recliner which are obviously unsafe to sleep in with your baby.

Instead i feel that there should be a major education campaign to share SAFE co-sleeping habits with parents.  I really do feel that this would be the best way since they are not going to abolish co-sleeping 100%, parents are still going to do it so they might as well know how to do it *safely*.  And lets be honest, crib sleeping is not 100% safe either!  Cribs are linked with many accidents and deaths as well.

"The researchers found that there were an average of 9,500 injuries and more than 100 deaths each year occurring in relation to cribs, bassinets, and playpens. They found that 83% of the injures were related to cribs." Source

I mentioned in my previous co-sleeping post the reqirements for safe co-sleeping but i'll list them again for your ease of research (i know, i'm so nice)
 Katie Allison Granju, author of Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child (which is a book i highly recommend), recommends these safety factors when co-sleeping (many can be applied to crib sleep as well):
  • When using a standard, off-the-floor bed, be absolutely sure that your baby cannot roll or fall off the sides.
  • Young infants should sleep between their mother and the bed rail, not between both parents or beside an older sibling.
  • Make sure that your mattress or futon provides a firm sleeping surface.  Never, ever allow an infant to sleep on a waterbed, featherbed, beanbag, deep pillowtop mattress or other inappropriately soft surface.
  • Never sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medication that makes you unusually groggy or sleepy.
  • Exceptionally obese parents should use a sidecar arrangement (crib attached to the side of the bed) rather than having a young infant in the bed with them.
  • Do not overload your bed with excessive pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals.
  • Never fall asleep on a couch, sofa, or overstuffed chair with your baby.
  • Do not stuff too many bodies into a bed with a small baby.
  • Make sure that your baby isn’t overdressed.  Remember, the body heat in a family bed makes most bedtime bundling unnecessary.
  • Dress your baby in safe sleepwear. Flame retardant with no strings or ties, just as you would if she were sleeping alone.
Another issue i have is with everyone saying that the babies died of SIDS in the family bed.  "Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age 1 in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death."  Many many many many many times the news and officials will mix up death terms and say a baby died of co-sleeping when really it was SIDS or they will say a baby died of SIDS when they became entrapped between the mattress and the wall.  They are not the same thing and people need to stop treating them as such.  And yet another issue i have is that Milwaukee officials are saying there are all these deaths associated with 'co-sleeping' but they are including deaths from sleeping with a baby on the couch which should not be considered co-sleeping and it is just that type of thing that confuses people about the safety of co-sleeping. 

Here is a good little list of the facts of Co-Sleeping and SIDS.

In my previous post i shared that we co-sleep (bedshare) with our daughter.  She is now 15 months old and has spent every night of her life in bed with us.  I feel that this has kept her safe and made breastfeeding successful for us.  (She had undiagnosed reflux until 7 months old and did not nurse well during the day.  I belive it was our constant nursing at night that kept my supply up.)  I also shared the story of how my daughter stopped breathing and me sleeping with her i feel saved her (see my previous post for this story).

Yes there have been struggles in the last year with sleep but i plan on having all our babies sleep in our bed from the day they are born.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm sorry if this post has been a bit jumpy and didn't flow well.  I was up all night with DD while she had a reaction to some crab she ate.  Crazy story there for another time. 

To end and summarize though i will share this news report from a Milwaukee news station.  It is a VERY good report that just goes to show you that you cannot always take what you hear as truth.

What are you opinions about this ad campaign?