Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace Code For 25% Off Purchase

I have been given a code for 25% off Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces from "Inspired By Finn".
I am going to post the code here, and I ask that if you use it to get the 25% off, you send me a message at, or post on the wall of the Facebook page for this blog, if that's easier for you.  (I need to keep track of the number of pieces sold.)

As far as I know, it's good for 15 pieces of jewelry, and if I can get that many pieces sold using the code, I can get an amber necklace for free.

If you want to know more about what amber necklaces do, click HERE for my blog post about them.

If this all works out, I will do some kind of contest to give the free necklace away to someone who follows my blog...whether here or on the Facebook page.

(I was going to keep the free one and order another one next month for a giveaway in December.  I decided instead to take advantage of the discount myself, and will now be giving away the free one I get if 15 items are purchased from "Inspired By Finn" before the discount code expires.)

The code is:  " DoBetter ".

*August 26th--posted on the blog's Facebook page.
*August 27th--posted here, and on my personal Facebook profile.

*August 29th--only 5 items left that will qualify for the discount.
*August 29th (9:30pm)--only 2 more items left that will qualify for the discount!!
*August 30th (10am)--ONLY 1 MORE LEFT!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Facing The Truth

One minute he's safe inside of you...warm and secure, he can hear your muffled voice and the sound of your blood flowing, and the beat of your heart...all is right with the world.  The next second he's being pulled from that safe place, into a world that is too cold, or too hot, and it smells funny. He can't see more than a couple inches from his face, and he has no control over his own body. Someone immediately starts trying to put something scratchy on his butt, then something itchy on his body. They poke him with needles, and stab his foot to draw blood, and he doesn't know what's going on...only that his thigh and foot hurt and no one is stopping it.

Then they wrap him up and give him to you.  You put him up to your breast, and he feels safe again.  He feels as close to being inside you again as he possibly can.  

"Finally...Momma...there you are..."Snuggled up to you he hears that familiar heartbeat he's known since his life began so many months ago, and is soothed by your voice. You are his whole world...the one person who is close enough to his face for him to see...the only one he WANTS to see. He just studies your features, amazed at how wonderful you are...finally he gets to see who was doing all that talking all that time. He falls asleep in your arms because just being with you makes him feel safe.  His trust and love for you in this instant will never be matched.  The world is scary, but with you there, suddenly everything seems like it might just be okay after all.

Then something happens. Someone he doesn't know comes and takes him. They walk quickly with him through hallways, and he's scared. All he wants is his momma.  He just wants to be in her arms...
hat happened...everything was perfect a minute ago..." They take him into a room, undress him, take off his diaper and strap him to a board. The board is cold, and it hurts him to be stretched out like that.  He can't move his arms or legs, and that's scary.  Someone puts a thin sheet over him, and it's so confusing.
"Where's my momma?  Her voice makes me feel so safe, and her touch calms me..."

 He can hear other voices, but can't recognize his mother's in the group, and he see fuzzy things moving around above him.  He's not sure what they are, but the voices are coming from those moving shapes.  He cries for you, but no one comes to save fact his cries are completely ignored until someone sticks a sweet pacifier in his mouth. For a moment he stops crying, not sure what it is in his mouth, but the sweetness makes him forget what's going on around him for a second. He sucks, and is soothed by that.

Suddenly he feels a hot burning. It's coming from down near his feet. He can't reach out and find out where it's coming from because his arms are strapped down...he loses his breath and flails his head around, searching for you..."Momma...Momma...!!"
Finally he manages to get a breath, and lets out a scream...again that sugary pacifier is put in his mouth, this time he chokes on the's not helping him forget what's happening as they tear the skin that was fused like a fingernail is fused to your finger, from the end of his penis. He cries and cries for you, choking and sputtering on the liquid someone keeps trying to stick in his mouth.
"Where are you momma? Why are you letting this happen? I thought you said I was so said I was perfect..."

He goes into shock as they cut through the skin to create a space big enough for the circumcision tools to fit into. Suddenly he stops fighting, suddenly he stops crying for help...he just lays there, closes his eyes, and imagines life before he met when you were a muffled voice and a heartbeat...back when you would have done anything in this world to keep him safe...

When they bring him back to you, his face is red, but his tears are dried. When he looks at you, he cries again.

He squeezes his eyes shut as hard as he can and thinks,
Where were you? Why didn't you come and save me?"

There is no Health Organization in the world that recommends routine infant circumcision.

"Why did you let them do this to me? You said I was perfect, momma... You said I was perfect when I was born, just the way I was...and you were right! I didn't need to live through this, and I will always carry a memory in my brain of crying for you and you not coming...the most horrible pain I'll ever experience, and you not saving me.  And now when they bring me back to you and I look at you and cry, it's because my heart is broken."

From the emotional and physical trauma he's lived through, he sleeps. He's trying to heal his body, and find security in the only way he can now. His trust in you was broken. He learned a harsh lesson about life and love, and he was only just tiny. He learned that only sleep will make it all go away, and that even when someone is supposed to protect you, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes all the love in the world isn't enough to make them ignore generations of misinformation to do what their heart tells them to do...keep their baby whole, as nature and God intended.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Breastfeeding Success!! Nikole's Story.

From the time I found out I was pregnant I had planned on breastfeeding, though no one around me thought it was a good idea. My mother-in-law, and three sister-in-laws kept telling me through my entire pregnancy that I would change my mind and that formula was just as good, as mad as it made me I just ignored them. My husband was supportive yet somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of it(its just a man thing i think). During my pregnancy many people got me formula and coupons for it as well, it almost seemed as though they wanted me to fail, but I was determined. On December 13th 2010 at 1:22pm I had a beautiful 8lb 10oz, 20 3/4in baby boy, Adam.

The hospital I was at very much encourages breastfeeding, and all of the nurses were very helpful. But for some reason Adam just wasn't able to latch properly. It was very discouraging. I almost gave up, there were about eight people in our room when Adam started crying, he was hungry, and I tried once again to get him to nurse, and he just couldn't, so I pushed the button and asked for formula. The nurse brought a little bottle and he sucked it down quicker than I could imagine, and sitting there in that room with me were all of those people looking at me and telling me, "You see formula is just easier" and "I told you you'd change your mind", it was heart breaking.

Everyone left and that evening I tried to nurse Adam again, he wouldn't take to it, and I a nurse came in to check on us. She asked how it was going and I told her awful, that i wanted to give up, when my husband stepped in and told me "your not giving up, your going to do this. Forget what my family says, you want to do this, and I know you can!"

That was the best feeling ever to know that he supported me. The nurse tried to help me get Adam latched on, and it just wasn't right. We discovered that I had flat nipples(I know, how could i not know? But its not like I was really comparing mine to others) She suggested a nipple shield, its a silicone cover that goes over your nipple, you moisten it and it suctions to your body, and as the baby sucks on the shield it pulls your nipple out and the baby feeds through the shield. So my husband goes to the store in search of this. He comes back with it, and not three minutes later, I'm nursing my son for the first time, and i must say its one of my proudest moments.
For the next three months Adam needed to use the nipple shield when he ate. It was a hassle but breastfeeding is worth it. I don't know how I would have gotten through those months if it weren't for my friend Angie. She lives in MD and I live in LA, but she really helped me through every time I felt like giving up. When Adam was about 3 months old I went to a La Leche meeting while I was visiting family in MD, I talked to the consultant about the problem that I had and she gave me a few tips. So that night I tried and after a little work, Adam latched on without the shield, and though he only ate for just a moment without it it gave me hope that he could learn. So for the next three weeks I would try to start the feeding without the shield and then when he refused to eat without it I would put it on. Gradually he would eat without it for a minute more, and two then four. And finally one evening he went through the entire feeding without it. After that I only used the shield at night(we co sleep and I just allow him to latch on and I would fall back asleep) after about two weeks of only using it at night he started refusing the shield all together and we haven't looked back!
Adam is now eight months old and still nursing. My husbands family doesn't like it, they think he is to old but I am planning on nursing for as long as he wants.
Breastfeeding creates a bond that is those who haven't done it wouldn't understand and those who have cant explain. Any problem you encounter with breastfeeding, can be fixed, all you have to do is find the right person to help you through it.
I want to thank Nikole for sharing her story here.  You're a fantastic momma, and your son is as lucky to have you for his mommy as you are to have him as your son.  xoxo

A Random Moment Of Appreciation

I've been sitting around for days trying to figure out what to post about.  Then, tonight at the grocery store, it happened.  I had the moment. 

See, we took the kids out WAY too late, and they were tired when we left.  Of COURSE they were going to be moody when we got there.  (Common sense, right?)  But considering the time, they did VERY well.  We put the two girls together in one cart, and my son in another.  I pushed the girls, and Daddy pushed our son.  We were about half way through the shopping when my son started his screamthesamewordoverandoverandover thing.  It can get to me, I'm tellin' ya.  But since I know that he needs some special attention in these moments, I had my hubby take the girls, and I took him.
He screamed a few more times.  He was very clearly looking for a reaction.  So...I gave him one.

I leaned over him and I wrapped my arms around him and kissed the top of his head, then his nose.  I told him he sure had been being such a good boy, even though I know he was tired and bored.  I told him that it was nice that we were going to be able to spend some time together shopping while Daddy took the girls for a bit.

The look he gave me was one that I will carry in my heart forever.  He stopped yelling completely, wrapped his arms around my waist and said "I like you Mommy."

These children are my world.  My reason for being.  They aren't the children you see on tv that are perfectly well behaved every second.  They are REAL kids, acting like real kids.  They have moments that they test me.  (Some days more than others.)  But these children have changed me.  I have learned that it doesn't matter how they behave.  It's up to ME as the adult to decide how I'm going to react to them.  It's up to ME as the adult to choose what message I want to send to them.  And from every single experience I have with them I grow.  It has become very clear to me that these children have made me a better person than I ever could have been without them.  (It tears me up a little bit!)

So, my post today is about appreciation and learning life lessons from my own kids.  They are gifts, and should be treated as such.  I could not imagine my life without my kids, and wouldn't want my life any other way. 

I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to put into words exactly the feeling I have for these three little people.  "Love" isn't a strong enough word, and "thankful" is an understatement.  They are my heart. 

And though it might not be a big deal to some people, my son telling me that he "likes" me is just as important to me as when he says that he "loves" me.  I'm glad I'm someone he likes, and doesn't only love because I'm his mom.
Life will change...they'll grow up and move out...but I hope that no matter what, I can always be someone that they LIKE, as well as someone that they LOVE.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Mother’s Tale Of Regret; Educates Pregnant Friend

Posted on
Dear friend,
I have started to write this to you several times but I have always deleted it and pushed it aside from my thoughts because I am so torn on whether or not to speak out to you. I am torn because I don’t ever want anyone to feel like I am telling them how to raise their children or what they ‘should’ do, but on the other hand I never want another mother to live through what I have lived through or carry the guilt that I do. I know you are expecting a beautiful and healthy, precious baby boy. Along with welcoming this new human being to the world, you and your partner hold the decision of whether you will circumcise him or leave him intact (un-circumcised). I do apologize that this will be lengthy, but when it comes to a decision that will affect your child for the rest of his life taking a little time to do some research is not a lot to ask. I wish someone had told me to just do my OWN research before making a decision.

As you know, I have two boys. They are both circumcised. Is this something I regret? Yes, it is. Mason was born healthy and happy, one week early at a whopping 8lbs and 4oz. He nursed wonderfully! He took to it right out of the womb and I was so happy to see him being nourished from my body. Day two of his life came and it was time to have him cut. I didn’t really give it a second thought, my husband is circumcised and so are several other men that I know and they’ve never had an issue with it. So to me it was not that big of a deal. However, something within me rose up and I began to sob and yearn to hold my baby boy tight and kick anyone’s ass that came near him. It’s amazing how fast your protective motherly instincts kick in and also depressing at how quickly we are told to ignore them. “Don’t cry, it’s not a big deal. He will be fine” These are the reassuring words that my nurse left me with as she carried off my perfect son.
I cried so hard that I passed a massive clot and had to be evaluated by the nurse. Still, I allowed him to be taken and he was brought back to me asleep and wrapped in a little blanket. “He is so tired” I thought to myself “poor little guy must be worn out.”
We packed up our things, loaded the car down with stuffed animals and gifts from our family and friends and headed towards the house at an exhilarating speed of approximately 20 miles per hour—you know how new parents with a brand new baby drive. We got to the house and I tried to rouse my sleeping infant to nurse because he hadn’t eaten in almost 3 hours but he was having none of it. He did whimper a little as I tried to get him in any position that he would nurse in, but he was just too sleepy. I didn’t know at the time, but circumcision is a huge stress on a baby’s body and they go into a deep sleep after the procedure to help them try to recover.

I was beginning to worry because he hadn’t eaten in a while and I remembered the lactation consultant saying to change his diaper to wake him up a little so he would eat. So, I was off to his perfectly placed and prepared nursery to do his very first diaper change at home. When I pulled the diaper back, I was in shock. There was the head of his penis, bloody and raw with some Vaseline gauze stuck to the diaper and a small portion still stuck to his surgical site. I very gingerly pulled at the gauze and succeeded in trying to “wake him up a little.” He screamed…boy did he scream. I applied the Vaseline to his penis like I had been instructed and quickly re-diapered him. I pressed him against my chest and began to sing to him and walk around and bounce him. He calmed down and was finally alert, so I attempted to breastfeed him. As I was trying to position him and handle both his floppy head and my engorged boob (which takes some practice at first, so don’t get frustrated) he began to scream again and he would not nurse AT ALL.

What had happened to my perfectly nursing infant that I had held in my arms that very morning? I didn’t know at the time, but circumcision has long been known to interfere with successful initiation of breastfeeding. Often the babies are too tired to nurse and the pain they feel when held in most breastfeeding positions keeps them from wanting to nurse. No one told me that. Not a single person ever mentioned any risk to circumcision actually. I know you want to breastfeed, so I thought that was something you should be aware of.
I eventually gave up trying to get him to nurse and pumped and fed him from a bottle because I was a worried new mom and was terrified he was starving to death. This was a slippery slope to him refusing the breast at all and only wanting pumped milk from a bottle which eventually led to me supplementing with formula and then fully putting him on formula. Could a lactation consultant have helped me through this? I’m sure she could have, but I didn’t know they were available for consultation outside of the hospital.

For 12 days, I applied Vaseline at each diaper change and had to wash his but in the sink with each bowel movement — which is A LOT of times when they’re newborns– to keep feces off his wound. His penis healed nicely and he’s not had any issues with being cut. What I mean by “no issues” is that he has luckily escaped many of the all too common complications that come with circumcision. Complications that are swept under the rug and rarely discussed when consent is being retrieved for it to be done.
His younger brother, my sweet Carter, was not quite as fortunate.

When Carter was born, my experience with Mason had put me ‘on the fence’ about the issue of circumcision but I was still (unfortunately) not 100% sold on either side of the issue. My biggest fear was that he would resent me if I left him intact because he would look different from his brother and father—an issues I will address later. Plus, my whole family was pushing these ideas in my head and making me believe it was the right choice. I chose to not have him circumcised in the hospital because, while I had not really done any research into it, I knew in my heart that something about Mason’s circumcision caused us to have so many difficulties with breastfeeding. I waited instead for him to be at least 2 weeks old so our breastfeeding relationship would be better established.

When he was 16 days old, I took Carter to the pediatrician to be circumcised. I had seen 3 circumcisions performed in nursing school (all with anesthetic) but never really close up because nursing students are always shoved into the background as “shadowing observers.” In 2 of them, the babies slept for most of the procedure or sucked on a nurse’s gloved finger. The 3rd one I saw, the baby screamed the whole time. The doctor’s hands were shaking and both I and my friend Jennifer had to leave the room. We had to leave because they made us and because we couldn’t handle hearing the baby scream any more. God, typing that is heart wrenching. I saw this incident and STILL allowed it to be done to my child against my better judgment and instincts. I can’t help but wrestle the thought in my head “what kind of monster am I?”

I signed Carter in at the desk, and the nurse came from the back to get him. I asked to go back with him and after much arguing, I was allowed to go with him. I had to sit in a chair in the corner incase I passed out. The doctor talked to me throughout the procedure and explained everything as he worked. First Carter was laid in a circumstraint where his arms and legs were tightly restrained and he was rendered immobile. This did not please my newly born baby who was accustomed to being cradled in a manner that resembled my womb and made him feel safe, so he started to cry. The nurse donned a clean glove and dipped her finger into some glucose water and he seemed pleased to suck on her sugary finger.

Next, the doctor set up his sterile field, applied his sterile gloves, and draped Carter’s penis. The doctor cleansed the whole area with a betadine solution and then said “okay let’s get started.” He drew up a local anesthetic into a syringe and explained where he was injecting it and how it made the whole foreskin and the head of the penis numb. When he injected the shot, Carter winced and let out a small cry but the nurse offered more sugar water and he returned to sucking on her finger. After several minutes and more injections, the doctor assured me that Carter was fully numb. In newborns, the foreskin is fused to the head of the penis. It retracts on its own as the child ages and hormones change. The fusion of the foreskin is actually a very protective mechanism in an infant; it keeps feces and bacteria from entering the urethra and causing infections during the diaper period of a baby’s life. However, this fusion of the foreskin presents quite an issue when the foreskin is cut off, so it has to be separated from the head of the penis before circumcision can be performed. So, the doctor shoved a pair of forceps between the foreskin and head of Carter’s penis and began opening them over and over, effectively ripping the foreskin off the head of the penis.

Next, he used a clamp to make a deep indent in the top part of the foreskin; he removed the clamp and then took a pair of surgical scissors and cut along the line he had just made with the clamp. After this, he asked the nurse what size Gomco clamp she thought my baby would need and he held it up to him and they both agreed it was a good size. The doctor put the clamp on Carter’s penis which covered the head and protected it from accidental amputation which is a risk with other devices used during circumcision—yes, partial or total amputation of the head of the penis is a risk and has happened. Then the doctor pulled the foreskin through the device and clamped it down. He then used a scalpel to make a cut all the way around the penis and this removed the foreskin completely. The clamp was left on for several minutes to help prevent any ‘excessive bleeding’. The clamp was then removed and Vaseline gauze was applied. Carter was diapered and we were sent home.

I took him home and he nursed but very lazily; he just wanted to sleep. So, we slept for a good 2.5 hours before he woke crying like he had never cried before. I realized from the blue line “wetness indicator” on his diaper that he had just peed and my heart sank. He was crying because it stung so badly. Imagine peeing on a deep cut on your thigh, it would hurt–and I knew that’s what he was feeling. I changed his diaper and again had the same sick feeling in my stomach that I had when I had seen Mason’s newly circumcised penis. I followed all the instructions for after-care to the T. I heaped on Vaseline and washed his penis and bottom when he had a bowel movement until the open wound had healed.
However, something just didn’t look quite “right” to me. His penis would draw into his body and almost be hidden. I was worried about this, but I could push the skin back and it would pop right back out like a little turtle head. I went to the pediatrician and he assured me this was normal and it was happening because he was so chubby and as he aged and slimmed out, his penis wouldn’t be able to retract into his chubby ‘fat pad.’ During his exam, he had also noticed that Carter had a slight adhesion. Meaning that even though, I had done everything correctly, he still had a circumcision complication.
The skin had re-attached to the head of his penis in a spot it shouldn’t have re-attached to and it had to be “manually separated.” This entailed Carter’s pediatrician using his fingers to rip apart the two pieces of skin that shouldn’t be together. I’ll never, until the day I die, forget what my poor baby’s face looked like. A look of shock, terror, and immense pain all rolled across one tiny, innocent face. He opened his mouth to scream and nothing would come, he gasped for air until he found his breath and wailed uncontrollably—I will take those screams to my grave. I again had to go through many days of Vaseline and bottom washing to prevent infection and keep the adhesion from re-attaching.

Carter’s now a blossoming 14 month old toddler but his penis is still somewhat buried in appearance from time to time. Usually I take his diaper off and it’s not buried, but he still has part of his foreskin. When he was about 7 months, a nurse practitioner examined him and told me he has an “incomplete circumcision.” Meaning only part of his foreskin was removed. So, essentially he went through A LOT of pain for a penis that’s still not “circumcised” and for a penis that doesn’t match his brother or his father. All three of them look different. Just like there’s not a set of women out there with matching vaginas, a son’s penis will never ‘look like his fathers’ whether he is circumcised or not. Everyone’s genitals are different, just like our hair, face, eyes, and body shape and we should embrace our bodies and our differences.

In conclusion to a very long story that was very painful for me to share, the message I am trying to spread to you is do your research. Watch some videos of infant circumcision on youtube, google “circumcision risks”, talk to men who are intact if you know any, google “functions of the foreskin”, just DON’T do like I did and make a decision based on someone else’s feelings. I’m going to attach several links to some sites that I wish so badly that I had seen before my boys were born. I will warn you that some are gruesome to look at, but if you can’t stand to look at it, think about how it would feel to endure it. I am also going to list some “myths and thoughts” on circumcision to give you some things to consider when you make your decision. No medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision and there are no proven medical benefits to having it done. It is a cosmetic procedure done for purely aesthetic purposes. This is why Medicaid will no longer cover the procedure in most states, because it is not medically necessary.

If you want to talk to me more, I will gladly discuss anything with you in an open and un-judging manner. Like I said in the beginning, I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do, I’m just asking you to do something I never did and RESEARCH the issue and then make your decision. I’ll never forgive myself for what I have done and it’s a guilt I will always carry with me.

Myths and misguided thoughts on Circumcision”

1. “It’s just a piece of skin”
-Actually it’s not ‘just a piece of skin.’ The foreskin acts in a protective manner much the way our eyelids protect our eyeballs. It covers the glans (head) of the penis keeps it lubricated and moist. In a circumcised penis, the glans is always exposed and rubs against clothing and underwear all of the man’s life-it becomes dried out and loses some sensation.
-Also, the foreskin contains 20,000 yes TWENTY THOUSAND nerve endings that are responsible for sensation and sexual pleasure. All of these are lost in circumcision. Can a circumcised man still enjoy sex? Of course he can still enjoy it, but not as fully and as intensely as he was designed by nature to experience it.
-The foreskin represents at least a third of the penile skin. It protects the glans from abrasion and contact with clothes. The foreskin also increases sexual pleasure by sliding up and down on the shaft, stimulating the glans (head) by alternately covering and exposing it. This can occur during masturbation or intercourse. Friction is minimized, and supplementary lubrication is not needed. Without the foreskin, the glans skin, which is normally a moist mucous membrane, becomes dry and thickens considerably in response to continued exposure. This change reduces its sensitivity.

2. “He’ll be made fun of in the locker room”
- Thanks to the internet and other resources, parents are finding out more and more that circumcision is not necessary and the practice is declining. In the 1980’s the U.S. circumcision rate prior to leaving the hospital was at 83%. In 2005, the number had reduced to 56% and continues to decline. Also, with the increase in the Hispanic population (a culture that does not routinely cut their boys) the number will continue to fall. So, no fear on this one, he won’t be alone. Plus I don’t know any group of young men that stand around and look at each others penises. I asked my husband “During the entire time you were in football, did you or anyone else stand around and look at each other’s penis or compare them?” His response: “That’s the gayest thing I’ve ever heard. No, most of us went home and took showers after practice anyway.” So, what he said was not the most politically correct statement but you get the point…

3. “It’s for hygienic reasons”
-Numerous medical studies have shown that simply rinsing the foreskin with water is enough to clean it and keep the man healthy. Women’s genitals have many more “nooks and crannies” than an intact penis does and we don’t routinely cut off parts of our little girls (side note: Female circumcision was LEGAL in the United States until 1995). We also teach girls to wipe front to back to prevent infections, so why can’t we just teach our boys to wash? Circumcision is also very uncommon in many parts of the world—Worldwide, 80% of men are intact. If it is such a health issue to be intact, than 80% of the world’s men must actually be doing perfectly fine or they are hiding their problems well.

4. “I don’t have a penis, so I am letting my husband/partner make the decision because he knows more about it.”
- No, you do not have a penis. However, this baby is just as much your child as he is your partner’s and circumcision is a life-long choice that needs to be discussed together and a decision made together.

5. “It’s much better to have it done when he’s a baby. He won’t feel it or remember it.”
- True, he won’t be able to remember the procedure, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have affects from it that will last his lifetime. Most circumcisions are performed with a local anesthetic but that does not mean that they are pain free.
The only way to know if a local anesthetic is working is to pinch the skin in that area with forceps or some other tool and ask the person “can you feel that?” If they can, you know you need to give more anesthetic or go to something else for pain control. So, to say the baby can not feel anything because they’re “numb” is ridiculous. Yes, they ‘could’ just be crying because they’re being forcibly held down but it’s also very feasible that they are still feeling some or all of the pain and that’s why they are screaming. Like I said, there’s no way to ask an infant “can you feel that?”
The only way to 100% guarantee a painless circumcision is to use general anesthesia and no hospital in their right mind is going to use that on an infant because it’s far too dangerous. They will use it if the baby needs emergency heart surgery or something of that sort but they will not do it for a cosmetic procedure, which they all agree that circumcision ‘is’ a cosmetic procedure.
So, the argument that it’s better to get it done when they’re small is just nonsense. It’s better to leave it alone and let the man choose. A grown man who chooses the procedure is afforded the option of general anesthesia, he gets narcotics when he goes home, and he doesn’t have to pee or poop on an open wound. A baby goes home with no pain medicine and then has to urinate and defecate multiple times on an open wound.

6. “It’s just a simple snip and it’s done”
- Circumcision is a surgery with real risks and complications including the possibility of death. There is nothing “simple” about it.

7. “It’s so much easier to clean”
- Like I explained earlier, the foreskin is fused to the penis at birth and separates over time. As an infant, the care of an intact penis is easy. Just wipe it off like a finger. As the boy ages and the foreskin is retractable, just pull it back, rinse and put it back. Easy enough.

8. “It looks prettier”
- Really? I don’t know how someone can use that as an excuse to do something painful to a baby. Plus, he may no think it looks “prettier” when he gets older and realizes all the benefits he has lost from being cut.

9. “His future partners won’t like it or will be grossed out”
- If my child meets someone who judges him based on how his penis looks than he/she is obviously not ‘the one’ for my child. We’re all different and it’s an important part of life to teach our kids not to insult or make fun of others for their differences. Plus, if my sons meet a woman of European descent, I doubt she will think it looks “better” since being intact is their norm.

10. “He will be glad I had it done when he was a baby”
- You don’t know that for sure. In fact, just the opposite could happen. There are numerous stories of men who have had botched or even “successful” circumcisions who grow up resentful of their parents choice. They feel like something was taken from them without their consent-which is true. Leaving your baby intact gives him the freedom to make choices about HIS body.


Make sure this video starts at the beginning; I have to fix it almost every time I watch it:
A story of infection in a circumcision wound-
A video of a circumcision showing the circumstraint and the procedure
Another mother’s tale of regret:
Circumcision and its effect on breastfeeding:
Complications from circumcisions-including partial amputation of the glans (head)
The ultimate risk of circumcision:
CDC Rates of circumcision

Monday, August 15, 2011

On the FDA and Domperidone

This was found HERE.
First written in June 2004 by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
Revised February 2009

As a paediatrician who deals now only with mothers and babies who are having difficulty with breastfeeding, I am very concerned about the warning about domperidone which was issued by the Federal Drug Administration in the US on June 7, 2004. It warns breastfeeding mothers about getting domperidone to enhance milk supply because it conceivably can cause cardiac arrhythmias.

The FDA has basically come up with a political statement. They seem really bothered because people were going around using a drug which they have not approved. The deaths (and I believe there were two) occurred with intravenous domperidone, which is never used any more and has never been used for enhancing milk supply. Domperidone was given intravenously in huge doses to patients who were sick with other problems as well, notably cancer for which they were getting chemotherapy. Domperidone was being used to decrease nausea and vomiting. Some patients were getting 1000 mg of domperidone every 4 hours intravenously, compared to our usual dose of 30 mg 3 times a day, taken by mouth. It is also likely that some of the chemotherapy drugs the patients would have received have cardiac side effects (for example, doxorubicin) and it was the combination of the huge doses of domperidone intravenously plus other drugs that caused the problem. Furthermore, unlike what the FDA has led people to believe, perhaps unintentionally, these are not new cases, but 2 decades old.

Why didn't they mention metoclopramide in their warning, which is far more dangerous (it can cause severe depression in oral doses, which domperidone does not) and is also being used off label to increase milk supply in the US, but which, on the other hand, is available and approved for gastric motility problems in the US? Can it be that they are not concerned about the danger but rather the threat to their authority? Here is part of a letter I received about metoclopramide and domperidone as a result of this to do about domperidone. “ on domperidone for gastroparesis. She's 5 feet tall, and lost over 20 lbs...down to 82 lbs. And why is she on domperidone? Because she had depression and SEVERE panic attacks with the Reglan (metoclopramide). She was in and out of the senior psych ward all last spring. So my folks get domperidone from outside the US.”

Why didn't they mention the danger to diabetics, if they are so concerned, for whom some endocrinologists in the US are prescribing domperidone for gastric paresis? Why specifically for breastfeeding women? Why not specifically for diabetics who are at much greater risk of cardiac arrhythmias than women of reproductive age?

Why did this warning come out exactly on the day that the National Breastfeeding Campaign was to begin in the US?

I have used domperidone, in infants (for spitting up) but mostly to increase milk supply in women, in thousands of women, without any more than the occasional mother getting mild headaches or occasional menstrual irregularities or mild abdominal cramping as side effects. I cannot say the same for metoclopramide which I saw causing severe CNS side effects, aside from depression.

I have personally seen two children die of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome after taking Septra. If I have seen two, how many have actually occurred in the US and Canada? Why no such warnings on Septra? I have, as a medical resident, seen at least one person die and several get severely ill after taking ASA, from gastric bleeding. In overdose, many children have died and many have become seriously ill over the years because of ASA. Why no such warning on aspirin?

Many women have died and many more severely injured from taking the birth control pill. Why is it not banned?

The issue comes up about providing a drug for women in good health and that we should not be treating healthy women with a drug. I disagree. With all the talk about preventive medicine, when it actually comes down to trying to prevent illness, it is all lip service. The data are clear. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes in the mother. In the baby it decreases the risk of diabetes (type 1 and 2), obesity, hypertension, high LDL/HDL levels, otitis media, asthma, and allergies, gastroenteritis, and and in premature babies, necrotizing enterocolitis. The first 4 of these are all risk factors for atherosclerosis, the most significant degenerative disease in affluent societies and the biggest killer. The data are clear that breastfeeding results in better cognitive development in children. The data are less clear, but suggestive, that breastfeeding decreases the risk of certain cancers in children (Hodgkin's and non Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast cancer in later life), multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Thus, we should do all that is reasonable to maintain and increase the success of woman who are breastfeeding. If this means that, in some cases, we use a drug that, in my experience of using it with thousands of women, is safe, with only minor side effects, we should have that option. Of course, there is no such thing as a drug which never causes side effects, and there are probably very few approveddrugs (yes, even approved drugs) out there that haven't killed someone, but if one weighs the risk against the benefits, domperidone can do much good. I will continue to prescribe domperidone to women when I feel it will be useful. It's a shame, though, for women in the US to be deprived of this drug. The FDA says that it will monitor the border to make sure none gets through. Good for them. With heroine and cocaine getting through their borders as through a sieve, it's great that the US can now be sure that their borders are safe against an influx of the dreaded domperidone. What a waste of manpower! What a waste!

Questions? First look at the website or If the information you need is not there, go to Contact Us and give us the information listed there in your email. Information is also available in Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers in the USA); and/or our DVD, Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding (available in French or with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian); and/or The Latch Book and Other Keys to Breastfeeding Success; and/or L-eat Latch and Transfer Tool; and/or the GamePlan for Protecting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the First 24 Hours of Life and Beyond.

To make an appointment online with our clinic please visit If you do not have easy access to email or internet, you may phone (416) 498-0002.

First written in June 2004 by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
Revised February 2009
All of our information sheets may be copied and distributed without further permission on the condition that it is not used in ANY context that violates the
WHO International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (1981)
and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Hemangioma...A Post For My Baby Girl.

When my daughter was born at 4:41pm that (freezing) cold November day, she was perfect. I want to say one more time...she was PERFECT. Chubby, beautiful, healthy. Wonderful exactly as she was made. Right after she was born they put her on my chest so we could have a little snuggle, and then they took her and wrapped her up so that Daddy could have a chance to meet his newest princess. As he was holding his baby girl, the nurses were talking with me as they were filling out their paperwork. I asked to nurse her, since it had been about 15 minutes since she'd been born, and while I was doing that, they asked me about the "birthmark" on her belly. Did anyone in my family have one? Did I? (During both of my pregnancies, I developed a huge brown mark around my belly button to go along with the dark line that went down the entire length of my belly.) I told them that my mark wasn't a birthmark, it would go away several months after my pregnancy was was the same thing that happened with the twins. The nurse said she thought it was something that "started with an H".
I knew exactly what it was, after she'd said that. I had JUST watched a video on YouTube the same night I went into labor (about two hours before), and it was called "The Birth And Death of a Hemangioma". I didn't even want to think about it, because my only experiences with the word "Hemangioma" was the video I had watched, and a little girl we know. (As it turns out, both were a different type.)
When she was born, it was just a little bit darker than her skin colour. Like a birthmark. It changed as time went on, and continues to.

Hemangioma at 1 month old.

As you can see, at a month old, it was starting to get pink. A hemangioma is an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs. In our daughter's case, she had what is called a "strawberry hemangioma". "Superficial or "strawberry" hemangiomas often are not treated. When they are allowed to disappear on their own, the result is usually normal-appearing skin. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove the small vessels."
Found HERE.

They are more common in girls than boys, and there is nothing a mother "did" during her pregnancy to cause it. As many as 10% of babies born will develop a hemangioma before a year old.

Hemangioma, 2 months old.

By two months old, it was turning the normal red (which is where it gets it's "strawberry" name from). You could clearly see the blood vessels in it, and when you pressed on it, you could see it turn pale, and then turn red again as blood flowed back into it. At this point, it was still flat and even with her skin.

Hemangioma, 3 months old.

By three months old, it was at it's worst. It was bright red, and raised off of her skin. It literally looked like someone had cut a thin piece of strawberry, and placed it on her belly. It never bothered her, and touching it didn't hurt her.

Hemangioma, 5 months old.

By five months old, it had almost flattened out again. It was starting to get areas that were lighter, as you can see from the photo.

Hemangioma, 8 months old.

Here we are at 8 months old. Her mark is not nearly as visible as it once was, and is still completely flat. Only the very top of it has a clearly obvious pink-ness to it, and it's hard to see the blood vessels in it. It seems like every day the areas that are flesh-coloured are getting larger, and the darker areas are getting smaller. However, if she is cold, it turns a light shade of purple. I think it always might, even if it gets to the point that it looks normal otherwise.

Strawberry hemangiomas are "superficial, and most hemangiomas often disappear on their own. About 50% go away by age 5, and 90% are gone by age 9." (Link HERE.)

About 30% of hemangiomas are present at birth, the rest appear in the first several months of life. (As in the YouTube video.)

Most hemangiomas are on the face, neck, or head.

There are several kinds of hemangiomas:

Superficial Hemangioma

Tumorous lesions that develop near the surface of an infant's skin are called superficial hemangiomas, explain medical experts with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Typically, superficial hemangiomas appear bright red in color and lie flat against the skin. Certain children can develop a superficial tumor called a strawberry hemangioma, which causes a raised, red lesion to appear across the skin.  (What my daughter has.)

Deep Hemangioma

A child who develops a hemangioma tumor within her muscles, internal organs or lower skin layers has a type of skin lesion called a deep hemangioma, according to health experts with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Deep hemangiomas may appear smooth across the skin's surface, but develop a blue or gray color. This type of hemangioma tumor may not be detectable until a child is several weeks or months old because it begins deep beneath the skin, explains Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Once detected, a deep hemangioma can feel firm or rubbery to the touch.

Combined or Mixed Hemangioma

Children who develop hemangioma tumors within the upper skin layers as well as within their bodies, lower skin layers or muscles have combined or mixed hemangioma tumors, report Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center health professionals. The skin lesions exhibit characteristics of both superficial and deep hemangiomas and can appear red and blue in color. Combined or mixed hemangiomas can appear as flat or raised lesions across an infant's skin.(Taken from HERE.)

Hepatic hemangiomas

"Hemangioma is the most common benign tumor affecting the liver.  Hepatic hemangiomas are mesenchymal in origin and usually are solitary. Some authorities consider them to be benign congenital hamartomas.Hemangiomas are composed of masses of blood vessels that are atypical or irregular in arrangement and size. Etiology remains unknown." (Found HERE.)
"...are thought to be present in as many as 7% of healthy people. Hemangiomas are four to six times more common in women than in men. Female hormones may promote the formation and growth of hemangiomas. Hemangiomas, although referred to as tumors, are not malignant and do not become cancerous. Hemangiomas are not unique to the liver and can occur almost anywhere in the body." (Found HERE.)

More information on Hemangiomas found HERE, and HERE.

I wanted to post something about hemangiomas, just so that people don't think they're alone when their child has one.  It's something people don't really talk about, and I thought it was high time to inform people about them.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Toddlers...When Things Get Ugly

We all know all too well that toddler have a tendency to freak out.  Sometimes they scream at the top of their lungs in the grocery store when we're in a hurry.  Sometimes they decide that they're not going to walk when we're in the mall, and sit down...showing us just how stubborn a person can be.

It's easy to get mad when they don't cooperate, or when they ignore our pleas to "be good", or "behave".  But the fact is, they're children.  They're going to act like children, whether it's convenient for us or not.  I've seen way too many parents get angry and start screaming at a crying child, telling them to "stop crying", or "just stop!" That doesn't work.  And it's not fair to your child.  Everyone has the right to feel their emotions.  Children just don't have that need (or ability) to mask their feelings like adults do.  They don't have the worry of embarrassment if they start crying in a huge group of people.  And when they feel something, they let those feelings fly.  No matter where they are.
Toddlers are a strange species.  They look like our babies, just taller.  But they act completely different.  They have a mind of their own, and are learning what they like and dislike.  Also, they are starting to feel things they have never felt before.  They are just suddenly full of feelings, and it's something that can take you back a bit if you've never had to deal with a toddler (or two, in my case) before.  It's something that needs to be approached with an extreme amount of love and compassion.  They aren't old enough to know what to do with the feelings they suddenly have...but that doesn't stop them from having them.  It's our job as parents to acknowledge them, and to help them work through them.  Even if we're shopping.  Because it's about THEM, not US.

The feelings I speak of are what are almost always the cause of "tantrums".  But other things can be that they're tired, hungry, bored, or not feeling well.  Sometimes we pull our children along with us, not really worrying about how they're feeling emotionally.  Sometimes we think that because they're not sick, they are physically okay to join us on our errands.  But that's not always the case.  I know that I have days that I just don't feel like doing things, and children are the same.  Children also thrive on routine.  When we break it up, they can sometimes (very loudly) let us know that they are not happy about it.  You can help prevent the impending tantrums if you make sure your child is not only physically able to join you that day, but also to take their emotional state into account.  Try telling them your plan before you go.  They don't seem to like surprises much, unless they include presents and cake.  So don't set yourself (or your toddler) up for disaster.

Sometimes, despite all of our best intentions, things go bad.  The toddler(s) start going crazy while we're out.  This is NOT the time to lose control.  This is when you are going to have to dig deep...pull out the patience you know you have in there, and use them.  This is the time to put the disaster plan into effect.

In my experience, most tantrums are best dealt with the same way.  This is our "disaster plan":

  1. Acknowledge their feelings by telling them what you know they're feeling.  "You're upset because you don't want to be here shopping right now."  We all feel better knowing that someone "gets" what we're feeling, and generally, that stops the tantrum right away.
  2. Tell them that you are sorry that they feel that way.  Sometimes there's nothing we can do to fix, or change, a situation.  (If you need groceries, you can't just abandon your cart and go home.)  "I'm sorry that you're upset about being here."  It not only tells them that you understand their feelings, but that you don't wish them to be upset...that it wasn't your intent.
  3. Explain the situation.  Usually we're so busy in our day that our toddlers are just pulled around with us.  Very few people take the time to go over the plan with their's something that's easy to forget, or overlook.  "We are here getting groceries because we need some food at home.  I'm sorry that you're upset that we're here shopping when you want to be doing something else, but we'll be done soon."
  4. Give them something to look forward to.  "When we're done shopping we'll go home and put away the groceries.   You can help me.  And when we're all done we'll....[go outside, read stories, etc.]."  Giving them something to look forward to can change the whole scenario into one that is more positive.  You can talk with them about the things you're going to do when you're done shopping, while you finish getting what you need.  I've found that if we talk about what we're going to do at the park, what they like best, how fun it will be, they  seem to forget how unhappy they were and focus on the future.  Children are amazingly optimistic.  We just need to give them the chance to use it.

Please never forget that if we raise our children with not only love, but with understanding, it will give them the opportunity to feel exactly how they need to feel, to feel heard and loved, and to use their natural optimism.  Being mean to your toddler because they have feelings is no better than someone yelling at you for being upset about something.  Treat them how you want to be treated...and how you would have wanted someone to treat you when you were a child.  It might take a little practice, but practice makes perfect!  

Attachment Parenting 101: What do I do if my toddler hits me?

By. Alicia Bayer, Mankato Attachment Parenting Examiner
March 5, 2010
Give children tools to handle their emotions and teach them hitting isn't okay for anybody
Give children tools to handle their emotions and teach them hitting isn't okay for anybody.
Photo Xpress (Amy Myers)

An angry reader left a comment yesterday defending the Pearls and wrote about witnessing a toddler hitting her mother while the mother did nothing. I realize this commenter is not open to AP advice on how to deal with a situation like this, but it highlights a common assumption that the only two choices in parenting are hitting children or doing nothing.
"R" wrote:
"...I went out with a "friend" the other day and she went on and on about how she hates "spanking", and her little 2 year old just walks up to her and starts to hit her repeatedly for no reason and tells her how much she hates her mom.. etc. It was creepy and disgusting.. what should the mom's response have been? oh.. dear child.. hit me again cuz i love"
(The comment ends there.)

Obviously, the answer is not to just sit there and be pounded on by an angry toddler. There are gentle discipline methods that work as well as just hitting children, and they actually teach far more in the long run.
Here's how you can respond that respects you both.
First, tell her not to hit you. Say, "Ow, that hurts, don't hit me."
This teaches her two things:
1. It teaches her that it's not okay to hit people.
2. It sets an example for how she should act if someone hits her.
Second, stop her from hitting you. Often, just telling the child to stop will be all it takes. If not, you may be able to simply move out of reach. If she continues to hit you, you can hold her so that she's unable to.
Third, tell her what to do instead. Tell her, "Use your words." It may help to give her specific words to say, such as "I'm mad!". Give her other options, too. Ask if she wants to go "get her mad out" by throwing snowballs, talking about it or drawing an angry picture, for instance.
If necessary, go someplace private. All of the above steps take a few seconds. At this point, if your child is still obviously upset, excuse yourself and take her to someplace private.
This is important for several reasons.
1. It allows you to focus on her without a judgmental audience.
2. It is respectful of her.
3. It removes you both from distractions and gives her a chance to calm down.
Acknowledge her feelings. She does not have a right to hurt you, but she does have a right to her angry feelings. Voice what she's upset about, if you know. For instance, say, "You really wanted a cookie." Sometimes just knowing that someone understands is all it takes for a toddler to feel better and move on.
Get the root of the issue. At some point, be sure to also figure out if something else is going on. Toddlers have short fuses, but it's not typical for them to randomly start hitting their parents and shouting that they hate them. Is something stressful or scary going on in the child's life? Is the child witnessing violence somewhere else? Misbehavior like this is the sign of something wrong, and it's as important to find that out as it is to deal with the behavior itself.
What if you are not the parent being hit? If "R" wanted to be a true friend, she had options besides sitting quietly and passing judgment. Minnesota's Wakanheza Project teaches businesses and individuals how to intervene on behalf of parents and children in public. One suggestion might be to empathize with the mother and offer to wait there if she wanted to take the child someplace quiet for a few minutes to work things out.
Remember, our options as parents are not either punitive discipline or no discipline at all. To discipline means to teach, and violence is not necessary to teach people of any size.

I couldn't agree more.  When someone is a quarter of your size, there is NO EXCUSE for hitting them.  They can't fight back (and we all know what happens when children DO strike's usually a worse punishment than the original one), and hitting someone smaller and weaker makes you a bully.  Plain and simple.
Children deserve to be treated how WE want to be treated.  If you don't want someone to hit you for your mistakes, if you don't want someone in your face screaming at you when you don't make the right choices, if you don't want someone humiliating you in public, then DON'T DO IT TO YOUR CHILD.  They also have rights.  They also have feelings.  And they look to you for guidance, and as the person who is supposed to give them the basis for how they view the world.  If you teach them that violence is the answer, don't be surprised when your 7 yr. old gets suspended from school for hitting a classmate.  If you teach your child that overpowering someone smaller is appropriate, know that you're teaching them to bully.
All we want is for our children to listen to us, and to be respectful.  Is it so hard to imagine that in all the ways they mimic us, they might also mimic respect?