Monday, March 29, 2010

Excerpts from Strategic Approach to end Circumcision in Canada

Check out the whole article at the Dr Momma website - I bow to the master of great research.  She makes me humble. :)
Interesting excerpts:
This approach went into effect 2 years ago. As of today, Canada has drastically reduced their rate of MGM so that now about 9% of baby boys born nation wide are cut at birth. This compares to about 49% of baby boys born in the United States who continue to be subjected to circumcision surgery at birth.  

The practice of neonatal circumcision has come under increasing fire lately for two reasons:
  1. Scientific studies have shown that circumcision removes specialized sexual tissue.
  2. Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the need to promote and protect human rights.
The case against infant male circumcision is not being given a fair hearing by the authorities. This document outlines a strategic approach to obtaining such a hearing in court.


The debate over circumcision has focused on medical pros/cons, parental preferences, and religious beliefs. Our goal is to direct attention to the ethical, legal, and human rights issues raised when part of a normal organ is summarily removed from a person who has no medical need for surgery and who is legally incapable of giving informed consent. For the most part, these critically important issues have been ignored.
Work done in Canada to date suggests that none of the agencies involved in regulating infant male circumcision (colleges of physicians and surgeons, human rights commissions, children's advocates, children's aid societies, ministers of health, ministers of justice, solicitors general) are prepared to show leadership on this issue. Consequently we believe the only way to bring about change is through the judicial system.
We propose a legal challenge to section 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada on the grounds that this section is insufficient in scope. Section 268 prohibits all forms of female genital mutilation (FGM). The basis of the challenge would be that section 268, as written, fails to protect males from genital mutilation and thus contravenes at least one provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—namely, section 15(1), which guarantees equality between the sexes. It is highly probable that section 268, as written, also contravenes section 7 of the Charter, which guarantees security of the person. 

*For measures being taken in the United States to end legalized MGM (male genital mutilation) of infant boys, see FGM (female genital mutilation) continued in the United States until it became illegal and punishable as a crime with the FGM Bill in 1996.
*One man who sued and won tells his story here.

Excerpts from

Circumcision: A Male RN's Perspective by Chris, author of The Man-Nurse Diaries

Before having my first son, we were presented with the decision (at least in the United States) of whether or not to circumcise him. While we were initially assuming we would, we did some research. We began finding that not only is male infant circumcision almost never medically necessary, but it's not even performed in most of the developed world. The majority of European countries never began circumcising in the first place. The United Kingdom doesn't pay for it; it's an out-of-pocket expense. The United States is the only secular country that routinely circumcises males.
Never once did I encounter an adult male patient who had ever had a medical problem due to being intact.

Excerpts from the comments section (good stuff!):
Katie Anne said:  As a peds nurse who has also witnessed the horrors of infant circumcision, I appreciate others standing up and speaking. It really does take us within the 'system' to make change happen. I feel a responsibility to my patients (I work alongside OBs in Labor & Delivery) to give new parents whatever information I have at my disposal. For me, it is that I have seen many, many babies damaged by circumcision surgery. Some cannot or will not nurse after. Some lapse into coma from the pain and become withdrawn, sleeping full days. Most never have their parents aware of what they have experienced (and why they are now 'different') because we make sure they are stable before taking them back to the parents waiting in the other room. Like Chris, I also spent time in training working with elderly men - both in a nursing homes and in the hospital. Many were intact because they were born before the surge of genital cutting in the United States. NEVER did I witness someone with complications or issues (or all these fears) from being intact. Foreskins do not cause 'problems' in men anymore than the clitoris/labia cause 'problems' in women. I noticed this other post from a nurse-in-training: I can certainly appreciate why she would withdraw from the program. Sometimes it is almost too much to bear. But I also applaud those, like Chris, who are working within the system to invoke change. We CAN bring awareness to parents that we meet, and slowly bring an end to something that (as Chris said) only happens in such a way in the U.S. These comments all remind me of the clear horrors captured on camera by Patti Ramos not many months ago during a Plastibell circumcision procedure... Thank you to all the doctors and nurses speaking up on behalf of our children.


Excerpts from Balancing Breastfeeding: When Moms Must Work

This article is fantastic and chock full of great information.  I shared it on facebook, and highly recommend that you share it with all working moms out there!  The comment section has great suggestions as well! - Melissa


Balancing Breastfeeding: When Moms Must Work

The following excerpts are from Dr. Momma's website from an article she wrote.  Read the whole amazing article here:

1) His natural habitat is on your chest and anywhere but close to you is not 'home' to him. The breastfeeding relationship and your milk supply is set in the first 4 weeks post-partum. This means that those first 30 days are absolutely essential for laying a good foundation for the rest of life (literally). Your body is busy balancing milk supply and getting the amount perfected during this first month. Everything is fairly 'set' after this time - babies tend to consume more milk at each feeding, but generally do not eat more overall throughout the day after their first 30 days earthside. This means that it is much more difficult to increase milk supply after the first 4 weeks. Therefore, plan ahead and start pumping/freezing (additional tips on this below) as soon as possible after birth (or even before birth if you so desire).

 2) See this list of excellent choices of books for breastfeeding moms. One book that I give to everyone I know is Breastfeeding Made Simple. If you read no other book but this one, get it in your hands and the knowledge within into you head. My other top pick for breastfeeding mothers is The Baby Bond. This book will empower you with research info needed to encourage you to keep at it along the way.

3)  Rent a hospital grade breastpump, such as the Ameda Elite. Hospital grade pumps are specifically designed to increase milk supply and keep it high during times when baby is not regularly nursing. This is essential for mothers who are returning to work. I cannot emphasis this enough. Far too often I've seen mothers with the best of intentions who are lugging around their latest Target purchase and the non-hospital grade pumps that you buy at Target, WalMart, Babies R Us, etc., are simply NOT designed for the breastfeeding mother who is returning to work and needs to pump daily. Yes, they will market them to you. Your cash is good for them too. But don't be fooled - those are the pumps that are meant for occasional use (for the weekly baby sitter bottle, for example). They are not meant for daily use by working mothers who must be apart from their baby. So, right now - go find your nearest options to rent a hospital grade pump. The Ameda Elite just happens to be my favorite, but others are also available such as the Hygeia EnDeare and the Medela Symphony and Medela Lactina.

4)  Babywear! When you are able to be with your baby (as much as possible) sling him. This serves several important functions for infant development (motor, mental, hormonal, cardio, respiratory) and also decreases SIDS risk in the first year of life. But just as important, babywearing has an impact on YOUR hormones and thereby your milk supply. Being close to baby - actually holding and touching and carrying him with you wherever you go causes the two of you to be in close harmony with each other hormonally. Baby is able to regulate your milk supply through this perfect dance of pheromones. In addition, baby will be happier, more content, more at ease, relaxed, and sleep better, the longer and more often you babywear. Again, babies natural habitat is on your chest. 

5)  Share Sleep! This is another monumentally important factor in hormone regulation that impacts milk production and baby's roll in the breastfeeding relationship. Night time is the time when hormones naturally kick into high gear and milk production is at its peak (often women will find they pump the most upon waking in the early morning hours). In addition, night time can be a special quiet bonding time between you and baby - even while asleep. Babies are acutely aware of mom being close to them and sharing sleep serves many important regulatory and health functions during the first year of life (in addition, like babywearing, sleep sharing reduces the risk of SIDS).

There are many reasons for this - one of which is milk production regulation, and another is for baby's access to mother's milk during night time hours is when his brain is growing most rapidly. Brain research tells us that the same hormones that impact growth spurts and neuro activity during sleep are those that encourage an infant to nurse and intake all the good stuff needed to support this night time development. Night nursing (or just sleeping near baby) shifts your hormones into high milk-production gear and keeps them going during the days and weeks when you are not near your little one during day time hours.

There are many options for sleep sharing arrangements. You can share a flat, firm bed surface if you have mattresses on the floor and arrange them near a wall where they cannot shift or move. Do not cover baby with a blanket or have her head too close to your pillow - leave her some space of her own, but feel free to nestle in next to her when she nurses. You can also place a separate co-sleeper bed next to your bed. Or you can arrange a separate baby mattress next to your bed mattress (again, on the floor so they do not shift around). Parents who already have a crib can move this next to their bed (between the wall and bed for security) and drop one side to use as a co-sleeper.

[See more info on turning your crib into a side-car/co-sleeper here.]


6) There is yet another reason to breastfeed (even when solely for your baby's comfort) as often as possible. Ground breaking lactation research demonstrates that there is an intricate method of communication in the saliva of a baby that triggers mother's milk production via receptors on the areola. This communication signals all of baby's needs to mother by way of hormones and enzymes (and likely things we have not even begun to understand). How much milk your baby needs, the fat/calorie composition he requires today, what specific antibodies he needs a boost of, the immunological properties he requires most right now -- it is all transferred to you and your body's amazing milk making wisdom via your baby's suckling at your breast.

Your baby's nutrition, brain, and immune system needs change on a day by day, hour by hour basis. Therefore, it is always best to breastfeed anytime, any day, anywhere that baby expresses the desire. Nurse on demand. This is baby's only way to regulate her needs -- and she can do so quite perfectly if simply given the opportunity.


7)  Try to nurse your baby immediately before leaving him for the day. If you also pumped recently (within the last couple hours) you can give this fresh milk to your baby's care provider and simply have them leave it out and feed to baby or place in the fridge within 6 hours.

Fresh milk is especially beneficial to provide for your baby if s/he gets sick. Again -- the immunological needs are expressed to you from baby via nursing. Your milk immediately changes its antibodies/antiviral/antibacterial composition to meet baby's needs. Therefore, when you or your baby is sick, it is even more important than ever to nurse often and provide fresh milk whenever possible. Healing will be faster and health will be exponentially better.


8)  Fenugreek. Fenugreek is an herbal supplement that has long time been used to increase milk supply among nursing mothers. It has been given the rating of GRAS by the FDA (generally recognized as safe). A few mothers may experience light headedness if they take fenugreek on an empty stomach as it is also used to calm stomach troubles and seems to interact with blood sugar levels in some people.
Take 3 capsules of 500mg each 3 times a day (1500mg each meal) when you are trying to increase milk production. This is more than the amount recommended on the Fenugreek bottle because it is marketed as a stomach aid - not as a milk production booster. If you solely wish to supplement your current milk supply, or you feel like 1500mg/3 times a day is too much for you, it doesn't hurt to take less and see what works for you. I've worked with many women who experience dips in milk production during their periods (this is normal as milk production is hormone-related). During their menstrual cycles, these women added Fenugreek to their daily regimen, but typically in smaller quantities (1000mg/3 times a day for example).






Thursday, March 25, 2010

The saddest story

This story just gets to me.  It really does.

From Jack Newman's book, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers :

By the time our third had been nursing over three years, my wife would ask him gently, from time to time, if he wasn't tired of it, if he wasn't a big boy who didn't need to nurse anymore.  At those times he would look up at her, and, without letting go of the breast, would smile at her and then continue nursing.  One day, for no obvious reason that I could ascertain, instead of smiling, he burst into tears and said, "No, not today, tomorrow."  And he never nursed again after that day. He did ask from time to time, but it was without conviction and he didn't insist.

I do believe in child-led weaning, but the above story just, I don't know, gets to me.  I guess because I can see it played out in my head, and I just feel for that little boy. He sounds so forlorn.  I like the ending to the following story better.

From Sarah J. Buckley's Book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering :

A few months before his fourth birthday, Jacob announced, "You can stop giving me baboo now Mummy." "Okay, but what if you change your mind?"  "Just say no," he advised me.  So the next time he asked, I did this to which he replied, "I didn't mean it, Mummy!" *and they continued to breastfeed for several more months*. p. 244-5

When will I wean?  I have no idea, its all a process, an experience.  I know philosophically I would like for it to go beyond the age of 3 for health and emotional reasons, but as I said, its all a process.  I'm greatly enjoying finding out information currently though on "full term breastfeeding" (a much better phrase than extended or long term breastfeeding).

In response to comment:  I know, but I hate it when children sound forlorn.  True forlornness in a child is actually a rare emotion, and he just sounded so forlorn.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Breastfeeding vocabulary

It annoys me when people use "breastfeeding" vocabulary in the wrong way.

Though I do think its somewhat funny that WIC uses "exclusively breastfeeding" for those moms feeding their babies solid foods and breastfeeding.  Just because you are not using formula, does not mean you are still exclusively breastfeeding.  Exclusive means exactly that - only breastmilk, nothing else including any type of food or water. sigh.

Then people also use the term Extended breastfeeding very loosely.  The official medical authorities uses the term "Extended breastfeeding"  for breastfeeding a child over 2 years of age.  A lot of people use the term for breastfeeding a baby past six months. lol.  The official medical authorities consider it normal and even actively promote breastfeeding to at least 2 years of age.  Everyone else thinks you are either heroic or crazy to breastfeed past the age of 6 months. sigh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Swings for Colic

So my son has slept at night and for naps in a swing since he was 6 weeks old.  The first six weeks he slept on one of us, but I have a bad hip, and just couldn't physically do it anymore.  Swings for colicky babies are wonderful. 
Here are some tips:
1) Get a good swing, one that is specifically made for infants/newborns.
Graco Sweetpeace swing or
Fisher Price cradle swing
Fisher Price Glider Swing

2) Get a White Noise noisemaker.  We always played this when we put him in the swing, and then again if he starts to get fussy.  If he's truly hungry, it won't make a difference. 

3) Put plenty of padding and a good infant head insert in the swing.  We have a soft fleece blanket and several quilted baby blankets for him to lie on.  Boppy makes a good head insert.

3) At 20 weeks, we have now started to not swing him - and he is sleeping fine just in the swing without the movement.  It took several nights of me waking up when he got fussy and turning on the white noise noisemaker .  Now he sleeps in the swing his usual 6 or 7 hours (he's exclusively breastfed) without getting fussy without the movement.  Our next goal is to move him to the bed.  I'll let you know how that works out.

4) Most importantly, this swing needs to be beside your bed.  You need to be there for your baby.  Yes, the swing makes an annoying noise, but to me, its a small price to pay for everyone to get good sleep.

Top Healing foods

So I got an email today from Jinjee - its one of her daily inspirational emails from the website - and she discusses her top five most healing foods.  I actually disagree with her however.   So I thought I'd make my own list of the top healing foods.

1) Watermelon - this restores your ph balance from acidic to alkaline
2) Young Coconuts - both the water and the meats - this is like a blood transfusion - restores electrolytes.
3) Dates and blueberries - extremely high in antioxidants
4) Avocadoes - these are a known uterus healer, as well as a brain booster
5) Lemons - in moderation - this restores the alkalinity of the body, but you must be careful of teeth enamel
6) Kale - extremely high in calcium
7) Dulce - puts useable iodine in your body, helps the thyroid
8) Organic apples - many benefits

I also believe in a probiotic supplement, a digestive enzyme supplement if you eat cooked foods, a vitamin D supplement and an omega 3 supplement.