Thursday, April 28, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Birthed in the UK

© Chloe Boulter 2011. Chloe shares her birth story from London. She provides perspective on how even an integrated midwife model of care can still result in interventions during birth:

“What I wanted our birth experience to be and what I actually got when giving birth to my son were two very different things. In the UK you are considered a bit strange if you don't want to have your child in hospital. Additionally, my birth was at a time when there were severe midwife shortages and MRSA scares by the dozen. All of which scared me witless - what 22year old wouldn't be?

I was felt fortunate, however, to have the experience of helping my own mother give birth to my little sister when I was seventeen. Seeing her go through something that momentous gave me courage.

What I was unprepared for was the lack of choice once I was in the hospital for an overnight stay due to elevated blood pressure. I was whisked into a labour suite, much to my naive confusion, hooked up to a drip and only told afterwards that it was synthetic oxytocin to start my contractions.

Everything snowballed after that. I wasn't allowed to decline medical procedures. For example, I didn't want my waters broken forcibly, but the third midwife did it quite painfully. To this day i can't tell you whom my midwife was- there were too many in and out to count. [Side note: midwives are a normal presence in UK hospitals as the midwife model is integrated into the hospital system.]

My induced contractions were fast and painful, but manageable with my TENS. After being in labour for nine hours and reaching 4 centimetres dilation I was told that I MUST have a caesarean to deliver my baby. I managed to squeak out to ask if it was necessary, as I’d rather deliver naturally, only to be told that I could think about it for an hour and then the choice would be taken out of my hands. And so it was.

I didn't look or feel ill or have unusual statistics. My baby had a 'slightly' elevated pulse. But off I was wheeled and cut open and that’s how my son arrived. To this day I feel as if I was robbed of the one thing that was mine to experience and to experience only once. I am thankful every day that it didn't impact our bonding. I achieved this through breastfeeding him until he self-weaned at ten months (too early!). The aftercare I received was awful too. Even now, EIGHT years on, it has me petrified of giving my son a sibling.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the Winner is.......

#26: caedmen!

caedmen said...

"following your blog via gfc"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Color Blind

Sharon Lincecum Frisby brought up a good point:
I was thinking of a parallel just now... You know how some men who are circumcised as adults describe the difference like 'going colorblind?'

What if it were customary for all babies to have their sense of color snipped away at birth? Would it be clearer to people how altering the body at birth is a human rights issue? Would they support a 'parental right' to take away their child's color vision?

They can still see, right? He'll never know what he is missing. Seeing color isn't necessary for life or happiness, and lots of colorblind people don't even realize they are missing anything. They think it's normal and they are happy.

This is exactly what people say about snipping away the foreskin. They say he can still have sex, right? He and his partner will never know what is missing. The foreskin isn’t necessary for life or happiness. Lots of circumcised men don’t even realize they are missing anything. They think a missing foreskin is normal and they are happy.

But is that any reason to justify removing your child's ability to see color? Is that a parental right, to modify your child's sense of sight? To dull the senses God or nature gave them, just because you don't approve of their look or style? And yet you are not the one who has to see with their eyes. You are not the one who will use your son’s penis, either.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reach for the Fluff: Cloth Explained

It’s fairly easy to convince parents to switch to cloth diapering.

Why I made the switch to cloth diapering:

Disposable diapers are not as tantalizing as people once thought. They are bleached, creating a toxic byproduct called Dioxin, they have absorbent gel with questionable concerns about toxicity, they trap heat, increasing the temperature around the genitals (bad for your boys) and they take a bajillion years to decompose in landfills.

Want all the points in a nutshell, complete with cited facts? Bookmark this article:

Now, cloth diapers come in a great range of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. Today’s cloth diapers are not the white diapers with pins of yesteryear. Some are thick and absorbent for nighttime and others are thin and hold one pee for beginning potty users. You can choose all kinds of fabrics to fit your needs. Fleece, wool, cotton…whatever floats your boat (or holds the pee).

So it’s not surprising that as soon as a mama decides to cloth diaper, her next question is: what now?? What’s the 411 on cloth diapering? Where do you begin? What do you buy?

Types of Diapers

Prefold: the closest thing to Grandma’s method and cheaper and easier than ever before. Don’t turn your nose up too quickly. Today’s covers come with Velcro and snaps or special pin-free Snappi closures. You can get plain covers very inexpensively or deck baby out with tons of patterns and colors.

You can choose all kinds of prefolds, too. Chinese Prefolds (CPF), Diaper Service Quality Prefolds, Indian Prefolds, etc. You can choose bleached or unbleached, organic or not.

PROS: Inexpensive, simple to use, durable

CONS: Requires prep (folding), can be bulky, might require snappis to get a good fit 

Fitted diapers: this type of diaper requires no folding or pinning. You will find all kinds of brands and types in this category. They are made to fit on a baby like a disposable diaper, with the least bulk possible and easy to use closures such as Velcro or snaps. You can purchase a waterproof cover, or they often come with their own cover.

PROS: Convenient, fit babies well, not likely to leak

CONS: Tend to be more expensive and you usually have to “size up” or get a new set as baby grows.

All-In-One Diapers:  Also called AIO's, these are fitted diapers but the waterproof cover is attached. These are the most convenient and they are the closest to disposable diapers. Simply grab the diaper and Velcro or snap it on to the baby. If you have reluctant care providers (or fathers) this version might help.

PROS: Very convenient. Most likely to be used by daycare providers or babysitters.

CONS: Can take a long time to dry and can be expensive. Might still have to size up as baby grows or choose a different style if baby changes fat-shape. :)

Pocket Diapers: these diapers are like AIOs but have a built in pocket in the front or back for stuffing. You will use this diaper like an AIO.

PROS: Choose from lots of different stuffing options for sensitive babies or wet situations such as nighttime. Wicks moisture away more than other kinds.

CONS: Can only use one time b/c the inner lining will be soiled each time. Some mamas don’t like stuffing diapers. Some styles require sizing up.

Diapers, covers and liners come in all kinds of materials. Cotton is the most common and 100% cotton is one of the safer choices for sensitive babies. Hemp is very absorbable, but slow to absorb. Microfleece and fleece are great at wicking away moisture but some babies don’t like them. Wool might turn away some mamas, but if you like it, you will fall in love with it.
PUL: Polyurethane Laminate is a lightweight, waterproof fabric. For some mamas, there are toxicity concerns. Research to decide what you are comfortable with on this topic. 

Fleece: is waterproof and breathable, and can be cooler than PUL material. It wicks moisture away. But some babies can react to synthetics.

Wool: as the same benefit of fleece (breathable) but is a natural material instead of synthetic.They are made with either wool fabric or knitted like a sweater. Wool has natural antibacterial properties that allow for multiple uses without getting a urine odor. Wool will draw the moisture out of the diaper and allow it to dry slowly as baby sleeps, preventing leaks and diaper overload. Wool does not need to be washed as often as other covers because of the antibacterial properties. Wool must be handwashed, and it must be lanolized every so often to keep its waterproofing feature.

Front vs. Side Closing

Babies come in all shapes and sizes, and so do covers. Some close with two tabs much like disposables. Others will fasten on the sides. The side closing covers work best to get a custom fit of the waist and thighs.

Number of diapers to buy

How many diapers to get depends on your baby and how much laundry you want to do in a given time period. A general rule of thumb is to have 36 diapers for the newborn stage and then 24 diapers for the baby stage. Older babies practicing Elimination Communication (EC) or toddlers might only need 15 diapers. These estimates will usually have you washing diapers every 3 days, or doing 2 loads of diapers a week.

You do not have to follow a guideline on this. Busy mamas might buy 50-60 diapers and do laundry at the end of the week. Frugal mamas who can line-dry don’t mind washing every day or every other day.

Other diaper accessories:

Doublers or boosters are small pads that can be inserted into any diaper to increase the amount of urine it can hold. 

Stuffers are put into the inner layers of pocket diapers.

Soakers usually refer to the inner padding in a fitted diaper. Some diapers have internal soakers that can’t be removed. Some have external soakers that are removed for washing and reattached for use (or just laid in the diaper). Diapers with internal soakers take longer to dry, but it eliminates the step of reattaching the liner.

Pins and Snappis

Now, don’t hyperventilate! Mamas who use prefold diapers can just toss the liner right in the cover. I have been doing it that way since Ian was born. BUT for added security (or cuteness) you can still do it the old fashioned way with pins or with the modern version of a pin, called a Snappi.

Cloth wipes

Are you using disposable wipes? See their toxicity rating here:

Cloth wipes can seem gross, but provide a variety of benefits and make the entire cloth system convenient. If you use cloth wipes, you don’t have to worry about leaving a disposable wipe in a diaper and washing it (done that) or having a sleep deprived husband put toss the cloth diaper AND disposable wipe into the trash (he’s done that). With cloth wipes, you simply throw them into the diaper pail and wash them along with the diapers. You can use plain water or get fancy with naturally scented/soaped solutions.

Wet bags and pail liners

When I was pregnant with Ian, I really fretted about what kind of pail and bag to get. I was scared that my room would stink and everything would get messy.

Instead, I found out that 1) even with 40+ diapers you are still doing laundry very frequently in the newborn stage. So nothing had time to stink. And 2) the hamper was just easier.

That’s right! I spent good money on a wet bag, pail liner and pail and we never used them! All the diapers go straight into the laundry hamper!

BUT I’m not looking to start an argument here. If you need one, get one!


When you hear mamas bad-mouthing cloth diapers or giving up, it almost always comes back to a detergent problem. Cloth diapers will lose their absorbency if they are washed with conventional detergents, because most detergents contain a host of toxic substances such as fabric softeners, fragrances and scrubbers.

Here are two very large lists of detergents that let you know which ones work with cloth (and which ones contain toxins):

And on that note, this article lets you know which detergents do or do not contain a toxic byproduct called 1,4 dioxane:

Think your free and clear is, well, free and clear?

We get calls daily about leaking cloth diapers (especially pocket diapers and all in ones), and the Free and Clear detergents listed below are the culprits 99% of the time.  Free and Clear detergents contain microbiostats, which control the growth of microorganisms, such as dust mites.  This is beneficial to those with allergies, but may be the common ingredient that causes the fleece in your pocket diapers to repel. Now, many parents use Free and Clear detergents with great success (it really depends on your local water mineral content and washer), but if you begin to have leaks or smells after a few weeks or months, try stripping your diapers and then switching detergents.

So, there you have it in a nutshell! What do I recommend? I recommend browsing the types of diapers that appeal to your wants/needs. Then choose a few and try them out. Yes, even if you are pregnant with your first child, try them out. Touch them, wash them, put them on dolls. Don’t worry, unlike disposable diapers, you can resell diapers that don’t work for you.

More cloth diapering how-tos:

Diaper Deals

I pieced together my stash by browsing online deals, buying pre-owned diapers and getting free diapers from awesome friends. Contrary to popular belief, cloth diapering does not require a huge investment.

In fact, you can get a full set of simple, 100% organic diapers to cover newborn to pottying for about $150! Here is the amazon link to give you an example:

Here are other sites that I scanned for deals (warning: addictive):

On Facebook, you can join in on the fun with flash giveaways and discounts:

And buy/trade/sell direct with other mamas:

Here are photos of my stash. I pieced this together for under $500. About 5 diapers aren't even included here lol. I diaper 2 babies unless they are using the potty.

© Guggie Daly

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Were You There

CJ reflected on this post and provided a profound summary of what I hope people can take away from the images and lyrics below. This was not an effort to raise any particular thing (e.g. c-section) up as equal to Christ's crucifixion, but to acknowledge the people who have walked their own passion during Passion Week.

“Only one man ever completely understood Christianity, and none of us are Him. Easter itself celebrates Christ's resurrection and ascension to Heaven. But, what many of us often forget is, Easter isn't an isolated holiday; it comes at the end of Holy Week. During Holy Week, we're asked to focus on Christ's Passion--on His sacrifice, submission to God's will, and on His suffering. When we do this--when we re-experience His human nature--we both bring Christ into our lives, and experience His resurrection as all the more meaningful. Reading about others' pain--their walks in darkness--is one way to do that.

Jesus' experience is a universal one. You don't have to be crucified, or have experienced anything to which crucifixion is an appropriate analogy, to identify. Everyone's had her own private apocalypse--whether in the form of an unnecessary medical intervention or other physical violation, the death of a loved one, etc. Everyone knows what it's like to be completely, utterly alone, and to feel hopeless. We all suffer in our own way. 

If someone says, "this is my apocalypse", or "this is my crucifixion", who am I to question that? It's the height of folly to presume that, as outsiders, we can know and catalogue others' pain.

The whole point is that we're supposed to relate. If it weren't necessary for us to relate to Jesus' experiences on a personal level, then there would've been no reason for Him to live as one of us. Jesus' humanity was, and is, part of His ministry. I feel very aggrieved at the idea that some people are offended by the idea of a comparison. Isn't it more offensive to claim that Jesus is not relevant to our daily lives?”

Before scrolling down to read the lyrics and look at the images, please be mindful that they may be triggering to those who are processing their experiences. The images show c-section, vaccination, circumcision and loss. 

As we enter the Easter Triduum, let us remember those children and their parents impacted by this culture of death. You might never forget, but you can always find mercy, forgiveness and peace. In memoriam of all victims of unnecessary medical interventions:

Were You There

Were you there when they cut open my body?

Were you there when they cut open my body?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they cut open my body?

Were you there when they circumcised my son?

Were you there when they circumcised my son?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they circumcised my son?

Were you there when they pierced her with vaccines?

Were you there when they pierced her with vaccines?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble

Were you there when they pierced her with vaccines?

Were you there when they put my baby in the tomb?

Were you there when they put my baby in the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they put my baby in the tomb?

The song doesn't stop here, though does it?

Were you there when God raised me from the fear?

Were you there when God raised me from the guilt?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when God raised me from despair?

Hear the original song:

© Guggie Daly

If you would like to submit a photo, please email it to me in .jpg format.

A Quick Post on the Bible and Spanking

“What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and with a gentle spirit?" 
1 Corinthians 4:21

Today’s topic of interest: Biblical Spanking:

Does the Bible support spanking children?

An excellent article that I pray pray pray you will read with an open heart:

More on the Bible, including quotations:

A Letter to Christians on Spanking:

Do you view God as revengeful or merciful?

Are you trying to get out of a punitive parenting cycle? Investigate your ingrained views on spanking to make sure you aren’t subconsciously sabotaging your efforts to peacefully parent!

Ready for an in-depth analysis on the topic? Steph writes 8 (EIGHT!) articles on Christianity and spanking. Part one begins here:

Spanking or Hitting?

How to use a rod:

How to test your rod:

Need some daily support and inspiration? Check out these Facebook groups!

I’ve been living out the philosophy of unconditional parenting, but still have my moments of frustration, too. Here is what I wrote and saved on my computer for my personal inspiration:

Every night I will recommit to unconditional parenting. My daughter is a terrific toddler, not a terrible twoser! When I feel frustrated, instead of showing her disappointment, I will smile at her and hug her. Right now, other parents are weeping for a child who left their homes and hearts too soon. I will see my child as a blessing, every day and every moment as a blessing.

5 Ways to Step out of Punitive Parenting:

5. When you take that deep breath to begin to yell, close your mouth and hold it for as long as you can, then slowly exhale while counting to 5.

4. If you are just *too* mad and cannot think straight; if all children are safe, just step out of the room. Just run for it!

3. Make eye contact. Smile. It can be extremely disarming and change the mood instantly.

2. Yell out: “EXERCISE TIME!” Start doing jumping jacks and encourage your children to join you. Get the anger out, reduce your hormonal levels and get some happy endorphins. Your kids will be momentarily jolted out of their mischief as they stare at you in confusion (or horror if older). Who knows, sometimes they join in...

1. You’ve heard it shouted from the rooftops for couples in romantic relationships. And it definitely works for children, too. Maintain loving physical touch with your children. If you want to spank or yell, get down on your knees to their level. Look them in the eyes. Hold their hands. Can you still spank? Can you still yell while looking into your child’s eyes and holding your child? Your voice will automatically soften and your hands will be busy holding, not hitting.

© Guggie Daly

 Last night I had an Unconditional Parenting opportunity. DD ran into the bathroom to wash her hands after lunch. I heard giggling. I stepped into a toilet paper wonderland. I heard my voice go up, my mouth started to say, "OH NO! What have you done!" Then I thought to's 25 cents a roll. It's my fault for not supervising her. My perspective changed. My emotions changed from anger to joy. I appreciated my two babies. And I found out that toilet paper can actually be a Godsend!
Should something that results in a toddler kissing her baby brother be discouraged?

Earn 25 More Points at RecycleBank!

This week, you can earn 25 more points on Recyclebank! Just head on over there and create an account or sign if you’ve already created an account.

Next, click on the “Earn Points” tab and click on the “Enter the contest now” button to enter the Green Your Home Challenge. There are over 100 prizes including an $18,000 grand prize green kitchen makeover! You will earn 25 points by clicking on the interactive map in the lower left corner and choosing the yard to explore. Click on the plus signs, answer the quiz questions and earn your points!
After creating a new account, click on this button to enter!

What is Recyclebank

Recyclebank partners with cities and haulers to reward you, the consumer, with Recyclebank Points for recycling and going green in a variety of ways. Once you have signed up for an account, you can start earning points immediately by clicking on the “Earn Points” tab and taking quizzes. You can then use your points to purchase high value coupons for groceries and/or discounts at online stores. After signing in, click on the “Get Rewards” tab and you’ll be able to start scrolling through the rewards they have available.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chalk it up!

Activism comes in all shapes, sizes, forms and methods. Sometimes it requires a lot of planning or money. Other times it requires talent and perhaps a lot more courage than we currently have in our lives. As parents, we are devoted to caring for our babies. Some days, we struggle just to get through the day! The idea of going door-to-door, giving out brochures in front of a hospital, talking on a radio, etc can be overwhelming. What can you and I do in our busy lives while still keeping our children a priority?

I was spending a beautiful day at the park with my babies, sitting on the big sidewalk wrapped around the playground when my toddler asked me to draw a picture with her chalk.

I said to myself, “I can’t draw for my life! I’m a writer!” Then I knew what to do!

I began writing a couple catchy slogans on the sidewalk and included two of my top resources for legitimate research on circumcision:

In a matter of moments, I had parents walking by my slogans, pausing to read the words. Some rushed by, eyes carefully thrown up to the sky. But many others stopped long enough to read it and a few mamas smiled at me. One very pregnant mama asked me what “it was all about” and then whipped out her Android and went straight to DrMomma’s website.

That box of chalk cost me 99 cents. My daughter had fun practicing her “alphiebet” as she calls it and I was able to put the information literally right under the noses of those who need it the most: parents!

Grab a box of chalk and join me! (Google your area to ensure chalking on public walkways is legal. Some counties have caused controversy by enacting ordinances against kids chalking.) If you would like to submit your creations to be showcased on this blogpost, email it in jpg form.

© Guggie Daly

(And I had to share a little clip of my kiddos chalking it up!)

© Guggie Daly

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NEW! Another $15 for $30 Credit to Anything at!!

Have you been waiting, like me, for a good deal on activist apparel/accessories? It can be so expensive to get a few shirts, a bag, buttons, bumper stickers, etc. Well, here's a big deal for the day!

Mamapedia, a secure, confirmed deal site, is offering a $30 credit to for $15!

To sweeten the deal, if you make a new account with Mamapedia and use MOMS2 at checkout, you pay only $13 for a $30 credit!

I entered MOMS2 at checkout to save $2 more dollars!

Want to get in on this deal? Just go click here to sign up!

Click buy, then at check out, enter the code MOMS2 to save $2 more dollars!

Here is just one example of what you can buy on! Go here to sign up for the credit!

Since this is a NEW, updated deal, you should be able to purchase it again! I am going to be able to stock up on all kinds of activist accessories for giveaways and to wear around town! YAY

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Confessions of a Circumcised Baby

“You love me. I know you do because I've heard you say it through the muffled walls of your uterus for months now. You took your vitamins, got as much rest and exercise as you could manage, and did everything with my well-being in mind. For as long as I have been aware, you have fed me nothing but the best, and every time I told you I wanted something special, like ice cream or jalapenos--you delivered, because you are the best mom.

I made my journey out of your womb and when I opened my eyes and saw the light I was frightened. The world was cold compared to the warmth of your body. But moments after that fear entered me the familiar warmth of your skin comforted me. It felt sright to be in your arms, looking into your eyes. Your eyes, the only thing I could focus on, were the most beautiful sight to me. They were emanating with the same love I felt within my own tiny body. I listened contentedly as I nursed while you oohed and ahhed over me, calling me perfect.

You counted my toes, my fingers, marveled at my size, and talked with daddy about who I looked most like. The whole time I was listening, hearing every word and I had not a care in the world. I drifted in and out of peaceful sleep, waking momentarily to meet my new family, and although I couldn’t express it, I was the happiest I had ever been. I thought nothing could be better than the soft, quiet solitude of your body, but I was wrong. The kisses, caresses, and voices I heard more clearly than ever before were so wonderful, I can’t imagine anything better than this, and I can’t imagine anything being wrong with this world. 

At some point I heard an unfamiliar voice, slightly harsher and colder than those of my new family. I had no idea what the words mean, but the voice said, “Are you ready to have your baby circumcised?” The source of the voice passed you and daddy a paper to sign, you did, and the person took me from your warm embrace with a final kiss on the forehead from you. 

While you waited they took me away, and you may never know what happened after that. They took me into a cold room and strapped me down to a table. Being used to the close, soft feel of a blanket wrapped around me and the warmth of your arms, this scared me. I wanted to curl into the position I have found so comfortable for all of my short life, I wanted to pull my knees into my chest and curl my tiny fist and suck on my thumb. I couldn’t, so I cried. I cried hard, mommy, but no one would listen to me.

Instead, one person removed my diaper while the other put a rubber paci in my mouth that was covered in a sweet substance. I admit the sweetness was momentarily nice and I stopped to suckle at it for a moment. My unfocused eyes shifted back and forth to the best of my ability while I tried to make sense of what was going on around me. I was still very scared. I did not yet have the ability to push the paci from my mouth so when they started to put liquid where my diaper used to be I wanted to cry out again but couldn’t. Instead I suckled harder at the paci, my eyes wide in fear. “I don’t know what's happening, this isn’t right!” I thought to myself, “I want to be back in my mother's warm and cozy arms, and taste the subtle sweetness of her milk, not this awful sugar.” I let out another muffled cry, and a nurse patted me on the head and told me to “Buck up” and “It'll be alright, honey.”

But it wasn’t alright! I didn’t think it could get any worse than this, and then I felt a sharp, stabbing pain that jolted through my entire body, followed by movement in my diaper area. I heard the clanging of metal, and searing hot pain radiating for what seemed like hours. I gasped through the pain, not knowing what else to do with my limited experience and began to scream, the sugarcoated pacifier falling by the wayside. I screamed louder. Feeling the doctor tear my foreskin from the glans was indescribable; my body began to shudder violently as I cried.

©The Saturday Evening Post
The nurse was there, rubbing my head and talking softly but her words were drowned out by my cries. My chest heaved and my tiny voice shook with the intensity of my cries. I took another deep breath, preparing for another protest to the excruciating pain surrounding my penis, but I couldn't muster up enough breath or strength to emit so much as a squeak.

The doctor was now cutting my foreskin away with a scalpel and I could no longer cry. I couldn't breathe softly as I had for my entire life. I could barely breathe at all. I was left gasping for air, unable to make a sound. The nurse said “Now, there's a tough boy, that isn’t so bad is it?” But it was that bad. I just couldn’t express myself and I could no longer control my body. My brain, in an effort to suppress the pain, told my body to shut down.

©The Saturday Evening Post
The nurses, doctors, and even you might have mistaken this to be a peaceful slumber, but don’t be fooled, it was a last resort, a final attempt to preserve my well-being. I no longer had control of my actions and my entire body went into a shock, my eyes focusing on the ceiling in a trance while a single tear trickled down my cheek.

When I came-to again, I was back in your comforting arms, and everything had returned to normal again, or as normal as it could be, anyway. There was still pain radiating in my diaper, peaking with every movement I made. Because my experience in this world was limited to mere hours, I had no idea what was going on, what had just happened, or where to begin to express to you the way I felt. The comfortable world I thought I knew had just shattered into a million pieces, and my trust for the big people around me was hesitant at best. I knew something terrible had just happened, and my body was still fighting the shock away.

I didn’t want to nurse anymore. I didn’t want to feel the burning in my diaper. I wanted to return to the place where nothing had ever hurt me before, a time when I didn't know pain. I wanted to go back to the place where literally every fiber of my being was created, including my fragile foreskin. I vaguely recall the moment you first held me and counted my fingers and toes. You told me I was perfect and beautiful. Why did you change me? YOU created every inch of me, every cell in my body. You didn't make me wrong, mommy. You did make me perfect, you were right all along. 

While my mind may never be able to reflect clearly on the surgery, somewhere within my memories it exists. It's too pivotal not to remain. The surgery was the first bad thing that happened in my life, the first time I felt a massive amount of pain, the first moment I was not comfortable and content. And it was unnecessary, because you created me perfectly inside you. There were no alterations needed.”

©The Saturday Evening Post

© Summer Davis. Summer is a 24-year-old intactivist who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, son and five dogs. She is currently working on her Master’s in Administration of Justice and Security.

Summer was introduced to intactivism through the efforts of her now best friend, Katie. They met through an online baby forum during their pregnancies. Summer was shocked that Katie was going to keep her son whole. Summer ended up having a girl, but continued to learn about routine circumcision over the next 3 years. In 2009, Summer conceived a boy and at that point resolved to keep him whole and to share information with other mothers on the issue.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feed Babies Food, not Cardboard!

Ian at 6.5 months enjoying uncured sausage and fermented sauerkraut.

“Guggie do you give your kids baby cereals? I'm wanting to avoid them and do Baby Led Weaning (BLW) with my 6 month old.The ped is pushing the cereals though b/c it's fortified with iron. I’ve also heard that cereal can make them sleep longer at night.”

No, I do not give my children baby cereal. After researching the baby cereal products and the science of grains in general, I think it’s the equivalent of poisonous cardboard. I also wonder if the iron issue is based on premature cord clamping that deprives infants of their normal blood volume/stem cells and poor gut health of the mother and baby. (Poor gut health can lead to an inability to absorb iron).

Nature has given us many other foods with bio-available iron and these foods also come with a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. Since introducing foods to babies is all about sharing the joy of tastes and textures, why bother with a dull, unappealing, processed cereal?

Consider these thoughts:

~The cereal is often made using several grains making it harder to pinpoint allergies and harder on the system of a new BLW baby.

~Even if it isn't a mixed product, they are still processed in the same facility, so there is cross-contamination.

~It's difficult/expensive to get non-GMO, organic cereals.

~Researchers are alarmed at the levels of toxic arsenic, cadmium and lead in baby cereals.

~In addition to the above toxins, baby cereals will be filled with fluoride. Learn about the detriments of fluoride exposure here:

~They are fortified with a mixture of cheap, synthetic vitamins, which are not only basically useless to the body, but most likely harmful: 

~If your baby is in the 50ish% of the population with an MTHFR polymorphism, then synthetics are setting him up for methylation and immune system issues:

~It's nutritionally deficient cardboard that has been processed and heated beyond recognizable food. It fills your child's tummy, leaving no room or interest for a variety of raw, nutrient-dense foods such as avocado.

Even other doctors are upset at the blanket statement on supplementing iron. This response was signed by 6 doctors:

"The authors did not address potential harms of supplementation, and they did not discuss the difference in bioavailability of iron contained in human milk versus iron-fortified fluids and foods. Given that research has shown potential harm in infant growth and morbidity when iron supplementation is provided to iron-sufficient infants, one wonders if universal iron supplementation will be deleterious to the population of developing infants who are breastfeeding exclusively.8" (The response also points out that anemis is found in only 3% of breastfed babies who do not take supplements).

And even the head of the AAP’s breastfeeding committee publicly denounced the new iron supplementation guidelines. Here is a summary:

Here is an excellent slideshow that covers just about anything you might wonder on this topic:

Here is a good chart on iron sources. I’m not advocating using everything on this list, but it does a good job of listing many options and their iron content. I suggest avoiding unfermented soy and unprepared grains.

Remember to provide lots of citrus fruits (preferably organic as most citrus fruits are contaminated with pesticides) since iron is best absorbed with vitamin C as a co-factor.

This site has good info on starting grains:

Remember to prepare your grains for your whole family to reduce harm and increase assimilation:

Whole grains might be a nutritional fad. Traditional cultures did not always consume the whole grain:

Some people believe babies are ready for grains when their molars erupt, as molars are the teeth used to grind. This would mean grains get introduced around 9 months at the earliest, to after a year.

As for whether or not a baby will sleep longer when fed cereal (or formula), science is proving this to be an urban legend. I don’t dismiss a mother’s observations, though. It makes sense to me that since cereal (or formula) is hard to digest, it might sit in the stomach longer, giving a false sense of fullness to the baby resulting in longer sleep cycles. Despite my theory, research has shown that babies fed formula or cereals at night do not sleep longer than babies fed milk. breaks down this myth with cited sources:

Jan Barger talks about baby cereal and sleeping here:

And even the mainstream calls this a myth:

The other question I want you to consider is: Do you think it’s healthier and safer for babies to sleep deeply or sleep for a long time?

Science has shown us that the short sleep cycles and light sleeping patterns of babies are actually important for brain development and prevents SIDS.

Here is one mainstream article on the topic:

 At any rate, if you have concerns about your baby’s iron levels, a quick test at the doctor’s office can confirm levels. I want to make it clear that although I do not promote baby cereal as a safe, healthy or effective way to provide iron for our babies, anemia IS a valid health concern and DOES need to be addressed if that’s the issue.

If levels are low but not severely, food supplementation can be very effective. For example, a spoonful of blackstrap molasses given with fresh squeezed orange juice can provide a lot of iron to a baby. At the very least, if you do choose an iron supplement, research all of the ingredients as many of the popular ones (such as the Sol drops by Enfamil) contain various chemicals and toxins.

Mamas have asked me IF I wanted an iron supplement, what I would choose and I always say it would be Floradix, an herbal, liquid iron supplement:

Here is one mama’s journey:

And I will save the best for last, another kellymom link with an excellent analysis of iron supplementation and cited research:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nations with Lower Maternal Mortality Rates than America

Here I am at 40 weeks and 6 days. Induction for so-called "over due" cases can lead to increased morbidity and mortality not only for the infant, but for the mother as well.

The countries below have lower maternal mortality rates (deaths during childbirth) than America:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brunei Darussalam
Czech Republic
Marshall Islands
New Zealand
Puerto Rico
Republic of Korea
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

(Based on current data from the World Health Organization,

Many thanks to Laura Gilkey for assembling this list. 

Additional Links

The US ranks LAST in the developed world:


Amnesty International has called on US President Barack Obama to tackle soaring rates of maternal mortality and pregnancy-related complications that particularly affect minorities and those living in poverty.”

Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States have doubled in the past 20 years, a development that a human rights group called "scandalous and disgraceful" Friday.”