Where is circumcision in your hierarchy of parenting decisions? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was leading a LLL meeting a few weeks ago, and I brought up the topic of how what you PLAN to do before your baby is born may be very different from what happens once baby is actually here. I was referring to things such as "I planned to cloth diaper, but baby is extremely high needs and I couldn't keep up with the laundry, something had to give" or "I planned on co-sleeping, but baby had severe reflux and needed to sleep on a wedge" (that second example is true for me, my first could not lay flat and could not side-lie nurse, so co-sleeping wasn't possible).

But the topic got me thinking...I told the moms there that you need to be aware of what parenting choices are the most important to you, kind of a "rack and stack" so if you have to re-evaluate anything for any reason, you already know which ones are easily negotiable. Maybe making your own home-made-from-scratch baby food suddenly seems like an enormous task, and buying jars of food is exactly the break you need to keep up your cloth diapering, and you have placed the importance of cloth diapers over the importance of home-made foods. Knowing that before hand can make the decision easier, less mama-guilt involved.

You get the idea.

I've been trying to figure out where my hierarchy is. And I think I'm surprising myself a little with my self-analysis. [caveat...I did not bring up circumcision at the meeting as it's outside the topics I'm allowed to discuss]

I think that leaving a baby intact falls at the top of my list.

I would rather formula feed my baby than circumcise. The way I see it, there is an "acceptable" alternative to breastmilk, but there is no alternative to a foreskin. Formula could potentially lead to health issues later in life, and I'm not downplaying those at all, but I think the health issues of circumcision are hugely ignored. Sexual health is health, after all. It's a big part of life.

I used to think that breastfeeding was really high on my list of important things, and it is high, but I think I put intactness above it. I also think I put correct use of car seats above it. I'd rather a mom formula feed her baby than not use or incorrectly use a car seat.

I'm still mulling this over in my head...but I'm curious where the rest of you stand in your own hierarchies? I had someone say to me once "I could care less if you circumcise your baby, but at least breastfeed!" and I think I've come to the conclusion that my beliefs are exactly opposite of that.

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#2 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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I was just thinking about this recently. Circumcism is the most important decision I can make for any son and it is one thing I will not budge on ever. It is the parenting issue I think is more important than any other. Breastfeeding is very important to me but circumcism is even more so because the effects of it will last a boys entire life. There future sex life will not be the same with a circumcism. You can't take it back. Breastmilk is healthy and important but it will not effect them later in life as much as circumcism does. I was just examining the same thing that I think it is more important to me that a boy is left intact than a baby is breastfed.

There are a few things I thought I be more crucnchy with. UP does not work for me and although I do use gentle discipline and liked some of the points from UP I do not folow it completely. I also encourage independent sleep and didn't co sleep as long as I thought with my ds. There are issues I could do things a little differently but circumcism does not fall into that catagory. I don't know if I could stay married to someone who was trying to force it.

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#3 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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Honestly, not that high.

FWIW, my two sons are circumcised. Were we ever to have another son, we would not circumcise. But even so, I don't view it as THAT big of a priority. I place breastfeeding way WAY up high. Natural birth is almost as high. Cloth diapering and babywearing are way up there, as is car seat safety. Cosleeping is high, but not all that high. If I had a child that happily slept in its own space in my room, that would be fine with me.
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#4 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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if I were to have a boy, circumsicion isn't negotiable. It isn't happening. The end.

however for me, because it is such a cut and dry issue that I won't really need to think about again, I don't consider it on the list at all. It won't really interfere with daily life trying to care for a baby other than reminding people not to retract and junk.

Carseats also isn't on the list for me either simply because using it correctly isn't hard and doesn't interfere with life. I know how to install correctly and I know how a child should be seated in one and how tight the straps should be. case closed for me. The ONLY issue is when to go from rear facing to forward facing and my child currently is just fine rfing at 23 pounds and 16 months so I'm going to leave her and will leave her for as long as possible. If I had a child that seriously couldn't be rfing past the legal time, I'd reconsider my stance.

For the list, breastfeeding is definitely more important than cloth diapers and for my current baby, cloth diapers was more important than making my own baby food. I've succeeded at the first two perfectly and failed at the third but I DID do my best to make good baby food choices for her. I'm currently adding in not vaccinating and figuring out where it belongs for me. Right now we delay vax but I am looking into pushing to stop altogether. We also didn't cosleep but I think that that will also be moved up the list for the next child... not sure yet where it belongs though. I'm also hoping to put babywearing up higher on the list too but again, I'm not sure how the order is going to go yet.

I think breastfeeding, specifically extended breastfeeding with solids no earlier than 6 months, will always be my number one though. Unless we are factoring in the birth. Natural birth is EXTREMELY important to me and I want a homebirth next time (first time was a fsbc) but I'm not sure which one would win out. losing either I think would affect me deeply. heaven forbid I get neither... I think I would have some serious issues getting over that.
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#5 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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Number one issue for me.
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#6 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.

Breastfeeding, CD/ECing, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, homeschooling, whatever it is -- those are all things that have to be done on a daily basis, even an hourly or minute by minute basis, and to me really are parenting decisions. Breastfeeding is at the top of the list for me for many reasons, and it is something that many moms have to work hard to do and really suffer and sacrifice for, so I see it as a parenting decision. As someone whose nursing relationship with my first nearly failed due to many factors, I can understand how sometimes a mom needs to make a parenting decision that breastfeeding isn't going to work out (although obviously I think we need a heck of a lot more support for moms so that there aren't so many booby traps!) And having nursed continuously for 8 years now, I'm pretty darned tired of it and I'm ready to stop because I'm not the parent I want to be after years of chronic sleep deprivation from night nursing. I do think every baby has the right to breastfeed but there's a big caveat in terms of whether every mama is able to breastfeed. It's not great if baby can't nurse but it's also not a human rights violation in the way that I think circumcision is.

But I simply don't see that there's ever a trade-off between circumcision and breastfeeding or any other real parenting decision, although I can certainly understand the question.

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#7 of 79 Old 07-21-2010, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I'm kind of fumbling over how exactly to word the question, because I also don't see it as something that I'm willing to "trade-off" or negotiate...the original discussion was definitely about trade-offs, but it got me thinking about what my priorities are.

I guess maybe a better way of putting it is...if you had to give a speech about one and only one topic related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, what topic would you choose as the most important?

I used to think that breastfeeding was close to if not my number one choice.

Natural birth probably being up there.

Anti-CIO being up there somewhere.

Baby wearing being up there.

CIrcumcision has always been a big NO for me, but it hasn't really been an activism thing for me until recently. I didn't do it, but didn't really care much if others did. That's not true for me anymore!!

Oh, same with vaccines...it used to be not a big deal, I was on the fence, didn't really care what others did one way or another, but now I find myself talking about it more and more.

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#8 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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there was no way i would have allowed my son to be circumcised.

but to me, that really wasn't a parenting *decision*.

for me, it is the default position.

my husband wanted to circumcise, but i said that he had to prove to me why surgery on normal anatomy was necessary.

for people who do circumcise, THEY are making a decision.

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#9 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended.

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#10 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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Circumcision is BY FAR my first. BY FAR!

Second is CIO.
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#11 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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I'm with Quirky on this one in terms of labeling this a parenting decision. It's a human right issue to me.
I would not trade anything that compromised my child's emotional well being. I nurse because of the biological need for a human to receive human milk. Nothing else is specifically tailor made for that baby besides it's mother's milk. BUT breastfeeding has a huge emotional component and I place that aspect of it on equal footing with the biology.
I feel the same way with co-sleeping. Their is real biological science behind co-sleeping. Just read any of James McKenna's work if you are not familiar with it. There is also the emotional security issue. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
I understand the nature of the question. Meeting my child's biological and emotional needs are primary, so breastfeeding, co sleeping, baby wearing, never CIO...those sorts of things are totally not negotiable.

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#12 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 02:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.
ITA For me it was non-negotiable. Circumcising my son would have caused him physical harm. I could never choose to do that and justify it.

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#13 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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If I had to pick a position (I understand what you're saying, but the fact is is that it's not a "parenting" decision at all, and we know that), then it would definitely be number one.

I've been thinking about this lately... I had a friendship absolutely fall apart because I told her I thought she was making a gargantuan mistake, by thinking about just "giving in" to her husband's adamance about circumcision. Then a bunch of my other friends jumped all over me, saying things like "are you suggesting she leave her husband?!" And I felt terrible.

But now... in retrospect, I think I would. If my husband were the type of guy that couldn't listen to reason, and still wanted to damage our son like that, well then I don't think I'd like to be with him. And I would protect my son at all costs, including marriage. Most other issues have a little wiggle room... a bit of "discussion room".

Not when it comes to my sweet baby's bodily integrity, that's for sure.

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#14 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.

Once again, Quirky said it better than I could - It's not even on my list of parenting decisions, because it's not a parenting decision.

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#15 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Circumcision simply isn't happening. It's not even an option. The end. Nothing could make me needlessly circumcise my child. Unlike other parenting choices (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, etc) it's irreversible and once it's done, you can't go back. I'm very much against it.
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#16 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Here's my top 5:

1) Circumcision- non-negotiable, I consider it assault and abuse, and would literally divorce over the issue, told DF as much the minute it looked like we were going to get serious (which was on our second date ), that he was welcome to look at all of the research if he wanted to and I would help him with that.

2) CIO- Ain't happening, but wouldn't leave my partner over it. WOULD stop leaving the baby alone with them, however, and did this with my previous partner over my daughter, before I eventually left him outright.

3) Breastfeeding- Will do everything in my power to EBF and CLW, but wouldn't leave my partner for giving formula. He never would, though, he's been educated on the advantages of breastfeeding now

4) Babywearing- I consider this important but I'm flexible about it, and wouldn't try to force my partner to do it if they didn't want to.

5) Cloth diapering- would rather CD, but it's a pretty big point spread between circ and diapering choices.
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#17 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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keeping my baby from being mutilated? Up at the very tippy top of that list.

Next would be physical/emotional abuse; spanking/abandonment ect.

I can bend on nearly anything else.

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#18 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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Keeping the child intact is the number one priority. Period. Like others have said, once it's done it's done, there is no putting the foreskin back on. Other things may or may not be detrimental to my child but surgical removal of a healthy, functioning body part certainly is harmful and forever changes a sex organ that isn't my own.

I'm curious about what the OP meant by this:
"[caveat...I did not bring up circumcision at the meeting as it's outside the topics I'm allowed to discuss]".

Is circ discussion not allowed at your LLL meeting by anyone or just you? Can you provide more info on this? Maybe it's not allowed at any LLL meeting (I've never been to one). I would hope they would allow it, especially since some babies may have a nursing difficulty for a brief time after a circ. I hope if a new mama to a freshly circed baby asked questions someone there could answer her. I'd hate to see her stop breastfeeding because she thought something else was wrong.

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#19 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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I'd say at the top. It's an absolutely non-negotiable for me.

Breastfeeding is a close second. I'd say they're tied, but if I ended up in a situation where I had to pick one or the other (can't imagine how that would happen), not chopping off one of my baby's body parts would win out.

After that? They're all at least somewhat flexible. I was a tyrant about using cloth, at least most of the time, until after Aaron died. I've just never pulled it together sufficiently since then. I'm pretty hardcore about bedsharing, but it isn't always the best...dd1 did better in her own bed, next to us, after about 3-4 months or so. I'm totally pro-babywearing, but don't do it that much with dd2, because of my back and shoulder issues. I'm a serious natural birth advocate, but...I've had five c-sections. Things have to give sometimes...but not foreskins.

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#20 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Interesting. I just read through the thread, and realized I ddn't even think about CIO. It's a bit like circ - it's never even occurred to me to attempt CIO. It's just not on my list of possibles.

I agree with those who said that circ sin't really a parenting decision and wouldn't even really be on the list. To me, it's no different than asking "where on your list of parenting priorities is leaving all your baby's fingers in one piece?", except that I don't know anyone who would chop off a baby's finger.

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#21 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those of you answering that it really isn't a parenting decision, I know what you mean, in that it's a human rights issue. I meant it more like "a decision you've made as part of being a parent".

I think leaving my boys intact is the most important decision I've made. Safety probably comes next...carseats, sleeping, vaccines, that sort of thing. Breastfeeding is up there high on the list. Other stuff isn't as important to me...I cloth dipe once in a while, I do make baby food but am not hugely hung up on it, I pay attention to nutrition but also take my kids to McD's, I send my kids to public school even though I do most of their academics at home since they're advanced.

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Originally Posted by Night_Nurse View Post
I'm curious about what the OP meant by this:
"[caveat...I did not bring up circumcision at the meeting as it's outside the topics I'm allowed to discuss]".

Is circ discussion not allowed at your LLL meeting by anyone or just you? Can you provide more info on this? Maybe it's not allowed at any LLL meeting (I've never been to one). I would hope they would allow it, especially since some babies may have a nursing difficulty for a brief time after a circ. I hope if a new mama to a freshly circed baby asked questions someone there could answer her. I'd hate to see her stop breastfeeding because she thought something else was wrong.
Yes, as LLL leaders we can discuss it only in the way you described, by warning that it could lead to temporary breastfeeding issues. We can say that any separation of mom and baby in the early weeks is undesired. But we are supposed to be culturally sensitive about it. LLL does not take an official stance on the topic, although I wish they did!

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#22 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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Non-negotiable

Physical or sexual abuse of any kind, including cutting off any part of my child's body

Mental or emotional abuse of any kind. I consider CIO to be emotional abuse.

Priority list

1. Natural birth (within the mother's comfort level)

2. Breastfeeding. A minimum of 6 months would be wonderful, with CLW as the ideal, but I'd take anything I could get.

3. Proper child restraint use, including extended RF. This isn't higher on my list because IMO it is easy to learn how to install the car seat correctly, and that isn't generally a day-to-day activity. Learning to buckle the child in correctly isn't hard to learn either, so the only thing left is to be diligent about doing it right, every single time.

4. Co-sleeping. I sort of see this as tied in with breastfeeding though, since co-sleeping is an excellent time for babies to help boost their mother's milk supply and foster emotional closeness. Then again, I have scarcely had a sleepless night while co-sleeping with my DD. It is the best way for all of us to get a great night's sleep. If I had experienced problems, I might feel differently.

5. No vaccination.



Things that I do but could be willing to drop without too much agony

Baby wearing. This is something that I loved doing, so it wasn't any work for me.

Cloth diapering

Making baby food. I didn't agonize over this actually. We just took whatever fruits/vegetables we were having, whirred it in our handy chopper, and added a little breastmilk to thin when necessary. Then we started adding soft goat cheese, very small bites of soft chicken, etc. I was still breastfeeding, so I didn't worry about nutrition with my home-made baby foods so much as exposure to textures and flavors.

Quote:
I guess maybe a better way of putting it is...if you had to give a speech about one and only one topic related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, what topic would you choose as the most important?
Natural birth. Everything else flows from there, IMO.
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#23 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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I do not see how circumcision can be allowed to be a parental decison because I can see it okay for Real Medical Reasons but just for cosmetic it's like what's next boys getting penis piercing as babies ?

Real Parenting decisons are keeping your son's safe ,clean and healthy.

Feeding the child , keeping the child safe in cars , home, and public places. Cleaning is that the child is with clean clothes , clean undies/diapers, keeping the body and teeth clean . Having a child see a doctor when needed too.
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#24 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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oh, and as for making homemade baby food, why not just try baby led weaing and skip the purees altogether? i've never bought any baby food, and i didn't blend anything either. i just started him on bananas and squash slices around 6 months old. he quickly progressed through most everything.

THIS was one of the best parenting choices i have made.

(not circumcising is a non-choice; it's the default.)

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#25 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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I can't decide between gentle discipline and circumcision. Perhaps this is it for me:
1. circ
2. gentle discipline
3. CIO
4. breastfeeding
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#26 of 79 Old 07-23-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I agree with those who said that circ sin't really a parenting decision and wouldn't even really be on the list. To me, it's no different than asking "where on your list of parenting priorities is leaving all your baby's fingers in one piece?", except that I don't know anyone who would chop off a baby's finger.
Also what Quirky and Fyrestorm said.

You could possibly make a whole list, like "is keeping all of your baby's toes in place more important than breastfeeding? Is not cutting off the tip of your baby's nose more important than cloth diapers? Is not breaking your baby's arm more important than cosleeping?"
All of those are false dichotomies. You never have to make a choice between them. Likewise, you would never have to choose to circumcise your baby in order to be able to cosleep, babywear, breastfeed, or whatever. Whereas I can totally see the situations like you described where you just had to give up the cloth diapers because life with a high-needs baby made things too crazy to keep up with the laundry. I could see a bad back resulting in no babywearing, or physical or emotional issues resulting in an inability to breastfeed. But there is no situation where you would have to circumcise in order to make other things work. Unless it was to keep the father in the baby's life. Then you would have to ask yourself: "would I break my baby's arm so his father wouldn't leave us? Would I cut off his toes so his father wouldn't leave us? Would I cut off the end of his nose so his father wouldn't leave us?" and then you see it is really a non-option; you would have to simply get out of the mind-set of "I could have kept our family together if only I had let my husband have his way and circumcise our baby, so it is my fault and my choice that my baby has no father in his life" and see it for what it really is, "my husband was dead-set on physically abusing our baby, so he is well gone from us."

Just a side-note on the baby food thing: I think the store-bought vs. homemade baby food is another false dichotomy. You don't need either! If the baby can ONLY eat food that is of a thin, liquidy consistency with no pulp or chunks in it, then he is not ready for food and should still be on breastmilk or formula. Then, when he is ready for food with some texture, you just give him food with some texture, like bananas, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, etc. There's never actually a need to use "baby food" at all, so no reason to feel guilty about not making it homemade.

Jen
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#27 of 79 Old 07-23-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
oh, and as for making homemade baby food, why not just try baby led weaing and skip the purees altogether? i've never bought any baby food, and i didn't blend anything either. i just started him on bananas and squash slices around 6 months old. he quickly progressed through most everything.

THIS was one of the best parenting choices i have made.

(not circumcising is a non-choice; it's the default.)
Oh, I must have skipped reading yours before I posted! Yeah, same here on the baby food.
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#28 of 79 Old 07-23-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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Infant Circumcision

It's not a parenting choice,
it's a human rights issue.


I need a sticker that says exactly that! I have never had my thoughts put so succinctly.

partners.gif 2twins.gif  So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!

 
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#29 of 79 Old 07-23-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by •Adorkable• View Post
Infant Circumcision

It's not a parenting choice,
it's a human rights issue.


I need a sticker that says exactly that! I have never had my thoughts put so succinctly.
I have plans to go screenprint some intactivist t-shirts with a friend next week and we are trying to decide what to say. That sounds PERFECT!

Jen
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#30 of 79 Old 07-23-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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I would say, rather than ranking these items, that any of these "decisions" - planning a natural birth, rejecting circumcision or vaccines, breastfeeding, etc. can be a "gateway" to a thoughtful, evidence-based way of parenting, rather than a "follow the mainstream" style of parenting. So in the context of a class or group, I would think asking the participants to research the one parenting "decision" that they are most interested in learning about would help to open that gateway. Especially if MDC was one of the recommended resources. One hopes thoughtful rejection of circ and it's harms would be a natural outcome of that change in perspective.

Metis, partner to a peaceful soul, mothering DD born July '11

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