Sunday, May 11, 2008

In a vacuum?

Never. Not when on the internet.

So, I got my first comment ever on a blogspot blog, and it was a from an anti-circumcision person. Thank you, specialaffinity for your opinion, and the link to a study about pain and infants, with regards to circumcision.

I still remain unconvinced, and would like to see counterstudies done regarding pain in infants in countries where circumcision is NOT the norm. One study, just like one link, will not convince me of anything. In any case, I'm not currently having a boy, so it is a moot point to me, and it honestly doesn't make a difference to me one way or another whether a boy of mine is circumcised.

For anyone else, this is what I'm talking about. I have already done much of my own research, and I'm satisfied with it. As someone who holds a bachelor's and a master's degree, I am satisfied that I am capable of DOING research. I've read opinions and studies, and done my own first hand investigation on many topics. Yet, people who feel motivated by a cause feel the urge to let me know that I'm wrong, and feel that I must be (re)educated so that I will "see the light".

This doesn't just hold to child-rearing, but that is a rant for another day. Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What spurred the creation of this blog...

As I mentioned, I am an active Livejournal user. Within Livejournal, I am a member of 100+ communities, and I read 25+ feeds daily. The particular pregnancy community of which I'm a part is a fairly good resource. The breastfeeding community that I'm a part of but don't watch on a regular basis is a decent one. But, as I mentioned, there are many (LOUD) proponents of attachment parenting online, and in one day I was hit by two.

I made the monumental misstep of mentioning On Becoming Babywise in the pregnancy community and had a few members not only tell me I should burn it, but one actually attempted to get me to "further educate" myself, by giving me...ONE LINK to read through.

I'm sorry, I've done my research, and I'm satisfied with it. I'm not a child, and I don't need an Internetz person to hold my hand and tell me how I should or shouldn't raise my child. Especially if the link you show me shows opinions from people who either have no reading comprehension or are giving recommendations based on what they think the book says.

For the record, I really do think a schedule makes sense, not only for giving stability to the baby, but to be sure that the family can live with having a new member that will already be turning the household upside-down. Babywise does NOT recommend keeping baby on a rigid schedule, based solely on the clock, nor does it recommend baby going hungry. Anyone who thinks it does obviously can't read.

God forbid I mention The Ferber Method. I seriously think I might be strung up. I'm sorry, but I really do believe that unless CIO (cry it out) happens, children CAN'T learn to self-soothe and it will be hell for anyone besides the parents to get the child to bed. Ever.

In the breastfeeding community, someone was actually nice about her preachy-ness, posted some links to some helpful advice without the overt implication that I was stupid, which I totally appreciated...but shared her favorite breastfeeding article, which at the end violated Godwin's Law. How is that even possible??? Yeesh.

I'm sorry, but I've already decided how I'm planning to feed my child. I can't possibly breastfeed when I go back to work. So I will pump. I don't need people telling me that:
1) I'm evil for going back to work because I can't feed on-demand.
2) I'm evil for introducing a bottle so my baby can have expressed breast milk.
3) I'm evil for not wanting to feed on-demand even in the beginning in order to keep a schedule for my husband when I do go back to work. I'm sorry; going from on-demand to a schedule would be more of a detriment to my child and a disruption to her life.
4) I should feed on-demand all night long and have scheduled feedings during the day. If I'm going to be working all day, I'm going to need sleep.
5) I should feed on-demand through at least two years. I know WHO recommends it but honestly? On-demand is already out, and if I'm lucky enough to have a supply and NOT have another child at the time, the kid's going to get it in a sippy cup, and not through 15-20 "snacks" throughout the day like some of the women said their 2-3 year olds were getting.

So, that's what spurred me on. Next post will either be my rejection of other AP (attachment parenting) objectives, pointing out the crazy of them, or pulling out some scientific research for some debunking.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why I'm not "crunchy"

I am a first time mom, due to give birth in 6 weeks, give or take a few days/weeks.

Of course, like any excited new mom, I've been doing a lot of research, attempting to figure out how to proceed with the raising of a new human being. My mother in law is deceased, and my mom is unlike any other mom on this planet. Perhaps I'll go into that some other time. Suffice to say, I'm still here, and despite how differently she went about things, she did a decent job with me - I just know that as a resource, her advice won't be what I'm looking for. SO, my resources are: my best friend with twin girls who just turned 2 this past March, my husband who has a 13 year old (henceforth to be known as "the kid", as that's what we call her) and the Internet.

All of which have their pros and cons. Best friend? Newer info, but she's dealing with two at once, which is very different from having one at a time. Husband? Much older info (according to him, the mandate was side sleeping when his daughter was born), and its been a while since he's been confronted with an infant. The Internet? What a scary, scary place for a new mom.

One of the new trends (I'm unsure of whether or not its new, or its gaining more popularity than it had in the past, or if the people who subscribe to it are just really LOUD) is Attachment Parenting, as described by many experts such as Dr. William Sears.

According to the Wikipdia article, Attachment Parenting can be described as follows:

Per Dr. Sears' theory of attachment parenting (AP), proponents such as the API attempt to foster a secure bond with their children by promoting eight principles which are identified as goals for parents to strive for. These eight principles are:

Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
Feed with Love and Respect
Respond with Sensitivity
Use Nurturing Touch
Engage in Nighttime Parenting
Provide Consistent Loving Care
Practice Positive Discipline
Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

These values are interpreted in a variety of ways. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, the anti-vaccination movement, natural health, cooperative movements, and support of organic food.

However, Dr. Sears does not require a parent to strictly follow any set of rules, instead encouraging parents to be creative in responding to their child's needs. Attachment parenting, outside the guise of Dr. Sears, focuses on responses that support secure attachments.

And all of this sounds great. Until you get to the actual practioners of said parenting style, who seem to ignore the last paragraph there.

I will go ahead and state how I feel about each topic above:

Home Births: They say that "This is how women did it from the beginning of time." I say, the mortality rate of women throughout history thanks to birthing does not warrant not taking the precaution of having access to emergency equipment and procedures if necessary.

Breastfeeding: If you can do it, do it. If you think you can't do it, keep trying. If you still can't, at least you tried. I can't see NOT wanting to, with all of the benefits it affords. And with as expensive as sprogs can be, saving money on formula is NOT a terrible thing. I was breastfed longer than the 6mo-1yr recommend, and it is VERY rare that I pick up whatever is going around. This is the Nouveau Crunchy topic I feel MOST strongly about, so while I'm very for it, I don't think its evil to bottle feed if its just not possible to breastfeed. I plan to pump after I return to work, and my goal is 6 months exclusive, and at least 6 months after that supplemental.

Babywearing: I'm very excited to be able to do this. Mostly because there are some areas and situations when a big honking stroller would just be more of a pain in the ass. My husband will not be wearing the baby, either in a sling (like me) or in a baby backpack. I'm ok with this.

Vaccinations: I'm for them, but the aggressive vaccination schedule with all of the new vaccines that have come into play since I was a child makes me wary. Why do brand new immune systems need to learn how to make antibodies for 6 diseases at once? Thankfully, my GP will be my kiddo's GP, and she and her partner at her practice are all about listening to patients. My kiddo will get vaccinated for necessary things. From what I can tell, maybe about 90% of what's there is necessary. More research shows that certain vaccines can have two or three doses depending on the brand that is used, so I plan to ask for the brands that have the fewest number of shots needed. Finally, my kiddo will be caught up with her counterparts by the time she hits school, just on a different schedule. Obviously, if there are certain guidelines that HAVE to be followed, ok. But, there are some where there is a range. Then why bother rushing it?

Anecdote: The kid has been sick at least four times since December. Her pediatrician noticed on a follow-up visit, when she was coming off her last bout with sickness (say maybe 2 days well) that she was due for all of her 12 year vaccines, and she needed them done before 8th grade. So the brilliance shown by both the doctor and agreed to by her mother with no input from her father? 5 vaccines AS she was coming off of sickness. She was out of school for another day (which she COULD NOT AFFORD), and her arm hurt like hell for days, and still hurt a bit even week later. If I were there, I would have thrown a fit, and told them they damned well better wait for summer time to do that in case she has a reaction.

Male Circumcision: I'm not vehemently against it, nor am I vehemently for it. I know there are videos out there that are very graphic that are used to convince people against doing it, but I'm not going to watch them, because I KNOW its a cosmetic thing. And I know it must be painful. But its also a preference. At the very least, if its done as a baby, there's no trauma of remembering the surgery.

Female Ear Piercing: In the Philippines, at least where my mother is from (Metro Manila), girls have their ears pierced at birth and threaded with string until they can get earrings. The doctors at the hospital where I was delivered would not do it. Luckily for my mother, my pediatrician was Indian, and ear piercing for girls is a cultural tradition there as well. My first holes were pierced when I was 3 months old. I never had a problem with them, they never grew funny, I wasn't allergic to anything. When I wanted more piercings at 14, and Mom wouldn't take me to get them done, I did them myself, with earrings and no ice. She was mad, but didn't make me take them out. Both sets healed up fine, and I still have three sets of holes in my ear to this day that I love. My GP and her partner are both Indian, and I don't foresee any problem getting my girl's ears pierced. And she will have pierced ears.

Anecdote: The kid wanted her ears pierced when she was 10 or so. Sparing the details, it took three tries, more time than it would take to pierce twenty 10 year olds, and she still has no holes in her ears. After the second attempt, I swore that if we had a daughter, she would have her ears pierced as a baby, because she wouldn't remember, and it wouldn't be as much of a hassle. It will take an extra 30 seconds to clean earring holes when doing any other cleaning activity with the baby, so its not that big a deal to me. As for the kid? Jeff has put his foot down and will NOT be paying for another attempt, and has said if she wants her ears pierced, she'll pay for it herself after she's 18.

Cloth Diapering: No. Whether its disposable or cloth, there is still an impact to the environment, and it will cost as much either way if I do disposable or if I do a delivery service and I'll still have to clean poo. Frankly, I'm going to be about convenience. Disposable all the way.

Homemade Food: Why the hell not? One, its a money saver, because all someone has to do is take a hand blender and mash up whatever everyone else is eating. Two, you control what's in the food. Three, it probably tastes better than jarred. Four, the baby will be more likely to eat your cooking when they actually move to solids, and be more accustomed to real world food.

Stay-at-home parenting: We're doing this because we figured out that we would have to put a direct deposit from the school where my husband works into a day care were he to continue working. Its purely economic.

Co-Sleeping: Baby will be in our room for space reasons for at least a year or two at the most. Baby will NOT be in our bed, because 1) I don't think its safe 2) My husband doesn't think its safe 3) There really isn't room for a third in our bed 4) We both don't think its healthy, and that it will form attachment for sleeping with mom and dad and it will be too difficult to get the kiddo into their own bed. In cultures where co-sleeping is the norm, chances are, there is little to no room for a baby to sleep anywhere else, and in some instances, safety away from mom and dad is probably a bigger issue.

Homeschooling (unschooling): We will likely be homeschooling. The public schools in our area are not very good, despite the teachers' and principals' best efforts. We don't have money for private school, and there aren't any charters close enough to us to give a whirl. I don't understand the concept of "unschooling" much except that it seems to put the child in charge of what the child will be learning. If you keep reading this blog, you will find out why I think that's a bad idea.

That's it for now. If you've made it this far, congrats. Next post will be my trigger/motivation for starting this blog.