Dear Woman in Target... 'Spoiling that baby' is the most important job I have

By Kelly Dirkes © 2016
Originally shared on Facebook here.
Posted to Peaceful Parenting with author's permission.

Dear Woman in Target,

I've heard it before, you know. That I "spoil that baby."

You were convinced that she'd never learn to be "independent."

I smiled at you, kissed her head, and continued my shopping.

If you only knew what I know.

If you only knew how she spent the first ten months of her life utterly alone inside a sterile metal crib, with nothing to comfort her other than sucking her fingers.

If you only knew what her face looked like the moment her orphanage caregiver handed her to me to cradle for the very first time -- fleeting moments of serenity, commingled with sheer terror. No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do.

If you only knew that she would lay in her crib after waking and never cry -- because up until now, no one would respond.

If you only knew that anxiety was a standard part of her day, along with banging her head on her crib rails and rocking herself for sensory input and comfort.

If you only knew that that baby in our carrier is heartbreakingly "independent" -- and how we will spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years trying to override the part of her brain that screams "trauma" and "not safe."

If you only knew what I know.

If you only knew that that baby now whimpers when she's put down instead of when she is picked up.

If you only knew that that baby now "sings" at the top of her lungs in the mornings and after her nap, because she knows that her chatter will bring someone to lift her out of her crib and change her diaper.

If you only knew that that baby now rocks to sleep in her Mama's or her Papa's arms instead of rocking herself.

If you only knew that that baby made everyone cry the day she reached out for comfort, totally unprompted.

If you only knew what I know.

"Spoiling that baby" is the most important job I will ever have, and it is a privilege.

I will carry her for a little while longer -- or as long as she'll let me -- because she is learning that she is safe.

That she belongs.

That she is loved.

If you only knew...


To connect with other gentle parenting families:

Babywearing mom or dad? The Babywearing Group:

Nursing School: OB Clinicals and My Experience With Infant Circumcision

By Sophia Murdock, R.N. © 2016

During my second to last semester of nursing school, I went through my OB clinical (which included antepartum, labor and delivery, postpartum, NICU, and OB triage units, as well as lactation consulting) at one of our local hospitals. One morning, before we headed to our assigned unit for the day, my clinical instructor enthusiastically told my group, "If you get the chance to see a circumcision, definitely do it. It's cool!"

I didn't think much of her words at the time. Of course, as nursing students we wanted to see and experience as much as possible. I had unexpectedly found myself enjoying my OB clinical and was so excited and eager to learn as much as I possibly could.

While in the mother/baby (postpartum) unit, the nurse that I was working with that day told me that we'd be assisting with a circumcision. I had never seen one before, so I took the opportunity, not knowing what to expect.

After we had taken the newborn back to the "circ room" in the nursery, I watched the nurse gather the necessary supplies, place him on a plastic board [a circumstraint], and secure his arms and legs with Velcro straps. He started crying as his tiny and delicate body was positioned onto the board, and I instantly felt uncomfortable and disturbed seeing this helpless newborn with his limbs extended in such an unnatural position, against his will. My instincts wanted to unstrap him, pick him up, and comfort and protect him. I felt an intense sensation of apprehension and dread about what would be done to him.

When the doctor entered the room, my body froze, my stomach dropped, and my chest tightened.

This precious baby was an actual person. He was a 2-day-old boy named Landon, but the doctor barely acknowledged him before administering an injection of lidocaine into his penis.

Instantly, Landon began to let out a horrifying cry. It was a sound that is not normally ever heard in nature because this trauma is so far outside of the normal range of experiences and expectations for a newborn.

The doctor, perhaps sensing how horrified I was, tried to assure me that the baby was crying because he didn't like being strapped onto the board. He began the circumcision procedure right away, barely giving the anesthetic any time to take effect.

Landon's cries became even more intense, something I hadn't imagined was possible. It seemed as if his lungs were unable to keep up with his screams, and desperate attempts to maintain his respirations.

Seeing how nonchalant everyone in the room was about Landon's obvious distress was one of the most chilling and harrowing things I had ever witnessed. I honestly don't remember the actual procedure, even though the doctor was explaining it to me. I can't recall a word he said during or after because I wasn't able to focus on anything but Landon's screams and why no one seemed to care. I only remember that the nurse attempted to give him a pacifier with glucose/fructose at some point.

Landon was "sleeping" by the end of the circumcision, but I knew it was from exhaustion and defeat.

I had watched as his fragile, desperate, and immobilized body struggled and resisted until it couldn't do so anymore, and gave up.

Seeing this happen made me feel completely sick to my stomach and I told myself that I would absolutely refuse to watch another circumcision if the opportunity presented itself again. I was unable to stop thinking about what I saw and heard...

The sounds that I heard come from Landon as he screamed and cried out still haunt me to this day.

A few weeks later when I felt somewhat ready to revisit the topic, I began researching why this was being done to infant boys. It didn't take long before I learned the truths about circumcision - truths that were never told to me during nursing school. I was never taught about the possibility of keeping boys intact or anything about the foreskin or intact care.

During one lecture, I learned about post-op circumcision care as if it was the default to circumcise baby boys. It was as if there was no other option -- this was just what we do. My own research revealed that not only was there an alternative, but that this alternative was the only acceptable and ethical option.

I learned that the United States is one of the few countries that is still routinely circumcising newborn babies, and that this procedure is condemned by most of the world, including Europe.

I learned that the foreskin is not just a useless flap of skin at the end of the penis, but it is a normal, healthy, and functioning organ that is present on every mammal, male and female.

I learned that male foreskin has important protective, immunological, and sexual functions.

I learned that for infants and young children, the foreskin is fused to the glans (head) of the penis (as our nails are fused to our fingers), and that circumcision requires the forcible separation of these structures.

I learned that research evidence does not support the alleged health benefits of circumcision (such as a lowered HIV risk and fewer UTIs) and that the studies that did show benefits had relied on flawed methodology.

I learned how easy it is to care for an intact penis on a child, and that cleaning it is just like wiping a finger (as opposed to all of that troublesome circumcision care that I was taught in nursing school).

Most horrifically, I learned that over 100 infant deaths occur yearly from circumcision related complications, such as hemorrhage.

I still believe that Landon's parents, in consenting to the circumcision that I witnessed, truly thought that they were doing what was best for their child. Unfortunately, they weren't given factual and complete information either, and therefore were not able to make an informed decision. They didn't see what their son experienced while restrained to a plastic board, and only saw the "peaceful" sleeping state that his body was in when he was returned to them, post-defeat. Maybe they were told that he "slept right through it" or that he "took it like a champ" just like so many other parents are.

The neuropsychological effects of circumcision have been well-documented, but are almost never spoken of. Most likely, Landon had entered a state of withdrawal, dissociation, and exhaustion after enduring an unbearable trauma to his body that he was unable to escape from.

Like me, you probably haven't heard these truths about circumcision from any health care professional. I still remember how much my faith in the nursing profession shattered on that day. I remember questioning: how could such a blatant violation of the Code of Ethics for Nurses not only be allowed to happen, but be promoted by so many nurses? How could so many members of the "most trusted profession" (as ranked by a yearly Gallop poll - something that was often bragged about by my nursing school professors) be complicit in this atrocity?

Perhaps as you've discovered the truth, you've found yourself asking similar questions.

Parents - as a nurse who has learned the truth, I would like to assure you that you do not need to put your son through this. You do not need to try to convince yourself that your son won't remember being circumcised and that it is "best to get it over and done with while he's a baby." You do not need to attempt to assuage any guilt by telling yourself that he'll thank you for it later. You do not need to suppress and distrust your fundamental, biological instinct to protect your child.

Instead of signing that consent form, ask yourself: what is truly best for my son? If my son could speak up, what would he want for himself?

Instead of telling your doctor that you'd like to have your son circumcised, you can say that you will not allow them to harm your precious child. Instead of handing your son over to be strapped to that board, you can hold his warm and tiny body close to your chest and assure him that he'll be kept safe in your loving arms.

Parents, you have the power to protect your son from the unnecessary pain and trauma that Landon was forced to endure. Keep your son intact.

Graphics by Intact Asheville
Available educational postcards for sharing with patients or friends at

Related reading from registered nurses

On the ethics of registered nurses assisting in forced infant circumcision:

Circumcision: A Male R.N.'s Perspective:

The day I withdrew from nursing school:

The biggest lie told to parents:

If this stained circumstraint could talk:

Nurse's circumcision tools:

Using a catheter without retraction: my nurse did it and so can yours:

Educating parents about circumcision (from Colorado NOCIRC) &
The Elements of Informed Consent (from Colorado NOCIRC):

Ethical Decision Making in the Clinical Setting: Nurses' Rights and Responsibilities:

Medical Professionals for Genital Autonomy (to volunteer to respond to parents' questions or be on the MedPro advisory panel, email


River of Life: Breastfeeding / Natural Weaning Mural in Tijuana, Mexico

By Danelle Frisbie © 2016

A beautiful mural celebrating the joys and goodness of natural weaning is depicted on Tijuana’s largest public health care facility.  The message, painted by Ariana Escudero, is that there is no shame in breastfeeding your baby (of any age). "2 years or more" reads a part of the caption underneath this nursing mom and her little one.

Escudero painted the 45-by-15 foot mural at Hospital General de Tijuana in Zona Río, in part because of the social insults she experienced while breastfeeding her two babies.

"It seemed so important to me to bring this message in this way because many mothers will come [to the hospital], but they’ll come to doctors -- many of whom are surprisingly misinformed about breastfeeding -- just like the general public," says Escudero. This particular hospital is where approximately 90% of local mothers birth their babies, so the mural (at the hospital's main entrance) is seen by most. She continues, "Mothers who decide to breastfeed our children do not have any reason to be censored. That’s why we must normalize it to create a culture of breastfeeding, and fight for women’s right to choose [to nurse their babies]."

Myths and misconception about the normal feeding of human babies is widespread in Mexico. Many mothers say that nursing in public is even more taboo in Mexico than in the United States, and as a result most new mothers are opting for artificial baby feeds, despite the fact that this costs significantly more than breastfeeding (both in immediate formula cost and resulting health care costs for babies who become ill more often without human milk).

One local Tijuana mother, Athena Valencia, writes on Facebook, "This past Friday on a bus in Tijuana a gentleman sat next to me and my baby. From the beginning he looked kind of grumpy... My baby she fidgeted, and the only way to calm her down was to nurse her. He turned around and said, 'That's disgusting!' I felt like crying. This is one of the reasons I don't like breastfeeding in public. But at home, everything works well for me and my baby."

Another mother writes, "[This mural] is so beautiful. I've spent days with my heart broken to pieces just a few steps away from her, but always look back and think how beautiful it is for my baby to live healthy, without pain of disease, and being a mother so many things are represented in this painting."

Due to this social pressure, Mexico has one of the lowest rates of breastfed babies in any Latin American nation - at approximately 14% for babies 0-6 months.

The mural project cost $9,000 in total, half of which was funded by the city, and the other half fundraised. Crianza Alternativa wrote on behalf of this (2014) fundraising effort, "Mexico, a developing country, is particularly vulnerable on the subject of breastfeeding due to high levels of poverty and lack of education on the matter. We have become so unattached with our motherly instincts that we have doubted ourselves on simple things like, 'We can provide full nourishment for our children. We CAN breastfeed.'"

Escudero finished her fantastic work of art during July and August, 2015, and this year all mothers birthing at the hospital will be met with an empowering image as they bring their new babies into the world.

Photograph from Derrik Chinn, San Diego Magazine

Breastfeeding community and support at The Breastfeeding Group:

Excellent breastfeeding books for nursing mothers (read one before your little one arrives):

Related reading (articles at bottom of page):


Nature Connection Pyramid

Nature Connection Pyramid

Further reading on the benefits of getting kids into nature, and many ways to do so in your family and neighborhood: NATURE BOOKS


17 Year Old Girl Dies Undergoing Female Genital Mutilation

Source: Daily Mail
By AFP and Julian Robinson

Egyptian prosecutors are investigating the death of a teenage girl during a female circumcision operation at a private hospital.

Mayar Mohamed Mousa, 17, died in El Canal hospital on Sunday while under full anaesthesia in the province of Suez, said Lotfi Abdel-Samee, the health ministry undersecretary in the province. "This is something that the law has prohibited," stressed Abdel-Same.

Despite the ban in 2008, female genital mutilation (FGM) is still widespread in Egypt, especially in rural areas. It is practised among Muslims as well as Egypt's minority Christians. The law led to the first prison sentence against a doctor in Egypt in January last year, with the girl's father in that case given a three-month suspended sentence.

On Sunday, Mousa's sister had just undergone the operation before she was sent in for surgery. The girls' mother is a nurse, while their late father was a surgeon. The operation was being carried out by a registered female doctor, according to Abdel-Same.

Authorities shut down the hospital on Monday after transferring patients to other hospitals as prosecutors questioned the hospital manager and medical staff involved in the operation, Abdel-Samee said. They have also spoken to the mother, a prosecution official said.

The case was opened after a health inspector reported the circumstances of the girl's death. Medical examiners have carried out an autopsy, and are due to report the cause of death, said Abdel-Same.

While 200 million women and girls worldwide have been subjected to the practise, there have been major strides in Egypt, as well as Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Kenya against FGM, according to Claudia Cappa, the lead author of a February UN children's agency report on the issue.

"The latest figures from the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey show that we're winning," the United Nations Development Programme said in a report last year. "Mothers' attitudes are changing, too," UNDP said. While 92 percent of mothers had undergone the procedure, only 35 percent of them "intend to circumcise their daughters," according to the UNDP report.

Victims of the procedure are left to cope with a range of consequences from bleeding and pain while urinating, extreme discomfort during sex, fatal complications in childbirth and deep psychological trauma.

Daily Mail:

The Guardian:

Related Reading: 

History of Female Circumcision in the United States

Female Genital Mutilation Bill of the United States

The CUT Documentary on FGM

FGM / MGM Similar Attitudes and Misconceptions

FGM / MGM A Visual Comparison

Male and Female Genital Cutting

CNN: Why Egyptian Girls Fear this Summer


We love Kindercarry's Kinderpack! Especially for bigger/taller/heavier babies and toddlers, this is the most comfortable carrier we have tried as individual parents, and it is a favorite among our local babywearing lending library. When Peaceful Parenting began (2005) there was no such thing as a comfortable carrier for a heavy/large baby or toddler. With the Kinderpack we can comfortably babywear for many hours, day after day, and do so with special needs toddlers and children as well. It is truly a blessing in babywearing, and one we'd love everyone to experience. You can learn more about Kinderpacks and their small-batch, USA handmade construction at

Each Kinderpack below comes to you brand new, with tags attached, in its original packaging, with all accompanying booklets and papers. The pack has never been tried on unless noted. Photos are of the actual carrier you will receive and the listing will be removed from this page upon purchase. Most packs below have Plus straps because they are perfect for every body type and can be adjusted for the most comfortable babywearing fit for parents of all sizes. New Kinderpacks below are $250 plus priority shipping with insurance and tracking ($12.80 in the U.S., varies worldwide).

Email to verify your address and pack selection. You will be sent tracking in a response within 24 hours.

With each Kinderpack, you are welcome to select an advocacy bracelet and bumper sticker of your choice to plant seeds and raise awareness of the joys of babywearing. Born 2B Worn bracelets are in cool colors (blue/purple/teal) or warm colors (red/orange/hot pink) ($5 without KP). Bumper stickers are produced upon request ($8 without KP) and can be in any color of your choosing (black, white, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, etc.). Include selections with your email.

Note: No one at Peaceful Parenting has been given any incentive of any kind to speak upon Kinderpacks. All packs here were purchased brand new at full retail price plus shipping and fees directly from Kindercarry. We simply love them, have shared locally for many years, and would like to help other families in the PP community have access to a Kinderpack that fits their family needs. Any amount beyond retail/shipping/fees/taxes goes toward Peaceful Parenting education at maternity and baby expos where materials are given freely to new and expecting families; as well as toward the non-profit work that Peaceful Parenting takes on (birth, breastfeeding, baby care supplies and support for low-income families and mothers). If you have a Kinderpack you'd like to donate toward this effort (to give freely to another family in need), write to

Various options for payment: 

1) Use this link; note your address/pack selection: [Note: PayPal takes 5% with this option]
2) PayPal via Friends/Family to with your address and pack selection. [PayPal does not take 5% with this option]
3) Email to use a credit card by email or phone.
4) Send via check or money order to:
Peaceful Parenting
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
*personal checks will have to clear before Kinderpack is sent; email before sending check so that your new KP is held for you
*If you are local and would like to try on a KP, please email We have regular fitting dates with parents in the community, and would be happy to meet with you.

[Photos in process]

Kinderpacks by Size


Hop To It - Plus with Koolnit

Skulls and Roses - Plus with Koolnit

In Focus - Plus with Koolnit

Geared Up - Plus with Koolnit

Zombie Apocalypse 2 - Plus with Koolnit

Chesapeake - Standard with Koolnit

Riptide - Plus with Koolnit / pending new family


Hop To It - Plus with Koolnit

Skulls and Roses - Plus with Koolnit

DIY Butterfly - Plus with Koolnit
(this carrier can be colored to fit your style with fabric markers)

Party Hearty - Plus with Koolnit

Little Wing - Plus with Koolnit
(gold is metallic and glistens in light; KP new with tags attached; has been tried on for fitting)

Derby - Plus with Koolnit

Lotis - Plus with Koolnit

Summit - Plus with Koolnit

Rhino Romp - Plus with Koolnit

Shady Savannah - Plus with Koolnit / pending new family

Shark Attack - Plus with Koolnit

Chesapeake - Plus with Koolnit

Blue Poppies - Plus with Koolnit

Midnight Floral - Plus with Koolnit

Regatta - Plus with Koolnit

Clementine - Plus with Koolnit

Riptide - Plus with Koolnit

Dino-Mite - Plus with Koolnit

Riptide - Standard with Koolnit

Synergy - Standard with Aqua Koolnit
(retired print)

Bearly Sleeping - Standard with Koolnit


Skulls and Roses - Plus with Koolnit

Fairytale - Plus with Koolnit

Shady Savannah - Plus with Koolnit

Twilight - Plus with Koolnit

Shark Attack - Plus with Koolnit

Superkids - Plus with Koolnit

Regatta - Plus with Koolnit

In the Round - Plus with Koolnit

Clementine - Plus with Koolnit

Riptide - Plus with Koolnit

Riptide - Standard with Koolnit

Bearly Sleeping - Standard with Koolnit

Fantasy Forest - Standard with Koolnit

Synergy - Standard with Aqua Koolnit
(retired print) 


In Focus - Plus with Koolnit

Fairytale - Plus with Koolnit

Shark Attack - Plus with Koolnit

Regatta - Plus with Koolnit

In the Round - Plus with Koolnit

Clementine - Plus with Koolnit

Superkids - Standard with Koolnit

All babywearing families are welcome to join the B/S/T/Chat KP group on Facebook

Chalk the Walk!

Join us from your neighborhood sidewalk or park as we Chalk The Walk with a baby/child-friendly message! Facebook event page:

This is a fun-in-the-sun, family-friendly awareness raising project that has been loved far and wide in years past. Chalk is cheap ($1-3 at most stores) and can also be homemade (see: It displays colorful messages on any public street/sidewalk/walkway where children and their parents are otherwise free to be, and washes naturally away with the first rainfall.

Pick your passion (birth advocacy? breastfeeding? night time parenting (no CIO)? cloth diapering? gentle 'discipline'? genital autonomy?) select your message, choose your location, gather a few friends and the kids, get your chalk ready... and we'll look forward to seeing your creation this April 30th!

The 1st participant in each U.S. location will receive an advocacy bracelet, set of info stickers, or info cards to continue spreading the message. Find various types in links here:

There will also be a winner in each category who will receive $10 toward advocacy materials of your choice (breastfeeding, babywearing, birth, genital autonomy, etc.).

'Most Creative'

'Most Artistic'

'Most Catchy Phrase'

'Most Public / Biggest'

'Most Beautiful'

'Most Childlike'

Past Winners:

You are welcome to upload photos to the peaceful parenting ( and/or Saving Our Sons ( pages. To be included in the running for prizes, you must *email* your chalk photo(s) and mailing address or state location to or  Doing so will ensure we have your contact information, in case of winning.

Chalk The Walk Albums:



Note: If you do not have time on April 30th, you're welcome to create your chalking prior to this date and submit a photo during the weekend of April 30/May 1 to be included. To win as a "first in state" entry, items cannot be submitted earlier than 9am ET on April 30, 2016.

Happy Chalking! 

Category Winners

First In State Winners
(first name only for privacy)


Robin G.

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico

New York
Ayla W.

North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

Brittany C.

Jennifer M.


Jenny C.

West Virginia


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