Don't Retract Pack

Discussion Groups

The following are parent-to-parent closed (non-public) discussion groups on Facebook. Read each group's description prior to joining (in the 'about' section at the top righthand side of the group).

Peaceful Parenting Group: - for families striving to parent in baby- and child-friendly ways.

The Breastfeeding Group: - for all nursing mothers, lactation consultants, and female lactivists.

The Baby-led Weaning Group: - for families practicing baby-led weaning and natural 'child-led' weaning.

The Birthing Group: - for birthing women and mother/baby-friendly birth advocates.

The Due Date Group is for all expecting mothers with babies arriving this year. This is a 'mainstream' group, with a baby-friendly foundation, and with opportunities for outreach with parents who may not be familiar with peaceful parenting.

Beyond Birth is a mothering group to follow the Due Date Group. It is meant for all discussions beyond pregnancy and birth, and is more of a 'mainstream' group (like Due Dates), yet with a baby-friendly foundation, and opportunities for outreach with parents who may not be familiar with peaceful parenting.

The Babywearing Group: (for babywearing families)

Kinderpack B/S/T/Chat Group: (the best carrier we've found for heavier/bigger babies and children) To purchase:

The Car Seats Group:

The CoSleeping Group: (for cosleeping families)

The Cloth Diapering and EC Group: (for cloth and EC using families)

The Homeschooling & Unschooling Group: (For families homeschooling or unschooling children).

The Natural Immunity Building Group: (for families raising children with an emphasis on building strong immune systems via natural measures; for families forgoing or delaying artificial vaccination)

It's a Boy! Group for all parents raising sons or expecting parents with a baby boy on the way.

It's a Girl! Group for all parents raising daughters or expecting parents with a baby girl on the way.

Love, Loss, Rainbows ♥ Wrapping arms around those who have lost a baby at any point during pregnancy or babyhood.

Peaceful Parenting Network local chapters and state discussion groups:

Raising Boys - discussion group for all parents raising boys.

Saving Our for families with intact sons and advocates for genital autonomy. Note that this group is not designed for new/questioning parents. For those who are still making a decision, please join Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole or It's a Boy!

Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole: - questions and answers, information, and learning about circumcision options, intact care, development through a lifetime (babyhood to adulthood), restoration, and related topics. This is a non-venting group for exploration and learning.

Saving Our Sons local chapters of The Intact Network (TIN): Local planning and action groups for genital autonomy advocates and parents raising intact sons in-state.

Women-only group for those whose partners are restoring, or for those impacted in any way by male genital cutting.

Men-only group for discussions related to all aspects of genital autonomy.


Circumcision Choices For Jewish Parents

By Julia Bertschinger, C.C.E.
Midwifery Today, p. 22-23, no. 17, 1991

Author's note: I am not trying to convince Orthodox Jews not to circumcise. I am trying to show that circumcision can be done in a much less radical and painful way and still fulfill religious obligations.

About four thousand years ago, the original Jewish circumcision consisted of cutting off only the tip of the foreskin, the floppy part that extends past the glans in the normal male infant. Called milah, the procedure left most of the foreskin alone. Sometimes another procedure, called periah, was performed after milah. Following amputation of the tip, periah consisted of forcibly retracting the infant foreskin. (The infant foreskin does not normally retract [Gairdner, 1949]; four percent of foreskins do not fully retract until age 17 [Øster, 1968].)

Two thousand years ago, Jewish hellenists, wanting to assimilate characteristics of the Greek way of life, obliterated the sign of their "tip" circumcisions. Most of their foreskins were still intact, so they found ways to lengthen them, to make it look as if they had not been circumcised at all. This practice was unacceptable to ancient rabbis, who decided to begin cutting all of the foreskin off in infancy. Babies circumcised in this manner could not possibly later hide the fact that they had been circumcised. Ever since, Jewish boys have endured - and sometimes died from - total foreskin amputation.

Significantly, most rabbis today erroneously refer to total foreskin amputation as milah. Do Orthodox Jews have a choice in how or whether their sons will be circumcised? According to Jewish sources, the history of circumcision indicates that the practice has gone through many changes. Orthodox rabbis have debated as to whether to perform just milah, or to also perform periah. Some considered it essential to have the mohel (ritual circumciser) suck the blood from the boy's penis after the circumcision (Jakobovits, 1959). There have also been debates as to whether circumcision was valid if a metal knife was used instead of fingernails or flint.

Circumcision causes babies intense pain and suffering. Expectant Orthodox Jewish parents may therefore be interested in exploring true brit milah (tip amputation only, as originally performed by Orthodox rabbis). Non-Orthodox parents should be aware of two other options: brit shalom (the naming ceremony) with no circumcision (Bivas N, 1987) or brit with lancing of the foreskin so that one drop of blood is shed. All three options are far safer than total foreskin amputation, which, of course, was invented by mortal rabbis and not by God.

Further resources by/for Jewish parents:

Common myths about circumcision:

Myth #1: Unmyelinated nerves do not transmit pain, and therefore...

Myth #2: Babies don't feel pain because some of their nerves have not become myelinated (developed) yet.

Myth #3: Local anesthetic makes the circumcision painless.

Myth #4: The baby's intact penis is harder to keep clean and take care of than a circumcised penis. 

Myth #5: There are sound studies proving that circumcisions prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

Myth #6: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reversed its stand against circumcision.

Myth #7: By age five the foreskin should retract on its own.

Myth #8: It is difficult to teach a boy to keep his intact penis clean.

Myth #9: Male family members will have psychological problems if some have circumcised penises and others have intact penises.

And some facts:

Fact #1: Not only do unmyelinated nerves transmit pain, they actually transmit the most excruciating type of pain. Therefore...

Fact #2: Babies do feel pain, especially since they have more unmyelinated nerves than adults have. Also, while it's true that some nerves are not yet myelinated in an infant, the fact is that most of the unmyelinated (undeveloped) nerves will never become myelinated. Adults have plenty of unmyelinated nerves also.

Fact #3: Injecting the anesthetic into the genital area is painful for the baby. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the baby's screaming from pain during the surgery is only reduced and by no means eliminated. Because the anesthetic wears off soon, the postoperative pain that lasts for days is just as bad for a baby that had anesthetic than for one that had none.

Fact #4: Because of the extra care that one must take in caring for and bathing a circumcision wound that is in the process of healing, and because of the frequent complications such as meatal ulcers that occur in circumcised penises, the intact infant penis is actually much easier to care for. It basically needs no care, no retraction, no nothing.

Fact #5: The highly publicized studies "proving" that circumcisions prevent UTIs have many flaws. No major scientific body has accepted these studies as proof that circumcisions prevent UTIs. In addition, contradictory studies also exist, showing no correlation between UTIs and circumcisions. 

Fact #6: While the AAP has softened its stand against the surgery, it has not by any means endorsed the surgery.

Fact #7: The normal, spontaneous, and sometimes gradual full retraction may take up to 17 years to complete. Note: under no circumstances should the infant foreskin be retracted, even in a gentle manner. It is simply not necessary.

Fact #8: A girl's genitals are more difficult to keep clean than a boy's intact penis. Boys, like girls, can easily figure out for themselves the details on how to clean their own genitals.

Fact #9: When England abruptly stopped circumcising most of its population, there were no psychological problems reported about the circumcised fathers and intact sons. Many American families have a mixture of circumcised and intact penises and the family members have no psychological problems.


Bivas, Natalie. Alternative Bris Support Group.

Briggs, A. "Circumcision: What Every Parent Should Know" 1985.

Gairdner, D. "Fate of the Foreskin." Brit Med J, 1949, 2:1433-1437.

Jakobovits, Immanuel. Jewish Medical Ethics, 1959.

Øster, J. "Further Fate of the Foreskin." Arch Dis Child, 1968. 43(228):200-203.

Roth, C and Wigoder, G. The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, 1970.


Mother's Skin-to-Skin Goodbye Saves 20oz Baby

By Danelle Frisbie © 2007
Interview with Isbister and quotes by Lucy Laing

Not all prematurely born babies need to be hooked to machines to survive - in fact, they may just do better skin-to-skin on Momma's chest. It is a technique as old as humanity ~ to hold your baby close and regulate all the newborn systems ~ something we now refer to as Kangaroo Mother Care.

When Carolyn Isbister held her 20-ounce newborn daughter close to her chest for the first time she believed it was the only time she would ever snuggle with her beautiful, beloved baby. She breathed in each moment holding her daughter close, as doctors told her to let go because her daughter only had minutes to live.
I didn’t want her to die being cold. So I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up. Her feet were so cold. It was the only cuddle I was going to have with her, so I wanted to remember the moment. Then something remarkable happened. The warmth of her mother’s skin kick started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own.
We couldn’t believe it - and neither could the doctors. She let out a tiny cry. The doctors came in and said there was still no hope – but I wasn’t letting go of her. We had her blessed by the hospital chaplain, and waited for her to slip away. But she still hung on. And then amazingly the pink color began to return to her cheeks. She literally was turning from gray to pink before our eyes, and she began to warm up too.
Despite all the doctors' disbelief - when all the 'experts' said there was no hope - Rachael's mother held her close, and gave her life. Her mother, however, remembers clearly that everyone gave up on her tiny newborn,
They didn’t even try to help her with her breathing as they said it would just prolong her dying.
At 24 weeks, a uterine infection had led to her premature labor and birth, and Isbister (who also has two children Samuel, 10, and Kirsten, 8) said, "We were terrified we were going to lose her. I had suffered three miscarriages before, so we didn't think there was much hope." When Rachael was born she was grey and lifeless. Ian Laing, a consultant neonatologist at the hospital, said that, "All the signs were that the little one was not going to make it and we took the decision to let mum have a cuddle as it was all we could do. Two hours later the wee thing was crying. This is indeed a miracle baby and I have seen nothing like it in my 27 years of practice. I have not the slightest doubt that this mother’s love saved her daughter." Rachael was moved onto a ventilator where she continued to make steady progress and was tube and syringe fed her mother's pumped breastmilk.
The doctors said that she had proved she was a fighter and that she now deserved some intensive care as there was some hope. She had done it all on her own – without any medical intervention or drugs. She had clung on to life – and it was all because of that cuddle. It had warmed up her body and regulated her heart and breathing enough for her to start fighting.
At five weeks, Rachel was taken off the ventilator and began breastfeeding on her own. At four months Rachel went home with her parents - weighing 8lbs - the same as any other healthy newborn. Having suffered from a lack of oxygen so early in life, doctors feared damage had been done to Rachel's brain. A scan, however, showed no evidence of any problems, and today Rachel is on par with her peers.
She is doing so well. When we brought her home, the doctors told us that she was a remarkable little girl. And most of all, she just loves her cuddles. She will sleep for hours, just curled into my chest. It was that first cuddle which saved her life - and I'm just so glad I trusted my instinct and picked her up when I did. Otherwise she wouldn't be here today.

Holding a baby on one's chest, skin-to-skin, is referred to as Kangaroo Mother Care. However, it is a practice that all mammals participate in (just watch a cat with her new kittens or dog with her newborn puppies). Kangaroo Mother Care benefits ALL babies in several ways.

*KMC babies stabilize faster with skin-to-skin care than in an incubator (very few newborns stabilize well within an incubator during the first fragile hours of life).

*KMC babies have stable oxygen rates and breathing thanks to the steady regulation of mother's respiration.

*A KMC baby's heart rate is stable (mother's heartbeat regulates baby's heartbeat).

*A baby's temperature is most stable on his mother - in skin-to-skin care mother's chest automatically warms to warm a cold baby, while her core temperature drops if baby is too warm and needs to be cooled.

*Sleeping within an arm's reach of baby (as long as a parent does not smoke) also regulates all of his physiological needs in the same way ~ they are kept steady thanks to Mom's warm, even-paced body. We lose far fewer babies to prematurity, irregularity of breathing or heartbeat after birth, and SIDS all with the natural help of skin-to-skin holding, or Kangaroo Care.

Read more about the skin-to-skin benefits for all babies (full term and premature) at

Good books related to Kangaroo Mother Care:
The Premature Baby Book
The Vital Touch
Kangaroo Babies

Read more about the benefits of sleeping within an arm's reach of baby ('sharing sleep') at Dr. Sears' site, in these excellent baby sleep books, at Dr. McKenna's baby sleep site and library, or any of the links at the Baby Sleep Resource Page.


The Truth About Circumcision Within Christianity

By Daisy May
Source: Yahoo Voices!

As a mother in the early 1990s, the choice to circumcise my newborn son was made like most other teen mothers - blindly. The hospital nurse came in, told me the procedure needed done to keep my son healthy, and to sign the paper. Without knowledge of what I was agreeing to put my new baby through, I signed, believing that I was doing what every loving parent did. As I was not Jewish but Christian raised, circumcision was not a choice to be made through religion.

Over a decade later, I still remember how my son looked when I saw him afterward. His eyes, previously peaceful and dreamy, were now wet and wild with terror. I didn't understand it. I was told that babies didn't feel much pain during circumcision. I was told the pain that was felt would be instantly forgotten a couple moments after the surgery was done. I was told a lot of things by nurses and family except the things that I had needed to know.

Without resistance, thousands of parents for several decades followed what medical authority recommended. However, there may have been considerably less parents choosing circumcision if the facts were made public knowledge:

  • Circumcision was not a necessary surgery to keep boys healthy.
  • Circumcision did inflict major pain on the baby.
  • Often anesthesia is not used, and when it is used the medicine does not provide enough relief, and can cause death.
  • A newborn baby will very likely tremble, wail, vomit and hold his breathe due to pain from the surgery.

Due to these terrible truths, many mothers are now suffering guilt over what they allowed to be done to their sons. Unfortunately, there is another truth that many don't realize. The truth about circumcision within Christianity.

Circumcision in the beginning was not the removal of the foreskin, but a cut of the foreskin. The modern circumcision was integrated into society as a 'cure for masturbation.'

Jewish circumcision started about 2,000 years before Jesus came. This was so the people would understand the purpose of the Old Covenant before the New Covenant came into being. When Jesus came, he was circumcised and it was the beginning of his sacrifice.

After Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, the New Covenant became the law for Christians. The time of Jewish circumcision and animal sacrifices was ended. Circumcision of a male child born in the New Covenant is blasphemous and macabre torture.

There are many passages in the Bible that explain God's stance on circumcision. The following are the most relevant to today's society.
Colossians 2: 8-11:  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after the Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

Rom. 3:29-30:  Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles, also? Yes, of Gentiles also. Since the God who will justify those of the circumcision out of faith, and those of the uncircumcision through faith, is One. 
Gal. 3:13:  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us.  
Matt. 9:13:  I desire mercy and not sacrifice.
God abhorred the ancient circumcision but used it as a tool, and he most assuredly abhors the mutilation of modern circumcision.

There is nothing that parents who have chosen to circumcise in the past can do now. That is, except tell others about the grisly details of circumcision and broadcast the truth about God's position on circumcision. Circumcision is a heinous act, and not to circumcise is a religious one.

Related Reading:

Christianity and Circumcision Resource Page

I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret

Whole Christian Network (Public Page)

Whole Christian Network (Private Discussion Group)

Keeping Future Sons Intact (Public Page)

Keeping Future Sons Intact (Private Discussion Group)


Routine Circumcision: The Opposing View

By Andrew E MacNeily, MD, FRCSC, FAAP
Source: Can Urol Assoc J. 2007 November; 1(4): 395–397

For millennia, routine newborn male circumcision has been endorsed for a variety of purported benefits. Over the ages, claimed advantages have included the formation of a covenant with god, the enhancement of sexual pleasure, the reduction of sexual pleasure, and a cure for bedwetting, syphilis, penile cancer, mental illness and masturbation. In more modern times, some advocates of circumcision have equated the procedure to a form of vaccination. Circumcision is thus depicted as protective against future problems of the foreskin such as phimosis and recurrent balanitis as well as neonatal urinary infection (UTI), cervical carcinoma and HIV/AIDS. Do these potential advantages justify routine circumcision of healthy newborn males on a widespread scale? Should public policy dictate that health care resources be redirected to this procedure when all but 1 province in Canada has delisted newborn circumcision from the schedule of insured services? Let's look at the evidence.

Prevention of urinary tract infection

It is well established from epidemiological studies first carried out by Wiswell and colleagues that the incidence of febrile UTI in otherwise anatomically normal males in the first year of life is lower in circumcised, compared with intact, males. The exact risk reduction varies somewhere between 4-fold and 12-fold depending on the study one chooses to quote. However, the actual incidence of UTI in the first year of life is low. Even a 10-fold reduction in infection rates equates to changing the incidence of UTI from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 male babies. It has been calculated that the rate of UTI among infant boys with foreskins must equal or exceed 29% for neonatal circumcision to be cost effective. Conversely, for neonatal circumcision to be cost- neutral, each patient hospitalized for UTI would need to cost $229 564! In 2004, it is estimated that approximately 1.2 million newborn circumcisions were performed in the United States. The estimated direct cost of these procedures was $1.2 billion, a large sum of health care funds that could be directed toward more effective preventative and therapeutic interventions.

Prevention of HIV/AIDS

A complete discussion of the relation of male circumcision and HIV is beyond the scope of this paper. Some studies conducted in Africa have shown that HIV is more common in uncircumcised males, while others have shown the opposite or no difference. Despite the fact that the evidence indicating a protective effect of circumcision is based on observational studies of adult circumcision in a developing country, there is now a ground swell of support for considering the procedure as a viable strategy for preventing sexually acquired infections. A recent Cochrane systematic review found insufficient evidence to support an interventional effect of male circumcision on HIV acquisition in heterosexual men. The authors noted that individual “researcher's personal biases and the dominant circumcision practices of their respective countries” complicated the interpretation of the existing data on the effect of circumcision on HIV transmission rates. Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have subsequently been published on heterosexual female-to-male transmission of HIV in high-risk areas of sub-Saharan Africa.,,, All 3 supported adult circumcision as a protective measure. However, these trials were all terminated early, a characteristic that tends to overstate the effect of an intervention. In North America, where HIV rates are much lower, transmission is primarily by homosexual contact and intravenous drug use, making these RCTs inapplicable to this jurisdiction. Further, based on 1998 WHO data of developed countries, the United States has the highest rate of HIV and also the highest rate of infant circumcision.This alone casts doubt on the utility of routine circumcision in preventing HIV infection in developed countries.

Prevention of cervical carcinoma

It has been observed that the prevalence of cervical cancer is low where male circumcision is practised. Historically, this has been attributed to a decreased prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) on the circumcised penis. However, a recent meta-analysis on HPV and circumcision concluded that the medical literature does not support the claim that circumcision reduces the risk of genital HPV infection. Even if circumcision conferred a reduction of HPV, does that indicate that routine circumcision should be advocated to reduce the prevalence of the vector for cervical cancer? The use of surgery for disease prevention is an unusual public health intervention. It would seem a more prudent health care policy to offer the recently available HPV vaccine against oncogenic strains of the virus to young females before the onset of sexual activity than to perform surgery on all males in the neonatal period.

Prevention of penile carcinoma

Over the last 75 years, many case series showing that most penile cancers occurred in uncircumcised individuals have been published. Does that indicate that all males should be circumcised to prevent this rare cancer? It is notable that the incidences of penile cancer in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Japan, where less than 1.5% of men are circumcised, are lower than in the United States, where the majority of men are still circumcised.,,,, If circumcision is believed to decrease the risk of developing cancer, why do these noncircumcising countries with similar standards of living and hygiene have lower incidences of penile cancer?
The American Academy of Pediatrics policy notes that 9–10 cases of penile cancer are diagnosed each year per 1 million men, indicating that, although the risk is higher for uncircumcised men, the overall risk is extremely low. Because this disease is rare and occurs later in life, advocating circumcision as a preventive practice is difficult to justify.

Prevention of future foreskin problems

One of the difficulties in assessing the incidence of foreskin problems in the non-circumcised male is that of defining “phimosis.” All newborn males have a physiologic phimosis, with the glans adherent to the inner mucosal surface of the prepuce. Gradual separation of the glans from prepuce takes place spontaneously over many years, often not being complete until puberty. Referrals for circumcision later in childhood because of an asymptomatic non-retractile foreskin, possibly with some ballooning upon voiding, are commonly made in error. Usually, in this setting, anxious parents and referring physicians require education on the care of the normal foreskin and the patient does not require an operation. The Canadian Pediatric Society states that no more than 1% of boys will require post-neonatal circumcision, and Australian reports indicate that normal preputial adhesions are often misdiagnosed as phimosis, leading to unnecessary circumcisions., The rate of true pathological phimosis is less than 1% and this usually responds to a short course of topical steroid ointment.Occasionally, uncircumcised boys experience an episode of balanitis requiring oral antibiotic therapy. The rate of this is estimated at 1%–2% and does not justify prophylactic or therapeutic circumcision.An analogous situation would be to recommend myringotomy and tubes in every child who suffers an episode of otitis media.

Complications of newborn circumcision

Health is not only about disease prevention, but also about well-being and the avoidance of harm. How harmful is routine non-therapeutic circumcision? The overall rate of immediate and long-term complications arising from newborn circumcision is a matter of debate and in truth unknown. The estimated rate of complication worldwide has been reported as lying between the extremes of 0.1% and 35%. Minor complications such as bleeding, infection and prolonged hospitalization are thought to occur in less than 5% of cases. Tragic partial or complete penile amputation, urethral injury and even the rare death have been reported. Meatal stenosis requiring intervention occurs in 5%–10% of males circumcised in the newborn period. This is believed to be secondary to dermatitis of the unprotected glans exposed to wet diapers. Circumcision revision under anesthetic for penile concealment, skin bridges or an unacceptable cosmetic result is probably the most common long-term complication prompting a urological referral: in one survey, fully one-third of pediatric urologists in the United States reported experience as an expert witness in circumcision litigation cases.


Newborn circumcision remains an area of controversy. Social, cultural, aesthetic and religious pressures form the most common reasons for non-therapeutic circumcision. Although penile cancer and UTIs are reduced compared with uncircumcised males, the incidence of such illness is so low that circumcision cannot be justified as prophylaxis. The role of the foreskin in HIV transmission in developed countries is unclear, and safe sexual practice remains the cornerstone of prevention. There remains a lack of knowledge regarding what constitutes the normal foreskin both among parents and among primary care providers. This lack of knowledge results in a burden of costs to our health care system in the form of unnecessary urological referrals, expansion of wait times and circumcisions. Routine circumcision of all infants is not justified from a health or cost-benefit perspective.


This article has been peer reviewed.
Competing interests: None declared.


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