Without My Turtleneck

by Patrick Hooper
posted with permission

Let’s talk about my penis. Once you’ve stopped vomiting, I’ll continue. I am circumcised. When I was a baby, my parents put me in the hands of a man who cut off part of my genitalia — the nerve-rich organ around the head of the penis called the foreskin.

When their firstborn son came into the world, my parents didn’t bat an eye at the notion of a stranger surgically altering my penis forever. I find that deeply disturbing.

If you don’t understand why, let’s look at the other side of the equation: female circumcision. In some corners of the world, young women have their clitorises severed for any number of reasons — godliness, cleanliness or a sign of maturity.

The United Nations and World Health Organization call it “female genital mutilation.” They won’t even acknowledge it as a valid medical procedure. It’s just barbarism to them.

I think most Americans would — and should — agree. There’s no compelling reason to inflict that kind of suffering on a young woman, yet it’s acceptable — even expected — to inflict it on a young boy.

Circumcision got its start as a religious ritual. Without the foreskin to heighten sexual pleasure, sex would become less interesting, and men would dedicate themselves to scripture.

But this is America! Separation of church and state! Freedom to choose! Pizza Hut and Starbucks!

How did circumcision take hold here in the U.S.? Let me begin answering that question with a question: Who here has seen The Road to Welville? Sir Anthony Hopkins is almost unrecognizable as the health nut, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the same man who made the cereal.

The actual Kellogg was a terrifying piece of work. This was a man who hated masturbation so much that he advocated the following: tying a child’s hands behind his or her back so that he or she could not masturbate at night, applying cage-like devices to the genitals, and rubbing acid on a girl’s clitoris, thus demonizing not just the act of masturbation, but its allure. He also believed circumcision should be performed without anesthetic so as to maximize the association of sexual arousal with physical pain.

It was this man — a man who could give Freddy Krueger nightmares — who became a linchpin in making circumcision a widely-practiced tradition in the United States.

But, let’s give Kellogg the benefit of the doubt. Even if he was 10 pounds of crazy in a 1-pound bag, I’m sure you’ve all heard that men with foreskin are prone to infections.

There’s actually a very simple solution to that concern. It’s called hygiene. Look it up.

If you never wash behind your ears or between your toes, your body is going to become a hotbed for all sorts of gnarly germs.

The idea that circumcision significantly reduces STI transmission is still a hotly-debated issue in the medical community. There have some saying foreskin is practically an HIV net, while others state there’s no difference between men who have it and men who don’t, and further studies show intact men with decreased HIV rates. [The circumcised U.S., for example, has significantly higher numbers of HIV than any other intact developed nation.] Even the experts don't always agree if each other’s methods or conclusions are sound.

Failing that, we have to fall back on good old common sense. Do you not want to get sick? Take a bath. Eat right. Wear a condom.

These are not mind-blowing or revolutionary concepts. Most people don’t go out of their way to do what is bad for themselves.

When you’re wounded, you don’t go jam the gaping wound into a septic tank, do you? Let’s not do that to our sons by slicing their penises and shoving that mess into a diaper.

If I ever have a son — and let’s be honest, that would be a disaster — I would lose him in a heartbeat if I took him to a tattoo parlor or a piercing place. A baby covered in tats and gauges would be hilarious, sad and illegal. The law would keep its pimp hand strong by slapping me with at least half a dozen child abuse charges. So, I’m not going to go the extra mile by letting someone mutilate his penis.

You’re not going to give your newborn a cosmetic nose job, are you?

You may be thinking, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” and maybe you’re right. Maybe I would be embarrassed to have it. Maybe I wouldn’t mind it at all. Maybe I'd actually like it.

I have no way of knowing because no one ever gave me the opportunity to know. That choice was made for me when I was a small, defenseless baby who had no way of stopping a doctor from harming me in a way that would normally make us cringe.

That’s a crying shame.

Patrick Hooper is a senior at the University of Georgia.

More men voice their feelings about having their prepuce amputated as infants:

The Circumcision Secret

My Story of Ritual Abuse

Hundreds of Men Speak Out in this Class Action Lawsuit

Men sue those who cut them, and win.

FGM/MGM Comparisons:

FGM/MGM Similar Attitudes and Misconceptions

MGM/FGM A Visual Comparison

The History of Female Circumcision in the United States

CUT: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision [DVD - watch abridged version online]

The Cut: FGM Documentary on Cutting Girls in Africa (justifications are the same as we often hear from those cutting boys in the United States)

For additional information on the prepuce organ ("foreskin" or "clitoral hood"), intact care, and circumcision see: Are You Fully Informed?


Percentage of Vaccinated Babies in the U.S. by State

The chart above demonstrates the percentages of babies 19-35 months of age who were vaccinated in 2008.

United States Overall 78%

Alabama 76%
Alaska 76%
Arizona 79%
Arkansas 78%
California 81%
Colorado 81%
Connecticut 73%
Delaware 73%
District of Columbia 79%
Florida 82%
Georgia 73%
Hawaii 78%
Idaho 66%
Illinois 78%
Indiana 78%
Iowa 77%
Kansas 78%
Kentucky 77%
Louisiana 83%
Maine 76%
Maryland 83%
Massachusetts 84%
Michigan 77%
Minnesota 77%
Mississippi 77%
Missouri 76%
Montana 66%
Nebraska 75%
Nevada 70%
New Hampshire 85%
New Jersey 73%
New Mexico 79%
New York 76%
North Carolina 72%
North Dakota 74%
Ohio 83%
Oklahoma 74%
Oregon 72%
Pennsylvania 80%
Rhode Island 80%
South Carolina 79%
South Dakota 81%
Tennessee 83%
Texas 79%
Utah 78%
Vermont 74%
Virginia 73%
Washington 78%
West Virginia 78%
Wisconsin 84%
Wyoming 68%


Data is self-reported by respondent. Children in the Q1/2008-Q4/2008 National Immunization Survey were born between January 2005 and June 2007. Margin of error is within 1% - 8% of stated figures.


Estimated Vaccination Coverage with Individual Vaccines and Selected Vaccination Series Among Children 19-35 Months of Age by State -- U.S., National Immunization Survey, Q1/2008-Q4/2008.

National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available Here.


For the purpose of this dataset, immunized children are those who receive 4:3:1:3:3, which is four or more doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, three or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, one or more doses of any measles containing vaccine (MCV), three or more doses of Haemophilius Influenza type B (Hib), and three or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine (HepB).

Rooting While at Rest

With your little
birdie mouth

And your tiny
pucker lips

You root and turn
and tip and search

For what you
seek - the nips!

And in this dark
and dreamy land

Slumbering cozy
in our nest

The whole outside
world is forgotten

While you and I
snuggle down in rest.

~ Danelle Frisbie


Brazil's Breastfeeding Ad

This is Brazil's latest Breastfeeding Public Service Ad. Look at all aspects of the photo - it may not be what it initially appears to be.

This ad (*not a photo of a breast*) was flagged and removed from Facebook on the Crunchy Mommas International and peaceful parenting pages (as well as many other pages and individual accounts) for being 'obscene.'

The ad reads, "Made for each other. Breastfeed."

Join with fellow nursing women and lactation consultants in the Breastfeeding Group: FB.com/groups/Breastfed

Babywearing: Safe Positioning

Article and first image from Tadpoles & Butterflies
posted with permission

This positioning applies to any carrier – ring sling, pouch, wrap, mei tai & soft structured (buckle) carriers and to babies of all ages. If the carrier does not allow for this positioning, it is not a suitable carrier. Older babies/toddlers should be carried in this same general position on your hip or your back.

We recommend ensuring that your baby is generally positioned in your carrier as follows:

~ Vertically, on your chest, with baby’s bum at or above your navel
~ Knees above bum, in a frog legged or M position
~ Spine rounded
~ Head turned to the side, with baby’s chin well above his chest to avoid closure of the airway
~ The fabric of the carrier needs to be properly tightened to support your baby in this position. Fabric should be spread from one knee to the other and must not block the baby’s mouth or nose in any way.

You may notice that the manufacturer’s instructions provided with your carrier suggest positioning that does not meet these requirements - forward facing or cradle positions specifically. We recommend against wearing your baby in either of those positions.

Research consistently shows that when babies are held vertically, skin to skin, on a parent’s chest, their heart rate, respiratory rate & temperature are regulated.* Additionally, they cry less, breastfeed more effectively, and develop quicker and more optimally.* Dr Nils Bergman, a physician and scientist who has extensively studied the beneficial practice of keeping babies in their natural habitat (vertically, between their mother's breasts), says, "The baby is in the right place and therefore has the right behavior."

The cradle and the forward facing positions continue to be taught by some manufacturers and educators, but we recommend you avoid using these positions because they make it difficult to position the baby safely for oxygen flow (respiration), are ergonomically incorrect (spinal alignment) for the baby, as well as the wearer (back pain) and appear to contribute to breastfeeding problems for some.

Babywearing is a wonderful tool that gives babies the minimum they expect - to be carried by their mother. It is also a learned skill that requires a bit of background knowledge to safely perform. For most of human history, girls learned to effectively wrap and sling their baby from all the mothers (and grandmothers) around them. Today, many new mothers in North America must learn from scratch. But practice makes perfect and babywearing soon becomes a breeze - making life much easier on mom and healthy for baby. Please be certain to learn safe wrap styles to wear your little one.

Additional Babywearing Resources Linked Here

Facebook Babywearing Safety Page

safely worn in an Ergo

safely wrapped in the Moby

safely worn in a ring sling


-Skin contact (kangaroo care) shortly after birth on the neurobehavioral responses of the term newborn: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics 113(4):858-65.

-Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, -Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.

-Anisfeld E, Casper V, Nozyce M, Cunningham N. (1990) Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Dev 61:1617-1627.

-Quebec Coroner Jaques Robinson warning as reported in The Globe & Mail, Feb 05 2009

-Bergman, N.J., Linley, L.L, & Fawcus, S.R. (2004). Randomized controlled trial of skin-to-skin contact from birth versus conventional incubator for physiological stabilization in 1200- to 2199-gram newborns. Acta Paediatrica, 93, 779-785.

-Charpak, N., Ruiz-Pelaez, J.G., Figueroa, Z., & Charpak, Y. (1997). Kangaroo mother versus traditional care for newborn infants <2000 grams: A randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics, 100(4), 682-688.

– Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648 -Durand, R., Hodges, S., LaRock, S. Lund, L., Schmid, S. Swick, D., Yates, T., & Perez, A. (1997).

-The effect of skin-to-skin breast-feeding in the immediate recovery period on newborn thermoregulation and blood glucose values. Neonatal Intensive Care, 10, 23-29.

-Messmer, P.R., Rodriguez, S., Adams, J., Gentry, J.W., Washburn, K., Zabaleta, I., & Abreu, S. (1997). Effect of Kangaroo care on sleep time for neonates. Pediatric Nursing, 23(4), 408-414.

-Christensson, K., Siles, C., Moreno, L., Belaustequi, A., de la Fuente, P., Lagercrantz, H., Puyol, P., & Winberg, J. (1992).

-Temperature, metabolic adaptation and crying in healthy full-term newborns cared for skin-to-skin or in a cot. Acta Paediatrica, 81, 488-493.

-Wahlberg, V., Affonso, D., & Persson, B. (1992). A retrospective comparative study using the kangaroo method as a complement to standard incubator care. European Journal of Public Health, 2(1), 34-37.

-Meyer, K., & Anderson, G.C. (1999). Using kangaroo care in a clinical setting with full-term infants having breastfeeding difficulties. American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 24, 190-192.

-Gray, L., Watt, L., & Blass, E.M. (2000). Skin-to-skin contact is analgesic in healthy newborns. Pediatrics, 105, 14.

-Ludington-Hoe, S.M., Lewis, T., Morgan, K., Cong, X., Anderson, L., Reese, S. (2006). Breast-infant temperature synchrony with twins during shared Kangaroo Care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 35, 1-9.

-Insel, T.R. (1997). A neurobiological basis of social attachment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 726-735.

-Carter, S.C. (1998). Neuroendocrine perspectives on social attachment and love. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23, 779-818.

-Lamb, M.E. (1982). Individual differences in infant sociability: Their origins and implications for cognitive development. In H.W. Reese & L. P. Lipsitt (Eds.), Advances in child development and behavior (Vol. 16, pp. 213-239). New York: Academic.

3D Video Hazardous to Vision

This article has been removed.
Contact peacefulparents @ gmail.com for further information.


Dirt: It's Good for Kids!

By Janelle Sorensen
posted with permission

DrMomma Preface: Please note that "healthy dirt" is not the same as fecal matter or contaminated raw meat which the body cannot develop an immunity for and are often filled with bacteria that are not beneficial to consume in any amount. There is a difference between letting kids 'get dirty' playing around (even putting it in their mouth) and not worrying about keeping the house spotless vs. having contaminated raw meats and fecal droppings where babies and small children can become infected. So continue to wash your hands well after changing a poopy diaper or using the restroom. Clean up the counter and your hands after handling raw meats. And go romp around at the park or the beach - but be sure to pick up after your dog! ;)

Danelle's son, 9 months old, helping to weed the raspberry patch on a hot and sticky day

I don’t know how to say this without sounding crazy, so I’m just going to be blunt. When I was a child, I liked to eat pebbles and stones. Well, technically I didn’t eat them, just sucked on them. Yes, I was a closet rock sucker. Away from the judging eyes of friends and family, I secretly relished their earthy, mineral flavor.

I’m sure, like any mother, my own mom would have been considerably horrified at the idea of her small child sucking on dirty rocks from God knows where. And, while my strange appetite persisted from about ages 4-7, almost all parents have witnessed their younger babies or toddlers shove an ample handful of dirt or sand into their mouths. Probably on more than one occasion.

What is it about kids and dirt? Why the deep mysterious magnetism? According to Mary Ruebush, PhD, author of Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends, the attraction is for our own human good. And, the great news is, it’s a match made in heaven. Just like any other muscle in our body, the immune system needs to be exercised in order to fully develop and become strong enough to resist illness and disease. Eating dirt as a child turns out to be the ideal training to build your immune system’s overall fitness.

We’ve written about the Hygiene Hypothesis and the overuse of antimicrobials in the past, but Ruebush, professor of microbiology and immunology for Kaplan Medical, really brings it home. Her detailed description of the immune system is not only extremely informative, it’s also surprisingly entertaining. Really! She has these delightfully silly pictures of blood cells and bacteria that had my kids peering over my shoulder, giggling, and asking what the book was about. And, the writing is equally as comedic and engaging. She writes about viruses gettin’ busy making baby viruses, macrophages burping up crumbs of their meals, and T-cells going to school and taking final exams.

The main points of the book are simple: let kids eat dirt and don’t overuse antibiotics. According to Ruebush:

Mother Nature has given you the elements to build a strong immune system, but you have to put it into action and take care of it. A strong immune system gets built up by plenty of exercise – that’s why you need a lifetime exposure to plenty of dirt. Your healthy immune system is your savings account for a healthy retirement. If you constantly make withdrawals and live with a negative health balance due to too much stress, too little rest, and too many chemicals, you will arrive at a point where you have no reserves for any catastrophic illness that might lurk in your future. A lifestyle that gives you the food, rest, exercise, and other elements you need for basic good health contributes to a healthy immune response and increases the likelihood of a long, productive life.

Sounds like the perfect prescription to me! So, relax. Let your kids get dirty. Stop trying to sanitize every square inch of your home. And, unwind with a good book (like Why Dirt is Good). It’ll make your whole family healthier and happier.

P.S. My childhood affinity for sucking rocks was likely pica, a medical disorder that can make people hungry for non-food items. Turns out, I’m slightly anemic, so my body was craving iron and hoping to get it from the mineral content of rocks. Pica is not uncommon in children and pregnant women. If you or your child are craving non-food items, talk with your midwife, nutritionist, or physician.

Janelle Sorensen writes for Healthy Child, Healthy World

Hold on Huggies! Pampers is Pushing Their Own Limited Edition Disposable

Move over Huggies Jeans Disposable... here comes the limited edition Pampers Cruiser at Target in several fancy pants 'designer fashioned' collections.

Not only are they splendidly colored with your favorite patterns (read: extra dye) but they are also fully equipped with the infamous (bum burning) Dry-Max chemical solution.

So if you're envious of those cute clothed kids, but can't bring yourself to give the real thing a try... well, Huggies and Pampers now have you (er, your little one) covered.

Whatever sells, right? It's all about the $$$

Thanks to Sarah W. for sharing this photo of her husband sportin' the shirt he loves to wear around town. After all, they do end up in the garbage. Tshirts (and onesies) available here.


Our 2010 mosaic, put together by Danelle Frisbie, is made from 729 photos of babywearing fathers and grandfathers that were sent to us.

Last September, during International Babywearing Week, we asked peaceful parenting dads to send us their babywearing photos. There was such an outstanding response from men around the world, that we'd like to highlight some of the babywearin' fathers and grandfathers here. It is outstanding to see you gently caring for your little ones in a baby-friendly fashion. Keep up the excellent fathering!

It will take some time to get all photos uploaded, but we will continue to add a few more daily, so bookmark this page and check back!

If you have a photo you'd like to add to our gallery, send to: Born2BWorn @ gmail .com

Please Note: Each of these photos was taken by, or given to, peaceful parenting for the exclusive purpose of being used on DrMomma.org. Each photo belongs to the photographer, and no authorization is granted to anyone to copy/use these photos for any reason. Photos are fingerprinted and re-posting is infringement on copyright and stealing. So don't do it! :)

For further information on babywearing, see links on this page.

(love his shirt too! the father on the right has a "real men support breastfeeding" tshirt)

babywearing tshirts available at MadeByMomma

If you have a babywearing photo to share with peaceful parenting readers, 
send to Born2BWorn@gmail.com


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