Jewish Mother on Circumcision

Stained glass artwork at The Jewish Mother restaurant (located down the street from Peaceful Parenting). Each time we go down to grab a bite to eat at The Jewish Mother, we think of Miriam Pollack and her wise words that have helped so many.

For additional information on Judaism, circumcision, 
and the Bris Shalom ceremony, see resources on this page.

CoSleeping Success!

We received a beautiful letter from peaceful parenting momma, Elizabeth, tonight. It warmed our hearts so much to hear of her gentle, wise ways of sleep sharing transitioning - always putting her young daughter's needs first. She said we could share with all of you.

Tonight we transitioned our daughter to her own bed. After five years of cosleeping she went to sleep solo for the first time in her own room, her own bed.

Although she has had her own bedroom for five years, and a bed in her room for two years, she wasn't quite comfortable yet on her own. And we were letting her lead the way - in her own perfect timing. She also had a toddler bed in our room, and some nights slept there as well. Most nights, however, she'd fall asleep in our big bed with me, and either stay there until morning, or move into her toddler bed at some point during the night. She and I slumbered together every single night from the day she was a newborn till she was three years old.

For a few weeks now she has mentioned and pointed out others she sees sleeping alone (friends, a cartoon character, etc.) and I have asked her if she thinks she's ready to do so.

Today she said yes.

So tonight I gave her a new nightlight, a cozy blanket, and put on some calming music. And she did awesome! She sang to herself for a bit. And then she sang to her nightlight for a bit. And then she was asleep. No tears. No fussing. No fear.

I often have people ask me (or rather, mock me) saying she will never leave our bed. They tell me that we've created a "monster."


We have an independent, trusting, securely attached, content child who has had her needs met every single day - and every single night - of her life.

And tonight, I am so proud of her.

You know what else?

I am proud of myself, too.

I brought her into this world at 21 years of age and could have easily chosen a different path of mothering. But I am so thankful I found and chose attachment parenting. It has been an amazing choice for us all.

Find more from Elizabeth at her Etsy store FB page: Mama Products
and on her site: Mamassori


Circumcision of Multiples Equals Multiple Mistakes

I reflect on Noble's experience here after speaking with not one, not two - but five - men so far this year who each shared that they discovered they are intact solely because they were born as a multiple, and too frail to endure the harsh cutting blade of circumcision surgery during a decade when "everyone was doing it." Common to what Noble mentions in her last paragraph here, each of these men said he grew up (happily) intact among cut peers in the U.S., but solely due to his 'luck' of being a twin born too early to be circumcised.

Our babies shouldn't have to 'luck out' to escape circumcision surgery only when they are weak, ill, or premature. All babies - multiples, singles, full-term, and early-born, deserve to be protected by the loving, gentle hands that bring them into this world. As parents, it is our duty to explore this subject completely. Thankfully, accurate information is easier to find today than it was when these five men were born. If it is something you have yet to look into, I recommend starting with any one of the many books on the subject, explore websites, read articles - and dig deeper. There is much to be said on the topic of keeping our children intact.

In addition, I applaud birth practitioners around the globe who refuse to stand by silently while the brutality of FGM and MGM is taking place around them. Noble and Sorger are just two of the many (too many to name here, really) who daily work with mothers and their babies; who know the perils of circumcision all too well; who refuse to be a part of the hand that cuts newborns without reason. It is foundationally hypocritical to advocate for 'gentle birth' (or 'natural birth') or work within the fields of birth and babies in North America and not also speak up clearly against MGM. Kudos to all of you who are truly advocating on behalf of your clients' health and birth outcome (mother and baby) and always being vigilant to "first, do no harm."

Twin boys, photographed by J Luna Photography; baby announcement by inacard

Excerpts from the outstanding book for parents expecting multiples, Having Twins and More, by Elizabeth Noble and Leo Sorger, M.D.

Soon after a mother of multiples has been cut (episiotomy or Caesarean), the knife is often readied for the newborn boy's penis. You can see step-by step illustrations of one of the many procedures that create this disaster here.

One hundred percent of baby boys oppose this mutilating surgery and so should you - their screams of betrayal and protest are ignored by those who are cutting. This abuse is typically done during the mother's postpartum stay (and in a room far away from where she can see and hear her babies). Dr. Sorger refuses to perform circumcision surgery and accept "blood money."

Until recently, most surgical procedures (including circumcision) were performed without anesthesia because of doctors' mistaken assumptions that babies do not feel pain. Babies were usually paralyzed for procedures with curare (Pancronium), a drug that left them unable to move or react in any way, but able to feel everything that was done to them. In 1986, parents of preterm babies, led by Jill Lawson, the mother of a baby who died after unanesthetized surgery, called public attention to this barbaric state of affairs. Recent research has shown that unanesthetized surgery is not only cruel, but dangerous. Stress from surgical pain leads to high incidence of complications that can cause disability or death.

Nevertheless, the practice of unanesthetized surgery continues. Circumcision is a regrettably common example of surgery that happens every 26 seconds in the United States without anesthesia. Clearly, parents have to supervise their babies' pain management and advocate for pain relief in the case of truly necessary surgeries. Before any surgical procedure, parents should discuss their concerns with the surgeon and especially with the anesthesiologist.

Circumcision also remains the most frequent surgical procedure performed on males in the United States; the number of baby boys cut in the year 2000 was 1,214,312 for a total cost of $2.3 billion. The national rate was about 60%, although it varied widely. [The CDC announced that the circumcision rate in the United States fell drastically since 2000, and was 32% in 2009.] Medicaid funds over 25% of foreskin amputations, which costs United States taxpayers directly over $37 million annually, and indirectly far more.

Many midwives and doulas follow the example of the late (Jewish born) mother, intactivist, and freebirth practitioner, Jeannine Parvati Baker, who would not attend the birth of any parents planning this barbaric act. [Read Baker's Perspectives on Violence here. When pressure was put on Baker to have a bris for her own son in the late 1960s, she refused. Hear more from her here.]

Europeans and Scandinavians look aghast when told that this is done in the United States. To them, circumcision is equivalent to one of the female genital mutilations performed in many regions of Africa and other parts of the world. There are laws in the United States against female genital mutilation [the FGM Bill], but inexplicably, not against male genital mutilation. No medical society in the world recommends circumcision, but it is pursued for profit by greedy physicians and by misinformed parents for a host of invalid reasons.

The tragic traumas (surgical, pharmaceutical, emotional, physical, and psychological) of Canadian twin David Reimer, who lost his penis after circumcision and was forced to undergo a sex change, is documented in As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. At age 14, "she" learned the truth and returned to his real male self (surgically and hormonally). However, his life was in shreds, unlike that of his co-twin, who was left intact.

To "look like Dad" (which becomes "to lack like Dad") is one of the common excuses given to deprive a baby boy of this protective and sexually significant part of his penis. However, one mother of identical twins, recently witnessed the screams of terror and bloody agony as her
first was circumcised, and refused to allow her co-twin to be cut. "But they won't look alike!" chastised her doctor. "Two wrongs don't make a right," was her reply.

Check resources completely for information to help you keep your son intact in the face of such abuse from some medical establishments. Be vigilant in hospitals where circumcisions are routine and all the babies in the nursery tend to be "done" - yours might be included. (There have been many lawsuits over inadvertent, as well as botched, circumcisions.) Just as the umbilical cord is commonly used for skin grafts, so are the amputated foreskins of baby penises. Make sure you protect any sons you may have against circumcision - take your whole baby home.

Preterm multiples often have the luck to escape, being too frail to undergo the operation (which has caused infection, hemorrhage, and even death in healthy, full-term babies). Most of the world's males are intact as nature intended, and happily so! Your sons will thank you for being part of the majority, which they will be.

For additional information on the prepuce (foreskin), intact care, and circumcision see:

Elizabeth Noble is the founder of the Women's Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, an expert on multiple pregnancy, and 40 years in the field of birth and babies. Visit her website at

Leo Sorger, M.D. is a board-certified obstetrician with 50 years experience in gentle birth of multiples.

Find their book, Having Twins and More, here, or request at your local bookseller and library.

Kangaroo Mother Care Saves 2lb Premature Twin, Baby Jamie

By Danelle Frisbie © 2010

We've seen it before - a preemie, even micropreemie - saved by his mother's loving touch, warmth, milk, and kangaroo care.

For Kate Ogg, of Sydney, Australia, the life changing event came in the hospital after a mere 3 hour labor when doctors gave up hope of saving her baby boy. He was born a twin at just 27-weeks gestation and weighed 2 pounds. While Ogg's first twin, Emily, was doing well, doctors could not get her second twin - Jamie - breathing. After 20 minutes of failed attempts, they declared him dead. Ogg relayed:

The doctor asked me had we chosen a name for our son. I said, "Jamie," and he turned around with my son already wrapped up and said, "We've lost Jamie, he didn't make it, sorry." It was the worse feeling I've ever felt.

As Ogg tearfully held her son, she told him how much she loved him, held him close, and did not want to let him go. Giving up on a miracle, Ogg says:

I unwrapped Jamie from his blanket. He was very limp. I took my gown off and arranged him on my chest with his head over my arm and just held him. He wasn't moving at all and we just started talking to him. We told him what his name was, and that he had a sister. We told him the things we wanted to do with him throughout his life. Jamie occasionally gasped for air, which the doctors said was a reflex action. But then I felt him move, as if he were startled, and then he started gasping more and more regularly. I gave Jamie some breastmilk on my finger, he took it, and then started regular breathing.

For two hours Ogg continued to hold her son close - touching, hugging, speaking to him, and offering him drops of her milk. Soon, he was beginning to show signs of life.

I thought, "Oh my God, what's going on?!" A short time later he opened his eyes. It was a miracle! Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger. He opened his eyes again and moved his head from side to side. The doctor kept shaking his head saying, "I don't believe it, I don't believe it. I turned to my husband and said, "He might live! We might be the luckiest people ever."

Although Ogg had her twins in March of this year, she has not spoken to the public about their birth until yesterday. She said that she now wished to talk with others about the importance of skin-to-skin contact for babies - especially for sick and premature babies.

Kangaroo care is being used in an increasing number of hospitals around the UK and Australia (it is still, unfortunately, less commonly used in North America where hospitals routinely place sick and preemie babies into NICU tubs and tell mothers they cannot hold them).

The kangaroo care technique was termed such due to the way that kangaroos hold their tiny, helpless (hairless) joeys in their pouch - close to their bodies - to keep them warm and regulate all their immature body functions. In this way, kangaroo mothers keep their babies safe, nourished, and in the environment in which they optimally grow. For human babies (and other mammals) the same is often true -- preemies and sick babies thrive best, recover fastest, and handle treatment the easiest when they are allowed constant skin-to-skin contact with their mothers. Her body keeps baby warm, stimulated (breathing, heart beating, etc.) and fed.

Kangaroo care is so instinctual, in fact, that almost all mammals participate in it (just watch a cat with her new kittens or dog with her newborn puppies). Kangaroo care (sometimes called "Kangaroo Mother Care" or "KMC") 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 and baby is on a safe surface) 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, side-by-side sleeping, or kangaroo care.

Preemie, low birth weight, and ill babies whose mothers practice skin-to-skin care regularly have lower rates of infection, less severe illness when it does occur, improved sleep, and better regulated body temperature. More effective than any plastic incubator is mother's body!

Today, Jamie is a healthy five month old baby. Ogg held him while she was interviewed on Today Tonight, an Australian television show, which was graciously sent to from our Aussie readers (below).

At the end of the segment, Ogg's husband chimed in about his wife's powerful mothering, "Luckily I've got a very strong, very smart wife. She instinctively did what she did. If she hadn't done that, Jamie probably wouldn't be here."

And that is true indeed!

Yeah for mothers doing what they do best - instinctively - loving their newborns deeply, strongly, unconditionally - even when all seems lost. Even, and maybe especially, when our babies are super tiny and super fragile or super sick. Nothing heals like a mother's touch, a mother's love, and mother's milk.

Kangaroo Mother Care Notes

The process of 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 naturally (watch a cat with her new kittens or dog with her newborn puppies). Kangaroo Mother Care benefits all human babies as well, and especially NICU 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

Related Books on KMC:

The Premature Baby Book

The Vital Touch

Kangaroo Babies

Related Articles on KMC:

Kangaroo Mother Care

When Doctors Lost All Hope, A Mother's Love and Healing Touch Saves Her Sick Micro Preemie Baby

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

Exclusive Human Milk Diet Benefits NICU Preterm Babies

Read more about the benefits of sleeping within an arm's reach of baby ('sharing sleep') at Dr. Sears' site, at Dr. McKenna's baby sleep site & library, in the books:

or in any of the links on this page.


[Videos from AUS will be updated shortly.]

Natural Birth of Twins & Triplets

Additional information on gently caring for multiples:

Two Great Books:

Having Twins And More: A Parent's Guide to Multiple Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Childhood
Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More


Naturally Parenting Twins

Breastfeeding & Attachment Parenting Twins

Mothering's - Parenting Multiples Thread

Attachment Parenting International's - Multiples Discussion Thread

Mother Loses Baby, Donates Breastmilk to Another NICU Baby

By Alan Bavley of the Kansas City Star
posted with permission

Photo Credit: Allison Long/Kansas City Star
Four-month-old Max Robinson was strong enough to leave Overland Park Regional Medical Center on Tuesday. His mother, Jennifer Robinson (left), was joined by Nicole Hendrix, whose donation of breast milk gave strength to Max.

As she was getting ready to leave the hospital last week with her baby, a tearful Jennifer Robinson knew how to measure generosity. All she had to do was turn and look at Nicole Hendrix, the woman who had helped the premature baby, Max, to thrive against the odds.

Hendrix had donated her breast milk—gallons of it—to Max after his mother couldn’t make any more. It was a personal gift the hospital had never seen before.

Hendrix had been saving frozen milk for her own preemie daughter, Lillian. Lilli, as she was called, passed away before she could get much more than a little of it.

After multiple surgeries and four anxious months in intensive care, Max finally was healthy enough to leave Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas. He weighed in at a substantial 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Hendrix was there to see him off. “It makes me feel that something good can come out of something bad,” she said.

Robinson said she was overwhelmed by Hendrix’s generosity. “With so much going on with their lives they would think of us,” the Olathe, Kansas, woman said. “It was like they gave him an organ, something that could save his life.”

Overland Park Regional neonatologist Kathleen Weatherstone said the donation played a role in keeping Max alive. Max was born on April 16, four months premature. Lillian was born March 4, also four months early. Both babies suffered from a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis, where blood circulation was cut off to portions of their bowel. It occurs most commonly among extremely premature infants.

Breast milk is believed to be protective against necrotizing enterocolitis
, Weatherstone said. And it’s the best-tolerated milk for infants recovering from the condition.

Often it’s difficult, though, for mothers of preemies to give their babies milk. Either their body isn’t ready to produce milk or the stress of dealing with a critically ill child keeps the milk from flowing. [More on induced lactation for preemie or adopted babies here.]

At first, Robinson, 41, was able to provide Max with breastmilk. She had breastfed her two other children. But she soon began to run dry. “It was really frustrating,” Robinson said. “As a mom, breastmilk was one of the only things I could give him to help him.”

Robinson searched for breastmilk banks that provide babies with milk from donor mothers. But insurance plans don’t always cover the charges. She calculated that it could cost thousands of dollars per month.

That’s when Robinson and Hendrix’s stories began to intertwine.

Every three hours, every day - at home, at work, even at church - Hendrix had been faithfully pumping her breast milk and freezing it, anticipating the day when Lillian would need it. “The nurses every day said to keep going,” Hendrix, 29, said. “It wasn’t fun, but I did it.”

For 10 weeks, she saved her milk. So much milk that the Hendrixes had to buy a freezer to keep in the garage of their Kansas City home.

But physicians said that Lillian’s persistent medical problems gave her few opportunities to take any of her mother’s milk. Her condition became so serious she had to be transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, where she passed away in May. [DrMomma's Note: Not giving mother's milk to premature babies may be one of the gravest mistakes we make today in some NICUs. Many hospitals have moved to a 100% breastmilk NICU policy - all preemies get human milk. And nothing could benefit them more than being skin-to-skin on mom (kangaroo care), even while hooked up to necessary equipment, and receiving mother's milk in whatever way it can be given. Additional thoughts on this subject from Emma Kwasnica here.]

After Lillian’s passing, Hendrix went back to Overland Park Regional to pick up things left behind. She thought of the breastmilk at home in the freezer. “It would have made me sick to throw it out,” she said.

Hendrix asked a nurse in the intensive care unit if she could donate her milk. Word got back to the nurse that Robinson’s baby needed breast milk, and the nurse told Hendrix. “This was a no-brainer,” Hendrix said. “I feel I would have regretted it if I didn’t. I feel I’ve given meaning to my daughter’s life, if this can help save Max.”

The hospital had never arranged to have a mother donate milk to one of its patients. Doctors insisted that Hendrix be tested for HIV, hepatitis, and other infections before Max could have her milk. [DrMomma's Note: I would consider giving my newborn human milk from a mother with an infection before I gave drastically sub par artificial formulas. It is a myth that mothers with HIV or a variety of other infections should not nurse their own babies, and more research needs to be done in this area. The hospital's insistence on testing is more a CYA practice (to avoid lawsuit should something potentially happen) than anything else.]

When Hendrix turned the milk over to Robinson, it filled a large rolling cooler and three small plastic foam coolers. Robinson brought plastic bags of frozen milk to the hospital for the nurses to defrost and give to Max.

Before sharing the milk, the Robinsons and Hendrixes barely knew each other. Hendrix recalls that she and her husband, Shannon, ran into Robinson and her husband, Troy, in the parents’ room at the hospital. “They were worried and we were listening,” she said. “Their son was going through a lot of what we went through.”

Now the families have become friends. Hendrix visited Max several times in the hospital and was one of the first people to get to hold him. “We instantly felt we had a connection,” Robinson said. “If it weren’t for Lilli, Max would not be here. Her little life made a huge impact on his. Someday, he’ll know about Lilli and how selfless her mother was.

Read, The Premature Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Premature Baby from Birth to Age One, for helpful information on gently caring for premature babies.

For more on mother-to-mother milk sharing, see the Breastmilk Donation page, or find an Eats On Feets chapter near you.

Helpful related books, sites, and articles at the Breastfeeding Resources page

8lb, 13oz Max in his mother's arms ready to go home.

Books Fundraiser for Mother and Newly Adopted Daughters from Haiti

A fellow gentle parenting momma needs our help. Three years ago, Jodie (a mother to one child living in Colorado) began the adoption process for two little girls from Haiti. A lot of red tape later, the earthquake that ricocheted Haiti helped to expedite the adoption process of these two orphaned girls, and Jodie was able to bring them home in February of this year.

As happy as their new family is, two extra children brings some added expenses, and in the midst of their adoption, Jodie's husband was laid off from his job. While he has a paycheck through the end of August, come September, they will be in trouble.

To add insult to injury, Jodie's husband was rear-ended last week by an uninsured driver while taking one of their girls to school, and now they have a vehicle that needs repair as well.

Another peaceful parenting reader (and friend of Jodie's) asked if we would highlight the fundraiser she has put together to help this mom of three. Erin Davey has a very small Usborne Books business and will be donating all profits during the month of August to help Jodie and her family.

Usborne has a wide assortment of wonderful books for babies, children, and teens. There are many fun books, educational books, library sets, books for homeschooling use, books in Spanish, kits and activity books, etc. We all know how much children love to receive a new book - and they make excellent gifts, as well as donations for your local women's, family, or children's shelters. Many kids never have a book of their own, and are not given the opportunity to learn to love reading - so one book purchase can go a l-o-n-g way if you get creative on how it will be used or given away to a child in need. :) If you'd like to purchase a book through Erin this month, you will also be helping another family in the process.

To participate in this book fundraiser for Jodie and her girls, please do not order directly from the Usborne site -- it will randomly pick a consultant and give your order to them, defeating the purpose of the fundraiser. To have your purchase donated to Jodie's family, you will need to select the books you want, and send Erin a message with those you'd like to order.

Erin can be found here on Facebook, and she welcomes any questions you may have.

If you would like to help Jodie's family, but do not wish to make a book purchase, there are other ways to get involved:

Gift certificates for Usborne books will go toward this cause and can be used in the future, or donated to peaceful parenting for the upcoming benefit auction. (As a non-profit organization we provide breastfeeding support, infant sleep resources, intact care, and circumcision information packs, babywearing items, and pregnancy, birth, and newborn care classes to parents who cannot otherwise afford them. Every single family helped here is exclusively supported through donations and we cannot continue without you).

Erin is also happy to pass along any direct gifts to Jodie and her family. You can donate with the PayPal button below and specify in the "Notes" that it is a gift for Jodie and her girls.

No matter what, thank you for being a part of the bigger community of gentle parenting mothers and fathers out there, seeking to make a positive difference for all the children of the world. They need you more now than ever before, so keep your eyes and ears open for ways that you can touch lives. Because every one matters.

If you give a child a book,
s/he is going to start reading.

If a child starts reading,
s/he is going to start thinking.

If a child starts thinking,
s/he is going to imagine.

And if a child experiences the beauty of imagination,
there is no telling how high s/he can soar!

~ International Children's Literature Project

Routine Infant Toe Removal Has Health Benefits

A parody of routine infant circumcision and its supposed "benefits."
By Joseph Lewis © 2010
Read more from Lewis at Joseph4GI

Toenails are a pain to keep clean. They accumulate dirt, and they take time to trim. If not properly washed, toe jam can develop between the toes and the foot will give off an unpleasant odor.

"Toe Jam" on a baby

The spaces between the toes are the perfect place to harbor bacteria that cause infection. Athlete's foot is such a problem in North America today that there is an entire industry based on foot hygiene products.

Athlete's Foot

The fungus that can and does grow underneath the toenails takes so long to get rid of. Fungal treatments like Lamisil and Lotrimin make a killing of money off of people with fungal problems.

Furthermore, toenails can become ingrown, requiring the need for surgery. Compound the hygiene and fungus products with the need for surgery, and having toes becomes very expensive, very fast.

Toenail Fungus

When toenails become ingrown, they sometimes require medical intervention. I know quite a few guys that had to have part of their nail root killed because they had recurring ingrown toenails.

Ingrown Toenail

If your family has a history of diabetes, you may wish to consider removing your children's toes. If your child gets diabetes, s/he may develop a condition called "hammertoe," where poor blood circulation causes the toes to become necrotic, becoming a gangrene hazard, not only for the toes themselves, but for the rest of the foot. It is such a common incident, and there is a danger that the wound(s) may not heal correctly, causing the entire foot to be gangrenous. I know of a few cases where the wounds did not heal, and the gangrene kept spreading. The patients had to undergo surgery after surgery, until the gangrene had left them with a stump up to their thigh. Some patients simply died in recovery.


Caretakers for the elderly already have to deal with so much. They have to feed and wash old people, and sometimes, if the men are intact, they have to (gulp) pull back the foreskin and rinse! On top of that, they have to take care of their patients' feet. This means washing them, clipping their toenails (that never stop growing) and making sure there is no gunk between the toes or fungus under the nail beds. It would make elderly caretakers' jobs SO much easier if their patients simply didn't have any toes.

Babies' toes pose a specific health risk for a very common condition known as "hair tourniquet." A parent's hair wraps around the baby's toe, quickly cutting off circulation. If the condition becomes severe, the baby must be taken to the ER and have the hair removed immediately. Occasionally, the toe is lost. Clearly, parents may see that cutting off a child's toes is in the child's best interest. If parents can demand a doctor circumcise their son, then it only follows that they should be able to demand a doctor remove their child's toes.

Hair Tourniquet

And, because a parent believes it is for the best, a physician has the duty to oblige. Why, if it's done as baby, s/he won't remember it!

If they use enough anesthesia, the child will not even feel the pain.

Having your toes removed as an adult is simply no fun.

Especially if diabetes runs in the family, physicians should advise parents to cut off their babies' toes. After all, they may need to have them removed later in life anyway.

My girlfriend's cousin's boyfriend's aunt's baby had to have a toe removed because of a hair tourniquet. If I ever have a baby, I'm surely going to have his toes removed.

In short, having toes is a HEALTH HAZARD! Cutting off a child's toes has health benefits. The AAP should recommend that all doctors advise parents that they remove their child's toes in infancy. It is simply better to remove a baby's toes when s/he is too young to remember and won't know what s/he is missing later in life. Parents and doctors that choose not to remove a child's toes are denying him/her of potential health benefits.


Lewis' End Note: I've already received responses that this is simply a hilarious parody. But to be clear, the humor was not intended at all. It sounds humorous doesn't it? These are actual, serious arguments used by people who defend circumcision. Use them with anything else, and the absurdity is obvious.

New to the topic? Learn more: Should I Circumcise? The pros and cons

Cosmopolitan Reports on the Decline of Circumcision in the United States

We commend Cosmopolitan for reporting today on the dramatic decline of circumcision surgery in the United States, and for highlighting the fact that the U.S. (and some parts of Israel for Judaic and Islamic reasons) are the only two nations in the world that needlessly cut healthy newborn babies.

[Note that in 2006, 2% of the United States' population was Jewish and many of the most outspoken intactivists today are Jewish men, women, physicians, rabbis, historians, film makers, etc. (1, 2) Many Jews today opt for a Brit Shalom in place of cutting their sons. We therefore cannot assume that any specific portion of the 32.5% of boys cut in 2009 in the U.S. are within the Jewish community. In addition, even if all Jewish parents circumcised their sons in the U.S., this would represent a circumcision rate of less than 2%.]

It's slightly amusing that it may just be pop media women's sex magazines making intact men look all the rage for parents to finally wake up before the birth of their sons and end the needless cutting. Maybe it is a result of my own naivety that I expect [most] parents to make educated, informed decisions - especially when it comes to the surgical amputation of their newborn baby's genitals. But, I guess whatever it takes to reach the remaining 32%... Those 1 in 3 boys deserve to keep their whole penis too.

I'd also encourage pop culture journalists to start using correct terminology -- intact instead of 'uncut' or 'uncircumcised'... after all, we do not say a woman is 'unclitoridectomised' or 'unmastectomised.' All men and women (like all mammals) are born into this world with a prepuce organ (nicknamed 'foreskin' or 'clitoral hood'). It is normal for them to remain intact and atypical for them to have this organ cut off.

Read and comment on Zoë Ruderman's full article in Cosmo here (pasted below).

For additional information on the prepuce, intact care, and circumcision, see: Are You Fully Informed?


1) Ira M. Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, Jewish Population of the United States, 2006.

2) American Jewish Year Book 2006, Volume 106, Eds: David Singer and Lawrence Grossman. NY: American Jewish Committee, 2006.

Circumcision Is on the Decline
by Zoë Ruderman for Cosmopolitan

Just a few generations ago, pretty much every baby boy in the U.S. was circumcised—aka, had the foreskin of his penis removed.

Now, new statistics presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last month suggest a steep drop in the number of males getting this, uh, unkind cut. Last year, 33 percent of infant males were circumcised, a big drop compared to 2006, when 56 percent underwent this surgical procedure, according to stats reported in the New York Times today.

If the trend continues, uncut guys will soon outnumber circumcised ones, and a dude with a foreskin won’t seem weird or odd at all. And really, why should it? Sex feels just as good for a man with a foreskin as it does for one without. Same goes for the woman hooking up with him. And condoms work equally well on both types of penises.

It’s also important to note that the United States and Israel are the only two countries where baby boys are routinely circumcised. And while many urologists recommend it because it can cut down on STD transmission risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend it. Part of the reason why: it causes a whole hell of a lot of pain to newborn baby boys.

The New York Times Reports the "Steep Drop" in U.S. Circumcision

A friend and fellow advocate, Candice Young, said she couldn't think of a better headline to appear in The New York Times today - her birthday. We'd have to agree, as we picked up a copy of The Times and flipped open to the front page of the Science section to see the (above) tag line.

The New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin, reported on the "steep drop" of circumcision in the United States (the last nation that continues to cut newborn baby boys at a rate of 32.5%). While we were at first hesitant to fully acknowledge these statistics (having not seen the data set for ourselves) the CDC is reporting them as such. We agree with the statement issued by Intact America, in saying that, "We are taking the CDC at its word, that these are reliable figures. From our perspective, it's an excellent opportunity to show that keeping babies intact is now the norm in the United States, and the majority of parents [nearly 68%] are choosing to keep their sons intact."

The "photograph of a slide from the [International AIDS Conference] presentation" that Rabin mentions in the article's fourth paragraph is this one (below).

We are indeed thankful for the 68% kept intact in 2009! The bogus 'locker room' argument is no more (although we are not convinced it ever held much water as most intact men interviewed who grew up amidst cut peers have said they were (1) never teased and (2) very much opposed to having a part of their penis amputated in an effort to 'match' with their friends).

We are, however, appalled that there could be those who are yet pro-cutting in big lobby groups who are still (somehow?) attempting to find justifications to continue MGM. All myths and misconceptions have been repeatedly refuted - for the past several decades, actually. It is time to put down our knives and step away from the babies.

We encourage you: Dig deeper. Become fully informed. There is far too much research on this subject today to ignore.

Click on the article image above to read in full screen, or read The New York Times article online here.

Related information in response to the article:

Dr. Dean Edell and others discuss HIV and circumcision (the U.S. has the highest numbers of HIV positive persons of any developed nation, and the U.S. also has the highest numbers of sexually active adult circumcised men). Circumcision does *not* prevent HIV.


On Becoming Elderwise: Caring for Grandma God's Way

A Parody by Rachel Mills
shirts at Made By Momma

Babywise taught you infant management. Toddlerwise taught you toddler character development. You discovered how to ignore your innate mothering instincts and instead nurture your children "God's way."

And now, from the renowned expert in everything, comes On Becoming Elderwise: Caring for Grandma God's Way.

Elderwise Excerpt Examples of
"Caring for Grandma God's Way"

Daughter: Honey, Mom's crying again. Should I go see what she needs?
Son-in-Law: NO! She's just trying to manipulate us. Let her cry it out. She needs to learn to self-soothe.
Daughter: Are you sure?
Son-in-Law: You're letting your instincts to nurture take over. Do you want her to end up in jail someday?

Son: Mom, you didn't make it to the bathroom AGAIN. You need to clean this up - what do we say?
Mom: Right away, all the way, and with a happy heart!
Son: OK. I'm not asking twice.
Mom: Please don't spank me. Please?

Daughter-in-Law: Feels kinda silly sitting here on the couch like this, ignoring her. Shouldn't we, like, talk to her?
Son: She needs to learn that we are the primary relationship in this house.
Daughter-in-Law: She looks sad.
Son: She is NOT the center of the universe. She has to learn this.

Daughter: Mom, what are you doing?
Mom: I'm supposed to take these pills with food.
Daughter: Well, it's another [checks watch] hour and a half till your next scheduled feeding. How about if we watch some Golden Girls and get your mind off it?
Mom: But I feel faint.
Daughter: Come on, Mom. We can't have you getting off the schedule with this snacking.

Yes, Elderwise. The babies get back...


"What is done to children, they will do to society."
~ Karl Menninger


For more on Babywise, the Ezzos and Growing Kids God's Way methods see:

Malawi rules out circumcision as AIDS-prevention: No evidence it works

Associated Press, with contributions from Jenny Gross - Johannesburg, South Africa.

AIDS awareness and condom use billboard in Chiradzulu, Malawi

Malawi will not promote male circumcision as an HIV-prevention strategy, two officials said Wednesday, citing a lack of evidence to support the practice. "We have no scientific evidence that circumcision is a way of slowing down the spread of AIDS," said Dr. Mary Shaba, a top HIV/AIDS official in Malawi.

Shaba said she has read studies that suggested a low rate of HIV/AIDS in countries where circumcision is encouraged or mandated. But she said she believed circumcision may not be the reason for this.

Chairman of the National AIDS Commission and Anglican Bishop Emeritus Bernard Malango said studies in Malawi raised doubts about the effectiveness of circumcision in preventing HIV. "If you go to areas where circumcision is practiced, you still find a good number of people that are becoming HIV-positive," he said.

The U.N. said last year that trails show universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 5.7 million new infections and 3 million deaths over 20 years.

Circumcision is common among Muslims and some tribes in Malawi, but is not universally practiced. However, since reports emerged that circumcision may slow the spread of HIV, an increasing number of men have flocked to hospitals for the procedure. "We have seen an increase in people seeking the service, but it's mostly for hygiene reasons," Malango said.

Marcus Low, a researcher at Treatment Action Campaign, a Cape Town, South Africa-based advocacy group for people living with HIV, claims that there is evidence to suggest that voluntary male circumcision can reduce the risk of men becoming HIV-positive by about 60 percent. Low said his organization "fully supports the responsible roll out of voluntary medical male circumcision services in South Africa and the region. It is one of the few prevention tools we have, and not making use of it presents a major missed opportunity in the struggle against HIV."

The United Nations' AIDS agency has recommended that male circumcision be recognized as an additional intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in African men. The U.N. says some 930,000 Malawians — nearly 12% of the population — have HIV.

South African Health Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, said last year that the government would consider how strongly it should endorse circumcision as a means of preventing AIDS. South Africa does not currently have a policy on male circumcision.

South Africa, a country of some 50 million, has an estimated 5.7 million people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS - more than in any other country.


A Man's Guide to Homebirth

Photo courtesy of Natural Blessings Doula Services and ©2009 Sandi Heinrich Photography

Josh's first skin-to-skin with his fresh, newborn son
born gently into water at home

This article has been removed.

Contact with questions.


U.S. Circumcision Rate Falls to 32%

From Mitchel L. Zoler notes colored

Image (above) from the July 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna. This photograph is from the slide presentation by Charbel El Bcheraoui, Ph.D., an epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who spoke at the Conference. The slide shows that the circumcision rate for U.S. baby boys dropped from 56.2% in 2006 to 32.5% in 2009.

VIENNA – Circumcision rates for newborn boys in the United States dropped steadily and markedly over the past 4 years, based on the largest review of U.S. rates ever done.

Circumcision rates fell from 56% in 2006 to 32% in 2009.
(Bcheraoui, et al. 2010)

The review, which included more than 6.5 million U.S. newborn boys during the period, also showed that adverse event rates following newborn male circumcision were low, and that the most common adverse events were “mild and easily corrected,” Charbel El Bcheraoui, Ph.D., said at the 18th International AIDS Conference [a conference backed by several pro-cutting groups, and funded with big $ from pro-MGM supporter, Bill Gates, (who also spoke at the conference), and one that Intact America attended in an effort to highlight accurate research pertaining to HIV and circumcision. This research by Bcheraoui, et al. also takes a pro-cutting slant by attempting to demonstrate that genital amputation of newborns is not 'as bad' as previous research has shown it to be. Although they do not come out and say it directly, it seems as though they are suggesting we'd better step up the cutting in the U.S. before we see the extinction of MGM and a rise among babies(?) getting HIV when having careless sex without condoms. Funny... the U.S. already has the highest rate of HIV of any developed nation, and we also have the highest rate of circumcised sexually active men. Circumcision must not be the vaccine for HIV as some have (ridiculously) proposed.]

The dramatic decline in circumcision rates during 2006-2009 continued a trend that began in the United States earlier in the decade, although the fall appeared to accelerate recently, he said. Bcheraoui, an epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, attributes the circumcision surgery drop to a 1999 statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics that said existing data is not sufficient to recommend newborn male circumcision (Pediatrics 1999;103:686-93). Another factor may be that following the AAP statement, states began to withdraw Medicaid coverage of newborn male circumcision. [Another factor is the increased spread and availability of accurate information available to parents and physicians via awareness raising groups such as Saving Our Sonsthe National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, the Circumcision Information Resource Pages, The Intact NetworkIntact America, Peaceful Parenting, the MGM Bill, Medical Professionals for Genital AutonomyNOHARMM, and similar organizations. In addition, many scholarly books examining circumcision were published in the U.S. in the last several years. When parents are fully informed on all aspects of the purposes of the prepuce, circumcision, and the intact male, they do not elect to amputate this organ from their healthy newborns.]

Bcheraoui's study used data from the largest U.S. consolidator of electronic health care reimbursement claims, which included data on 117 million unique U.S. patients annually undergoing short hospital stays, and data from more than 800,000 unique U.S. health care providers. In this database, 6,571,500 newborn boys underwent circumcision during 2006-2009.

Dr. El Bcheraoui and his associates said they had no disclosures.

[32% is a good start (I'm still hoping to review the actual data gathered in this study) - it is much better than the previously presumed 50% of boys cut as quoted by the CDC in 2008, but we have a lot of educating left to do. Medical students are still not trained on the prepuce organ, proper intact care, or circumcision implications. 6,571,500 babies circumcised in the United States between 2006-2009 equals just over 1.6 million boys/future men each year who had a healthy, important part of their penis amputated without need - impacting not only them in a variety of detrimental ways, but their future partner(s) as well. Until the U.S. MGM rate matches those of other informed, developed nations (i.e. 99.7% of males remaining intact) then we know there is still a problem in need of our attention.]

Chart above represents the state-by-state MGM rates for 2008 (previously, the last year available - these rates have decreased in the last 24 months). States in red had the highest percentage of boys cut at birth (~75%), yellow states next (~50%), beige states (~25%), while states in green had the lowest (0-24%). Gray states did not report. 2008 stats were based on all hospital and physician's office surgical records for boys under the age of 1 year as reported to the CDC. Circumcision is classified as cosmetic surgery of an infant. 
*View updated states and links at*

CDC Presentation Slide



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