January Top Ten

This year we are going to implement something new. On the last day of each month, we'll be taking a quick look back at the "Top Ten" most read articles at peaceful parenting that month. Readers wishing to catch up on the most frequently read and passed along items can do so easily, and those curious about what they missed can check it out.

Without further ado - here are January's Top Ten:

#10 How Spanking Changed My Life

#9 Sleep Training: Higher Stress, Lower Serotonin May Increase SIDS

#8 CDC Mandatory Vaccine Schedule: 1983 vs 2010 

#7 Owen Wilson & Jade Duell Welcome New Baby Boy via Home Waterbirth!

#6 Microscopic View of Human Milk, Cow's Milk and Formula 

#5 Brazil's Breastfeeding Ad
 *this was also the most commonly flagged and removed parenting-related photo on Facebook this month ~ causing the deletion of several excellent pages (including Earthy Motherhood and Sausage Mama), many individual accounts, and warning notices sent to several others including Woman Uncensored, Crunchy Mommas International, As Nature Intended, and peaceful parenting. Note that the photograph simply pictures a cute chubby baby's face.

#4 Breastfeeding is Offensive

#3 Breastfeeding in Bed: Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom Introduce Baby Flynn 
 *including Orlando's new babywearing daddy days

#2 Your Body Within One Hour of Drinking Soda
 *this was also the number one most read item of 2010

#1 Lizzi Miller: The Beautiful, REAL Woman on p.194


Confessions of an 'Intactivist'

By Jill O'Reilly © 2011

I had my first son almost 14 years ago, and the circumcision debate that is raging today is the same one that raged back then. So I've chosen to sit it out - until now.

When I first learned about circumcision I was horrified... How could any mother who is truly connected, attached, loving, and intelligent choose such a thing for her baby?! "How?!" I thought. Why would anyone want to put their soft new bundle in a situation where they would experience such pain - for what is basically a cosmetic procedure? Don't they understand what they are doing? What is wrong with people/society/America?

For years I couldn't see a baby boy without wondering about the state of his penis. Did that cute little smushy bundle in the adorable Gymboree onesie begin his life by being strapped to a plastic tub while a piece of cold metal sliced across his genitals? Did the funny little toddler at the park who is playing with my son have all his parts? Or had his parents been 'sheep' who blindly followed a silly social custom?

But now I have a teenager... and I have had a daughter... and two more sons. And I have been privileged to work with many, many expectant families. I have taught childbirth classes, and I have assisted at homebirths, and I have witnessed many families bring beautiful boys into the world, and love them. Adore them. And yes, circumcise them. I have learned that emotional arguments and my own opinions don't matter. I have seen parents agonize over the decision, and I have seen parents for whom the decision is not even up for consideration. I do not weep for those babies. I do not grieve for their loss of sensitivity, and I no longer see a baby in the store and have the state of his penis be the first thing that enters my mind.

An acquaintance recently had a baby. She has a blog and vehemently opposes circumcision. Her blog is aggressive and very 'in your face.' She reminds me so much of myself. Full of passion about a hot topic. But passion only gets you so far. Along with passion there must be COMpassion. I have been trained how to educate, how to communicate, how to inform, how to facilitate and... how to let go.

When my babies were young, and I was so close to the situation, it was impossible for me to emotionally distance myself from the subject. I couldn't discuss circumcision calmly because it was too easy to imagine my own child in that plastic tub, and the outrage would come welling up, fueled with the passion of a mother bear protecting her cub.

But my passion has cooled, my outrage has subsided - baby and toddler-hood is fleeting. The things that are so dramatically important now will barely register in a few years. If someone had told me that one day I would be posting something like this I would have been shocked. But those circumcised babies deserve mommies who aren't feeling like they abused their kids. They deserve a mommy that is empowered, not belittled. They deserve mommies that feel strong and capable and wise in their decisions making abilities. They deserve to be held by someone who hasn't just had her entire self-image repainted as some kind of monster. What has been accomplished by destroying someone's confidence in their parenting? What have we done when the young mom who loves her baby (and I promise you, she loves him every bit as much as we love ours) thinks that she has failed... and so quickly?

I'll tell you what happens: we create someone who doesn't trust her ability to make the right choices. And that is far, far more distressing to her son's future than whether or not he is intact. The biggest problem with debating circumcision is that much too often the discussion is happening too late... that foreskin can't be put back on. Making someone feel like they won't be a good mother unless they 'confess' and see the light is terrible. And it accomplishes nothing.

I have no idea if any of my son's teenage friends are circumcised or not. I've never asked him and I never would. I've never asked any of his friends' mothers either. It's just not something that comes up often during conversation. Intact care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping... all of these are important topics in the small world of baby and toddler-hood. But the impact of our words - and the feelings that they foster in mothers caring for their babies - those matter forever. Empower each other. Respect each other. Babies need to be raised by mothers who are strong and capable. There are many good mothers, and many good mothers with circumcised sons. We're all in this together.

If you're the parent of a circumcised son and would like a safe space to discuss the subject further, join with others at Keeping Future Sons Intact, or drop Lillie a note to be added to the private KFSI discussion thread. Additional resources for related material at: I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret.

Jill O'Reilly is the mother of four children - three sons and one daughter. She spent years working as a midwife, doula, and childbirth educator. She is currently expecting her 5th 'bonus' baby in a few weeks and is busy planning for her homebirth. She can be reached at JillPOReilly@gmail.com or here on Facebook.


100 Mother Nurse-in at Montreal's Complexe Les Ailes

By Selena Ross
Reposted with permission
Read more from Ross here.

Four breastfeeding women among the 100 who took part in a "nurse-in" at this Montreal mall on Jan. 19.

Canada is up in arms about breastfeeding and whether it's really okay to do it in public. And with the help of blogs and Facebook, angry moms are taking it to the streets - or to the mall, in this case.

About a hundred mothers in Montreal staged a "nurse-in" protest at a downtown shopping complex last week, breastfeeding simultaneously before a curious crowd of reporters, mall security guards and passers-by. The event was retribution, they said, for a store that had thrown out a mother for breasfeeding earlier this month. This week, they began a petition drive to protect the rights of women to breast-feed in public in the Quebec province.

It all started when Shannon Smith, a 36-year-old mother of three, stopped by a children's clothing store in the mall on Jan. 5. When her youngest started crying halfway through the trip, Smith retreated to a semi-secluded kids' corner and nursed the baby under a blanket.

She said she was surprised and upset when a female employee of the store, Orchestra, came over and told her to stop.

Smith left humiliated. But her embarrassment quickly turned to anger, so the next day she created a blog: BreastForTheWeary. "I'm pissed," she wrote. "My older kids were sitting in their stroller watching the movie when my youngest got hungry. So I fed her. She's 5 months old, and she eats breast milk. From my actual breast. Shocking, I know!"

With just the one post, the blog quickly started gathering hits - almost 7,000 so far. A day later, a Facebook group had been created to organize the nurse-in for Jan. 19. Newspapers and blogs across Canada and the United States soon picked up the story, creating a national debate over whether Smith or the employee had been right.

Many commentators compared breastfeeding to eating lunch and even urinating, even saying it should happen in bathrooms. Parents fought back, arguing that babies deserve to eat whenever and wherever they are hungry, and that breast-feeding is convenient and healthy.

At 1 p.m., the appointed time for the nurse-in, managers at Montreal's Complexe Les Ailes shopping mall waited anxiously for the promised pack of mothers and babies to appear. They arrived en masse, like a nursery school flash mob, and the babies quickly got down to business as cameras clicked and mall employees handed out juice boxes and goody bags. Most mothers said they had heard about the event through Facebook or friends.

"I think that, basically, you should be able to do it anytime and anywhere," said Frances Moxant, 40, as she fed the youngest of her four children. "Even my parish priest tells us to go ahead and do it in church. Jesus was breastfed - he wasn't bottle-fed. So it's definitely all right."

Smith said she was happy with the turnout, especially with the many dads and grandparents who stood nearby. She said she had been shocked by the frenzied response to her blog, but tried not to read too much into the negative comments. "I figure a lot of people just don't care," she said, shrugging. "A lot of people are pro-breastfeeding, and they don't talk about it because they just think it's normal."

The clothing store has apologized to Smith, blaming the mistake on a poorly trained new employee. So has the general manager of Complexe Les Ailes, Johanne Marcotte, who breastfed her own two children in malls and has long instituted a pro-breastfeeding policy. In fact, Complexe Les Ailes has two dedicated rooms for nursing moms, which Marcotte said have been used by 20,000 moms in the past eight months - something she knows because the rooms have traffic counters.

Rebecca Coughlin, 30, who came to the nurse-in with her 6-month-old twin daughters, said she likes the breastfeeding rooms but thinks it's unreasonable to expect women to pack up their children and walk across the mall with a screaming baby. "I don't think there's any reason women should be relegated to a room," Coughlin said. "It's something that we should be encouraging women to do. The last thing we should do is create a stigma around it."

Most Canadian provinces, including Quebec, do not have laws explicitly allowing mothers to breastfeed in public, although courts looking at specific cases like Smith's have generally ruled in favor of nursing moms.

All American states except for Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia have passed laws allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private space, as well as several that exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws or excuse nursing mothers from jury duty.

Shoppers at the mall last week looked amazed at the sea of nursing babies. But when asked if they felt uncomfortable having to walk by so many breasts on their lunch break, they said no. "I don't have a problem with that," said Ulysses Montero, 34.

Moms who read Smith's blog vented about being called exhibitionists. "Maybe we need to find something else for society to obsess about/sensationalize/demonize, instead of breasts," wrote a commenter named Sheila. "Preferably something that isn't part of my body. Oranges, maybe? 'Hey, lady, you can't eat that orange in here - this is a respectable business...'"


For helpful sites, books and articles see the Breastfeeding Resources Page

Pop Media 'Circumcises' Brandy's Ganesh Tattoo

Last month, R&B artist, Brandy, had the Hindu god, Ganesh, inked onto her forearm. Soon after, she posted images of the new design to Twitter before her tattoo artist, Peter Koskela, finished work. Subsequently, fans from around the globe (most of whom are accustomed to the intact male) commented that it looked a bit too phallic. So Koskela decided to change it. "I wanted to fix the offending tip... remove the whole phallic aspect. I told [Brandy] I'd just swing it upwards."

And this week, that is just what Koskela did by adding flower pedals over the bulbous elephant trunk, turning it upwards, and making it smaller. What is slightly interesting, slightly disturbing, is the way that the pop culture media responded - first by agreeing with non-U.S. critic that the trunk was indeed "too much like [intact] male genitalia" and then speaking of the inked art as an imperfect, over-sexualized, man who needed "fixing."
"Brandy’s elephant tattoo resembled a pornographic 'man package'..." -Examiner

"[Brandy's tattoo] needed some work done to it, in fact one might say it needed to be circumcised." -Examiner

"Hopefully, a mohel was present at the time." -TMZ

"Brandy's elephant tattoo was officially emasculated this week..." -TMZ

"...before and after the penis nose!" -InCaseYouDidn'tKnow

"Brandy's tattoo gets circumcised!" -Examiner

"The artist decided to snip the tip." -TMZ

"The tattoo has been fixed, with a snip of the tip!" -Examiner

"...the elephant has been emasculated." -HipHopWire

Hmmm... not that the trunk on Brandy's Ganesh tattoo makes much of a difference to anything, but when are we going to start loving and celebrating the normal male body, rather than clinging to this myth that all U.S. boys are born innately disfigured and in need of 'fixing'? What good can this possibly do to boys' and men's self-image? And when are we going to start paying attention to those who do speak up (and are informed) and tell us how it makes them feel?

I can't help but wonder... how would this play out if Brandy's tattoo had looked a little too much like the vulva? Would it too need to be 'circumcised'? Would we joke and lend analogy to FGM? Likely not... And our boys deserve the same respect of their whole bodies.

Within Hinduism, Ganesh is the god of success, destroyer of evils and remover of obstacles. He is revered as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. A few important things we could probably use a bit more of these days...

Brandy shows off her new tattoo with ink artist, Peter Koskela

Peaceful Parenting Advocacy Seal

Mother's Milk sculpture by the Bell Pine Art Farm

The following websites, Facebook pages, organizations, magazines and private businesses are those that operate with a core foundation of peaceful parenting. This means that they each support:
  • human babies' right to human milk (when at all possible)
  • breastfeeding for a normal duration of years (child led weaning)
  • genital integrity for all human beings (protecting intact minors - girls and boys)
  • night time parenting (no CIO, controlled crying, sleep training)
  • a woman's right to gentle birth choices and full and complete pregnancy and birth information as it impacts herself and her baby
  • gentle care, respect, and treatment of babies and children

Not all websites, pages, and businesses will focus on any one or all of these subjects, but the individual, or individuals, who run the site/page/business uphold these primary values in their lives and in the distribution of materials and information.

Visiting a site or purchasing from a company that has been awarded the peaceful parenting seal ensures that you will not come across material put out by that group which:
  • is lactiphobic in nature
  • undermines or ridicules breastfeeding mothers or their nursing little ones
  • promotes FGM or MGM (female/male genital mutilation) in direct or indirect ways
  • advocates for neglecting babies, forcing them to cry alone, sleep training, or 'cry it out'
  • denies women gentle birth choices such as homebirth, waterbirth, VBAC, and non-interventional physiological birth
  • in any way excuses or promotes abuse or sexual assault of babies or children
To be included in this list, send a statement (how your site, page, business adheres to peaceful parenting) to peacefulparents@gmail.com or via mail:

Peaceful Parenting
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

If you see a violation to this code from those on the list, please submit a screenshot or evidence for review. All of those granted the peaceful parenting seal are listed in alphabetical order in their given category.

Peaceful Parenting Advocacy Seal


As Nature Intended: http://www.asnatureintended.info/

BLISS Breastfeeding: http://bliss-breastfeeding.blogspot.com/

Catholics Against Circumcision: http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

Dulce de Leche: http://www.dulcefamily.blogspot.com/

Earthy Motherhood: http://earthymotherhood.blogspot.com/

Fridge Magnets: http://ashley-fridgemagnets.blogspot.com/

Gentle Christian Mothers: http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com

Gloria Lemay: http://www.glorialemay.com/

Gloria Lemay Birth Blog: http://www.glorialemay.com/blog/

Hygeia Halfmoon: http://ilovemybabysling.com/

Informed Parenting: http://iinformedparenting.blogspot.com/

The Jackson Journey: http://tonyandamyjackson.blogspot.com/

La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org/

The Man-Nurse Diaries: http://mannursediaries.blogspot.com/

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers: http://www.nocirc.org/

Nine Davids: http://9davids.blogspot.com/

peaceful parenting: http://www.drmomma.org/

Sausage Mama: http://www.sausagemama.com/

Saving Our Sons: http://www.SavingSons.org

Sweet Little Bundles Birth Services: http://sweetlittlebundlesbirthservices.blogspot.com/

Tiny Green People: http://www.tinygreenpeople.com/

Whole Christian Network: http://www.WholeChristian.org

Woman Uncensored: http://www.womanuncensored.com/

Facebook Pages

As Nature Intended: http://www.facebook.com/asnatureintended

Bell Pine Art Farm: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bell-Pine-Art-Farm/254260575621

BLISS: Natural Parenting Resource Centre: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BLISS-Natural-Parenting-Resource-Centre-Every-Baby-Deserves-Breastmilk/363475524582

Catholics Against Circumcision: http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsAgainstCircumcision

Cheeky Diapers: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheeky-Diapers/116097778432119

Crunchy Mommas International: http://www.facebook.com/crunchymommas

Dilley Dally Diapers: http://www.facebook.com/DilleyDally

Dulce de Leche: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dulce-de-leche/169243553116005

Earthy Motherhood: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Earthy-Motherhood/125535964131223

Gentle Christian Mothers: http://www.facebook.com/gentlechristianmothers

Honey's Hive (paper quilling/jewelry): http://www.facebook.com/HoneysHive

Individually Wrapped (babywearing): http://www.facebook.com/IndividuallyWrappedAlaska

Informed Parenting: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Informed-Parenting/366895943029

Keeping Future Sons Intact: http://www.facebook.com/FutureSons

The Mama Machine: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mama-Machine/147405948615656

The Man-Nurse Diaries: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Man-Nurse-Diaries/105450324856

Natalie Doula and Pregnancy Support: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Doula-and-Pregnancy-Support/143589202334450

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers: http://www.facebook.com/pages/NOCIRC/8830538132

Natural Blessings Doula Services: http://www.facebook.com/NaturalBlessings

peaceful parenting: http://www.facebook.com/peacefulparenting

Sausage Mama: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Back-Sausage-Mama/122799384457223

Saving Our Sons: http://www.facebook.com/SavingOurSons

Scarborough Lane (scented melts/bath/body): http://www.facebook.com/scarboroughlane

Spoiled Much (hair accessories): http://www.facebook.com/spoiledmuch

Tiny Green People (natural/eco parenting): http://www.facebook.com/pages/tinygreenpeople/129880456163

Whole Baby Revolution: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Whole-Baby-Revolution/160234400676350

Whole Christian Network: http://www.facebook.com/WholeChristian

Whole Woman: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Whole-Woman/147217835329426

Woman Uncensored: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Woman-Uncensored/410740215421


Bell Pine Art Farm (sculptures): http://www.bellpineartfarm.com/

Cheeky Diapers: http://www.cheekydiapers.com/

Dilley Dally Diapers: http://hyenacart.com/DilleyDally/

Gloria Lemay (birth): http://www.glorialemay.com/

Honey's Hive (paper quilling): http://www.etsy.com/shop/honeyshive

Hygeia Halfmoon (author/Cozy Cradle Baby Sling): http://ilovemybabysling.com/

Individually Wrapped (babywearing): http://www.etsy.com/shop/individuallywrapped

Made By Momma (advocacy shirts/onesies): http://madebymomma.spreadshirt.com/

Natalie Doula and Pregnancy Support (IA): http://www.nataliedoula.com/

Natural Blessings Doula Services (WA): http://www.facebook.com/NaturalBlessings

Scarborough Lane (scented melts/bath/body): http://www.scarboroughlane.com

Spoiled Much (hair accessories): http://www.spoiledmuch.com/

Sweet Little Bundles Birth Services (MA): http://sweetlittlebundlesbirthservices.blogspot.com/


Bamboo: Conscious Family Livinghttp://www.bamboofamilymag.com/

The Compleat Mother: http://www.compleatmother.com/

The Mother Magazine: http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk/

Mothering Magazine: http://www.mothering.com/

Whole Woman: http://www.whole-woman.com/


Breastfeeding in Bed: Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom Introduce Baby Flynn

By Danelle Frisbie for DrMomma.org

Photo ©Orlando Bloom/KORA Organics

With supportive pappa, Orlando Bloom, at her side, Australian supermodel, Miranda Kerr, birthed her 9lb, 12oz baby boy, Flynn, on January 6th. They had kept word of their upcoming arrival private pre-birthing day, while Kerr continued work with KORA Organics (the natural/organic cosmetic line she started three years ago). When Kerr publicly uploaded this gorgeous photo of her little bundle - all snug and cozy in his natural habitat - the KORA Organics blog site crashed due to all the traffic.

Really, there could be no better way to introduce your blessed new baby to the world than by showing him doing what he loves most of all at this fresh stage in life - nursing in bed with his momma. It is a photo that Kerr says Bloom captured of the two of them, and is a perfect, blissful example to set for other waiting, watching fans. The photo is even better because it demonstrates the all-important side-laying position so that mom and baby both get the rest they need, and can nurse and snooze at the same time.

This photo immediately won praise from the Royal College of Midwives (UK). A spokesperson for the college noted that, "Many women feel awkward about breastfeeding in public these days. But when people see a celebrity nursing their baby, it helps change that."

Thank you, Miranda, for naturally feeding your baby and sharing with the world!

Kerr writes:
On the 6th of January I gave birth to our beautiful little son Flynn. He weighed 9lb 12 ounces (a very healthy and big baby boy). I gave birth to him naturally; without any pain medication and it was a long, arduous and difficult labour, but Orlando was with me the whole time supporting and guiding me through it. I could not have done it without him. We are so happy and are enjoying our time together as a family. He is our little ray of sunshine.
Kerr's Twitter post when KORA Organics crashed post-photo posting

For those concerned, chances are good that baby Flynn remains perfect and whole as he entered this world. Bloom is British and Kerr an Aussie - each from areas where intact is the norm, and living in CA where MGM rates have dipped below18%.

Helpful books/sites/articles for nursing mothers found at the Breastfeeding Resources Page.


Looks like Bloom is the latest babywearin' papa to hit the trails with his little one in tow. Is that a Moby? Or another wrap...

For more babywearing dads, visit the Real Men Wear Babies Gallery


Baby Flynn is almost 4 months old now and still loving his momma milk! Miranda released this photo of herself and Flynn nursing backstage at a photo shoot. It's just one beauty of breastfeeding - perfectly ready (and free!) anywhere, anytime that baby is thirsty, hungry, or in need of comfort. Even on set at a highly sought after supermodel's photo shoot... ❤

My OB Said What?!? "...chewing gum for gays."

The site, My OB Said What?!?, is dedicated to collecting and sharing the (sometimes crazy but true) comments said to birthing women by doctors, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and childbirth educators while pregnant or on their birthing day. Occasionally, nurses and others working along side OBs submit a comment that was said to them while at work. Some are laughable. Some are arrogant. Some are myths. Some are hurtful. Some are heterosexist. Some are outright appalling on so many levels:

Recommend against this OB?!

The Beauty of Mothering 2011 Breastfeeding Calendar

We have an amazing calendar hanging on the peaceful parenting wall this year. It is one that wonderfully captures the Beauty of Mothering. Throughout its pages (13 months) the Beauty of Mothering includes splendid images of nursing mothers and their little ones, paired with outstanding quotes from a wide variety of literary works.

If you have a room or office that needs some added love hanging on the wall, we'd recommend ordering one of these before the 2011 supplies run out. In fact, when ours arrived in the mail we loved it so much that we purchased a couple extra to give as gifts to local mother/baby shelters.

Our only critique of the calendar is that all the mothers pictured are white mommas ~ hopefully throughout this year, Beauty of Mothering will have a wide variety of moms who volunteer to be a part of the project so that next year's calendar represents a colorful diverse collection of the true splendor that is mothering.

Makers say that the mission of this calendar is to highlight the beauty and natural act that is breastfeeding. It is one that goes hand-in-hand with gentle mothering, and is an important message to stand behind.

At their site, Beauty of Mothering makes these statements about nursing in public:
We live in a confused society. Our society celebrates women’s willingness to show off their bodies by wearing provocative clothing and being publicly sexual. Women who wear low-cut tops, short skirts, and court male ogling are considered “liberated” and “confident”. However, the minute a woman unbuttons her blouse to breastfeed a hungry baby, people get uncomfortable! A woman wearing a low-cut shirt that shows off her breasts would be welcome in most public establishments, but a nursing mother may be asked to go in a bathroom to feed her baby. Ironically enough, most provocative images of topless women are considered “censored” if the nipple, the most functional part of the breast, is covered. Indeed, we suffer from “nipplephobia,” or a fear of the female nipple.

We suspect that the comfort with open sexuality and discomfort with breastfeeding and nipples stems from our society’s unwillingness to accept the fact that babies are a natural result of sexual intercourse. When the purpose of sex becomes pleasing men, and children's and women’s needs are marginalized, nipples become “uncomfortable” reminders that women’s bodies were designed to bear and nurture children - not to operate as sex toys. Sadly, many women buy into the “woman’s body as sex object” mentality when they discourage other women from nursing in public for fear of husbands or sons seeing an exposed breast.

Ina May Gaskin suggests that the answer to “nipplephobia” is for people to see more images of breastfeeding and become used to the idea that breastfeeding is normal and natural. We live in a sea of images that convey the idea that women’s breasts are solely organs of sexual attraction (and that being a mother, especially breastfeeding mother, is the epitome of un-attractiveness).

Every photograph depicting breastfeeding as lovely and loving, fights back against this mentality. By creating beautiful images of one of the most profoundly nurturing acts of motherhood, we hope to change perspectives of nursing. We celebrate the beauty and joy of mothering with artistic portraits of breastfeeding. We also do “social commentary” photos to make people stop and think about how they perceive breastfeeding and the female body. Our work is available in calendars and wall-size prints on our site. Please join us in helping combat the disease!
Order your Beauty of Mothering calendar directly from their site, here.


The Doctors: Daytime Talk Show Disaster

I was planning to critique last week's jaw-dropping (read: full of falsehoods) episode of The Doctors, but Freedom of Speech did such a stellar job, there is no need to add more. This video is well worth your 14 minutes of attention (and sharing).

Intro commentary from FreedomOSpeech:
Daytime television talk shows have never been known for giving the most reliable information to the public. A show called "The Doctors" is no exception.

I'm going to go over a segment of the show that aired on the 12th of January 2011.

The segment is about the proposed circumcision ban in San Francisco California. This bill would ban non-consensual genital cutting of minors when there is no immediate medical necessity. This bill is intended to protect minors, and does not ban medically necessary or adult consensual surgeries.

The clip begins with Dr. Drew Ordon making a horrible case for his position. Dr. Drew, you will henceforth be known as Doctor Fallacy.

Let's begin.


Special thanks to Sam of Gallifrey for help gathering sources and arguments. Subscribe here.

1. H. C. Bazett et al, "Depth, Distribution and Probable Identification in the Prepuce of Sensory End-Organs Concerned in Sensations of Temperature and Touch, Thermometric Conductivity," Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 27 (1932): 489-517

2. Sorrells et al. (2007). Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. British Journal of Urology, 99(4), 864--869. http://tinyurl.com/sorrells2007bju

3. Van Howe RS, Cold CJ. Advantages and disadvantages of neonatal circumcision. JAMA 1997:278:203.

4. Klein, A. (1989). The healing power of humor. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam.

5. Cornell, DH. (2003). Frequently Asked Questions. Circumcision Center. http://www.circumcisioncenter.com/faq...

6. Detailed Guide: Penile Cancer. What Are the Key Statistics About Penile Cancer?. (2006). American Cancer Society. http://tinyurl.com/penilecancer

7. Country Comparison - HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate. (2007). Central intelligence agency. http://tinyurl.com/ciahiv

8. "Countries" Measure Demographic and Health Surveys. N.p., 2010. http://www.measuredhs.com/countries

9. MedicineNet. (2011). Male Breast Cancer. http://tinyurl.com/mbcancer

10. 18 U.S.C. § 116 : US Code - Section 116: Female genital mutilation. (CITE: 18USC116). http://tinyurl.com/usafgm

11. World Health Organization. (2009). Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: An Interagency Statement. UNFPA.http://tinyurl.com/eliminatefgm

12. Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. British Journal of Urology 1996; 77: 291-295. http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/t...

13. Lakshmanan S., Prakash S. Human prepuce: Some aspects of structure and function. Indian J Surg 1980;44:134-7. http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/l...

14. Gairdner D. The fate of the foreskin: A study of circumcision. Br Med J 1949;2:1433-7.

15. Frederick Hodges, Paul Fleiss. "Nontherapeutic Circumcision Should not be Performed," American Medical News, vol. 38, no. 26 (July 17, 1995): p. 16.

16. World Health Organization. (2010). Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: An Interagency Statement. World Health Organization. http://tinyurl.com/2nfjmq

17. Stang , M.J., & Snellman, L.W. (1998). Circumcision practice patterns in the United States. Pediatrics, 101(6), http://pediatrics.aappublications.org... doi: 10.1542/peds.101.6.e5

18. Hitchens schools Rabbi on issue of genital mutilation. (2009). [Web]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93ZiR...

19. Planet Parent (season 1, episode 2). (2006). [Web]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyYhRp...

20. Fleiss, PM. (1997, March). The case against circumcision. Mothering.

21. Mark, S, Brown, MD, Cheryl, A, & Brown, RN. (1987). Circumcision Decision: Prominence of social concerns. Pediatrics, 80(2), 215-219 http://tinyurl.com/aapcosmeticcirc


BIRTH with Gloria Lemay DVD Release!

Birth/babies advocate and midwife extraordinaire, Gloria Lemay, is excited to announce her newly completed homebirth DVD!

BIRTH Features include:
  • 9 Homebirths without narration
  • 9 Homebirths (same footage) with commentary by Gloria Lemay
  • 30 minute intact PSA featuring Dr. Dean Edell
  • 25 minute The Prepuce presentation by Doctors Opposing Circumcision. This is a film for medical students on the importance and function of the male foreskin.

BIRTH Retail Price: $35 (Canada)

For a limited time, Lemay is offering her DVD to peaceful parenting readers for $24.99 (postage included)! To order a copy, send payment via PayPal to birthdvd@gmail.com and be sure to include your current mailing address.

If you've not yet had the pleasure of getting to know Lemay, she is a contributing editor of Midwifery Today magazine, an Advisory Board member of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), and a keynote speaker at childbirth conferences - traveling throughout North America teaching midwifery. She currently attends births in the Vancouver, BC, area and says she'd like her tombstone to read, "She spoke up for babies." Learn more from Lemay at GloriaLemay.com.

In this video clip (below) from film maker, James Loewen, Lemay discusses the ways in which she approaches the subject of keeping babies whole with parents whose births she attends. She shares practical words of wisdom for all birth practitioners.


Poem and photos © 2011 Audrey Bryk

    Autumn walks with wooden swords
    Slaying all the neighbors’ gourds
    Keeping Mama safe from harm
    From within reach of her arm.

    Sailing ships in violent storms
    “It’s certain death!” he informs
    But before he’ll face his fears
    She will wash behind his ears.

    A late-night walk through a cave
    He’s not scared; he’s strong, he’s brave
    But when his head begins to spin
    She’ll close the book, and tuck him in.

    He’ll jump right out of a tree
    Take a fall and skin his knee
    He’ll spill no tears down his face
    Until he feels his Mom’s embrace.

    Boys are something to behold
    Wills of iron, hearts of gold
    Not invincible by far -
    But born just perfect as they are.
                                                              ~Audrey Bryk

Read more from Audrey Bryk:

Owen Wilson & Jade Duell Welcome New Baby Boy via Home Waterbirth!

42-year-old funny man, Owen Wilson, and his girlfriend, Jade Duell (a 28-year-old federal air marshall) birthed their baby boy at home, in water today. After 18 hours of labor, Duell brought her son earthside at 10:47am local time (Jan 14) in Wilson's Maui home. The new little babe, whose name has yet to be released, weighed 6lbs, 13oz, and is healthy and happy in his moms arms, surrounded by a thrilled new papa!

Rumors have floated around in the past about Wilson's intact status, and those watching this potential peaceful parenting couple believe they will keep their son whole as well.

Weeks ago when news leaked about Wilson and Duell's plans to have a home waterbirth, celeb doctors across the country 'warned' Wilson publicly about the (mythological) dangers of homebirth. Their plans were splashed across headlines and OBs afraid of even more celebs jumping on the gentle birth bandwagon tried to head off the fan following that is sure to come. Each time yet another celebrity opts to birth at home, more attention is given to the fact that research shows birthing at home is just as safe - or safer - for both mom and baby than birth in an intervention-filled hospital. As a result, homebirth continues to gain momentum and support.

Brushing fabricated scare-tactics aside, Duell had the birth she hoped for, and her little one was able to start labor in his own perfect timing and glide into her arms in the most magnificent of ways. “Owen and Jade are thrilled!” a friend told RadarOnline. “Owen has been doing a celebratory hula dance all afternoon! It's a beautiful boy and everyone is incredibly happy!”

Additional information on waterbirth included in the birth tubs and waterbirth gallery

Excellent, informative and empowering pregnancy and birth resources collected here.


Drying Up Milk Supply

By Danelle Day, Ph.D. © 2011
When a mother loses her baby, her aching breasts can monumentally compound her pain. Some mommas find healing in donating milk to another baby; others need their milk to dry up as quickly as possible to mend a broken heart. Still others find themselves in need of medical treatment that demands dry breasts. This article is dedicated to each of these mothers.

cabbage leaves

Peaceful parenting mothers are almost always concerned about increasing (or maintaining) milk supply in a culture that does little to support the normal breastfeeding relationship. However, in the past few months, at least three mamas in the peaceful parenting community have needed to dry up their milk supply as quickly as possible, despite their strong desire to nurse their babies for a normal duration of years. Two were sweet mothers who had their babies taken from them far too early in life (a little one week old son and a two year old daughter). The other woman is a young mom battling aggressive thyroid cancer who must undergo treatment that will "poison" her milk, and with a terribly heavy heart, she must wean her two year old son. In each of these cases, it was helpful for these mothers to have caring friends who could not only offer a listening ear, compassionate heart, and a lot of love during very tough times, but also some supplies to help with the engorgement and added pain that comes when your body longs to continue nursing a baby you can no longer feed.  

Quite honestly, I cannot even fathom the pain of losing a child or being forced to wean early. My desire for these three has been to just hold and cry with them. But after finding that there are not many good go-to places for moms in similar situations, I've decided it is necessary to have a list of ways to help in the drying up process. One mother said that her aching, leaking breasts were terrible constant reminders of the sudden loss of her little girl. She longed to hold and nurse her again, but desperately needed her milk to dry up quickly.

As humans, we generally continue to produce milk for about 45 days after the end of weaning. During natural weaning, many women experience milk secretion for several months or more after their little one has weaned completely. Weaning starts when a baby or child, for the first time, consumes something other than his/her mother's milk, or the human milk from another mother. This 'something other' could be in the form of artificial baby feeds (like formula), another animal's milk, baby 'mush' (homemade or store bought), or first foods self-tasted through baby-led weaning. Weaning concludes when a baby or child has consumed his/her mother's milk (or that of another human mother) for the very last time. Typically the natural weaning process takes place over the course of many years, as it is designed to do among humans. However, when it is sudden - due to the death of a child or illness beyond our control - it may have extremely uncomfortable consequences that can rapidly impact the health of a sudden/early weaning mother (via abscesses, clogged milk ducts, mastitis, etc.). As a result, it is important to have effective strategies for drying up milk.

These techniques and the way they are presented here are *not* for use by mothers wishing to forcibly wean an infant who is nursing on cue and under the age of 24 months. Rather, they are for moms who have lost a nursing baby (either at birth, in infancy, or later childhood) or for mothers who must dry up their milk for urgent health concerns that do not allow for the safe continuation of production.

Drying up milk does not necessarily equate to early weaning. In these later cases (especially if a baby is under the age of 24 months), there are mother-to-mother milk-share programs like Eats on Feets with moms willing to donate milk for free so that human babies continue to get the human milk they need in their first years of life, even if a mother must suddenly dry up her milk supply.

Drying Up Milk Strategies:

manual hand pump

1) Express milk in small amounts with a breast pump or manually

The most effective way to relieve engorgement and encourage fast milk reduction is to borrow or rent a breast pump if you do not already have one (or use manual expression if this works for you) and pump just enough to relieve the pressure. This tells the body that no more milk is needed, which quickly drops supply. Don't attempt to cold-turkey stop nursing/pumping/expressing altogether. Some milk needs to be pumped/expressed in order to avoid clogged ducts, engorgement, abscess and possible infection.

Expressing a small amount (enough to relieve pressure and discomfort) will not prevent your milk from drying up.  Whereas adequate milk removal (completely emptying the breasts often, by a nursing baby or hospital grade breast pump) causes milk volume to stay the same or increase, "inadequate" milk removal with a shelf-bought pump or manual expression causes milk production to decrease.  When small amounts are removed from the breasts, but they are never fully emptied, the body is told that milk is no longer needed, and production ceases.

sage tea

2) Sage tea

Nursing mothers are advised not to drink sage tea - but for those who need to dry up supply, it can be very beneficial. It has been suggested that 2-6 cups of warm sage tea a day for 7 days is capable of dying up milk supply. There are several ways that sage can be consumed:


Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and steep 8 teaspoons of dried or fresh sage leaves in the water for 45 minutes, covered. Then strain, add honey and drink.

Dried Herb:

Take 1/4 teaspoon of sage 3 times per day for 1-3 days. The sage can be mixed into vegetable juice (like V-8) or can be added to small food pieces and swallowed - a small bite of sandwich, peanut butter, cheese, etc. If you do not like the taste of sage, add a small amount of sage to the food item and swallow without chewing.


Take 30-60 drops of sage tincture, 3-6 times a day.

3) Jasmine

Research in the Australia New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology applying fresh, crushed jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac) to the breasts over the course of several days will decrease milk flow. (1)

4) Cold compresses, frozen vegetable bags, or cabbage leaves (nothing hot!) to decrease swelling

Just as warmth increases milk flow, cold temperatures decrease swelling and discourage milk flow. Cabbage leaves work so well for this cause because they are already shaped perfectly to fit over the breasts and under a sports bra.

- Use cabbage leaves chilled or at room temperature, or a cold compress of your choice.
- Wash the leaves (or wrap ice or frozen veggie bags in thin cloth) and apply to breasts between the times you express/pump excess milk.
- Cabbage leaves are nice because they can also be left on the breasts until they wilt (no melting or hardness), and new leaves applied as needed. A comfortable (not tight!) sports bra or nursing bra can be worn over the leaves.

Additional information on using cabbage leaves (2, 3, 4, 5) and links included in reference section below.

5) Avoid hot showers or hot water on the breasts as this stimulates milk flow.

6) Ibuprofen - take as needed to reduce discomfort and inflammation. Be sure to take with a little food or milk, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.

7) No nipple stimulation - do not engage in any activity that stimulates the nipples other than the necessary time to pump/express excess milk and relieve breast pressure/fullness.

8) A good sports bra - use one that will hold the breasts securely but not tightly. You want your breasts, nipples, and lymph nodes to breath. Binding or tight fitting bras and clothing will only increase soreness and swelling and does not decrease milk supply as one old myth suggests.

9) Keep drinking water! Another myth is that decreasing water consumption will decrease supply. This is not true. In fact, reducing your water intake will only lead to dehydration, which in turn increases your risk for a breast infection. So keep drinking lots of water!

10) Hormone Contraception. Although I do not advise this or the use of artificial hormones (especially if you are dealing with an illness already), birth control pills, and especially those containing artificial estrogen, are well known for decreasing milk supply. (6, 7) Hormone contraceptives that regularly decrease milk supply include:

- Combination birth control (Alesse, Yasmin, Seasonale, Mircette, Loestrin, Lo/ovral, Demulen, Desogen, Nordette, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Triphasil, Norinyl, Ortho-Novum, Ovral, etc.)

- Monthly injections (Lunelle)

- Birth control patches (Ortho Evra)

- Vaginal rings (NuvaRing).

11) Pseudoephedrine (brand name: Sudafed, a decongestant), or phenylephrine, also decrease milk supply, especially when taken regularly (120 mg/day). In fact, Sudafed is especially potent in reducing milk supply in late stage breastfeeding mothers (i.e. those who have already nursed a baby 24 months or more). Pseudoephedrine has been shown to decrease milk supply by 24%, and while similar studies have not yet been done on phenylephrine, its similar compounds suggest relatively equal impact. This is another avenue of decreasing milk production that is not 'natural' and I do not recommend it as a first course, but I include it in this list in an effort to be thorough. (7, 8)


12) Various Herbs. Other than Sage and Jasmine mentioned earlier, the following herbs are also known to decrease milk production:

- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Spearmint
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Chickweed
- Black Walnut
- Stinging Nettles (not Nettle which has been shown to increase milk supply)
- Yarrow
- Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
- Lemon Balm
- Oregano
- Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
- Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
- Thyme

Sage, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, oregano, and cabbage leaves can all be hot or cold pressed into a pressed oil to make massage oils for milk suppression. To be effective, they do not need to be massaged into the breasts, necessarily, but can be used all over.

Peppermint oil has been used traditionally for decreasing milk supply. While peppermint tea is a very weak form of peppermint and it would take very large amounts (quarts a day) to decrease milk supply, some women have reported that consuming a lot of strong peppermint candies (like the Altoids® Curiously Strong Peppermints) has decreased their supply.

It is important to note that no matter a mother's reason for needing to dry up her milk - whether it is due to the loss of a baby, severe illness that needs treatment, or necessary early weaning for reasons beyond her control - her sadness and potential depression may be compounded by the change in hormones that occur when weaning takes place.

Prolactin is one hormone that stimulates milk production and also brings a mother a natural feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. Oxytocin is a powerful 'love hormone' that is released while nursing a child. When weaning happens, we find a drop in both prolactin and oxytocin levels. This means that sudden (often unwanted) weaning can take a real toll on a mother's hormones and emotions. The faster the weaning process occurs, the more abrupt the shift in hormone levels will be, and the more likely a mom will experience these adverse effects.

Mothers who are forced to wean before they are ready (or for reasons beyond their control) and those with a history of depression are also more likely to experience depression after weaning. (9, 10, 11, 12, 13) Hormones are very powerful factors in women's (and men's) lives. We have yet to understand all the rolls they play in our bodies and brains, or their intricate influence on human health, behavior, and emotion. Yet, in the cases of early weaning and drying up milk, some of the same strategies that are used for reducing post-partum depression may also help with early weaning depression and sadness. See Combat Postpartum Depression without Medications for some related suggestions. (14)

A poem in honor of peaceful parenting weaning mommas: Wean Me Gently


1) Shrivastav P, George K, Balasubramaniam N, Jasper MP, Thomas M, Kanagasabhapathy AS. Suppression of puerperal lactation using jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac). Australia New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1988 Feb;28(1):68-71.

2) Yount, Paula: Cabbage? Why Use It and How Does It Work? Instructions for Use 

3) Newman, Jack: Cabbage Leaves for Engorgement

4) Davis, Marie: Engorgement: The Cabbage Cure

5) Smith, Sandra: Cabbage Leaves for Prevention and Treatment of Breast Engorgement 

6) Guthmann RA, Bang J, Nashelsky J. Combined oral contraceptives for mothers who are breastfeeding. American Family Physician. 2005 Oct 1;72(7):1303-4.

7) Hale, Thomas (2008). Medications and Mothers' Milk: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology. (Hale's site also located here with information)

8) Aljazaf K, et. al. Pseudoephedrine: effects on milk production in women and estimation of infant exposure via breastmilk. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2003 Jul;56(1):18-24.

9) Susman VL, Katz JL. Weaning and depression: another postpartum complication. American Journal of Psychiatry. 1988 Apr;145(4):498-501.

10) Berkeley Parents Network: Depression and Weaning
11) Highton, Brylin. Weaning as a Natural Process. Leaven. December 2000-January 2001; 36(6):112-114.

12) Trad PV. The emergence of psychopathology in a previously adaptive mother-infant dyad. American Journal of Psychotherapy. 1990 Jan;44(1):95-106.

13) Bering, Jesse (2009) Breasts in Mourning: How Bottle-Feeding Mimics Child Loss in Mothers' Brains.

14) KellyMom: Combat Postpartum Depression without Medications 


Gift Collection For Mom Who Lost Baby/Spouse Deployed

One of our sweet mamas, a gentle parenting mother herself, and never-tiring powerhouse advocate for babies and their own parents, just lost her baby in her second trimester and had her husband deploy overseas to Afghanistan yesterday. She is struggling to cope with three little ones at home alone. If you've lost a baby, or had a partner deploy into a war zone, you know the pain and heartache that comes with either. To have both happen at once is a great trial for even a strong, steadfast mother.

I desperately would love to be able to provide this mom with some support in the form of prepared and sent meals, a sitter for her kids when she needs a break to rest or just be still, and any other help that may lighten the load. She is a doula who has helped so many mothers in their own journeys, a birth and babies advocate, and an inspiration to so many, I just hope we can return the love.

Knowing the challenges that come with a spouse deploying immediately after a life-shaking personal upset, I understand that sometimes help from other loving souls around you is all that gets you through. If you are able to toss in a buck or two to help me provide something for this mother, I truly thank you on her behalf. I can't do it alone, but I know there are others who may have a coffee they can skip today to help her. Thank you.

Email/Facebook code:


Peaceful Parenting
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

deployment photo by John Tlumacki



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