Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.

The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.

Attachment Parenting isn’t new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children, summarized below in API’s Eight Principles of Parenting.

The following links will lead you to condensed versions of each of the Eight Principles. API Co-Founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson will release a book in early Summer 2008 that will explore the Eight Principles in detail. The book will be available in the API website store.

Please read the introduction first, as it contains important information that applies to all Eight Principles. If you have questions about applying the Eight Principles in your family, please contact an API Parent Support Group Leader near you or API Headquarters.

API’s Eight Principles of Parenting

Read the Introduction

Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible.

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Feed with Love and Respect

Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant’s nutritional and emotional needs. “Bottle Nursing” adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behavior.

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Respond with Sensitivity

Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.

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Use Nurturing Touch

Touch meets a baby’s needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.

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Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.
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Provide Consistent and Loving Care

Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship. Keep schedules flexible, and minimize stress and fear during short separations.

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Practice Positive Discipline

Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone’s dignity intact.

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Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.
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a HBA2CS this time!!! Announcing Baby Zen

Although i havent had much time to type, I finally found the time to write a short version of the birth story of our son, Valentine Zenson Lazarus (baby Zen). He was my 2nd VBAC but first HBA2CS (his brother was a VBAC at a free standing birth center 2.9 years ago). As thrilling as his brother’s birth was, this HBA2CS has me on cloud 9…and I know that not many ppl can appreciate my feeling like those here! So, I come to share our story. As a VBAC at 42 weeks, I surely got treated like I had 3 heads! lol!

Forgive the typos! lol!

Announcing VALENTINE ZENSON LAZARUS (aka “baby Zen”)

well, at 42 weeks and 4 days, suffice it to say that i was more than ready for our son to arrive. MORE than ready actually. I had been having braxton hicks contractions for over 4 weeks….they were driving me insane. Baby had been engaged for about the same time. Everything was perfect, except my body kept NOT going into labor!! lol! I started blogging about my days b/c I was literally a watched pot at that point.

On October 16, I began to have stronger contractions around 10pm. I called my MW to tell her that I didn’t think they were going to do anything; however I wanted to call her before 11pm and let her know our progress. I did laundry and was about to fold the last load of towels. As I took the basket upstairs, I felt a lot of pressure. I wanted to wait for as long as possible before getting into the birth tub, but the contractions were getting a bit closer so i thought they may pick up. I took a shower. Around 12:45, I needed relief. I got into the birthing pool that DP had set up and told him to call the MW. I couldn’t communicate very effectively with anyone at that point. The MW asked if I thought she should come over and I told them both I couldn’t make any more decisions for other people..if she wanted to come, them come..if not, then don’t. lol! I was seriously in labor! lol!

This birth was very intense. It was much quicker than my 3 previous births, which were each over 30 plus hours. I consider that labor really began in earnest when I got into the tub. I used all the tools of hypnobirthing to cope with it but mostly, I felt so tired. I just wanted a cat nap but there was no way this birth was going to give me that. Contractions were one on top of the other and nonstop. I kept saying I was so tired. I had to focus very hard on my hypnobirrthing lessons, as the intensity was a bit much. With ds3, I had an opportunity to sleep, to eat, etc. etc. With this birth, there was no time to eat anything…the contractions didn’t stop for enough time to eat. I needed to get out of teh birth pool twice to go to the bathroom. That was indeed difficult, as I knew being out of the water was going to be difficult…and it was. I believe I took one trip to the bathroom and got directly back into the tub (i think i ran! lol!).

The second time to the bathroom though, was much more intense. I was exhausted but ran out of the birth pool to the bathroom and slammed the door to prevent anyone from coming in! DP says i slammed it in one of teh MW’s faces (I didnt mean to!). I was so hot but the MW’s and DP didn’t want to open the window to the bedroom b/c it was chilly outside. When I came back from teh bathroom, the idea of the hot water didn’t seem appealing so I got on the floor, on all fours. Transition definitely hit me then and I felt the “pushy stage” that has always eluded me. I did not push but allowed my body to do it all. It was an incredible, empowering feeling. My body was pushing my baby down teh birth canal and I was only breathing through it. There were some contractions that made me feel like I had to push, but it was so primeval that I can’t describe the difference between those and the ones that I didn’t help my body push through. Totally strange to me. All of a sudden, I felt that I had to get back into the water.

As I stepped back into the birth pool,I felt immediately relief. It was as if all my pain evaporated. I didn’t know how long I was in the birth pool after that re-entry until reading the MW’s notes. As soon as I was back in the water, I was squatting and felt as if there was no end in sight. All of a sudden, our son’s head emerged. No one knew he was earthside except me. The lights were low, there were no flashlights being used, no monitoring of anything at that point (I think my MW checked his heart rate once an hour). Amazingly enough, his head emerged into my hands. I was serioulsy shocked and sat there waiting until his shoulder’s emerged. For almost a minute, no one knew he had arrived other than the two of us. I thought they knew..I thought the MW’s and DP could tell but I guess not. They couldn’t see under teh water. I asked for help and was told to “trust my body”. I think I said something like “well, I do but his head is already out”. lol! It was only another minute until his body emerged from the birth canal and he was completely birthed (after reading the MW”s notes, i found out that i had only been in the birth tub for about 15 minutes!!!).

It was the most amazing thing in my life….I delivered my own baby. No one touched me, no one helped me do it…I had alot of support from DP and the two MW’s who attended me but no one was in our space during the birth

As I pulled him closer to my breast to nurse him, we noticed the cord was wrapped around him several times. Once around his neck and twice around his body (this is not a big deal as long as the cord isn’t clamped too soon). The cord was very long and I guess he had been playing with it in utero. We unwrapped the cord and I stayed with him for a few minutes in teh water while he nursed. When he emerged from the water, his eyes were open and alert..he looked direclty in to my eyes and all around. He was the most beautiful thing in teh whole world at that moment. I was simply amazed that this precious little boy was earthside after all the time we waited for him. He is totally worth the wait.

We got out of the birth pool after he finished nursing to deliver the placenta, which is very healthy looking and was birthed relatively quickly. And of course, we waited for the cord to stop pulsating before daddy cut the cord. As for his statistics, he was born at 4:58am, which to me means that my labor was only 4 hours long. For some reason, my MW recorded a different duration of time. He was 9 lbs. 12 oz. and 23 inches long. Big baby indeed!!

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I finally got a list together of my Parenting Books.

Without further ado:


  1. How to Raise a Healthy Child…In Spite of Your Doctor, Robert S. Mendelsohn
  2. Wise Woman Herbal Childbearing Year, Susan Weed
  3. The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood, Sears & Sears
  4. A Mother’s Guide to Raising Healthy Children Naturally, Sue Frederick
  5. Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health, Susan B. Roberts & Melvin B. Heyman
  6. Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth & Your Baby’s First Year, Miranda Castro


  1. The Baby Sleep Book, Sears & Sears
  2. The Baby Book, Sears & Sears
  3. The No-Cry Sleep Solution, Elizabeth Pantley
  4. Sleepless in America, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


  1. Positive Discipline, The First Three Years, Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin & Roslyn Duffy
  2. The Discipline Book, Everything You Need to Know to Have a Better-Behaved Child – From Birth to Age Ten, Sears & Sears
  3. Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn (hardcover and paperback)
  4. Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, The 7 Basic Skills Turning Conflict into Cooperation, Becky A. Bailey
  5. The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Harvey Karp
  6. Raising Your Spirited Child, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (I have 2 copies; one 1998 and one 2006)
  7. Liberated Parents, Liberated Children, Your Guide to A Happier Family, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  8. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  9. How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  10. Siblings Without Rivalry, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  11. Whole Child/Whole Parent, Polly Berrien Berends
  12. Common Sense Discipline, Dr. Roger Allen & Ron Rose
  13. Kids are Worth It! Barbara Coloroso
  14. Playful Parenting, Lawrence J. Cohen
  15. Parenting Your Out-Of-Control Teenager, Scott P. Sells
  16. Ten Most Troublesom Teen-age Problems and How to Solve Them, Lawrence Bauman
  17. Now I Know Why Tigers Eat Their Young, Dr. Peter Marshall
  18. Raising a Thinking Preteen, Myrna B. Shure
  19. Get Out of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? Anthony E. Wolf
  20. Between Parent & Child, Dr. Haim G. Ginott
  21. Active Parenting of Teens, Michael Popkin
  22. Parent Efffectiveness Training, Dr. Thomas Gordon


  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen R. Covey
  2. Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Ricahrd Louv
  3. Attachment, John Bowlby
  4. Real Boys, William Pollack
  5. Driven to Distraction, Edward M. hallowell & John J. Ratey
  6. Baby Days, Barbara Rowley


  1. Bright Start; Understand and Stimulate your child’s development from birth to 5 years, Dr. Richard C. Woolfson
  2. No Contest, The Case Against Competition, Alfie Kohn


  1. Late Talking Children, Thomas Sowell
  2. The Einstein Syndrome, Tomas Sowell


  1. The Unprocessed child, Living Without School, Valerie Fitzenreiter
  2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Homeschooling, Marsha Ransom
  3. Slow & Steady Get Me Ready, June R. Oberlander
  4. A Parent’s Guide to Montessori Play & Learn, Lesley Britton
  5. The How and Why of Homeschooling, Ray E. Ballmann

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These are the books on vaccinations I have:

Just a Little Prick, Peter & Hillary Butler (2006)
Evidence of Harm,  David Kirby (2005)
Raising a Vaccine Free Child, Wendy Lydall (2005)
Vaccinations:  The Rest of the Story, A Selection of Articles, Letters and Resources 1979-1992 ,  Mothering Special Edition (1992)
Vaccination:  The Issue of Our Times, edited by Peggy O’Mara (1997)
What Your Docot May NOT Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, Stephanie Cave (2001)
A Shot in the Dark, Why the P in the DPT vaccination may be hazardous to your child’s health, Harris L. Coulter, Barbara Loe Fisher (1991)
Vaccines, Are They Really Safe & Effective?,  Neil Z. Miller (2005)
Vaccines, Are They Really Safe & Effective?  Neil Z. Miller (1994)
The Immunization Decision, A Guide for Parents:  does your child really need DPT, OPV, MMR and HIB?  Are they safe? Do they work?   Randall Neustaedter (1990)
Immunization Theory vs. Reality, Expose on Vaccinations, Neil Z. Miller (1996)
The Immunization Resource Guide, Diane Rozario (2000)
Vaccinations: Deception & Tragedy, The Truth about Vaccines and the Dangers They Pose, Michael Dye
What Every parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, Jamie Murphy

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I decided I should publish this here, since I’m always looking for it.  So…this is Ethan’s birth story, my first VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

12:44 pm: Ethans Birth Story
I have given birth to three wonderful boys. The first two came into this world by cesarean section (c-section). After fighting the medical establishment, my third son came into this world naturally. Each of my son’s birthdays was unique in its own way and together they were the most memorable days of my life. Each day brought forth the hopes and dreams I had for each of my sons. The individual births of my sons can not be compared from an emotional perspective…each was incredible in its own way. The birthing experiences, however, can be compared from a medical perspective and can be compared based upon the quality of experience of both myself and my babies.

My first two sons were born via c-section for basically the same medical reasons. With my first, I went into labor on a Sunday. When I say that I went into labor, I am referring to mild contractions which began on a Sunday afternoon. I could talk and laugh through these contractions and they did not become intense until some time Monday. However, being a first time mom, my husband and I drove to the hospital as soon as the mild contractions began. I had no birthing experience, so it was unknown whether I would have a very fast or very slow birth. We went to the hospital late Sunday night and were sent home because my contractions were not close enough. We spent Sunday night at my mother-in-law’s home and went back to the hospital Tuesday morning after being up all night long with contractions because I felt too uncomfortable being at home. My husband and I had taken Lamaze childbirth classes, and that is what we were told to do. We had all the devices at the hospital (music, stuffed animals, etc.) in order to do our “breathing” exercises. I was placed in a room and only allowed 2 visitors at a time. My best friend was there with me and she, my husband and my mother in law traded places throughout my labor. Eventually, the doctor came in and told me that my labor was not progressing and that we were looking at a c-section if things didn’t move along quickly. This was about 30 hours after my labor began. I was offered pain medication often by the medical personnel. Not knowing the repercussions, I consented to Demerol for the pain, which caused my contractions to cease entirely. Predictably, I was soon thereafter given an epidural and rushed in for an “emergency c-section” because my labor was not progressing and the baby was “in distress”. My beautiful first son was born later that day. After waking, I was taken to my hospital room where I asked for my son repeatedly. Because I was shaking (I later learned that this was probably from the epidural) they would not allow me to hold my baby until I became very upset and demanded they bring him to me. Once he was with me, I rarely allowed him to be out of my sight; however it was very difficult go convince the hospital administration that it was in my child’s best interest to stay in my hospital room and exclusively breastfeed. The natural, peaceful birth I had attempted was never achieved. Bonding with my son was constantly interrupted by nurses and doctors whose hospital procedures were contrary to how I wanted my son treated his first few days on earth.

My second son’s birth was very similar, except the doctors did not wait until I had been in labor for 30 hours to make the diagnosis of “emergency c-section” due to failure to progress and fetal distress. I experienced similar difficulties with my second son as with my first when attempting to keep my son in the room with me and breastfeed exclusively.

When I got pregnant with my third son, I was told that there was no option to a c-section and it was recommended that I schedule one when the time neared. I did not know the exact date of my conception, since I have a very irregular cycle and was not attempting to get pregnant at the time. It was estimated that I was approximately 9 weeks pregnant at my first ultrasound and was given a Dec. 28 expected due date. I accepted the scheduled surgery and was resigned to the procedure. However, during the summer of that year I began visiting a natural mothering website for information on how to cloth diaper. During my visits there, I noticed there were many women who did not believe the current c-section rate in the U.S. was medically justified. I began researching the issue, which led to conversations with my obstetrician. When I approached the issue of being allowed to go into labor for the benefit of the baby and me, he became very defensive and stated many reasons why I should schedule the c-section and not attempt a “trial of labor”. I soon became suspicious that my doctor’s primary concern was not me and my baby when he listed his availability on the day of my labor as a justification for scheduling a c-section. I also began to have problems with pain in my lower abdominal ligaments which resulted in the doctor suggesting that we schedule the c-section for early December since I was in so much pain. My questions regarding the chance to have a vaginal delivery after my 2 c-sections (a VBAC) was met with the statement “you won’t find a doctor in this country that will allow you to have a VBAC”. These events led me to contact a local midwife and change my medical care provider when I was about 32 weeks pregnant.

I knew the path we were going to take when I first met my mid-wife. I was too nervous to have a homebirth and didn’t want a hospital birth, since I had read that many attempted VBACs in hospitals end up as c-sections. My mid-wife owned a birthing center and it was the perfect solution for us. I was very nervous in the beginning. Putting my trust in a mid-wife instead of a medical doctor was not something I had ever done before. The more I read the more I trusted in my body and in its ability to know what to do. I knew this was my last baby and had always desired a natural childbirth. This was the last time I was going to have a chance for that dream to come true.

Early December came and went. I had constant contractions and believed the entire month of December that I would go into labor any day. If I had scheduled my c-section, my baby would have been born the first week of December. This pregnancy was very uncomfortable and I became very impatient. I wanted so much to meet my son. I really didn’t want a Christmas baby. I was so nervous when Christmas came and went and there was no baby. I began to doubt my body was ever going to go into labor. I kept thinking that if I had trusted my OB, I would have been holding a 3 week old baby on Christmas Day!

December slipped by slowly and finally on Saturday, December 31, labor contractions became sufficient enough that my mid-wife told me to come to the birthing center. My contractions had been consistently within 10 minutes of each other since 6am that morning. I waited until around noon to go to the birth center, knowing that my labors were usually long but hoping that we could get through this labor quickly. When I arrived at the birthing center, we spent an hour or so setting up everything. I had index cards with inspirational quotes for my husband to read to me. I had posters with my two sons to place in the room for inspiration. I had food and drinks. Yes, midwives allow you to drink or eat anything during labor, which helped me to maintain my strength and kept me hydrated. I made several phone calls and had to breath through contractions all through Saturday, but things did not progress very rapidly. I actually ate dinner on Saturday evening with my husband and mid-wife. My mid-wife was wonderfully patient and came into the birthing room often to check on us but mostly remained in the background and allowed my labor to progress naturally and without interference. It was an amazing experience. Finally, the contractions began getting more and more intense and I lost the ability to joke around very much. However the contractions did not become shorter in length or longer in duration. I was very worried about this but my mid-wife and husband were very supportive. I knew around midnight on Saturday night that both my mid-wife and husband were very tired. Another mid-wife was called to assist around 5 am on Sunday morning. My contractions were very intense at this point. My midwife and husband then took a nap for a few hours while the new midwife helped me. I was attempting to birth in the birthing tub, but the water seemed to slow my contractions. I would be in the tub with very little pain and no progress or out of tub and into the shower or in the bathroom with painful contractions. Of course, I chose the tub more often than not! Around 7 am, while in the tub, I felt my water breaking! I had never experienced that before. It was an incredible experience and I knew I would deliver my baby shortly thereafter. Of course, he wasn’t quite ready to enter the world yet, so it was several more hours of contractions before Ethan Benjamin Joseph arrived at 4:05pm. The experience of actually birthing a baby was everything that I ever dreamed of. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had. The expression on his face was one of extreme alertness. Both of my other boys had been a bit groggy when born due to the epidural that I had received. Ethan was very inquisitive right away. My midwife handed Ethan to me immediately and waited for the umbilical cord to cease pulsating before asking my husband to cut it. In the hospital, all that had been done by the doctors. In this birthing center, we were in control of the birth of our son. He was in my arms immediately without any intervention. His cord was cut calmly. There were no bright lights, no unnecessary noises or medical equipment, and no sense of urgency.

When I finally moved from the birthing stool I had delivered Ethan on to the bed, he nursed. He weighed in later at 8 lbs and 4 ounces, approximately 8 ounces smaller than my other 2 boys. The midwife gave us a few minutes alone to cherish our new joy and quietly and gently performed the APGAR test. Since we wanted Ethan’s birth to be as peaceful as possible, we chose not to have any further medical procedures done at that time, so he was left to coo and nurse without any injections or pricks of the heel for blood tests. His eyes were very open, alert and inquisitive. He was placed by my side and I as I felt entirely exhausted after all that had happened in the last 30 plus hours, I just could not get over how much better I felt after this birth than I had with my last 2 births. I felt absolutely no pain from the birth (I had a memory of the pain of birthing, but I had no pain from a c-section as I did previously). I did not feel sleepy at all. I felt elated at the joy of my son’s birth and very thankful for my midwife and her willingness to take a chance on me and my baby knowing what to do when the time came.

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Infant Carriers and Spinal Stress

by Rochelle L. Casses, D.C.

UPDATE: This article was written in the 1990s when the all of the popular upright baby-carrier designs had the harmful characteristics described below. Today, several new and improved upright carrier designs are available. The gold standard for carrying your baby should be your own arms. In other words, an upright carrier should hold your baby the way your arms would, e.g., facing you with legs in a frog-like, spread-squat position with the baby’s weight supported across the buttocks and thighs. —Ed.

As we are finally realizing the benefits of “wearing” our infants while we perform our daily activities, we must be careful not to compromise the integrity of our child’s spine through the use of improper carriers. Spondylolisthesis (specifically, Type II/isthmic) is a condition that can result from excessive stress in the low back, such as a baby’s spine might experience in certain carriers on the market today. It is relatively uncommon, but when aggravated is extremely painful. This article explains which styles of baby carriers promote healthy spine development in an infant and describes the unnecessary stress and resulting spinal condition that can result from using certain carriers.

A healthy adult spine has four curves when viewed from the side, located in the neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic), low back (lumbar) and base of the spine (sacrum). Upon entering the world, a newborn has only two curves in her spine: the mid-back and the base of the spine. These two curves are called the primary or kyphotic curves. They have an apex or “hump” at the back of the body. The curves in the neck and low back develop later and are termed secondary or lordotic curves. The curve in the cervical spine develops as the child begins to lift his head and the neck muscles are strengthened. The curve in the lumbar spine results as the child starts to crawl. The lordotic curves have an apex at the front of the body. These four curves — two primary and two secondary — are extremely important in the spine (both adult and child), for this is how the body handles the stress of gravity. If these curves do not exist, the body’s center of balance is shifted, causing undue stress on the spinal column and spinal cord.

A baby’s spine is placed in a compromising position in many of today’s popular carriers. If the carrier positions the infant upright, with the legs hanging down and the bodyweight supported at the base of the baby’s spine (i.e. at the crotch), it puts undue stress on the spine which can adversely affect the development of the spinal curves and, in some cases, cause spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis is defined as the forward slipping of a vertebra on the one below it. The degrees of severity are determined using the Meyerding grading scale, with grade 1 being the least amount of slippage and grade 5 being complete slippage off the vertebra below. This condition may have a related stress fracture at the pars interarticularis, a structure at the back of the vertebra that takes most of the stress inflicted on the spine when it is arched backwards. When present, a spondylolisthesis occurs at the fifth lumbar vertebra 90% of the time and at the fourth lumbar vertebra 9% of the time.

Spondylolisthesis is documented in approximately 5% of white males, but is prevalent in native Eskimos (as high as 60% of the population is affected). There has been much discussion on the high percentage of affected Eskimos as to whether it is a genetic predisposition or related to environmental factors (i.e., papoose carriers). Knowing how dynamic and vital the biomechanics of the spine are, I believe that environmental factors are the cause. If the trend continues in the U.S. to carry infants in carriers (or place them in walkers, jumpers, etc.) that place their spines in a weight bearing position before the spine is developmentally ready to do so, I believe we will see an increase in the incidence of spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis has been referred to as congenital anomalies of the spine, but there is no supporting embryological evidence for this assumption.1 There are factors that predispose a person to this condition, such as weakness in the posterior structures of the vertebra, failure of muscles and ligaments to absorb forces, anomalies of the lubosacral spine, and activities that place high stress on the posterior structures of the spine. Little is known about spondylolisthesis. More research needs to be done specifically addressing the weight bearing position of some carriers. In the meantime, we can take preventative steps by choosing alternate carriers, both for ourselves and as gifts for others.

What I have found to be the ideal carrier is the sling. There are many variations of the sling, but one should look for the following in any type of carrier:

  1. Before an infant can hold her head on her own, the carrier should support the neck. A sling cradles the infant just like your arms would, unlike vertical carriers which can actually allow a whiplash type injury.
  2. The carrier should not place the infant’s spine in a weight bearing position too early. (The young baby should be horizontal or inclined, with the spine supported along its length.)
  3. When a baby wants to be more upright to see the world around him (usually around age 4 to 5 months), the carrier should allow him to sit cross-legged, so his weight is dissipated through his legs and hips, as opposed to the style that has the legs hanging down, where the young spine has to bear the entire weight.

When considering the purchase of a baby carrier, you can often just ask yourself if you would be comfortable in it. Would you feel like you were in a hammock (a sling), or in a parachute harness, with your legs hanging down? Laying in a hammock is better for all of us.

Other benefits of sling type carriers include easy accessibility to breastfeeding, ability to wear baby facing toward or away from wearer, ability to wear sling on back, front or side.

You may be wondering, “What about backpacks? Are they bad? At what age or stage of development is it okay to carry a child in a backpack? What should you look for when buying one?” Wait until your child can sit alone well before carrying him in a backpack. The seat of the backpack should support the child’s entire bottom — not just between the legs, leaving the legs to dangle. One that has a foot rest is preferred.

The choice of infant carriers is a small thing when compared to all the other concerns that face parents, but it is a decision that can have lifelong effects. By choosing a sling type carrier for your baby, you may be preventing a lifetime of backaches and other spinal stresses.

Rochelle and Scott Casses own a chiropractic clinic in Carslisle, Pennsylvania, USA. Their 11-month-old son Palmer has accompanied them to work since he was born. Rochelle and Scott schedule their appointments so that while one of them is with a patient, the other handles reception duties and cares for Palmer. Rochelle says, “The patients really enjoy seeing Palmer, and he enjoys the interaction each day.” A section of their office serves as a playroom for Palmer as he becomes more mobile. (1996)


  1. Hensinger, R. N.; Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis in Children and Adolescents; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, August 1989 71A: 1098-1107
  2. Shahriaae, H.; A Family with Spondylolisthesis; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, December 1979 61A: 1256-1258
  3. Tower S. S. and Pratt W.; Spondylolysis and Associated Spondylolisthesis in Eskimo and Athabascan Populations; Clinical Orthopedics, January 1990
  4. Wiltse, Leon; Fatigue Fracture: The Basic Lesion in Isthmic Spondylolisthesis; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, January 1975 57A: 17-22

This article was originally written for The Continuum Concept Letter (now defunct) and has been edited for this website.

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I am posting this as a mom who is first, Jewish, and second, who has two sons who are circumcised. Since my pregnancy with my third son, however, I have researched the issue of circumcision and have left my third son intact, as will be this fourth son due in October. Below are a few of the reasons I made this decision. For anyone planning on giving birth in the future, this information is critical to protect your unborn sons. I am certainly in no position to judge anyone who has circumcised sons, as I have no stones to throw. However, I would like to share what I have learned and hope that it does some good to protect future little boys. In all fairness, I did not compile all of these resources. I owe that to another MDC (mothering.com) intactivist!


Hi everyone,
I just wanted to share some circ info I put together after over two years of reaserch. I must admit that this is one of those things that the more you know, the worse it gets…

Genital integrity is a basic human right.

Over 80% of the world is intact.

This is an excellent movie (done by doctors opposing circumcision) about foreskin’s
purpose and harm of circumcision.

Even a perfectly performed circumcision does life-long harm.

1. It removes the most sensitive parts of the penis (Ridged band and often it also removes Frenulum).
2. The glans (penile head) is normally an internal organ protected by the moist mucosal tissue of the prepuce (foreskin). Without the foreskin, the glans is exposed to the outer environment (air, soap, clothing, sun, etc.). The glans dries out and develops several extra layers of skin (keratinization). Besides removing the densely nerve-laden foreskin, circumcision removes 50% of the penile shaft skin and associated nerve endings. The exposed glans then keratinizes, causing further loss of sensation.
Imagine how different female sexual response would be if the clitoral hood (female foreskin) was removed. Exposure of the clitoris to the constant effects of the outer environment would approximate the effects of male circumcision.

Please take a look at a recent sensitivity study published in the BJU International (British Journal of Urology) in April 2007.This study was the first time that the intact and circumcised penis were thoroughly, systematically and scientifically tested for sensitivity. The testing method was monofilament testing, the same method used in assessing peripheral neuropathy, such as lack of feeling in the feet of diabetics. The resulting measurements of sensitivity are quantifiable and reproducible. The study was submitted for peer review before being approved for publication.

The study’s objective: to map the fine-touch pressure thresholds of the adult penis in circumcised and uncircumcised men, and to compare the two populations.

The conclusion, from the abstract: The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.
Full text of the study (pdf), http://www.icgi.org/touch-test/touch-test-article.pdf
Graphs illustrating the comparison findings http://www.icgi.org/touch-test/

3. Moisturizing the glans is another important function of foreskin. Once removed, the skin of glans gets dry which most of the time leads to inability to have sex/masturbation without an artificial lubricant. On the other hand intact men do not need it at all. Foreskin slides up and down the shaft of the penis providing an easy and smooth penetration, lubrication and additional pleasure for both partners.

4. The pain during circumcision is truly agonizing.
Do you know how they circumcise newborns? First, because the foreskin is attached to the glans exactly like the fingernail is attached to the finger, they have to rip open those adhesions. They force a blunt probe under the foreskin and run it all around. Think about how that would feel under your fingernails and add on it that foreskin is the most sensitive part of the body. Then they slice open the foreskin and peel it away from the glans. Then they put a clamp on and crush the foreskin to halt the worst of the bleeding. Then they take a scalpel and slice the foreskin off. Oh, and by the way, did you know that over 85% of neonatal circumcisions in the US are still being preformed without any/adequate anesthesia?
If one wants to put their baby through this nightmare, they at least must have guts to see how the procedure is being done. As you can see on this video, the doctor claims that he uses anesthesia…well, make sure your speakers are on! http://video.google.com/videoplay?do…27632617&hl=en

There has been actually a study that was stopped before being completed due to too much trauma to babies http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9712/23/ci…on.anesthetic/ .

There has been another study that was comparing pain sensitivity in newborn vs. adults. The results were quite shocking! Newborn indeed don’t feel pain the way adults do. They feel it 1. more intense; 2. on a larger area and 3. for a longer period of time!

Lucky babies would pass out being unable to coop with such intense pain; not lucky ones will not and will go through the whole agony all the way.

There has been also a study that proved that intact boys and girls have higher thresholds of pain than circumcised boys. It was published in the Lancet (British medical journal) in 1997.

While permanent psychological impact of circumcision is still mostly unknown, it’s logical to assume that just like any extremely painful and traumatic event—even if forgotten—it can lead to a permanent emotional/psychological scar/damage.

Even a perfectly performed circumcision does not guarantee that a person will not have more serious (beyond the mentioned above) problems in his future sexual life. Such problems as, for example, too tight (sometimes even painful) erections can be due to removal of too much foreskin and whatever left over just not enough to accommodate a normal erection are much more common than many people think since it’s nearly impossible to know for sure how much is “too much” until the penis reaches its full-grown size. Removal of too much foreskin can also lead to a shaft of the penis being hairy (it pulls skin from above to more or less accommodate an erection).

Doctors Opposing Circumcision warns (23 October, 2005) that the risk of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is now too great to allow non-medically indicated circumcision to continue: … The advent of MRSA in epidemic proportions increases risks associated with male neonatal circumcision beyond those previously contemplated and further increases the desirability of the non-circumcision option. MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant varieties of SA, such as vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA), increase risk, including death, to newborn circumcised boys. In view of this increased risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should review their policy (2002) of offering elective medically unnecessary non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision at parental request.
… Medical practitioners must consider the epidemic status of MRSA and exercise their independent judgment regarding the performance of non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision. There is an ethical duty to not perform scientifically invalid medical treatment, especially when it puts the patient at risk. Doctors must act in the best interests of their child-patients regardless of parental requests. Doctors may conscientiously object to the performance of non-therapeutic circumcision of children.
Complete text: http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi…/DOC/mrsa.html

Penn and Teller video called “Circumcision Bullshit”. This video is funny and therefore, takes a lot of tension off the subject while saying what needs to be said. It also explains and SHOWS non-surgical foreskin restoration. I highly recommend to take a look at this video.
Yahoo Video: http://tinyurl.com/23kcyc
Google Video: http://tinyurl.com/2hhud3

As any surgery, circumcision may have some very serious (even life threatening) complications. http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/complications.html
http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/ . Of course, the most horrible complication is death and there were quite few of them as well (here is the most recent one http://healthblog.ctv.ca/blog/_archi…2/2967860.html ; and I’m talking about reported deaths only; god knows what the real number of circumcision victims is.

Worth while mentioning most recent scientists discovery that Langerhans cells that are present in the foreskin are behave as ‘natural barrier’ to HIV.
Bellow are the links.


Another study shows no HIV protection from circumcision

Outside of Israel, the U.S. is the 2nd highest circumcising country in the world and after Africa, has the 2nd highest infection rate. Plus the fact that more than 80% of the world’s men are “uncircumcised” and countries in Europe have an extremely low HIV+ rate.
Important to mention that circumcision scars may cause cancer:


The tumors involved the prepuce (n = 1), prepuce and distal shaft (n = 1), circumcision scar line (n = 2), circumcision scar line and distal shaft

As you can see, nature designed a man’s body to be just as perfect as it can! And why would anyone want to rip off their child from all these benefits of having a whole perfectly functioning body remains a big mystery for me.

Also few most common reasons for circumcision just drive me absolutely nuts! One is “he won’t remember it”. Would that be ok if someone, let’s say, rape a woman and then injected her with a drug which would erase this event from her memory. Would this kind of rape be ok just because she doesn’t remember it?
Or would that be ok to actually rape an infant (s/he won’t remember it anyway, right?!).

Second is “Looking like a daddy down there”. Hmmm…makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?! With this logic I sure feel very sorry for a kid whose daddy got his leg or arm amputated…

Oh, yes, the locker room argument is a “good” one as well! I like what one guy said: “Dude let’s get it straight, you are laughing at me because you got a part of your dick got cut off?!..”

It’s just doesn’t make any sense! It sounds more like some poor excuses that people make up to feel better about something that they feel in their heart (and their instinct) is wrong.

Some women would leave the decision up to their husband because he has a penis. Well, maybe he does have a penis, but she is the one who has foreskin and therefore, is able to appreciate it. When fetus develops in uterus, the very same tissue that becomes foreskin in boys, becomes clitoral hood in girls.
Same tissue that both in boys and girls serves the same purpose: protection and sexual pleasure. That is why amputating foreskin in boys is equal to amputating clitoral hood in girls; another words, female genital mutilation (FGM) is the same thing as male genital mutilation (MGM), ‘nicely’ called circumcision.
Also unlike circumcised males, women have intact genitalia, and therefore, they are the ones to experience sexual pleasure the way it was meant to be.

This is a very interesting movie (contains NO violence) about female genital mutilation. As you can see, they do it to their girls because it was done to them, so there must be nothing wrong with it. Also as you can see, the women think that there is nothing wrong with them and that female circumcision is TOTALLY NORMAL. And of course, just like any mutilation, it’s surrounded by myths and misconception to keep it going. The most common myths about FGM include: intact vagina isn’t healthy, dirty, disgusting and that circumcision is necessary in order to have kids. http://www.thenewsroom.com/details/3…fe+and+Leisure

Circumcision started in the Puritan 1870s as a cure for masturbation (yes, you read it right! masturbation was considered to be evil and sinful and was blamed for all sort of illnesses including blindness, paralysis and mental retardation) http://www.cirp.org/library/history/ , http://www.noharmm.org/docswords.htm , http://www.sexuallymutilatedchild.org/shorthis.htm

As late as the 1970’s medical books were claiming that desensitizing the boy was good medicine as well as good morality. The idea of that, touted openly by medical scholarship with notable pride, was carefully tucked away when the sexual revolution permitted sexual pleasure.
Today male circumcision is surrounded by a lot of myths and misconceptions to keep it going. Most those myths are about intact babies/boys’ penises care. Some would say that it’s very hard to take care of them, that circumcised penises are somehow cleaner, healthier and things like that.
Well, sounds really good if not for the fact that these are the most common misconceptions. In infants and young boys foreskin is fused to the glans with the same tissue like our fingernails fused to our finger-beds (during circumcision it feels kind of like ripping off your nail from nail-pads just much more intense since it’s the most sensitive part of the body; it has by far more blood vessels and nerve endings than any other part of the body).

At some stage (it can be anywhere between 2-18 years of age) the tissue naturally breaks down and foreskin separates from the glans, becoming retractable. Most boys will become retractable by the age of 8. Before a boy is retractable, NO ONE should EVER mess with the foreskin except for the boy himself (the owner of the penis). It should NEVER be pulled back by anyone else. It is absolutely harmful to forcibly retract foreskin and clean underneath. It is also absolutely unnecessary. It’s kind of like ripping off you’re a nail to clean the nail-bed.
Foreskin is fused to the glans protecting them and the only thing which can be in there is smegma (which is a natural discharge, full of antibodies; girls, by the way, produce by FAR more smegma than boys do and we never consider their vagina to be dirty because of that). So, the proper care for an intact penis of young boys is just to wipe/wash it from outside (and from outside ONLY) as if it were a finger and this is all there is to it. Period. Never retract. Retraction is what may cause infections, permanent nerve damage, scar tissue growth (which may lead to true phimosis) and is extremely painful.
When boys are fully retractable (rarely before 5 years of age) it’s enough to just to tell them to pull the foreskin back during bath and that will be enough. Before puberty (usually about 14-16 years of age) the glans don’t even need to be washed with soap. After that age it will take a boy just a couple of seconds to pull the foreskin back, soap it and rinse it with water. No matter how you look at it, keeping girls genitals clean are so much more harder, and yet no one suggests to cut her labia off in order to get rid of smegma or to make it “cleaner”. Just think how ridicules this whole thing sounds!

Parents should be wary of anyone who tries to retract their child’s foreskin, and especially wary of anyone who wants to cut it off. Human foreskins are in great demand for any number of commercial enterprises, and the marketing of purloined baby foreskins is a multimillion-dollar-a-year industry http://www.foreskin.org/f4sale.htm

If an adult wants to get circumcised, it’s definitely his body and therefore, his choice. There are benefits of being circumcised as an adult vs. as an infant.– adequete pain relieve during and after procedure (also keep in mind that adults don’t pee and poop on the raw wound from circimcision the way babies do);
– significantly less chance of taking too much skin since the penis is ful grown size and no need to ‘guesstimate’;
– prosess of keratinization and partual loss of sensitivity will be much less due to glans being protected by the foreskin all the years preor circumcision;
– his body, his choice! not being ripped off from the basic right of genital integrity and the right to choose whether to preform this cosmetic sergery on the body or not. No one should ever have a right to alter genitals of another person! Kids are NOT a parent’s property!

More great links:

Robert Redford’s new movie Lions For Lambs is sponsoring this contest where you post a 90 second YouTube video about what you really believe in. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ry6gYFJLJ_k

Just Like Daddy video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXal6eR8_NI

While this video is for artificial foreskin (and I really have mixed feelings about the product) this video is AWESOME as far as showing the process of keratinization and loss of sensitivity by using computer graphic, explaining the process in a very powerful and easy-to-understand way. To view the video, please click on the link and then go to “View The SenSlip Video” http://www.senslip.com/Photo_of_the_SenSlip_fitted.php .

TOP 10 ways Circumcised SEX Harms women

This website shows very clear (it explains AND also it shows very graphic videos) about how sex with circumcised penis is different than with an intact one. (there are ALOT of videos almost on every page that explains everything in very powerful and easy way).

The Nurses of St. Vincent: Saying “No” to Circumcision (short version) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOjYrxzCMmI

Nurses for the Rights of the Child http://nurses.cirp.org

TOP 10 ways Circumcised SEX Harms women

A Warning For Parents of Intact Sons http://www.mothering.com/discussions…d.php?t=129378

As reported at circumstitions ( http://www.circumstitions.com/News28.html#dickson ), a study appearing in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1…?dopt=Abstract ) found that overall, up to age 32 years, the incidence rates for all STIs were not statistically significantly different – 23.4 and 24.4 per 1000 person-years for the uncircumcised and circumcised men, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with recent population-based cross-sectional studies in developed countries [such as the Australian Study (International Journal of STD & AIDS August 1, 2006; 17(8): 547-54.) (http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;16925903 ) of about 10,000 men and the British Study (STI 2003 Volume 79: Pages 499-500, December 2003) (http://www.cirp.org/library/general/dave1/ ) of approximately 2,000 men and unlike the widely publicized Fergusson study] (http://pediatrics.aappublications.or…act/118/5/1971 ) which found that early childhood circumcision does not markedly reduce the risk of the common STIs in the general population in such countries.

As reported at circumstitions ( http://www.circumstitions.com/News28.html#dickson ), a study appearing in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/pubme…?dopt=Abstract ) found that overall, up to age 32 years, the incidence rates for all STIs were not statistically significantly different – 23.4 and 24.4 per 1000 person-years for the uncircumcised and circumcised men, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with recent population-based cross-sectional studies in developed countries [such as the Australian Study (International Journal of STD & AIDS August 1, 2006; 17(8): 547-54.) ( http://highwire.stanford.edu:80/cgi/…/pmid;16925903 ) of about 10,000 men and the British Study (STI 2003 Volume 79: Pages 499-500, December 2003) ( http://www.cirp.org:80/library/general/dave1/ ) of approximately 2,000 men and unlike the widely publicized Fergusson study] ( http://pediatrics.aappublications.or…act/118/5/1971 )which found that early childhood circumcision does not markedly reduce the risk of the common STIs in the general population in such countries.

Journal of Pediatrics

Circ’d babies have 12X increased chances of developing MRSA infection.

MRSA Deaths in the US Exceed AIDS Deaths: Circumcision is a Culprit

“The Cruelest Cut”–Fox News Story

Thomas J. Ritter, M.D.
George C. Denniston, M.D.

Foreword by Ashley Montagu, Ph.D.



Intersting videos:
Facing Circumcision: Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories


Doctors didn’t believe babies could feel pain?!

Mothers Who Observed Circumcision

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