My bookmarks

Some of these categories are pretty empty since I've only recently started to really bookmark things, and there are some categories that I still need to make. But for now, here are my bookmarks. 

Avoid Fetal "Keepsake" Images, Heartbeat Monitors - FDA

Due Dates
42 Weeks and Counting (Loving Overdue Babies) - Gloria Lemay
The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't When You Think - Yahoo!
Let the Baby Decide: The Case Against Inducing Labor - Mothering
ACOG: Post Dates is Past 42 Weeks - Birth Without Fear

Problems and Hazards of Induction of Labor - Joy in Birthing

Cytotec Induction and Off-Label Use - Midwifery Today
Cytotec is Bad Stuff - Doula Mama
Cytotec (Misoprostol) Drug Information - Rx List
Drugs Not FDA Approved of Obstetrics - AIMS
Cytotec Induction - Natural Pregnancy Mentor
Midwives and Cytotec: A True Story - Midwifery Today

Nuchal Cords: The Perfect Scapegoat - Midwife Thinking
(I seriously need to add some links to my Birth folder! I got most of my info from books when I was pregnant so I don't have a lot of links on birth.)

Circumcision - General

If I can only show someone one link to open their mind to questioning circumcision, this is it. (Pics, but not exceptionally graphic)

My Body, My Choice: Ban Non-Consensual Circumcision - Matthew Taylor
Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital - GREAT Video! (not graphic)
The WHOLE Network's Library

Circumcision - Complications
Consequences of Circumcision - The WHOLE Network
Complications of Circumcision - Circumstitions
New Study Estimates Neonatal Circumcision Death Rate Higher Than Suffocation and Auto Accidents - Examiner
Circumcision's Complications: What Could Go Wrong? - Examiner
Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths - Men's Studies Press

Circumcision - Myths
Routine Toe Removal Has Health Benefits (a satire applying common pro-circ arguments to toes)
Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV - The WHOLE Network
Research Circumcision - Myths - The WHOLE Network
5 Reasons Parents Give for Choosing Circumcision, and Why Those Reasons are Not Valid - Informed Parenting

Circumcision - The Surgery

If you're going to have an elective procedure preformed on your child then you should be able to watch a video of that procedure being preformed. 

Videos - The WHOLE Network
Video - YouTube
One Baby's Experience

Circumcision - Your Boy will be a Man
The Vulnerability of Men
Men Do
Circumcised and Hated It - Celebrities who wish their parents had given them the choice
Class Action Lawsuit: Circumcised Men Sue and Win!

Circumcision - General Religion
Quick Links from Guggy Daly
Religious Reasons for Circumcision Could Breach Human Rights - Peaceful Parenting
Circumcision and Religion - Guggy Daly
The WHOLE Network's Circumcision + Religion Articles

Circumcision - Christianity
Biblical Circumcision Information - Peaceful Parenting
What the Bible Really Says about Routine Infant Circumcision 
Circumcision and Christianity - Peaceful Parenting
Circumcision & Christianity - Peaceful Parenting
Christians: Baptism, not Circumcision - Peaceful Parenting
Christianity & Circumcision Resources - Peaceful Parenting
Circumcision and the Christian Parent
Facebook Page: Christians Must Not Circumcise
Facebook Page: Whole Christian Network

Circumcision - Catholicism
(I know it's also Christianity but these links are Catholic-specific)
Catholic Thoughts on a Whole Body and Bodily Integrity - Guggy Daly
Catholics and Circumcision... Do You Know Your Faith? - Guggy Daly
Catholics Against Circumcision .org
Facebook Page: Catholics Against Circumcision

Circumcision - Judaism
Jews Against Circumcision .org
Jewish Circumcision Resource Center
Judaism & Circumcision Resources - Peaceful Parenting
Jewish Intactivism: Circumcision Resources - Guggy Daly
Circumcision Decision: Lyons family opts not to have procedure on son
The Torah Against Genital Mutilation - Guggy Daly
CUT: The Film
Jewish Father's Letter to His Son- Peaceful Parenting
My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin - Mothering

Circumcision - Islam
Quran .org
Circumcision - Does the Qur'an Approve It?

Intact Care
What is the Greatest Danger for an Uncircumcised Boy? - Psychology Today

Circumcision - MGM vs FGM
Classification of Female Genital Mutilation - World Health Organization
Would You Circumcise your Daughter? - Woman, Uncensored
Video: The Difference Between Male and Female Circumcision (NOT graphic)

Circumcision Profit
Where do all the Foreskins Go?

Lists of Reasons to not Circumcise
20 Reasons from Sagacious Mama
11 Reasons by Cate Nelson

Breastfeeding State Laws
Dr. Seuss-style Breastfeeding Poem
Peaceful Parenting's Breastfeeding Resources

Peaceful Parenting's Baby Sleep Resource Page

Fox News Video on Bed Sharing
Dr. Sears Addresses Recent Co-Sleeping Concerns
Should Babies Sleep with their Parents? - NPR
Babies' Stress Levels DOUBLE if they're put Straight in a Cot After Birth
Co-Sleeping is Safer for Babies than Cribs
Who needs a Pram or a Cot when you're Bringing up a Baby?

Basic Babywearing Info

The Picture Guide to Car Seat Safety - Christie Haskell
Video: The Importance of Rear-Facing

Discipline & Behavior - Dr. Sears
Gentle Discipline ~ Staying the Course - Peaceful Parenting
A bunch of blog posts on discipline

Guggie's (anti-)Spanking Resources
10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child - Dr. Sears (isn't it bizarre that we live in a society that such an article would even need to be written?)
8 Admonitions to Parents to Chose to Spank - Dr. Sears
Anti-Spanking Resources
Project NoSpank
Video: The Facts About Spanking

Dead Babies and Stillbirths Reported to the FDA After Vaccination
6 Points I Would Have to Believe Before Resuming Vaccinations

Ten Fluoride Facts - Peaceful Parenting
Scientific Study Finds Fluoride Horror Stories Factual
About Fluoride
Video: Fluoride is Toxic Waste (Literally)

Scumbag Doctor

I was thinking about the "Scumbag Steve" meme tonight and this popped into my mind.

Here's a blank one. I'd love to see what you come up with! Please link to it in the comments or tag me on Facebook if you're friends with me :) 

Our family closet & reading nook

Family closets are usually used by large families but you don't have to have five or more kids to benefit from a family closet. Heck, you don't even need to have a kid to enjoy the ease of keeping all the clean laundry in one place. 

Our family is made up of two parents and two children (and two dogs and a cat). I refuse to carry clean laundry up the stairs and distribute clean clothes to several locations just for them to get dirty and need to be washed again. I can't justify that effort when I don't enjoy it and when there is an easier option.

And so, here's my easier option:

It's not magazine-pretty but I love it!

(Click to enlarge)

The clothes are hanging on a hand rail hung from the ceiling with rope. I added some screws on the ends (perpendicular to the rail) to keep the hangers from sliding off.

The basket of coats, jackets, hats and gloves will only be on that chair during the cold seasons. When it warms up they'll go out into the shed (in a tub with a lid) and our swimming stuff will go in that spot.

I always keep a tub easily accessible for outgrown clothes to donate. Tossing clothes into the tub here and there helps keep the clutter down, plus it makes getting ready for a clothing swap much simpler.

I know I need to fix the curtain. I need to hem them and add some more hooks. Like I said, it's not magazine-pretty.

We have a reading nook in the family closet because you have to utilize all the space when your house is 700 square feet. 

 That's it!

To learn more about family closets, use Google ;)

Babies Don't Have to be Expensive

Google image search + MS Paint = this
Magazines and manufactures would have you believe that you need to buy a ton of things to care for your new baby. There is profit to be made with this widely-accepted lie, so of course they push their baby stuff. But babies don't need a lot of things, and they certainly don't need new things (except a carseat, please don't buy a used carseat).

We haven't bought a single new thing for our son. He's our second child but we also didn't buy many new things for our daughter, and you don't have to either. Here's how:

Cloth diaper.
My daughter's fluffy bum
It's no grosser than disposable diapers (it's less gross if you ask me - no chemicals!). The start-up cost can be pricey but there are ways around that. You can use inexpensive new diapers such as prefolds and covers or you could buy used ones (you can sterilize them).

Or you can do what we did: When people asked what we were still needing for our babies we told them, "one-size bumGenius pocket diapers". Our cloth diapering stash is made up entirely of brand new bumGenius diapers and we have spent $0 diapering our two children*. Don't be shy about telling people when they ask. If they ask then they want to contribute to your growing family.

There are a gazillion reasons to breastfeed, like your health, your baby's health, bonding, not supporting immoral formula manufacturers, it's convenient, etc., but this post is focused on money so here it is: Breastfeeding is free. No bottles, no formula, no bottle-cleaning brushes, no special dishwasher rack, no extra-roomy diaper bag for lugging around bottles.

If you need to pump milk, that will add some cost, but it doesn't have to be expensive. I bought a pump and three bottles on craigslist for $25 total. Granted, this is an unusually sweet deal, but there are often pumps listed on craigslist for less than what they retail for. If you're registering for a baby shower and are planning to pump, register for a pump and bottles!

Pre-worn clothes.
There are three basic venues for pre-worn clothes: hand-me-downs, consignment/thrift finds, and clothing swaps.

Everyone is familiar with hand-me-downs, right? I think the term "hand-me-down" has some unfairly negative images associated with it. Sure, there are the patched-overalls-from-your-older-brother kind, but there are also the box-full-of-awesomeness-from-your-friend kind. The majority of my children's clothes come from boxes sent from friends and family who have children just a bit older than my kids. The styles might be a year old, but do our toddlers really need to be at the peak of fashion?

A Just Between Friends sale
I personally find it financially dangerous to venture into the children's section of a clothing store. Everything is just so darn cute and I could easily over-spend! So instead, we buy our clothes at large consignment sales (like Just Between Friends). Or rather, we use to buy at consignment sales, before we discovered swaps.

Clothing swaps take the best parts of hand-me-downs and consignment sales: they're free and there's a selection. You take your children's old clothes and exchange them for other children's old clothes. They're typically one-for-one swaps, meaning you get one article of clothing for every article you bring.

Something else I like about clothing swaps is letting my toddler pick out whatever clothes she wants and not having to pay for it. Sure, this can be done at a consignment sale too, but at a swap I don't have to decide if three Elmo shirts are worth spending $3.50 each. 

As for new-from-the-store clothes? Well, my kids do have doting grandmothers ;)

My son's first day home
When I was pregnant with our daughter we bought three things in preparation for parenthood: a ring sling, a washer and dryer for cloth diapers, and a king size bed. The bed was $20 on craigslist and was in excellent condition.

If done safely, sharing you bed with your baby is safe (that's such a *duh* statement, but I think it needs to be said). It's what's natural for our species and it cost nothing.

There's no need to spend money on a crib that may get recalled, or sheets for the crib, or a crib bumper which is recommended against but you'd get anyway cause it's so dang cute, or a crib mobile, or crib toys. If you have a bed then you're ready to go! 

Convertible carseat.
Infant carseats might be more convenient in some situations (loading up twins in winter?) but they lower the oxygen levels of babies, are dangerous if put on top of a shopping cart, are cumbersome to carry, can promote detachment and flat head syndrome and are typically just another unnecessary thing to buy**. Once your baby outgrows it you'll need a convertible carseat anyway so why not just start out with one?

Carseats might be the only thing you need to buy new from the store, but that doesn't mean they have to be expensive. If you watch for discounts and promotions and you can save a lot on them. We purchased four decent carseats for $39 each while they were on sale and now we're set on carseats until our kids outgrow them, we wreck, or they expire. And since we bought them new from the store we were able to register that we have them so if they are ever recalled we will be notified. You don't get that with a used seat.

Babywearing replaces the infant carseat and the stroller and benefits more than just your wallet. Babywearing is great for, well, just about every situation. Walking the dogs, sweeping the floor, shopping, taking your older child to the park, writing a blog post... Whenever your baby's need to be held and your need to use your hands happen at the same time, babywearing is there!

Carriers can be bought new, used, for shipping only, and exchanged for other things. There are websites that let you try out different carriers so you can find the one that's right for you (they work like a library with a refundable deposit). Personally, I have two store-bought carriers and three used carriers and would gladly buy used again if I needed another carrier.

Amber teething necklace.
Don't look at me like that. I'm not some dirty hippie who listens to whale songs on CD while doing yoga in my zen garden (although I would like to have a zen garden... and do yoga...). I research things and do what is effective, with the least amount of risks, while hopefully being affordable. And Baltic Amber? Well, it works. The Internet can not lie, so ask the Internet and it'll back me up here. I'm kidding, of course, but do ask around and you'll find a lot of positive reviews of this healing natural resin.

Having an Amber teething necklace eliminates the need for a teething relief gel that might get recalled and will need to be replaced when emptied. Since it's worn on your baby you don't have to worry about locating it when you need it. That's a pretty minor reason, but think about having this conversation while holding a baby screaming in pain:

"Where is the baby pain stuff?! It's not in the cabinet!"
"I think it's in the diaper bag."
"Where's the diaper bag?"
"Oh, it's in the van. I forgot to bring it in."

Or even worse,
"Where's the baby pain stuff? I can't find it in here!"
"Oh... I forgot to pack it in the diaper bag. It's at home".

That would suck.

It's a one-time cost, with no side-effects, no re-application. It's not a teether which introduces more germs into your baby's mouth and needs to be washed (as if babies need any help mouthing on everything in reach). You can even get them on sale fairly regularly if you keep an eye out for discount codes.

And finally, this one is so minor but I have to mention it because it bugs me. You do not need special nail clippers for babies. You could nibble off your baby's nails or you could use regular, adult-sized clippers. There is no need to buy special tiny ones. Here's a tip: trim your baby or toddler's nails while she's sleeping. It's so much easier that way!

I'm aware that this post probably seems to have an attachment parenting agenda but I promise that's just a coincidence. The truth is, attachment parenting is just cheaper than mainstream parenting. Who profits from breastfeeding? Who spends tons of money advertising for cosleeping ("Hey, don't buy a crib - cosleep!")? Probably no one (I mean, yeah, pump companies do, but that's not the point here).

* Technically we have bought a few packages of disposable diapers, like when I was on bedrest while pregnant with our second child, but that was too wordy of an explanation to put up there and we didn't need to use disposables, I just wanted to.

**  Please don't take the carseat bit the wrong way. I know that an infant carseat can be used responsibly and that having one does not mean you're going to put it on top of your shopping cart. This post is about how to save money as a parent and I'm listing what has worked for me. If you're into infant seats that's fine with me, not that you need my approval.

When You Know Better...

 "When you know better you do better."
~ Maya Angelou

Humans: we start out ignorant and naive; we make mistakes. We do stupid, dangerous and scary things. If we're lucky we live through it, learn from it, and help others avoid it. 

"From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own."

Daily Momtra has a post which I love called Activism Isn't About Being Better Than You. Sometimes activists are viewed as being "holier than thou" when we try to spread awareness. That's understandable since we're basically saying, You're doing it wrong; do it how I do it when often our opinion is given without solicitation.The whole point of activism is stopping an injustice or raising awareness so others may avoid repeating our experiences. From warning others of a slippery floor to raising awareness of breast cancer, it is our moral duty to help others learn from our mistakes.

"If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake."
  ~Eli Siegel
A perfect example of what I'm talking about is the story of Joel. His family has suffered greatly from premature forward-facing and are doing what they can to prevent other families from sharing their experience. 

Some people are not open to hearing that they're doing something dangerous with their child, but you know what? I'd rather lose a friendship over my activism than see a child lost to a stupid mistake that could easily be prevented.

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."  
~John Powell
What I find sad is when someone denies that there is a problem and they get defensive at the suggestion of such. Pointing out that your child is riding dangerously is not an attack on you, your parenting, or your intellect. We're not born with an instinctual knowledge of carseat safety and there currently isn't a nation-wide campaign advocating safe carseat usage. I don't think poorly of you for not knowing how to safely use a carseat. We all have to learn somehow. I use to be ignorant of carseat safety too, after all.

Alexander Pope said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine". Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be grateful that you have learned from those errors. Own it, correct it, and help others avoid making the same mistake.

"A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."  
~Alexander Pope

To "put my money where my mouth is", here are a couple examples of my past ignorant mistakes. I was lucky to have learned from other's experiences and correct what I had been doing without experiencing any harm firsthand. 

The only thing not wrong with this photo is that my daughter was rear-facing. Luckily we didn't get into an accident with her strapped in like that or she would have gone flying. The seat wasn't even installed properly; it wobbled with every bump.

Within a month of taking this photo I had learned about carseat safety, thanks to those "carseat nerds" on the BabyCenter community. 

(A visual guide to carseat safety can be found here).

My husband soon learned about carseat safety through me. Now he takes his time adjusting the carseat straps just so when he buckles in our daughter. He loosens the straps, then pulls them tight again and adjusts the position of the chest clip every single time.

Just the other day he mentioned wanting a decal for our van to promote basic carseat safety. He learned that we were doing something unsafe and how he wants to help others avoid our mistake. (I love that man!)

This picture was taken a few days ago in my mother's van.

Now that's better! The carseats are installed so securely that they don't budge even if we try to shake them. The straps pass the "pinch test" and the chest clips are at the chest. Our daughter's chest clip could stand to scoot up a bit, but overall this is pretty good. The only unsafe thing left that I see are the potential projectiles. (If you see anything else, please let me know!)

Another mistake I've corrected is how I use a ring sling. It wasn't horrible before, but how I do it now is safer and more comfortable.

The rings were too low and my daughter was positioned poorly. Thanks to help from online babywearing communities, I slowly improved. I still don't get it consistently right, but I've definitely gotten better.

"Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom." 
~Phyllis Theroux 

I'm sure I'll have more realizations and corrections to make in the future. Life is a journey of constant learning and I welcome that. 

What are some lessons you've learned and changes you've made? Have you ever helped someone else realize a fault and make a change of their own?

Dr. Hostile Bully, M.D.

My son’s birth was pretty wonderful, although he almost died - his cord was torn off by my OB after his head was born and he lost a lot of blood. I’m just glad we were in the hospital when it happened and that I didn’t have an augmented labor (more on that later).

My son had to spend some time in the nursery while he recovered, and I used that time to sleep after having just birthed my 10lb 3oz son.

So I'm finally sleeping and this inconsiderate doctor comes in without knocking, throws on all the lights and loudly drags a chair over next to me. I’ve had an inconsiderate doctor before but this guy took it to a whole new level. He was hostile and verbally attacked me, a vulnerable new mom who had just given birth, who had just seen her son become a full code, who was finally asleep after hours of labor. Let me emphasize - I had *just* given birth and was *finally* asleep. I was also alone.

He leaned back in the chair and put his ankle over his knee, trying to sit with authority. He went on and on about how my decision to have intermittent monitoring "put my baby in danger" and how in “the 1700's childbirth was the riskiest thing a woman could do”. He kept saying that I intentionally put my son in danger with my decisions to have intermittent monitoring and to continue to gestate past my estimated due date, both of which, my doctor was on-board with.

I had intermittent monitoring so that we could monitor while making contractions bearable. This was the responsible thing to do; I could cope with labor without the use of drugs (and the risks that come along with them) and we could still monitor my son’s heart rate.

“Researchers at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said a review of the most significant controlled studies of the effectiveness and safety of electronic fetal monitoring indicated that
routine use of the procedure had no measurable effect on death or illness of infants or mothers.”

We monitored while I sat on my birth ball, while I stood, while I swayed, during contractions, during rest, and while I pushed. My son’s heart rate was fine throughout my entire labor and during most of his birth. After his head was born, the cord was torn off by my OB. It was an obvious complication and having a fetal monitor continually strapped to me would not have alerted us to the problem any sooner (and would have caused complications on its own). My doctor saw the cord rip. I was immediately pulled up onto the bed and put into the knees-behind-the-ears position to push him out ASAP. My son was pooping as he was being rushed to the warming table. He was in distress after he was already born.

Even though continual monitoring would have had absolutely no positive effect on my labor, this doctor insisted that I was negligent for only monitoring intermittently, which has been shown through research to be a safe and beneficial option, an option that my doctor had no problem with.

He also took issue with me going past my estimated date of delivery, which even when the date of conception is known, is a rough estimate at best. This pregnancy was a surprise and I hadn’t been keeping track of my cycles. My “due date” was estimated from a second trimester ultrasound at a free clinic. At approximately 42 weeks gestation I had a biophysical profile done that gave us the green light to continue gestating. With the stab-in-the-dark “due date” and a favorable biophysical profile, there was no reason to induce. After 42 weeks I came in every couple of days for a non-stress test and at 43 weeks I had my doctor sweep my membranes, “just to see” if it would start labor (it wouldn't if it was too early for labor to start). I was 4cm dilated and 60-70% effaced, my son was almost in position, but he wasn’t ready to be born just yet. Labor started on its own, at (approximately) 43 weeks, 2 days. I had a non-stress test the morning that I went into labor and passed.

Regardless, he kept saying over and over that my son should have been born earlier. With my son’s weak umbilical cord (the OB said it had been weak - it was either weak or she used too much force, I'll never know for sure), I don’t want to think of what could have happened to him had I had strong, fast, Pitocin-induced contractions. If I had an augmented labor like this doctor would have liked, my son would have likely been born still.  

There was no reason to induce and an induction very well could have killed my son, yet this doctor insisted that I was negligent for not inducing.

He said that these were “all risky decisions that only a negligent and careless woman would make”. What kind of decent person would say such a hurtful, hateful, and downright inaccurate thing to a new mom, fresh from a birth?! A decent person wouldn’t.

He kept repeating everything and trying to talk to me about "next time". I kept telling him that there won't be a next time because we're only having two kids. He wanted to talk about “next time” anyway, like he somehow had some influence on my future, and as if I’m powerless against preventing a third pregnancy.

He even had the audacity to nitpick on my previous birthing choices with my eldest child - a birth and a child which he has never been a part of. He went and read my daughter's birth chart just to get more ammo to use against me, despite having never been her doctor, despite not being a part of her birth or neonatal care team.

While this doctor berated me I told him multiple times that I do not consent to care from him and that I demand a different doctor. Regardless, he kept sitting there pompously repeating what a “careless mother” I am. That’s right - after I had expressed that I do not consent to care from him for myself or my son, he persisted until he was done telling me how awful he thought my birth choices were.

Oh, by the way, this guy’s a pediatrician.  
He doesn’t even deliver babies.