It’s an asshole problem? Well, if the shoe fits …

woman choosing shoes concept

I could write a post every day for a hundred years and never run out of material. That’s because there’s an endless supply of sanctimommies, so impressed by their own “achievements” that they can’t see that they are making fools of themselves … or, in this case, assholes.

Exhibit A: Tracy Cassels of Evolutionary Parenting.

I’ve written about Tracy before. Like most sanctimommies, she suffers from ostentatious sadness:

To the mother who felt like a bystander during the birth of her child, I’m sorry. We failed to make sure you knew that this was your birth, not theirs …

To the mother whose baby was taken away after birth and kept in a hospital nursery, I’m sorry. We failed to make sure all hospitals have in-room boarding which is best for mother, baby, and family…

To the parents who left their baby to cry to sleep because they wanted to teach their child to self-soothe, I’m sorry. We failed to make it better known doing this actually disrupts the process by which your baby learns to regulate emotions and that your little one is still highly stressed even when he or she is no longer crying…

Surely there ought to be an award for someone who manages to squeeze so much self-congratulatory sanctimony into so few words. Tracy’s latest post, entitled Why Ending the “Mommy Wars” is Misguided and Dangerous is an exquisite example of self-parody that could easily be retitled “We aren’t ending the mommy wars until I win.”

Doesn’t it sound so lovely to say that we have to support each other as moms no matter what we do? After all, they’re just choices and isn’t each choice as valid and wonderful as the rest? If we all just accepted this, the world would be… well, what would it be? …

It would be shit.

Why? Because in very few cases are these parenting “choices” actually choices and when we try to take these acts and turn them into 100% voluntary acts by every family, we ignore the problems that lead parents to make some of the so-called choices they do…

Apparently Tracy thinks that anyone who is not copying her is being prevented from doing so. It apparently never occurs to Tracy that people aren’t copying her because she isn’t worth copying.

Some of you may be ready to jump in about how you have been bombarded by a stranger at the store while buying formula, claiming you’re poisoning your child, or something like that. Folks – that’s not a mommy wars problem, that’s an asshole problem. And sadly there are assholes everywhere and all the rhetoric about supporting each other isn’t going to change those people. But it’s also indicative of the larger problem too – by framing the issue into “choice”, this person believes you are making a true choice without knowing your individual circumstance. Maybe it is a true choice and you’ve done all your research and come to this conclusion about what’s best for you and your family taken as a whole, and that’s why the person still remains an asshole, but for many it’s not, yet that’s exactly what “ending the mommy wars” is pushing for it to be seen as.

One thing you have to give sanctimommies credit for is their utter blindness to their own hypocrisy.

Oh, Tracy, Tracy, save us from our own false consciousness! Fortunately you have seen the light!

Only now those of us who aren’t towing [sic] the line and continue to share information are viewed as the “bad guys”. Those of us who want to change things so that families are supported and given real options are accused of just trying to make people feel “guilty” or say it’s “our way or nothing”. We are heading down a path where families will have fewer and fewer true choices if we allow it. We can’t. We have to do something if we want families to really feel supported and cared for, not just given lip service to.

Earth to Tracy! Earth to Tracy! I have an bulletin for you:

We aren’t copying you because we think you are an ignorant, self absorbed fool!

We aren’t copying you because you have no idea what you are talking about.

We aren’t copying you, because we think you are wrong, in your assessment of what OUR children need, in your assessment of what WE need, and in your pathetic attempts to aggrandize your faux “achievements.”

True, you are a master of self-parody, but when it comes to mothering choices, we’ll wait and ask your children what they thought of your performance, not settle for your own dazzingly self review.

And the asshole problem? Well, Tracy, if the shoe fits …

  • Sandy

    Your an asshole. You sound like a pro life fanatic who everyday is so hell bent on letting the world know that abortions KILL BABIES. Are we going to see you protesting in front of a birthing center or homebirth someday? Women are not stupid, we have choices and rights to decide what is best for each of us just as it is your and your followers right to be anti home birth,midwife, attachment parenting , breastfeeding and whatever else you all are haters. Everyone has the right to free speech, free thought, and choices. In my free speech right I say you and your crazy fanatic followers are ASSHOLES.

    • Sister

      Yeah! I don’t even know why I read this site except to get angry. Dr Amy and her readers are some nasty sheeple indeed. I read that whole essay she’s quoting and it made sense. Some choices just *are* better. That may not be fair, but it’s just true.

  • anion

    “In-room boarding…is best for mother, baby, and family?” UGH. In-room boarding was at least partially responsible for my having PPD with my first, you horrible, judgmental woman. And you want to FORCE all women to deal with recovery without even an hour to rest without the baby? Because it worked for you so it must be best for everyone? Or do you just not care about new mothers who need help–oh, wait, answered my own question, didn’t I?

    I had my second at a different hospital where the nurses were happy to take my baby so I could rest, and those few hours made an enormous difference for me. I could rest. I could eat. I felt like someone was actually helping and supporting me instead of shoving me in a room and leaving me to handle it all myself.

    Funny how it’s “[my] birth, not theirs,” and it should be all about me, but I cease to matter even one little bit once the baby is out, and should have no say in whether or not I get to rest and recover the way that is best for me.

    • KarenJJ

      It’s not empowering women, it’s just more patriachal “we know what’s best for you” crap. They could have campaigned to increase options for women but that wasn’t what they’ve been doing.

      • anion

        Exactly. I have no problem with hospitals allowing rooming-in if that’s what women want, but forcing it is another matter entirely. Where is the empowerment and choice in that? Why is it good to refuse to help women who are scared and in pain? It was a nightmare for me. I asked my doctor to let me go home a day early because if I was going to be alone with no help I might as well be at home where at least I had my own things around me and my husband.

        The irony is that it never occurred to me that the hospital had no nursery and that the nurses would refuse to watch my baby for an hour or two even though I was in tears and begging, because of all the NCB stuff that told me hospitals never allowed that and I’d have to fight to get it. So I didn’t even ask when deciding which hospital to go to (my husband was born at that one, so it was an automatic first choice for us). I assumed there would be a nursery. If I’d known that actually, there are hospitals–and this was a major hospital in a large city–with forced rooming-in, I would have checked on it and gone to the (slightly further away) hospital where I had my second.

        And you know, even in that second hospital with a nursery and those amazing, kind, caring nurses, I spent plenty of time with my new baby and breastfed her successfully. It wasn’t like I was only allowed to see her for an hour a day or something and ended up standing outside the nursery crying with my hands and face pressed to the glass. They were happy to let her be with me; they were happy to watch her for me and didn’t judge me for asking. I am forever grateful to them.

        And I cannot imagine why any woman would want to take that kind of support away from another one who needs it.

    • Rachel Mills

      Yes, after I got over myself a little, I LOVED that nursery. I needed it, dangit! I was exhausted and the little bit of rest was bliss. PLUS they would bring him back when it was time to eat (attempt nursing) again. The second time when I was well disabused of my crunchiness I used the nursery with no guilt whatsoever. And for good measure, said go ahead and give him some formula if he wants it before 3 hours.

    • kumquatwriter

      Sing it. I was literally hallucinating from lack of sleep. That didn’t make me feel much like bonding.

  • Murat

    I have an acquaintance who is litterally going crazy working full time since 6 months, pumping for a 12 month old, restricting her diet to prevent eczema, and not getting a wink of sleep because the hungry kid nurses all night and cosleeps. Why would she do these things unless someone told her it was the right way? Why would she demand a vbac or a homebirth unless someone told her it was the right way? It isn’t a choice if experts tell you it is the best for your baby, because who doesn’t want the best? The arbiters of the right way need to have more credentials than – I came up with some theories and posted them on the Internet, but group think and -intuition- about what is -natural- seems to over rule this obvious criteria. I want to tell her- relax, stop nursing, stop co sleeping, feel good that the baby is bonded to the babysitter, feel good that you are earning money for your baby’s future. But, I can’t because that would be judgemental.

    • It isn’t judgemental, its merciful.
      Except, I guess, if it dismisses the huge sacrifice she feels she’s making.

    • Clarissa Darling

      I am sure there are many women who find that attachment/natural/gentle (or whatever you prefer to call it) parenting
      techniques actually DO work best for themselves and their children. If you are one of these women, then this comment does not apply to you. I’ve also had experience with women like you describe Murat, who smile through the pain and parrot the “I’m doing what works
      best” slogan all the while they are obviously struggling with certain techniques and being very hard on themselves for their perceived failure. My sister is one like this. And, as with your friend, it’s been very difficult to talk to her about it because at even the merest suggestion that she COULD try something else (not event that she should, or that it would necessarily be better) she gets very defensive and accuses you “attacking” her parenting. I also suspect as you’ve
      suggested that these women would not necessarily have come to the conclusion that these techniques were “best” without a whole bunch of “experts” telling them so and basically scaring them s**tless to try anything else. Like I said, if you are one of the women who really
      enjoys a specific parenting style and whose kids have adapted well to it then, more power to you, please keep with it and be happy. However, if you’re a mom who is struggling please don’t put pressure on yourself to continue with something that is not making you and/or your child happy because of what some advice book or, parenting guru or internet asshole tells you. Having kids is stressful
      enough (or so I hear, I won’t actually have one for another few weeks) and you deserve to actually have some FUN being a mom!

      • DaisyGrrl

        I had a conversation with someone I know who was doing her best to exclusively breastfeed (and the baby until that point had not had a drop of formula pass its lips). She was frustrated that she wasn’t able to pump enough extra milk that she could head out for an evening away from the baby, even though she desperately needed some time away. She felt like her body was failing her. While I approached it gently, I think that it’s important for women to hear from friends and family that they are just as important as the baby. Formula is an acceptable substitute and if baby has a bottle occasionally so mom can get some time to recharge, then that’s okay. That’s what I told my friend and I truly believe it. (I truly believe that formula is okay in whatever amount you want, it’s about what works for you, but try getting that past someone determined to EBF!)

        • Clarissa Darling

          Yes! Women should be hearing from family and friends and “experts” and complete strangers
          and society as a whole that they are just as important as the baby. M is for Mother not Martyr and this attitude that women ought to just toss themselves aside the minute they get pregnant as got to stop. In what other area of life would it be considered healthy to completely ignore your own needs for the sake of
          another? Would it be acceptable to pressure women to give 100% of themselves to their husband, to their boss, to the charity they volunteer for or to their best friend. Yes, having children requires self-sacrifice. But he kind of complete sacrifice that most sanctimommies demand is neither realistic nor smart. Say you are giving money to a charity, it might seem very altruistic and ideal to give 100% of your income but, if you do that you’re going to end up being a recipient of charity yourself. Where in life does this all or nothing attitude actually work out from a practical standpoint? Nowhere that I can think of. Why encourage women to believe it can and should work in parenting.

          • DaisyGrrl

            I was reading a blog post about compassion fatigue in the animal shelter world, but its main message seems applicable to overly self-sacrificing mothers. The message was “You have an ethical obligation to take care of yourself.” If, as a person in a helping profession, you are not taking care of yourself, you are not enabling yourself to take the best care of those who depend on you. That’s when you fail them.

            I really see this as being applicable to mothers as well. If you’re so burnt out looking for the best organic cotton nappies and washing them by hand in unicorn tears – while simultaneously pumping the magical elixir of breast milk – that you can’t eat/sleep/think, something’s going to give. Babies need family, love, and common sense, they don’t need expert-approved well-researched “true choices” only achievable by some sort of superwoman.

  • Lee G. Leissett

    “we’ll wait and ask your children what they thought of your performance”

    Dr. Amy, I know you have four children. Were any of them boys? If so, ask them how they feel about their circumcision.

    • Karen in SC

      since they are Jewish, probably pretty positive.

      • kumquatwriter

        Mazel Tov!

      • Mominoma

        Oh, snap!

      • Lee G. Leissett

        So how does her son(s) feel about this? Has she asked him how he feels?

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Dr Amy would probably not share with the internet her sons’ opinions about their penises.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            My son is 22 and gave me permission to talk about it.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Yet she never hesitates to exploit a home-birth tragedy in order to humiliate a midwife or shamelessly promote herself.

          • Karen in SC

            In my book, it’s completely alright to humiliate birth attendants whose incompetence allow preventable intrapartum deaths.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            And the family to which the tragedy happened? Tough love?

          • Tim

            Go back to planet intactivist and stop trolling Lee. Informing people of the realities of the situation when it comes to being attended during birth by the ignorant (or downright malignant in a lot of the cases discussed here) is not self promotion, it’s public service.

          • Antigonos CNM

            Oh, let’s stop feeding this troll with his crackpot ideas

          • Amazed

            Wait, what? Did you really compare the feelings of grown-ups about their circumcision with the tragedy of a loss mother or a mother with a damaged child?

            I have a better idea for you, Lee. Why don’t YOU go and ask some of those babies how they feel about their homebirth? The fact that many of them are not alive will not deter a devoted intactivist like you, I believe.

            How dare you.

          • Burgundy

            my jaw hit the floor after reading Lee’s post.

          • Amazed

            That makes two of us.

          • kumquatwriter

            Oh look. Another asshole. What a shock.k

          • Lee G. Leissett

            It’s true there are a lot of assholes in the world. I mean, I found a whole congregation of them right on this site.

        • kumquatwriter

          I’ll speak for a circ’d husband – he wishes he hadn’t been, but he doesn’t blame his mother. Or father. Or doctor. He just was against doing it to his son. And we didn’t.

          But seriously, this obsession with the penises of strangers and their children is super, super creep. How is it really okay with you that you’re hounding a stranger about her adult sons’ genitals?

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Because she chose to circumcise her child and supposedly runs a site to help infants. Am I the only one that sees the hypocrisy? I think this is a decision she probably regrets but her pride prohibits her from admitting.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Why regret it?

          • thepragmatist

            I really, really, really don’t like circumcision and nothing will convince me otherwise, unless there was really strong data suggesting that the foreskin was a terrible awful thing that led to death in many babies. Lee might be annoying, but I can understand why some men might be very angry at having a part of their body removed. I compare it to removing the HOOD of the clitoris. It is very similar: the same kind of tissue makes up the sensitive head of the penis as it makes up the clitoris. It is not difficult to imagine the dulling of sensation or conversely, the heightening of sensation, that would follow from having the clitoris constantly exposed to stimuli. My last ex-husband was my only partner (I’ve had three) that had a circ and he had terrible issues with premature ejaculation his whole life. I recently had a lover with a circ with the same problem. I come up against this often with men who are circ’d and almost never with intact men.

            My opinion is that it is mutilation. I do not think it should be performed on infants. I think it makes far more sense to be proactive with non-invasive care of the penis, condom use if HIV or penile cancer is a concern (AFAIK assuming the latter being caused by HPV ), and deal with any medical reason for circumcision if it comes up later. As for religious motivation: If a MAN wishes to choose circumcision as part of religious right, then so be it. At the age of majority, obviously, it is his body to choose. But I also don’t believe in imposing religious beliefs in a permanent, physical way on an infant. If it was a girl, it would be entirely different. If it were the hood of the clitoris, it would be seen as mutliation. I just can’t get beyond this. It makes no sense to me.

            Most people don’t have strong feelings about it, but do it anyway, and that makes it feel even more gross to me. I am not a creep or troll: I post here all the time. I understand that in the USA it is cultural, but it is uncommon here, and I’m glad. I would’ve even left my ex over it, that’s how strongly I felt when he wanted his baby to “look like him”. I just said no way, no how, no thanks. Luckily, it’s considered cosmetic here, so you have to pay OOP for it, so that was enough of a barrier. Too cheap for that.

            Now, as a woman, I HAVE noticed a difference in my lovers. There is definitely a difference in feeling on my end. The foreskin allows the head to slip in and out of the sheath and it feels much nicer, in my opinion, especially when sex is just beginning. And as I said before, in my informal surveying of men over the 20 years I’ve been sexually active, it HAS been true that the men with were circ’d either had straight out issues with premature ejaculation OR just didn’t last as long, something I attribute to the sensitive head of the penis losing it’s protective sheath. They do better wearing condoms however, where intact men often seem to lose their erections due to lack of sensation. Men with intact penises generally do not have the issue with premature ejaculation, but it’s a frightening and horrible thing when they have not been taught to care for their foreskin (especially in old age– my goodness! I was the primary caregiver for my dying Grandfather and it would’ve almost been worth a circumcision at that point!) But the same can be said of a woman’s clitoral hood, because if you don’t clean under it, and clean carefully around the labia, it can easily harbour pretty yucky debris and yeast.

            I know this really sets me apart here at SOB, but it really bothers me and I know I am not a creep– I care because I think a child’s genitals are their sacred birthright and unless I had to circ my son for medical reasons (it happens), I’d never do anything to mess with his penis and I guess it does bother me pretty viscerally to think of it happening to other babies. I don’t do anything about it, it wouldn’t end a friendship, i wouldn’t choose to ask or to bring it up in a friendship, but on a larger scale I really hope the practice ends in my lifetime.

      • Tim

        I’m not Dr Amy’s son (duh) ,I’m a goyim, I have no foreskin, and I think grown men who profess to feel “hurt and betrayed by their mothers” about being circumcised have some mental health issues surrounding their parents that go far beyond the state of their foreskin, and require professional help.

        • Lee G. Leissett

          You’re promoting infants to be strapped down while a portion of their body is removed without their consent and I’m the one who needs professional help? I am disappointed that my parents trusted their doctor more than their intuition. This was a decision they immediately regretted because they saw the pain it caused and that no child deserves to needlessly suffer.

          • Tim

            I’m not promoting anything – I wouldn’t have circ’d my son if we had one, because I know it’s not really medically necessary, which my parents did not.
            But, I don’t walk around wailing and gnashing my teeth over a tiny piece of skin that makes zero difference in my life, and I am firmly of the opinion that anyone who does has unresolved mental issues. Unless you had a botched circumcision that left you with neurological damage or hideous scarring, it’s a completely pointless and really, really stupid thing to attach any signifigance or meaning to. It’s a tiny flap of skin. Get over it.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Really? How do you know? You, like me, have never experienced having a foreskin so how can you be so sure it is just a flap of skin? Just like me, you have no clue if being intact would have had significance in your life. Your nonchalant attitude is sure to bring more needless suffering to infant boys.

          • Tim

            What possible significance could it have in my life? Oh look, my penis looks like an anteater instead of a mushroom on a stick. Woopity doo. My life is awesome now, tra la la. So glad my parents didn’t take me to dr butcher.
            All I ever hear is how much better sex could be from all the propaganda about foreskins, and how it would feel EVEN MORE INTENSE, but the last time I checked there wasn’t an epidemic of american women complaining that sex lasted too long, or american men complaining that sex just didn’t feel good and they didn’t want to do it. So I guess things are a-ok there too.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            But, again, you’re guessing. You will never know for sure. And your ignorant comments about your penis’s appearance make it hard to believe you wouldn;t have circumcised your son for aesthetic purposes or “so he could look like daddy.”

          • Young CC Prof

            Aren’t you also guessing, Lee?

          • Lee G. Leissett

            YES! I think I made that very clear.

          • Young CC Prof

            So, on the basis of a guess, you believe that your life might be better with a foreskin, and therefore you run all over the Internet claiming that circumcision is the Worst Thing Ever. Isn’t that a bit weird?

          • Tim

            Only a white american could have it so good , that they have time and emotional energy available to attach importance to their foreskin or lack thereof.
            Surprisingly (note sarcasm) , our friend Lee here also has the luxury of being anti-vaccine, and convincing himself that pot is a miracle drug that is good for everything. No, I don’t mean “pot is good for anxiety and glaucoma and appetite stimulus” , I mean “pot is basically chiropractic, and can make everything in your body better”

          • Lee G. Leissett

            If you want to discuss medical cannabis I would be happy to publicly display your ignorance on the subject.

          • Tim

            I think cannabis has useful medical properties, and modern science agrees with me. You link to websites that attribute cannabis to having curative effects for all manner of maladies, in the way a chiropractor blames “subluxations” for all human ills, and recommends the elimination of them for treatment, and the way a scientologist blames alien ghosts for the same.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            I’m sorry you’ll have to remind me on the link you are talking about. Did I link an article on a previous post here? You’ve obviously gone back and researched my comment history so do you think you could help a brother out. I suffer from memory issues, probably due to a dangerous cannabis addiction.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Look, I’m not against circumcision because i’m circumcised. I think it’s fucking weird that people are o.k. with a procedure that has no medical value and ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, WITHOUT A FUCKING DOUBT causes immense pain to a helpless infant.

          • Clarissa Darling

            Oh please, spare us your melodramatics. You know what else ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, WITHOUT A FUCKING DOUBT causes immense pain to helpless infants and children? Being born addicted to crack, having a care giver who is truly abusive, being raised in a neighborhood prone to gang violence, starving in a third world slum due to a lack of access to food and
            clean water, contracting diseases due to lack of medical care and vaccines and oh yeah, suffering death or brain damage at the hands of an inept midwife. If you cared half as much about child welfare as you claimed, you’d have picked any of the issues that actually have a lasting detrimental impact on the lives of children to campaign for instead of creeping about the net antagonizing strangers over the state of their son’s genitals. You’re not a child welfare activist, you’re a pathetic troll. It’s been hilarious “debating” you for a while but, I’m over it now (and you should be too).

          • Sister

            Lee I completely agree with all you say. A foreskin is very much like a clitoris, and is a valuable nerve-filled part of a sense-laden organ central to our psyches. All these angry trolls yelling at you are definitely ignorant about the true characteristics of foreskin and the important purpose it serves. Wondering what you may be missing is not deranged; in an ideal world no parent would mutilate their sons. Yes, circ is male genital mutilation. In what way is it not? I dare someone to explain that.

          • Tim

            They’re comments made in jest, not ignorance. Because I think this is the dumbest thing ever to be upset about, and no, I would not have circ’d my son, because wanting “our penises to look the same” is even creepier than caring what mine looks like in the first place.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            I think it’s hilarious that infants suffer needless, painful procedures too. I guess we have more in common than I thought…. let’s go grab a beer together sometime.

          • Karen in SC

            I have had p-in-v sex with both types. No performance differences that I could tell. You may also have noticed lots of variation in vulvas – short labia, long labia, maybe even barely there labia, etc. Extra flaps or not, differently shaped parts – all part of the diversity of the human body.

          • kumquatwriter

            I think Mister Rogers summed it up best:

            Everybody’s fancy, Everybody’s fine,
            Your body’s fancy, and so is mine!

          • Clarissa Darling

            Sorry for the TMI but, my husband is uncircumcised. You DO realize that when an uncircumcised penis is erect the foreskin is retracted so essentially it ends up looking and acting like a circumcised penis during sex? Sorry to break it to you but, the foreskin is not a magical body part which turns you into some kind of Sex God (just don’t tell my husband I said that).

          • Lindsay Beyerstein

            You know what else you’ve never experienced? Having a clitoris. Dude, what if you’re MISSING OUT?! You’ll never know, will you? Meditate on that for a while. Actually, don’t: It’s pointless. Focus on enjoying the body you have, not torturing yourself with unknowable hypotheticals about what your life might have been like with a different one. Publicly grieving your foreskin makes you look like a crank.

            This is orthogonal to the circumcision debate, by the way. Like Tim, I wouldn’t choose to circumcise a son, if I had one, because the medical benefits are modest and achievable by less drastic means, and because I think my culture puts too much spiritual emphasis on a rite that (not coincidentally!) only males take part in. I think the world would, on balance, be a better place if the custom died out and we replaced it with the Rite of HPV Vaccination, or something more constructive.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Next time I’m born with a clitoris and it is removed without my permission I’ll take some of your advice. And I’m not against circumcision because I was circumcised. INflicting needless pain on an infant is just downright disturbing. And those who endorse such a horrible procedure need to be called out.

          • Tim

            Are you honestly trying to equate the removal of the clitoris with the removal of the foreskin? Now you have proven yourself to be an utter crackpot.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            I was simply illustrating that Lindsay’s comment regarding me missing out on a clitoris was ridiculous because I wasn’t born with one. I still want to grab that beer and discuss medical cannabis.

          • Clarissa Darling

            Circumcision is needless says YOU. Medical evidence says it is a preventative measure for things such as UTIs and penile cancer. Pain relief can be given to the infant. Based on this, some doctors/parents may
            decide it’s worth it and it’s none of your business to weigh in on the decision. See my tooth capping comment above: this was also done as a preventative measure since I was very cavity prone as a child. Oh woe is me, I had to undergo an unpleasant, ‘needless’ procedure as a child! I guess I’ll do what any sane person would and take to the internet to complain about how it ruined my life!

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Great. Let’s protect infant boys from one of the rarest forms of cancer by removing a portion of their penis and causing them immense pain. Now that I think about it, our lips are just flaps of skin too. Maybe we should start removing infant’s lips to help prevent oral cancer. Actually, we could do this with many not-so-necessary body parts and prevent a whole lot of cancers. Looks like you’ve already had the procedure that helps to prevent brain cancer.

          • Clarissa Darling

            Removing the foreskin is to removing the lips/brain as driving a car is to:

            A) Driving a truck
            B) Driving a snowmobile
            C) Shaving a cat

            Good try though Lee! If I thought you at all worthy of judging my intellect, that last comment might actually have stung.

          • ngozi

            You should start writing for television.

          • anion

            Dude. Your life wouldn’t be perfect if only you had a foreskin. You really need to accept it and move on. All of us have things we wish were different about us physically, but fixating on them doesn’t do us or anyone else any good.

          • Clarissa Darling

            When I was a child I had all my molars capped. I was tossed in a dentist’s chair, jabbed with a shot of novicane, I was not given a sedative, my mom was not allowed to stay in the room with me and my dentist was very gruff and not at all child friendly. It was scary and painful for a 5 year old. To this day, I don’t like going to the dentist but, who does? I’m sure many children have been through much worse medical procedures than this. If they can get over it, you can certainly get over a circumcision procedure you were too young to even remember. Quit feeling sorry for yourself, it’s pathetic.

          • KarenJJ

            We’ve just spent a year pinning down a 3yo and giving her a rather painful injection. Lee’s comment was a low blow.

            I detest this particular breed of troll. We decided not to circ our boy, but I have no interest in arguing about it on the internet and neither does my husband.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Actually, you’re pathetic comparing your teeth to my genitalia.

          • Clarissa Darling

            “Actually, you’re pathetic”

            IE: I know you are but what am I?

            Lol! Since you’ve already demonstrated that as a grown man you respond to childhood medical “trauma”
            with less resilience and fortitude than the average 5 year old, I’m not surprised you use kindergarten level come backs as well.

          • ngozi

            Okay, I have to ask, did the circumcision leavel your penis permanently damaged? Other than that, what is the problem? And before you respond, I have 3 sons that are not circumcised. We didn’t do it because we didn’t think they needed it, not because we thought they would be mental trama or anything.

          • ngozi

            sorry, meant to say “leave”

          • me

            I like going to the dentist. Then again, I’ve never had a crappy one and anytime I’ve required a procedure, whoever I went to made sure I was comfortable throughout. Even when I needed a filling at age 5. I remember it being fun. Still is.

            The takeaway: find a better dentist!

          • Clarissa Darling

            Happy to report that all my experiences with dentists from that point on have been much better. Even this experience ended up having a positive side as the tooth fairy always paid extra for “silver” teeth!

      • Lee G. Leissett

        Oh, it was for religious purposes. That makes it just fine. Please ignore my inquiry.

      • Lee G. Leissett

        I truly hope it was for religious reasons because that just lessens her credibility further.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      My son is circumcised and I did ask him how he felt about his circumcision. He told me he would have been very angry at me if I had not had him circumcised.

      • Lee G. Leissett

        why? because he might have been laughed at in the locker room? what reason could he have possibly given for this?

        • theNormalDistribution

          What difference does it make what his reasons are? It’s his body and his opinion is not invalid just because you disagree.

    • anion

      Well my husband is quite pleased with his, and was adamant that if we had a boy he would want it done. I personally am quite pleased that my husband is circumcised as well, because quite frankly I think it’s much more attractive. And we certainly don’t have any problems being satisfied.

  • going barefoot

    LOL. Sounds like you are wearing the asshole shoes Amy.

  • Guest

    24% of children in the
    United States live in poverty. If she actually cared at all about helping
    families in need — and not validating herself through this concern-bragging
    about things that don’t matter — then she’d find a worthy charity or social
    services organization and volunteer her time. Instead of carrying her baby
    around in an $85 ergo, she could feed a family for a week. It’s only the
    immense privilege that these women live in that lets them believe for a moment
    that these trivial parenting decisions are more important than they are. Any child
    born to a family with such resources will be fine, whether you spank, bottle
    feed, CIO or otherwise. Poverty. That’s a real problem, one we ignore while
    fighting these mommy wars — a bunch of well-off women arguing about
    accessories. It’s gross.

    • yentavegan

      Amen!

    • thepragmatist

      Love this. I would live in poverty if not for the generosity of my family! I can see how a woman like me (disabled, now single) could end up being unable to provide the basic advantages the social class I was randomly born into affords me. Not just a house, but a house full of books, medicines and therapies when needed, clothes and shoes and good quality food. I am so grateful. The number one parenting issue in my estimation is POVERTY, whether in the developed or developing world. We need more measures to end the poverty of women and children (where I live, 1 out 4 children live in poverty– although “poverty” in the developed world is not near what poverty in Central Africa or rural China is, unless you live on reserve as a First Nations person). I wish all of these women groups would get together to do something productive about this most singular and most devastating issue. My secondary issue is maternal safety, and mental health and well-being, because if mama isn’t cared for, the baby/mother dyad is in trouble, too. I find society idealizes the baby/mother dyad until the mother needs help, and then it’s just the baby, and the mother is cast aside as bit player. Where I live, if you are sick, you are as likely to have your child seized by CPS as “incapacity to care for infant” as you are to have services provided by the state to allow mother and baby to stay together. It would cost less money to just support mothers in caring for the infants. But I digress.It frustrates me.

      • KarenJJ

        What stands between me and my ability to earn a living is a $6k pair of hearing aids. I shudder to imagine my life if I didn’t have access to hearing aids.

  • prolifefeminist

    Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, WAIT. This Tracy lady – is she doing what I think she’s doing? Is she using the words “asshole” and “shit” in a negative way?? Because I have a message for her:

    Tracy, assholes are special parts of our bodies. Every day, our assholes perform a natural bodily function that is sacred and that we should be proud of, because it happens naturally. Some people, like you, want us to believe that assholes and shit are dirty and shameful. You want us to be afraid of them. You want to control our bodies by controlling our assholes – and you do that by shaming us into thinking that they’re not good enough to poop unhindered. When you call mean people assholes, how do you think that makes us feel? That’s right – broken. Here we are trying so hard to Trust Pooping, and you go around acting like it’s something to be ashamed of.

    Well, as a warrior defecator goddess, I am here to tell you that physiological pooping is best done unattended and undisturbed. We don’t need anyone trying to make us feel bad about our butts. Our butts are not broken. Words hurt, Tracy. Words hurt. Now, please go whip up some anus cupcakes to help us feel better.

    PS – I think if you make them in the yoni cupcake pan and use chocolate frosting instead of pink, they’ll turn out just fine.

    • kumquatwriter

      OMG I spit-taked my coffee. You asshole. <3

      • prolifefeminist

        Why, thank you kumquatwriter! What a lovely compliment. 🙂

        I’m very sorry though that my post made your mouth malfunction while you were trying to sip your coffee. That just proves that intervention disturbs physiological swallowing. Talking and telling jokes should be avoided if one wants a good swallowing experience. If you invite a friend over for coffee, it’s best that you both sit quietly in different corners while you go about the work of drinking. I can only hope my interference hasn’t made you doubt your body’s ability to sip and swallow.

  • DaisyGrrl

    Totally OT: I saw this op-ed yesterday and it really irked me. Clearly this woman is at the top of her field, but I feel like she wants her audience to believe that if women in Canada don’t breastfeed their babies, their babies face a huge increase in risk of diarrhea, diabetes and death? And the combined 50 weeks of paid parental leave is insufficient to ensure that Canadian women have the choice to breastfeed so they need paid breastfeeding breaks as well? What am I missing?

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Breastfeeding+breaks+work/9004709/story.html

    To make it on topic – if this is the kind of research Tracy expects me to conduct she’d better think again.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      This is the kind of nonsense that makes it harder for women of child-bearing age to get hired.

      • DaisyGrrl

        The best (worst?) part is that I first saw this article in the Hill Times, a weekly newspaper aimed at federal policy makers. It was in a special health policy supplement that they run annually and was the only article dealing with maternal/infant health policy issues. We should have a national PPD strategy? whatevs. Women in our northern territories having to fly south weeks before labour to ensure giving birth in a high-resource environment (that is, in a hospital with an OB), resulting in weeks of separation from family and social support? No probs. But ZOMG women need breastfeeding breaks so they can pump milk for their year-old child!!! Pitchforks and torches!!!

        • thepragmatist

          Exactly. Proving my point that the focus is completely wrong. We can’t provide appropriate maternal care to many, many women in this country. Although a strategy on PPD and psychosis (and other mental illness in pregnant/post-partum women) would be welcome, in my books. It’s mental illness week and I’ve not seen a bare mention of it anywhere I go online regularly. Mental illness is lethal. It’s also physiological. It’s time there was some sort of national, federal programming to address this (and pay provinces SOME MONEY) to have more specialized care. Because I’ve battled mental illness on and off in the first two years (generally considered PP), and I have no doubt it was in large part to the constantly changing hormonal state of my body– in fact, it was, and is documented. There was no strategy to provide care for me, post partum, and no place for me to seek treatment even when I wanted treatment. In fact, admitting mental illness and being honest about it just garners the attention of CPS and does nothing to get any special services that improve the situation. Maybe I am just bitter. I have no faith in Canada’s capacity to care for the mentally ill. It would be great if the Feds increased budget for services, because right now the pickings are beyond slim, at least here in rural Canada. It’s really a DIY system. I can’t imagine if we treated other life-threatening health issues the way we do “mental illness”. In my case, I’ve got a 1 in 4 chance of dying from my illness. If someone told you that, but it was cancer, you would expect a high level of service to be provided. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t even exist privately. When I was very ill with a Bipolar episode, we looked everywhere for a mood disorder inpatient program within 100kms of my son… no such luck. Nada. Sink or swim. Looking back, had it not been for family, and given the severity of what had happened to me as a result, I could’ve easily ended up dead in those first weeks, but I had family who cared for me. It’s no small thing to deal with PTSD and Bipolar as a new mom. We SHOULD have some sort of national strategy plus pot of funding for this specifically. Women shouldn’t have to leave their home communities and babies for treatment 6 or 7 hours away.

          • KarenJJ

            We had a similar issue here with a family member. Trying to get into a PND clinic that would take both mother and infant was impossible.We had weeks of waiting, which is too long for a mum that is not coping. A lot of noise needs to be made about mental health services post partum.

    • AmyP

      Eh–is there some sort of ethnic confounder here? I wonder what the breastfeeding rates are for Canadian First Nations.

      • DaisyGrrl

        Could be – since water quality on many reserves is poor, there might be a compelling reason for First Nations women to breastfeed. On the other hand, our First Nations populations also suffer from high rates of other chronic illnesses and substance abuse – so, possible reasons why breastfeeding might not be desirable or possible. Aboriginal healthcare is an entirely different world that I know even less about than regular healthcare. I do know that infant mortality among aboriginal and northern communities is very high compared to the general Canadian population.

      • kumquatwriter

        I hear what you did there, eh.

  • Clarissa Darling

    It’s quite condescending to suggest that the average adult woman can’t figure out what is appropriate for their child without the help of self proclaimed “experts”. I’m not planning on letting my child cry for hours and I’m also not planning on having him sleep with me. Oh dear, how will I determine how long I can let him cry without “damaging” him or how soon I can pick him up without “spoiling” him without the help of experts, research and studies to “educate” me?! I’m not an idiot and I think I’m quite capable of understanding where the line between “sleep training” and “neglecting a crying infant” is. The sanctimommies have “researched” every aspect of child rearing to death in the hopes of engineering the perfect child and have completely thrown common sense and pragmatism out the window. If research does reveal that a certain practice is dangerous (infants sleeping on their stomach for example) then I’m all for educating people to do something else. But, most parenting practices that have come and gone like any other fad can’t be so clearly linked with any negative or positive outcome. Every generation has a certain percentage of outstanding human beings and a certain percentage of complete assholes. I really don’t think that requiring every mom to co-sleeps/sleep train/formula feed/breastfeed/stay home/works etc… is going to do anything to change that.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Exactly!

    • Karen in SC

      Well said!

    • rh1985

      Agreed Clarissa. I can’t have my child sleep with me, no one will get any sleep. I don’t need an expert to figure how long is okay to allow CIO and at what age.

      • Clarissa Darling

        Yes, and if at some point I do want the help or advice of an expert, a sanctimommy blogger would not be my first choice!

        • thepragmatist

          Yes, they are called REAL LIFE EXPERTS: you know, people with degrees in medicine, early childhood education, etc. Not some nutjob on the internet dispensing parenting advice…

    • DaisyGrrl

      Precisely. I was quite annoyed by her insistence that the only “true choice” was one that was backed up by rigorous review of the available research and lots of deep introspection. Really?! I suspect most people arrive at their parenting choices based on a combination of what works for them along with advice from family/friends/internet/wherever. And their kids are fine. Some people take it further and look into what actual experts say. And their kids are fine. Some people only arrive at the same conclusions after an exhaustive study of the available literature in every relevant discipline. And their kids are fine.

      Moral is, do what works for you and spend the time you would have spent researching and agonizing playing with your kids (if that’s what you want to do).

      • Burgundy

        When I had my first daughter 6 years ago, teaching your baby sign language was the fad of the time. I got so many books about it and they all praise how great it was and how it will improve your baby’s intelligent. I just tossed the books away and never bother with it. This year, I have my 2nd kids and some of my friends who are first-time moms around the same time didn’t even know about the sign language fad.

        • thepragmatist

          Sign language fad is still roaring up here and a friend and me like to joke sometimes that we can’t understand a damn thing these kids are saying (and it’s baby sign, too, so it’s not relating to real sign language for later use)… yes, I get it can limit frustration in a child but at the same time, frustration can be a good thing, to promote growth in a child. My son, although very verbal with me, refuses to talk much with others, and I’m still being pressured to sign to him. I know he won’t talk to others because he’s quite introverted, not because he doesn’t know how to talk. I did teach him a few signs, but I’ve forgotten them all now… I would invest the signing time in doing other language building things like reading and talking and singing and son on. When my son was on the cusp of being able to talk to me, he did pick up a few signs from the daycare, but I think he found it more furstrating thanything.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    The ultimate irony is that there is very little difference between the parenting choices that I made and the parenting choices that Tracy is making. The real difference between us is that I don’t see my choices as standards that other women should aspire to, but she does.

    • kmsmith

      How can you have similar parenting choices as Tracy yet call into question and say it is uneducated the choices she makes for unvaccination, breastfeeding, gentle parenting etc?

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        What in the world does gentle parenting mean anyway? The way normal people have parented for over 1/2 a century? If so that is not a parenting choice. That is just being a normal parent.

        • kmsmith

          do your research and find out.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I really don’t care that much. I was asking you. If you do not want to answer, oh well.

          • kmsmith

            It is a choice because because the other side of the coin to gentle parenting is CIO, spanking, etc. And many parents choose those things. So as much as I agree with you that it is “normal parenting”; to some it is not normal parenting. Their version of normal parenting is CIO, spanking, etc.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I am not sure what you mean by CIO, but if you are talking about sleep training, then I disagree. That has nothing to do with discipline.

          • kmsmith

            correct; but it has to do with gentle parenting or natural parenting and that is what we were talking about. gentle or natural parenting is parenting through instincts and some momma’s instincts are to not let the baby cry themselves to sleep. some believe that the same way some adults can’t or don’t sleep through the night is the same with babies so why force them to cry themselves to sleep. babies generally cry because they need something: food, comfort whatever. babies that don’t cry it out aren’t less likely to not sleep through the night later on. show me a child that wasn’t sleep trained as a baby and now not able to have good sleeping patterns in college.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I did sleep train my children. It was easy and it felt absolutely right. Though only one of them cried much at all because there is more to sleep training then letting your kids cry.
            I do know a few children who were not sleep trained ever that still in college do not have normal sleep patterns. Although, three of them were never made to go to bed because they all belong to the same person who thought it cruel to make children sleep if they don’t want to. That might not be what you are talking about though.

          • kmsmith

            and that is perfectly fine for you and your family. we believe differently and that is fine too.

          • Amazed

            See? That’s what we mean. You are entitled to your own beliefs. You, however, are not entitled to your own facts. You might believe that no one will ever be able to ” show me a child that wasn’t sleep trained as a baby and now not able to have good sleeping patterns in college”. That’s stating a fact – that such children don’t exist. And we do. We do exist.

            That does not mean that not doing sleep training is wrong for your family but it does mean that the education that led you to believe that not sleep training equals to uninterrupted sleeping patterns later and, presumably, the other way around, is faulty.

          • kmsmith

            I didn’t say I don’t believe that no one will every be able to show me. But it was more meant as show in a 18+ year study (which is what it would take from baby to college) that NOT sleep training has a direct identifiable correlation to bad sleeping patterns as adults.

          • nohika

            And, pray tell, where will someone get funding for such a study? Hmm?

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through
            our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that
            democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”


            Isaac Asimov

          • Guesteleh

            See also:

            “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”
            —–
            Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            It has been found that children who have sleeping problems from 3-5 and do not get enough sleep are likely to have sleeping problems in their teens and alcohol and drug abuse as adults.

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405174940.htm

          • Amazed

            I had no idea. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the link!

          • KarenJJ

            How do they work out cause and effect of these things though? Is there something else going on that makes sleep difficult as a kid that causes further issues later on? For a middle class kid in a stable, loving home would poor sleep lead to these outcomes? What other sorts of conditions might lead to poor sleep patterns and also other issues later on.

            Is the poor sleep a symptom or a trigger?

            That said I have my own experiences with sleep training – one bad experience with a kid that was very anxious – one fantastic with a kid that had learnt some bad habits that needed breaking. Controlled crying is a great tool when it works and a bit of a nightmare when it doesn’t.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I am not sure, I was looking for an article on sleep problems in small children or toddlers who still have sleep problems as adults and found that article and thought it was interesting.

            My youngest was the hardest to train. I had to use the sitting in her room and moving out a little bit each night instead of a little crying and a little soothing. It took a long time too, whereas my other children took 3 nights tops. She is 16 and has had sleep problems all of her life. She even went to a couple of fancy sleep clinics to no avail. So, there could be another issue underlying these problems.

          • thepragmatist

            My highly perceptive, anxious child needed a lot of assurance during sleep-training. It was not as simple as controlled crying. CC played a role at time (like during wakings from light sleep, where he would soothe back to sleep) but he still to this day needs quite a lot of soothing at nap and bed-time.

          • kumquatwriter

            This is why I get pissed off at “gentle parenting,” as if the rest of us just don’t goddamn love our kids. My son is a natural sleeper, but we did a lot of sleep training to help him self soothe. He’s sensitive and anxious too, and we did cio gently. Lots of explaining – he’s really only soothed by knowing why things are.

            Fun fact: I have the most skeptical child on earth, who demands spectacular amounts of empirical data before he’ll believe ANYTHING. Its clearly in the DNA.

          • thepragmatist

            Interestingly, and this is anecdote but carries some weight, our special service support worker from the Child Development Association where I live told me the NUMBER 1 issue that occupational therapy addresses in toddlers and preschoolers are sleep issues, and that she personally recommends sleep training (in its humane form) over unstructured sleeping arrangements.

            You can even sleep-train and bedshare. We do: my son shares my bed but he goes to bed by himself, and he soothes himself to sleep. We sleep-trained him. It was not easy, since he was not an easy baby to put to sleep, and I always laugh when people tell me sleep-training is the easy way out.

          • me

            I never sleep trained my children as infants. It didn’t feel “right” to me, and I was content to bedshare. However, starting around 15-18 months, the “sleep training” begins. I take it slow and gentle (probably more for me than them – the sounds of a toddler screaming tear me apart), but we do move towards independent sleeping during the second year so that by age two, they are sleeping thru the night, independently. This works for me, my kids, my whole family. I don’t see doing it while they are infants as “wrong”, I just know that doesn’t work for me/my kids.

            Now, having 3+ year old kids still in your bed, waking repeatedly, not getting adequate sleep? Yeah, that’s messed up.

          • Young CC Prof

            It worked for you, so great!

            You know, my mother pointed out that you can begin to schedule even a newborn without ever “neglecting” them by anyone’s standard. During the daytime, just encourage them to stay awake with talk, play and stimulation. When they wake in the night, meet their needs quickly, and keep the room as dark and quiet as possible to encourage them to go back to sleep.

          • anna

            LOL… show me ANY college kid with normal sleep patterns.

          • Karen in SC

            Sleep training works for a lot of family and there are no studies that show any detrimental effect. Short term or long term (college age).

            Many things disturb sleep (hormones, caffeine to name a few in addition to electronic stimulation) and it is good for all ages to learn good “sleep hygiene” ie a routine for self soothing into blissful slumber.

          • Captain Obvious

            Kmsmith, do you have any teens?

          • Karen in SC

            I was wondering the same thing.

          • Lee G. Leissett

            Have any of the infant boys you’ve circumcised infiltrated your dreams yet? If not, they will.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I don’t dream about infant penises. Do you?

          • kumquatwriter

            ZING!

          • Lee G. Leissett

            I believe you were the first to refer directly to an infant’s penis, not me. I only referenced the procedure. I guess I should have asked, “have the confused faces of the boys you’ve circumcised infiltrated your dreams yet?” I would never want something like an innocent child’s distraught face to be on my conscious. That’s an ugly thing to have to live with.

          • Sue

            What on earth is ”NATURAL parenting”? Does it mean ”natural” as in the animal kingdom? Then that depends on whether you are a penguin or a hyena.

            In human life, all parenting is cultural – differing across historical times, countries, religions, geographical setting, socio-economic level. Throughout history, people have been raised by parental carrying or nannies, home school or boarding school, different types of settling, protected from physical danger or subjected to it. Children have grown up in high-rise buildings, on the top of mesas, in caves, beside flooding rivers, in desert huts, in igloos – the variation is never-ending. Which style is ”natural”?

          • meglo91

            I would submit to you that many parents also have the instinct to throw their children off a second story balcony, particularly when their kids have spent the past three consecutive nights crying. I fail to see why my instincts should be the arbiter of my actions.

          • Amazed

            Me. I was not sleep-trained because there was no need – I was a good sleeper, rarely woke up at night and so on. My sleeping patterns went downwards when I was in high school for no reason at all. Twenty years later, I still haven’t regained them.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        I did breastfeed, carried my children everywhere and never let them CIO.

        As to the vaccine rejection, that’s just ignorance pure and simple.

        • kmsmith

          Then to say that natural parents as a whole are uneducated and compare them to creationists is ridiculous. If you have a specific disagreement (i.e. vaccination) then argue that point. Don’t lump all natural parents together: “The sad fact is that “natural” parenting types live in an “alternate world of internal legitimacy” just like creationists and climate deniers do. Those people also consider themselves “educated” and believe they’ve done “research” but because they’ve only done so within the echo chamber of the natural parenting community, which has “journals,” conferences and “credentials” that aren’t recognized by anyone outside the community, they generally have no idea that most of what they fervently believe is factually false.”

          • Guesteleh

            Natural parenting as a philosophy has all of the elements Amy described. This isn’t about whether you as an individual choose any or all of those practices. It’s about a philosophy that is relentlessly promoted through gurus like Dr. Sears, Dr. Jay Gordon, Ina Mae Gaskin and a bunch of other folks who are pushing this philosophy using phony/shaky science and actively encouraging bad/dangerous parenting decisions (homebirth with a lay midwife, no Vitamin K shot, etc.).

            BTW, there are definitely crappy doctors out there, I’ve had to switch practices several times, so my POV is not coming from putting MDs on a pedestal.

      • Kerlyssa

        I think we are running again into the bastardization of the words ‘educated’, ‘research’ and ‘ignorant’. They are not interchangeable with wrong, bad, or evil.

        It is perfectly possible to make good or neutral decisions and actions for the wrong reasons, and then proclaim that everyone else needs to do as you do for (wrong) reasons.

        IE, gargling with fluoride rinse in order to prevent crooked teeth. Other people may use the rinse, but it’s not because they are avoiding crooked teeth.

        • kmsmith

          I’ve never proclaimed that everyone else needs to do as I do.

          • Kerlyssa

            The subject of the OP did, and you then said that Dr Amy shouldn’t call her uneducated for it.

      • Burgundy

        To me unvaccination is just plain stupid. Why would you subject your kids to much higher risk of death?

        • kmsmith

          That is not a path I chose but it is one her and many many other momma’s chose.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I really, really hate the fad to call mother’s momma or mama. It reminds me of young guys hitting on me and calling me mommie. It is condescending.

          • Sue

            Mothers choose vaccination.

          • meglo91

            I hate it too. I am not a “mama”, despite owning baby carriers and buying organic milk. I am a mother. I vaccinate my kids because I love them, I want them to grow up, and I trust science.

          • Karenjj

            And how did they get “educated” about vaccination? Education doesn’t just mean ‘I read a heap of books and stuff on the internet’. It means being able to critically read the information and understand how it fits into the context of a field of study. It is very very hard for someone to be “educated” about vaccination.

            Case in point, I have a child with a rare disease that takes immunosuppressant medication. The medication is contraindicated for live vaccines. I brought it up with my specialist (an immunologist) as she was due for her booster soon and he recommended not giving it. Her own specialist asked me about it and I told her what I’d heard. She took it further to the head of department of the immunology clinic and then it went further again to the vaccine expert in my state at the big Children’s Hospital.

            In the end we were recommended to get the vaccine and for her to stay on the medication. This is not a decision we could have made ourselves by “researching” vaccines. We relied on people who have been studying the immune system for many many years and who had also specialised further again into studying vaccinations in children. They understand the different pathways, effects on the body and the complications from immunity conditions. My brief reading of anti-vax sites did none of this.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I am educated about vaccines and cost me around $100,00

          • meglo91

            Uh. Choosing to vaccinate is not a “path”. It’s a foolish and dangerous action based on either 1) total crap science courtesy of quacks like Dr. Wakefield or 2) an irrational distrust of medicine as “unnatural”. The point that the people replying to you were trying to make is that you can disagree on whether or not crying it out is good, or if attachment parenting is helpful, or on co-sleeping, but no one but the criminally foolish can disagree that vaccines aren’t a net good. Therefore, while both letting your kid cry it out and comforting him at every wail might be valid choices for different people, not vaccinating your kid is not a valid choice. It’s just dumb. And dangerous. And SELFISH.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Not just death, but according to ERs unvaccinated children are 1000x more likely to have bacteremia if they present at the ER with a fever than a vaccinated child and a 5000x greater risk of having meningitis. That alone should be enough to decide to vaccinate.

          • thepragmatist

            I was so happy to be able to get my son vaccinated for meningitis. My Grandmothers first baby died at just over a year from meningitis. I know she would be so relieved to know her Great Grandson has some measure of protection against the diseases that so terrified her. The baby who died at a year from meningitis is a constant part of our family. She never got over it, and none of the children who followed did, either. He is a ghost in the family, a little baby who couldn’t. And on the other side, who knows what childhood illness took my Great Grandmothers first four children… measles? Polio? Diarrhea? Four children to lose is an insufferable burden that I cannot imagine carrying. My Grandfather was spoiled rotten as a result. Can’t say I wouldn’t have made the same choice.

          • Young CC Prof

            My great-grandmother also lost her first two babies. We know that at least one of them was whooping cough, and, just like you say, the shadow hung over the family and the children that followed all their lives. I can’t wait for my prenatal pertussis shot.

            Every family has a story like this. The anti-vaxxers just had ancestors that couldn’t bring themselves to speak of it.

          • KarenJJ

            Or they are that pig-headed they have refused to listen..

          • DaisyGrrl

            My family is terrified of fever and diarrhea in infants for a very similar reason.

          • thepragmatist

            My Grandmother (the one who lost her first child) allegedly saved my life as an infant by throwing me in a tub of ice and water, then wrapping me in a cold blanket, and driving me to the hospital. I think it would probably have sufficed to just drive me to the hospital, but so it went back then, I guess?

        • Bombshellrisa

          Or disability and a lifetime of pain (like polio and post polio syndrome)

      • PJ

        Aargh, the point is that they are not BETTER and the science doesn’t support that they are! People who claim otherwise are uneducated about the science.

        • PJ

          (Vaccination being the exception, of course.)

        • kmsmith

          I never said they are better but I am not uneducated because I believe science that differs from your choices. agreed on the vaccination

          • Sue

            Vaccination is about science – pure and simple. Parenting is a bit about science, mostly about style and ideology.

            Outcomes of not vaccinating measurable. Long-term outcomes of feeding choices, settling techniques etc not measurable.

          • PJ

            Science isn’t a democracy; it doesn’t matter what you believe. We’re not talking about things where there is genuine debate and uncertainty. But if you can explain why your opinion differs so markedly from established scientific consensus (which, of course, implies understanding of why there is a scientific consensus in the first place), then go ahead and do so.

    • me

      This makes me want to add to your post:

      We aren’t copying you because we think you are an ignorant, self absorbed fool!

      We aren’t copying you because you have no idea what you are talking about.

      We aren’t copying you, because we think you are wrong, in your
      assessment of what OUR children need, in your assessment of what WE need, and in your pathetic attempts to aggrandize your faux
      “achievements.”

      ~~~ And if we happen to be “copying” you, let’s be perfectly clear that it was never our intention to do so. We are simply doing what we have determined to be best for our children and our circumstances. We likely came to these decisions without even knowing you existed. Psst: not everything is about you, Tracy.

  • Sarah, PharmD

    Tracy Cassels just hit up TFB’s Facebook page asking for help in replying to Dr. Amy’s comments. I think she’d be wise to look for someone else to advise on dealing with Dr. Amy. TFB isn’t who she’d like to emulate, me thinks.

    • kumquatwriter

      That’s it. We need more bingo cards.

    • Guesteleh

      “First thing you do is file something called a DMCA. Then you brag on the internet about how you’re using it to silence Amy. Then…after that you’re on your own.”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      That’s funny. She’s “educated” enough to claim her parenting choices are the standard to which all other women should hold themselves, but apparently not educated enough to defend herself against my criticism.

  • kmsmith

    Can I ask how you being an ob/gyn or for those who are pediatricians makes you qualified as a parenting expert? Did I miss something in medical school where ob’s and ped’s are now licensed in practicing parenting?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      What do you mean by “parenting”?

      • kmsmith

        ob’s and ped’s are long known to give parenting advice (i.e. Amy above) on how to raise our children. so I’m wondering where or when it was covered in med school that ob’s and ped’s are the end all or know it all or even qualified to give advice on parenting such as cry it out, sleep training, gentle parenting, formula vs breastfeeding, discipline etc. In med school they teach how to diagnose and treat where does parenting advice come into that?

        • PJ

          Sleep training (such as crying it out) etc. is something that is studied in child psychology, which I’d have thought is absolutely part of a paediatrician’s purview. So are the health implications of breast vs formula. It’s not that they’re ignorant about these topics, just that the science doesn’t support a lot of people’s pet theories about these things.

        • Allie P

          I don’t know a lot of OBs who give their patients parenting advice — childbirth and post-natal advice, sure. But pediatricians are DEFINITELY trained to help their patients and their parents with developmental issues from feeding to sleeping to behavioral development. It’s as much a part of their training as diagnosing physical ailments or keeping watch for signs of abuse and neglect. I just took my daughter for her yearly check up and the doctor spent a good 20 minutes talking to my child about what she spends her time doing, what she eats, what she likes and doesn’t like. Every visit, they give us advice about eating, sleeping, verbal development, behavior. They have us fill out questionnaires about our daughter’s social, verbal, and other development.

          All doctors are trained to think very critically about medical research being done and in the case of “attachment parenting” and “breastfeeding no matter what” the jury is very much out on the research. An OB is trained to look critically at the pressures surrounding a new mother and might contribute to PPD or even PPP, and they know quite well that holding a mother solely responsible for attaining this level of sanctimonious perfection is going to do a lot more harm to the parent and baby than any minor benefit of breastfeeding. (Co sleeping has a lot of studies showing how DANGEROUS it is.) To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

          • thepragmatist

            My OB/GYN has never given me parenting advice. I am her patient. My son IS NOT her patient. How could she advise me on my son, besides being friendly about her own experiences parenting and being supportive of my choices? She has never once given me parenting advice, except when I was flogging myself over breast-feeding, in which case, she gave me advice about MY body, not my son’s. As far as I know, at least where I live, baby-as-patient ends the minute that baby comes out. Then mom is the patient, on her own again, and baby becomes the midwife, ped or GP’s patient.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Parenting requires a license? News to me.

      • LibrarianSarah

        It really should.

      • kmsmith

        that’s what i’m asking. when did the tides change to be that just because you went to med school means you are the end all knowledge to parenting and what makes ob’s and ped’s qualified to give parenting advice.

        • Burgundy

          OB and Ped may not know everything, but they can smell a BS parenting tip faster than anyone else.

          • kmsmith

            how does the ability to “smell a BS parenting tip” qualify as the ability or qualifications to give parenting advice

          • Allie P

            Do you seriously not think that pediatricians are taught about child development and best practices? What do you think they learn? How to treat the sniffles?

          • kmsmith

            child development and parenting advice are not the same thing my friend. My child is developmentally advanced according to all medical charts but that does not mean that my parenting is superior. there’s a difference.

          • Allie P

            I’m not sure if you are willfully misunderstanding or just confused, but what you term “parenting” is in fact a part of child development — behavior, socialization, feeding, sleeping, responsibility, education… there are best practices to follow to achieve these results. If what you are doing is working, then I’m not entirely sure what your problem is. Dr. Amy isn’t saying there is one way to do things, but the NON-doctor writing the article she references in this post IS.

    • I’d trust someone who actually has looked at the evidence on these things over someone who just “believes” their way is best. If it’s a question of medical implications of a specific choice – I would think a Dr. would absolutely be the best place to go…

      • kmsmith

        for medical issues yes but my child’s sleeping patterns, discipline, or choice of food or how I introduce foods?

        • Jessica

          What makes you think those decisions aren’t related to nor will affect a child’s health?

          • kmsmith

            how is it a doctors place to tell me that I should let my child cry it out just because shes 9 mo and doesn’t sleep through the night. she is gaining weight, advanced developmentally and I don’t have an issue with it. or if I decide to not medicate for add when my child is extremely active but succeeding in school. or if I decide to not circumcise and have never had any medical issues because of it. isn’t that a parents choice?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            It sounds like you’re unhappy with your pediatrician. Have you considered changing to a new practice? I can’t tell you whether his/her advice is right or wrong, but it does sound to me like you aren’t getting along well and probably aren’t well matched for a therapeutic partnership.

          • kmsmith

            I’m thoroughly happy with my current pediatrician but it did take 5 tries to find someone to tell me not to medicate my perfectly fine child or have them cry it out etc.

          • PJ

            If it took you 5 tries before you found a doctor who didn’t want to medicate your “perfectly fine child” then either you have spectacularly bad luck with doctors or they are seeing something you aren’t.

          • kmsmith

            the premise was we tried different doctors within the same group. We should have just gone outside that group because once we did we found an excellent ped who is open minded.

          • Guesteleh

            Do you vaccinate?

          • kmsmith

            When did vaccinations come into play?

          • Guesteleh

            The reason I ask is because where I live, open minded tends to be code for accepts unvaccinated kids as patients. If that’s not the case here, my apologies.

            There are two doctors in my area who take unvaxxed kids. One of them had his license temporarily suspended for negligent care that killed a child and he has no hospital privileges. The second is notoriously, famously vocal in touting vaccine dangers. The crunchy parents love both of them.

          • kmsmith

            I’m sorry that happened. Open-minded to me means not judging others parenting choices and researching both sides of the fence.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Why would any pediatrician tell you to medicate your child for ADD before school age when that is not the standard of care? Let alone 4 doctors. That is very unlikely.

          • kmsmith

            I didn’t say it was before school care and I didn’t say it was all 4 doctors…

          • PJ

            I don’t know what cruddy doctors you are seeing if (as you report) they are blatantly misdiagnosing your daughter’s ADD and pushing their personal opinions about circumcision on you, but they don’t remotely resemble any I’ve seen. As for crying it out, the point is probably just that it won’t injure your child and will most likely work. If you don’t see a problem with your daughter then why worry about it?

          • kmsmith

            but that is my point it is a parents decision. what or who gives MD’s the right to comment on such things. People that do find MD’s to be the end all of knowledge follow such advice even if their instincts say otherwise because they think having gone to medical school means they are superior and so I must listen to them. That is the issue I think most of these articles bring up is that decisions that are not medically driven should not be spoken about by doctors to parents.

          • kumquatwriter

            I do not understand how anyone can be so terribly threatened by a pediatrician daring to discuss their patient with their patient’s caregiver.

          • kmsmith

            Threatened? no, no, no, no, no. I thrive on research. I make my mistakes as a mom and I learn from them. There is a difference between denying my parenting choices altogether and discussing my parenting style where there can be a back and forth where she/he provides me their opinion with backed research and I do the same. I am all up for discussion; but unfortunately most MD’s like to think they are the end all superior beings and push their opinions on parents. It’s not just ped’s btw this can include ob/gyn’s too

          • kumquatwriter

            I’m not trying to antagonize – and I don’t think you’re being an “asshole” or anything. I’m perplexed by your insistence that “most” MDs are thus, and your insistence that they have neither the “right” or.the qualifications to even ask. That may not have been your intention, but it sure appears as your opinion.

            If you see an MD, they most certainly should both ask questions about what you are doing, how it is working, and even discussing or suggesting different choices. That’s a huge part of seeing a doctor – especially a pediatrician.

          • kmsmith

            if what I’m doing is working then why suggest other choices that don’t follow our parenting decisions? I chose what i’m doing for a reason (becoming educated despite what Amy said).

          • kumquatwriter

            I have no opinion on your education. I still don’t see why a doctor SHOULDN’T discuss that there are other options, even if what you are doing is working for you. Maybe they have information you don’t. Maybe their concerns are irrelevant. Why such a big deal to discuss?

            An example from my own pedi – she continually pushed us to not give our son a bottle past 1. Our son is able to drink from a cup (her first concern) and his bottle use is not hurting his teeth (her second concern – one I double-checked with his dentist). For us, the bottle comforts him, and also prevents him from pouring every drink out when he gets bored.

            So, he still has bottles and is almost three. And I have no issue with her concern or discussion of it. I didn’t know it *could* be an issue (motor development, teeth issues) so its good she brought it up. She isn’t following us home and snatching his bottle away. So my question is, why is this (similar from my perspective) an issue?

          • kmsmith

            Like I’ve stated I’m all up for discussion. I do not need to be judged, put down, or made to feel as though I am doing something wrong through doctors’ “concerns” that are irrelevant to our lifestyle.

          • kumquatwriter

            At this point it is beyond obvious that you cane here determined to feel judged and insulted – just like you clearly do at your doctor’s office. You have had your “questions” answered extensively with a host of different voices – people who parent naturally, hardcore science types, middle of the road, judgey, unjudgey, curious,, genuinely concerned, big words, small words, ad nauseam. And you have doggedly held to the same refrain of how you’re being judged.

            NOW I am judging you. I think you are incredibly bull-headed, short-sighted and too busy howling about imagined insults to actually listen to what ANYONE says.

            NOW I call you uneducated – because people who are actually educated and interested in learning tend to get *something* out of a day-long discussion with a plethora of information and thorough answers to one repeated (and increasingly ludicrous) question.

            Also, I’ve noticed YOU don’t answer any questions that actually refute your tired (lack of a) point.

            tl;dr: LALALA CAN’T HEAR ANYONE OVER YOUR OWN EGO

          • kmsmith

            I did get something out of this discussion and Amy was ironically the one to point it out but thank you for judging me and for being so ill-equipped for such debate to read all responses. I have no ego. the journey of parenting is a humbling experience. I stand on no pedestal or high horse. my only goal is that all mothers get the support and education they so deserve whether that be formula breastfeeding spanking gentle discipline whatever. I do not agree with mommy competition or wars. I enjoyed todays debate and i’m sorry you got so frustrated you felt the need to attack. I hope none of responses offended you because that was not my intention.

          • kumquatwriter

            No, I wasn’t attacking, nor am I offended. But now I also judge you as an asshole. Who doesn’t know what irony means.

          • kmsmith

            you most definitely are offended and attacking. I would be an asshole any day of the week if it meant I wasn’t you my friend. good day.

          • kumquatwriter

            Its cute how you think you’re offending people because you’re so offended.

          • kmsmith

            I hope I haven’t offended anyone. That wasn’t my goal or intention. My intention was to spark debate/discussion which it did and I learned a tremendous amount from a majority of people here. I most certainly know I have offended you though my dear to be so utterly defensive and name calling like a child. But if that is what you need to do because you are so frustrated with an adult conversation then feel free to do so. It will not OFFEND me.

          • Suzanne

            Lady, please STAWWP! I’ve been reading this ‘debate’ of yours for the last 30 minutes and it appears to me that you have too much time on your hands. Have you put your electronic device down at all today? May I humbly suggest that you step away from your screen, and get some perspective on all that has been said. Perhaps that will enable you to recognize that the vast majority of responders have been saying the same things over and over, yet your response keeps going back to the same refrain.
            Let me try where others have not succeeded.
            If you personally practice natural parenting….You can still be an uber educated individual.
            If you promote natural parenting as a scientifically proven end all and be all…you are likely not overly educated in that particular field.
            Hope you have a great evening…can I suggest a Nature walk or something restful like that? 😀

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Yes, that is a normal response to a pediatrician suggestions. My pediatrician asked my children when they were teens if they were sexually active, if people offered them cigarettes or drugs, how they were doing in school, how much exercise they get, how are they sleeping. This is in the best interest of the patient and never gave me a moments pause. I never buy skim milk, I don’t like it. She told me about how she disagreed with that decision every time I took one of my kids in for a check up. I told her thanks for her concern. I never felt threaten or judged because I am a secure and confident adult who can handle a little criticism.

          • thepragmatist

            Yes, exactly. We once saw a specialist ped who thought my son was behaving poorly. He WAS behaving poorly but that’s not the norm, he was actually terrified for reasons I won’t get into. The ped took it upon himself to inform me I was not hard enough on my son, took him and put him in a “time out” facing the wall, and then shamed him by yelling, “You are bad!”. My son erupted into tears and ran to me, and the ped said, you need parenting courses! I said, “NO! He’s tired and scared.” The ped then rambled on about how he tells his single mother parents to be “extra” tough with their kids and to get quiet time by locking their child in their bedroom at night for up to 20 minutes. I went home and told my own doctor that and I laughed. It made no different to my discipline because it was totally off the wall. See providers you trust. In the case of this guy, he’s a hot shot specialist and quite arrogant. I have to see him every so often, OH WELL. Next time I will not let him discipline my child but I was just so shocked! HE IS THE EXCEPTION! Most peds and docs I’ve seen have been lovely, complimentary, and informative. I wouldn’t let this one bad experience with a ped ruin it for me, although I can’t imagine having him as a regular doc!

          • wookie130

            Who is judging now?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            As soon as you claim a medical justification for your choices, it is your pediatrician’s right and RESPONSIBILITY to make sure your medical justification is accurate.

            You don’t think your daughter has ADD. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have ADD. Your pediatrician’s primary responsibility is toward your daughter and meeting her needs, not toward meeting your need for validation of your feelings.

          • kmsmith

            An MD is the last place I would seek validation for my parenting choices. I do not expect nor seek a pat on the back by others for my choices. I assess my choices, mistakes, failures and successes through my children and how they thrive.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Actually, the only way you can get true validation of your choices is to ask your children when they grow up. Your assessment of your own performance is understandably suspect.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Amen Amy! Why are so many mothers so into self aggrandizement? Are they insecure in their choices?

          • thepragmatist

            Exactly. My GP has told me in the past, when I was in the midst of a custody dispute and he was supporting me, that no matter what happened, or his feelings about me, that my SON was his patient, as well, and he would always act in the best interest of my son even if it meant disagreeing with me. I was glad to hear that and I encourage them to have a friendly, trusting relationship because goodness knows a child needs as many trusted adults as they can get in their lives. I EXPECT my child’s doctor to put my child’s needs first.

          • Dr Kitty

            If your child doesn’t have clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning your child does not have ADD and does not require medication. If your child IS significantly impaired, why would you deny them treatment?

            If you do not wish to circumcise no Paediatrician will force you to, but they may present evidence of its benefits.

            Doctors are allowed to question your choices, to make sure you ARE informed, and DO know what you’re doing. They DON’T have to say “you know best mama” unquestioningly.

          • kmsmith

            I think it’s a joke to think that most MD’s are fine in them being questioned and shown research as to why I will parent differently then what they say.

          • Allie P

            AH! I see. It’s all clear now. You have a very contentious relationship with your doctor and any time they recommend something to you you shove a whole bunch of Google U in their face and tell them they are wrong. I agree with other posters, perhaps you need to find a doctor more suited to your tastes. Unless you get off on showing up those idiot doctors who think they know everything (raise your hand if you also suspect that’s what’s going on here).

          • kmsmith

            Not at all but again thanks for the judgment…

          • Jessica

            Again, I ask: do you really think that adequate sleep is not an important health issue for children? Do you think that the introduction of foods to infants and toddlers is not a health issue? These are not solely parenting decisions; the decisions parents make in these areas can affect a child’s health. A toddler who is developmentally capable of sleeping through the night but who wakes up every two hours is probably not getting the prolonged periods of deep sleep she needs for long-term growth and health, even if mom and dad aren’t bothered by it. Pediatricians certainly need to know whether a child is sleeping enough, and if not, they have access to ACCURATE information on sleep training methods and their long term effects (hint: it’s quite different than what the anti-CIO people claim). I found my pediatrician’s advice on nutrition and introducing new foods quite relevant to my son’s health.

            You keep describing these issues as non-medical, but they’re not solely parenting issues, either.

          • thepragmatist

            Yes, I take not sleeping through the night as a sign of trouble. My son has an ear infection AND croup. It started with him waking up screaming. He has been waking up in the middle of the night so much the last week that our sleep schedule is totally off! Totalyy consider that an issue.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            No one is telling you to circumcise, it is people telling people that circumcision is evil that are the problem. Did you tell him she was not sleeping through the night and it was a problem?

          • kmsmith

            nope not at all. He is the one that asked and then commented.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            “how is it a doctors place to tell me that I should let my child cry it
            out just because shes 9 mo and doesn’t sleep through the night.”

            It isn’t, but it IS your doctor’s place to tell you that the stuff you’ve read claiming that CIO causes brain damage or any lasting negative impact of any kind is simply fabricated by those who want to claim that science justifies their choices.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Pediatricians are qualified to speak on issues like what expectations are developmentally appropriate and comment on why, for example, the Pearls’ book is dangerous nonsense. They’re also qualified to answer questions like when is it appropriate to start introducing solid foods and which foods are most likely to work well for a baby transitioning from milk only. They might also be helpful on questions such as “my child cried all last night-is this normal?” or “my 18 month old eats nothing but rice cereal-will his nutrition suffer?”

          OBs and pediatricians are knowledgeable about issues like whether you can really provide adequate vitamin K from breast feeding along (you can’t) and when the risks of breast feeding outweigh the benefits and vice versa.

          OTOH, if you’ve got a pediatrician who is micromanaging your care of your child, i.e. telling you you MUST feed on a schedule or MUST introduce bananas before cheerios or something similar, consider looking into another pediatrician. No profession is without its busy bodies.

        • Burgundy

          My daughters’ pediatrician gave me great advice on how to introduce foods and how to discipline kids (time out corner and not over a minute when under 2 etc). Like other areas of experts, there are good one and there are bad one. If you are not happy with your pediatrician, you need to find one that works for you.

          • kmsmith

            that is great for you! you probably sought the advice of people on such issues like I have. If parents seek the advice of such people then great but to be pressured into doing so is when I think MD’s need to butt out. hence my point MD’s are licensed for medicine not parenting.

    • cwill

      Is Dr. Amy giving out parenting advice or claiming to be an expert? What are Tracy Cassel’s qualifications?

      • kmsmith

        I am by no means agreeing or siding with Tracy. I am simply asking a question on the qualifications of doctors for parenting advice. and isn’t Amy commenting on parenting here: Tracy, you start with the assumption that your choices are “educated” and based on “research,” but in reality they are not. Many people who are ACTUALLY educated (that is they have advanced degrees in science, medicine, psychology, statistics, etc.) do not agree with your assessment of current research.

        The sad fact is that “natural” parenting types live in an “alternate world of internal legitimacy” just like creationists and climate deniers do. Those people also consider themselves “educated” and believe they’ve done “research” but because they’ve only done so within the echo chamber of the natural parenting community, which has “journals,” conferences and “credentials” that aren’t recognized by anyone outside the community, they generally have no idea that most of what they fervently believe is factually false.
        I choose to live what some people would call a more natural life but does that mean i’m uneducated? My daughter is healthy, happy, developmentally advanced. What am I doing wrong?

        • Burgundy

          You are not doing anything wrong. the fact you are not pushing your way of life on everyone and/or judge and look down on people who chose a different way for you means you are a great person who have great kids. My question is why are you so hard on yourself?

          • kmsmith

            I don’t believe I’m doing anything wrong but I thoroughly disagree with Amy stating that the more natural parenting choices are uneducated. I have done extensive extensive research on both sides of the fence and went to school for many many years. So isn’t she being the “asshole” per se for judging natural parenting since it is not “mainstream.” This goes back to my point of Amy doesn’t want sanctimommy’s to judge but isn’t she doing just that by saying natural parenting is uneducated?

          • Amazed

            She isn’t saying anything like that. Mainstream doesn’t exclude “natural”, although maybe it doesn’t exalt it to the heights some ‘natural’ parents would have liked.

          • kmsmith

            “The sad fact is that “natural” parenting types live in an “alternate world of internal legitimacy” just like creationists and climate deniers do. Those people also consider themselves “educated” and believe they’ve done “research” but because they’ve only done so within the echo chamber of the natural parenting community, which has “journals,” conferences and “credentials” that aren’t recognized by anyone outside the community, they generally have no idea that most of what they fervently believe is factually false.”
            So i’m uneducated, compared to creationists, and ignorant for only researching and believing those results that parallel my parenting style when in fact I’ve done extensive research on both sides of the fence and came to a conclusive decision to parent the way I do; but yet I’m yet I’m judged… Isn’t this the definition of oxy moron? Sanctimommy’s are bad for judging yet she judges natural parenting. I’m confused…

          • Amazed

            She put “natural” in quotes, meaning that these people are not the real natural type. “Natural” type tend to be quite hysterical and think that everyone is out to get them. And frankly, by what I see here, you’re almost towing the line. Really, the pediatrician is bothered that your child is not getting enough sleep and your reaction is “my child is healthy, how DARE you think you know better than me, you’re judging me…” You say you’re open for discussion but I don’t really see it. You seem to be the person that is open for discussion only when THEY are bothered with something. Your child’s PEDIATRICIAN isn’t allowed to voice any concern that has not been approved by you? For real? I don’t know what your edication is but I wonder why you bother with pediatricians at all when it seems you know best. No, scratch that. When you’re the only one who can possibly know, period.

          • kmsmith

            I don’t quite know where you got that I am the paranoid type. I just don’t appreciate being judged and as for my original post I question what authority do OB’s and ped’s have to give parenting advice, judge my parenting choices, or scold me for not following their path. I am far from knowing it all which is why I read a lot on issues and do not choose just one side to read about. As I have stated I am open for discussion.

          • PJ

            Nobody knows or cares what your parenting choices are. The problem is with people who promote their choices as better than other people’s, when the science doesn’t support that.

          • kmsmith

            I’ve never said my parenting style is better; but I have been told by numerous people that my parenting style is not supported by science (science of which they chose to stand by despite there being science on the other side too) and therefore I am harming my child. There is research to both sides here and just because I choose to be on one side doesn’t make me uneducated or wrong.

          • Burgundy

            Would you mine to elaborate more on your parenting style? I am really curious about your definition of “nature” parenting and how is differ from Tracy’s.

          • kmsmith

            I don’t know Tracy’s parenting style. I choose to breastfeed, babywear, co-sleep (not bed-share there is a difference), gentle discipline, baby led-wean, intact. Let me be clear though I do not judge or speak against those who formula feed, circumcise, etc.

          • Burgundy

            I did breastfeeding and combined with formula feeding; babywear (until the baby was over 15 lbs then I chose my back over the baby), both kids slept in our room until they were 6 months old then we wheeled the crib back to their rooms; my 15 months old daughter refused being spoon fed since she was 7 months old and eating solid by herself since then. I guesses that I practiced some degrees of nature parenting too. However, I was not offended by Dr. Amy’s common at all. I did not feel she pass down any judgement. So I really don’t know what to say at this point.

          • kmsmith

            That is great for you. I did however feel it was passing judgment which ironically was what she was saying sanctimommy’s shouldn’t do. Who knows maybe I’m just more sensitive to the topic since I feel I’ve had to justify over and over to many MD’s and other people my parenting choices on breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping (not bed-sharing), baby led-weaning and not CIO, gentle discipline etc that when I feel judgment is being passed I get defensive. I don’t believe in mommy competition, I don’t agree with mommy wars, I don’t think MD’s are the end all of knowledge. I feel unless there is child abuse happening that mothers should be supported in whatever decision they choose and provided ample sufficient information or research so that they are the best equipped to make such decisions.

          • Burgundy

            I am sorry that you had bad experiences in MDs. I had 2 different Pediatricians (switching due to moving to a different city) and both of them did not have problems with me doing what I did. They even gave me some great tips on led-weaning. I am glad that you now find one that works for you. As for other people, don’t let their opinion gets you. Don’t get defensive, just have some funny comebacks in hands. They don’t know your situation, they may not passing judgment, just passing conversation/information.

          • KarenJJ

            A lot of people have opinions about choices parents make for their babies. Most of us are muddling through trying to get to know their child and work out what works best for their family.

            The correct response to the busybodies is not “well SCIENCE will back me up”, it is “sod off”. Or maybe say it a little more politely if it’s your inlaws or someone you have to get along with.

            Fair enough for medical providers to bring up potential issues such as SIDS, breast cancer reduction or whatever other medical benefits/risks there might be in individual choices, but they can’t force your hand. It is still your choice.

          • Sue

            As a medical practitioner myself, I agree that doctors are not ”the end of all knowledge” but I also don’t understand why a healthy child needs a paediatrician at all (other than for vaccinations).

            The only reason a paediatrician (or more commonly a GP in AUstralia, or even an ED doc) would give advice about feeding, parenting or sleeping would be if you asked them for advice about these issues. If you consult someone about a problem, they will try to help you with a solution. If you don’t want their advice, don’t ask.

            I didn’t consult doctors about feeding or sleeping issues – I got my advice from early childhood nurses. For many of these things, like we keep saying, there is no definitive ”science” – just a range of tricks that work.

            My impression is that kmsmith is not confident about her choices, and is wanting them validated by science or health care professionals, when they are just choices. There is not ”science on both sides”. Parenting does’t have two sides – it is multidimensional. The type of parenting that actually does harm is extreme abuse and neglect. Other than that, just about everything works out.

          • KarenJJ

            So did most of us here, if our babies were happy with these choices and it suited our lifestyle. It’s not the individual choices that are the problem, it is trying to “prove” that your choices are better then other parenting choices based on science, not because they are the options that work best for you and your child.

            Science has very little to say about the long term outcomes of different parenting choices and where there are some small positives (like breastfeeding, for example), the actual choice between formula feeding and breastfeeding is really not one that will make a huge difference for an individual child, especially if it’s affecting mum’s mental health.

          • PJ

            If they said you are harming your child for attachment parenting or breastfeeding or having a natural birth or whatever (and nobody here has said that), then they don’t understand the science either. The point is that neither is really better.

          • Amazed

            You can state you’re open for discussion all you like, I have yet to see a post of yours showing it. All I see is “I am educated, I am making choices, bad pediatricians want to take my choices away, how dare they insinuate that I am not doing something right, I am paying them to confirm that my daughter is fine and treat her when she isn’t…” Most pediatricians see themselves as providers of sound medical adivice and yes, sometimes that includes some changes in parental lifestyle. I, for one, am immensely happy that some 30 years ago, the pediatrician recommended a change in lifestyle to avoid rachitis for which there were some very mild indications. I am very happy I never got to consider whether the change in my mom’s lifestyle and living conditions might have made a difference.

          • kmsmith

            I’m still here discussing aren’t I? and I have never once judged or bashed anyone… I’ve never said “bad pediatrician” I’ve never said they should confirm what I’m doing. I do not need my pediatrician to validate my choices.

          • Amazed

            But why are you here at all? I don’t understand. It seems to me that you came here only to complain that Dr Amy has found you “uneducated”. What she said is that current research don’t support Tracy’s claims that her way is the best way, the only way and so on and people who are educated to conduct said research think so. Nowhere did she say anything about parenting choices.

            You claim you’re educated but it certainly looks to me that you KNOW you’ve only read some articles, some books maybe. And that you know your own child. It certainly looks to me that you know your “education” on children’s health and development is not on par with that of MDs, that’s why you’re hysterically trying to denigrade them by explaining that they meddle into your affairs and proclaim themselves parenting experts. They are not and Dr Amy doesn’t claim they are. They are health experts, though, as much as that hurts your pride. And sometimes, doing their duty means giving some advice to parents when none was asked for.

          • wookie230

            Have you not judged Dr. Amy? I do believe that you are nailing her with sanctimonious, judgemental behavior…when she has really not placed any real judgement on ANY parental practices.

            I’m not sure why you’re offended. What Dr. Amy has done, is state that claiming one’s parental practices are solidified and PROVEN by REAL SCIENCE, when in fact THEY ARE NOT, is the PROBLEM.

            How many different ways have other individuals spelled this out for you in this discussion, and you STILL don’t seem to grasp this?

            What you’re doing, is kicking a dead horse. Are you deliberately trying to miss the point? Because for all of your self-proclaimed education, and “extensive research on both sides”, the message fails to sink in. You insist that this is about not tolerating judgemental behavior…NO ONE WAS JUDGING YOU. What is being judged precisely, has been spelled out to you about 60 different ways on here, and yet it’s like you’re insisting that someone is JUDGING YOU. I promise you that this isn’t about YOU, or how anyone chooses to parent.

            Good grief, why can you not see this? And please, spare us the quote (for the 3rd or 4th time…I’m beginning to lose track) from the above blog entry that you’re using to prove to the rest of us that you’re being JUDGED. Again, you are not.

            The fact that you continue to argue what has been explained, and reexplained, and broken down to you from the folks on here, either means that you don’t get it, or you don’t want to get it, and that you probably were spanked, allowed to CIO, and spent too many hours physically away from your mother’s body to get it. Of course I’m kidding. Kind of.

          • wookie130

            Oh, that last part was snarky. For those of you that “gentle parent”, please forgive that last little jab.

            I don’t care what you do parentally, as long as it’s safe, works for your family, and isn’t cruelty or neglect.

          • KarenJJ

            It’s like kmsmith is spoiling for a fight over “natural” vs “mainstream”, except she’s not getting one because that’s not what we’re discussing.

            I think it happens a bit in here. People get an idea of what Dr Amy and her minions are like from the “natural” echo chambers on the internet and come here, guns blazing, to try and shoot us down. The longer the discussion runs for the more frustrated they get because:

            a) we don’t care about what their individual choices are
            b) we don’t care how smart they are but whether they have some interesting and good points to discuss.
            After that they find there’s very little to discuss with us.

            We’re a lot friendlier and have a lot more in common with these types of mums then they like to think.
            Except when they’re just slanderous like our little troll further down.

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

            She is not judging the natural parenting itself; she is condemning the idea that a certain brand of parenting is deemed superior by people who claim to be “educated.” The term “educated” seems to me to be a euphemism for better. That stance implies that people who do not parent that way are uneducated and dumb, if not selfish and lazy.

          • Burgundy

            Correct me if I am wrong. I thought the “nature” parenting she mentioned was the type that anti-vaccination and refused medications even when necessary.

          • kmsmith

            she also commented on breastfeeding, formula feeding and circumcision in the original article by Tracy.

          • PJ

            You should read some more articles here. There are good ones on the science behind the breastfeeding/formula debate and circumcision.

          • kmsmith

            I have; thank you for the suggestion.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Not main stream? I found something that you are doing wrong, ignoring reality.

          • kmsmith

            What am I ignoring here?

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            That natural parenting is main stream.

          • PJ

            Well, I have no idea what things you have researched or believe in, but if you believe (as many ‘natural’ parents do), for example, that giving birth vaginally without drugs is better for babies, that organic food is healthier, that vaccines are dangerous, that attachment parenting has any science behind it or that breastfeeding is substantially better than formula then you ARE uneducated about those subjects.

          • kmsmith

            WOW just wow. You my friend have just proven that there are sanctimommy’s on both side of the fence; parenting or not… At least you are up front about your judgments. You ARE the mommy wars and mommy competition. I do not believe in all of those things you mentioned above but I thank you for calling me uneducated nonetheless. It is people like you that make me strive to teach my children to be open-minded and not be condescending or judgmental. There is absolutely no need for it.

          • PJ

            Nope, I’m saying the evidence doesn’t support those claims. I’m sorry if that personally offends you, but that is what the science says, and if you believe otherwise then you don’t understand the science. I really couldn’t care less what choices parents (including you) make because either way none of those choices make any difference in the long run.

          • kmsmith

            Did you know there’s science on both sides? I am not judging you for vaccinating, formula feeding, crying it out etc. But for as many research studies proving your side there are probably just as many that say breastfeeding and not crying it out are just as good. That my friend is the point. Just because you chose a side of research does not mean the other side is uneducated.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Why would you judge anyone for vaccinating? It is the responsible thing to do as a parent and is the only choice with evidence to back it up. Breastfeeding is good, it is just not some special gold standard amazing thing that solves all life’s problems. I do not think there are any real studies that show any evidence against CIO if it is practiced properly.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No, there isn’t “science” on both sides of the vaccination issue, and there isn’t science on both sides of the breastfeeding issue. Science is the sum total of the combined findings of the scientific literature, and the fact that a minority of studies disagree with the majority does not mean that those studies are “science.”

          • kmsmith

            I applaud you for discounting studies that are considered the “minority” that are done at very prestigious schools as not “science”… very reputable doctor

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Clearly you don’t understand what science is.

            Like I said above, science is the sum total of the scientific literature on a particular subject. Obviously you don’t know this, but even on well established scientific facts there are papers that disagree, but that does not make them equally valid.

            And we haven’t even addressed the issue that there are “pay to publish” journals that will publish just about anything you pay for them to publish.

          • kmsmith

            I appreciate the judgment without you even knowing my educational background. It just further proves how oxy moronic you are with your judgments on me yet not wanting the sanctimommy’s to judge others… Well said Amy.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            It does not matter what your educational background is if you do not understand the subject. Other than maybe you might want to seek legal redress if it was in that subject.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            It does not matter who does them or where they are done. I am a scientists and I know how often findings you think are breakthrough are obviously evidence of an experiment gone wrong because they cannot be duplicated and lead no where. They are still part of the body of research, they just are not evidence of anything.

          • Clarissa Darling

            I just hate when the media hypes the latest xxx study without any discussion of the study’s quality or what it actually means when compared with other research being done in the field. According to them every study that goes against the current consensus is a breakthrough that totally changes everything we thought we knew! This is a great way to grab headlines but, a terrible way to educate people about science. I’m not even a scientist and it’s still a huge pet peeve of mine. If I complete a financial report at work and the numbers are way off from what I’d expected my first inclination is always to double check my calculations, not to call up the CEO (as if I could) and say everything we previously thought about the company’s performance is out the window.

          • thepragmatist

            I like this, Amy. “Science is the SUM TOTAL of combined findings…”

            To me this means exactly the opposite of what PP said: there really are no “sides” in science, at all. There are findings. There are relevant risks and benefits. There are measurable outcomes based on the strength of the study in question. But “sides”? Taking sides is a social construct; science is as blinded as we can make it. Or should be. It is not entirely true, as bias exists in science, but the reasons the scientific method is so rigorous is precisely to weed out what is conjecture and bias from what is *most likely*.

            One of my favourite college professors used to say, all the time, any scientist of worth will tell you that nothing is impossible, because there is always a 0.0000000005% chance something may not be as it seems. This is the strength of science, but also a weakness when the scientific community cannot, due to methodology and scientific principles, declare something as 100% safe. We see that when vaccine researchers will not declare their products 100% safe and antivaxxers pounce on this and inflate the risks.

            There is no such thing as absolute “safety” in science. There is “really not safe”, “not safe but relatively rare”, “kind of safe”, “mostly safe”, “we don’t know for sure”, “sort of safe if you do it right”, “relatively safe as compared to some other thing”, or “really quite safe except if you are hit by a meteor”. I’ve tried to explain this many times to antivaxxers: there is no such thing as 100% safe. Science reflects the body of knowledge we have gathered to this moment with as much bias and confounders as possible controlled for in the results. Sometimes this makes the material difficult to analyze.

          • Young CC Prof

            Wow, this is one of the best introductions to Baysian statistics I’ve ever seen. I’m totally going to write a textbook just so I can plagiarize it.

          • PJ

            It has nothing to do with what I choose. It has to do with what the science says, and if you really think (for example) that there is good science behind not vaccinating, then you are woefully, woefully uneducated about science and how to tell what is valid research and what isn’t. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings but it’s the truth.

            Science is the most humbling subject. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know–and incredibly difficult it is for a layperson to assess scientific research.

          • PJ

            By the way, I find it curious that you assume I formula feed and use crying it out (vaccinating I will proudly admit to, because that one that actually matters).

          • kmsmith

            I apologize, it was not meant as an assumption. That was my error. The “you” in “I am not judging ‘you’ for…” was meant for those that choose to do that. I apologize again because it was not an assumption that You do that.

          • PJ

            I appreciate the goodwill, and it’s nice of you to apologise, but I’m not personally offended if you think I formula feed or use crying it out. After all, there’s nothing wrong with those things. It just reminded me of another occasion when some people assumed that the only way I could possibly support the use of painkillers in childbirth was if I was personally wounded by my own failure to have a natural childbirth (which, let’s just say, is a looong way from the truth). I found their desire to pathologise my own personal feelings, rather than look objectively at the facts, to be curious.

          • kmsmith

            I agree there is nothing wrong with formula. I do disagree with CIO but if a parent chooses that that is their choice and their child. I will not pass judgment on that or scold them in any way; it is just not what we have chosen for our children. and I do agree with you on the childbirth. I had my child in a hospital, I refused Pitocin but did get an epidural and as much as I didn’t want a C-section ended up having to have an emergency one. I do not feel less of a mother and I feel I tried my best during child birth but the health my daughter and I far outweighed any idealic opinion I might have on having a vaginal delivery.

          • thepragmatist

            You do realize that had you perhaps allowed your doctors to give you Pitocin, you very may have avoided an emergency c-section, which carries far greater risks to you than Pitocin. It is fact. Curious as to this phenomena and why women do not seem to understand why Pitocin is applied during labour. If your doc was trying to induce a stalled labour so you could deliver vaginally, he or she was trying to save you the unnecessary risks of c-section if the pitocin had done the job. Chances are you may have escaped without the c-section. I just don’t get this part at all! I’d hedge my bets with pitocin before moving to emergency c-section, is all. And I had a maternally-requested c-section, myself, so am not anti-section, I just don’t understand the blindspot there. Emergency c-section is, as far as I know (and I am quoting the NICE guidelines here and also Dr. Murphy’s work) the most dangerous mode of delivery.

            That said, I can see choosing an early c-section if labour is not progressing in order to save baby’s potential brain function, so I guess it’s a wash.

            But mostly, I just don’t see the logic behind some of these arguments.

          • Bethany Barry

            There are certainly issues on which there is not scientific consensus. “Sleep training” is one of those areas, though the vast majority of experts in pediatric sleep do not feel the CIO poses any significant threat to the health of children. Vaccination, on the other hand, is only controversial to those with a very fuzzy understanding of what science is. If by “science on both sides” you mean there are people in the scientific community trying very hard to prove a connection between vaccines and variety of diseases and syndromes and no-good-very-bad-things, that is certainly so. But the beliefs of a scientist do not science make. And the science has shown, again and again, that vaccinations have incredibly low risks and great benefits, and have nothing whatsoever to do with autism. To speak to your main point here, which you keep repeating: People who practice so-called “natural” parenting are not inherently “uneducated.” Obviously. But there are many people who promote “natural” parenting as superior for a number of reasons that simply aren’t true, or are based on a poor understanding of the science. And they promote natural parenting based on this twisting of the facts. They have chosen a side of the research that happens to be wrong, and it’s promotion happens to be harmful (in the case of homebirth and unvax). To declare someone who believes the falsehood in the face of the facts uneducated is practically a compliment. The alternatives are less respectful.

          • kmsmith

            agreed on the vax and I do not feel natural parenting as superior. if asked on my lifestyle I will promote but not condescend or judge

          • Sue

            For heaven’s sake, kmsmith! It’s claiming those choices are superior, and shown to be superior by science, that is uneducated – not the choices themselves.

          • KarenJJ

            Does reading a lot of advertising about vitamin supplements make someone “educated” about nutrition?

          • Sue

            Is kmsmith being deliberately obtuse?

            In this essay, Amy isn’t saying that baby-wearing and BFing are uneducated – she is saying that claiming these choices to be superior, or evidence-based is uneducated.

            Why can’t some people see the difference? It’s the whole point of this thread! Sigh.

        • cwill

          “My daughter is healthy, happy, developmentally advanced. What am I doing wrong?”

          Sounds like nothing.

          I live “naturally” too. I avoid CIO, I did baby-led weaning and EC. We eat whole foods, etc., etc., etc… But I don’t feel bad for kids whose parents felt CIO or formula or fast food or diapers until 4 was the best option. I know parents who did that and their kids are healthy, happy and developmentally advanced too. You know?

          And that’s the thing. Dr. Amy isn’t telling anybody what to do or telling anyone they’re “doing it wrong”. Well, she -is- telling people to chill out and not be an asshole about parenting choices. That’s all I read into the post.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I am not sure what developmentally advanced even means. All three of my children have IQs over 130, but only one is truly gifted. The pediatrician was the one that knew she was very special, not me.

            Developmental milestones are a continuum, a child is not advanced because they hit milestones early. Hitting them way outside the range of normal might be a sign that they are advanced or having developmental problems.

            Although my daughter did hit most of her milestones way outside the range of normal, not walking, that is not even why the pediatrician thought she was advanced. It was because she found waldo on a poster when she was 16 months old and then she asked me about her attention span which was extremely outside the range of normal for her age.

        • LibrarianSarah

          So long as you feed, clean, and vaccinate your kids and don’t abuse, or neglect them I don’t really care what you do and I don’t think Amy does either.

          • kmsmith

            then don’t judge my parenting style to be uneducated. she is being a walking oxymoron to slam those who are sanctimommy’s but then judge those as natural for uneducated…

          • Burgundy

            Since your problem is that you don’t like Amy using “Nature” (quotations included) as a satire describing someone like Tracy, give her some suggestions. I am an Asian and I don’t like those “Asian women can’t drive’ jokes but I don’t question my driving ability when I hear a joke like that.

          • kmsmith

            my problem is the judgment.

          • Burgundy

            The paragraph to me is a sarcasm form of “how Tracy writes her article”. How would that be a judgment on you or the parents who practice some degrees of nature parenting?

          • Guest

            She’s not saying your parenting style is uneducated. She is saying it is uneducated to advocate that baby wearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping are empirically the best parenting methods. And because that method is successful for you does not create a moral obligation to inform the rest of the world about it, or to think that your method would be the best for everyone. I am a breastfeeding, baby wearing, organic-eating, co-sleeping stay at home mother and I think Dr. Amy is spot on. This is what worked for my family. It was best for us. It is not empirically better than other choices.

          • LibrarianSarah

            She didn’t judge your parenting style or the individual choices that you made as uneducated. She is saying that holding up those choices as the be all end all of parenting is uneducated. I’ve been reading for a while and Doctor Amy’s parenting advice has always been as long as you don’t abuse or neglect (including medical neglect) your children you are probably doing fine.

            What she calls rails against is medical neglect such as not vaccinating or getting appropriate care during childbirth, and mothers holding up their choices as the ideal.

          • Antigonos CNM

            Nor does it matter much in the long run. We’ve all seen kids from really good homes go off the rails, and children from appalling situations become happy and successful adults. Over-analyzation has become the bete noir of the 20th [and now 21st] century. I strongly doubt that any parents, before the science of psychology became prominent, ever doubted his or her parenting skills. It was a non-question.

          • KarenJJ

            I feel it’s a bit like watching a bunch of elite swimmers arguing over the specifics of swimming in a special fabric, versus shaving, versus swim caps etc etc to shave nanoseconds off of a swim time. ie – largely irrelevant to the vast majority of the population who hop into the water for a fun time and some exercise and completely irrelevant to people that don’t swim or don’t have access to safe swimming areas.

          • Young CC Prof

            Parents doubted their ability to keep children alive. If they managed to raise them to the age of 20, of sound body and with some semblance of discipline, that was considered job well done.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Well, are you running around judging other people’s choices that are different than your own? Are you doing everything the most difficult way so that you can claim you are the martyr mother of the year and everyone else sucks? If not, I do not think this post is about you.

        • meglo91

          I don’t think Dr. Amy ever actually said that you were doing something wrong. She was talking about the natural parenting types who insist loudly to others that they too must practice natural parenting or else risk damaging their kids forever. If you aren’t doing that, then good for you. I’m sure whatever you’re doing with your daughter is working just fine.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I didn’t say they were parenting experts. I said they were medical experts and their knowledge of childbirth and breastfeeding generally far outstrips activists. Plus, more than 50% are women, most with children of their own.

      • kmsmith

        So because I have a child and/or an MD I’m a parenting expert? You say you dislike sanctimommy’s judging but you did just that in saying natural parents are uneducated.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          No, I said that natural parents who claim that “science” supports the benefits of their choices and the harms of the choices of women who parent different are uneducated. They don’t know what the science really shows.

          You can do anything you want (that’s not outright child abuse) to your child and you have every right to do it. Start claiming that what you are doing is supported by “science” when it’s not, and I will tell you that you are uneducated.

  • guestk

    OT-http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/childbirth-u
    I would donate money to make this not happen.

    • GuestK

      http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/childbirth-u

      Don’t know why the link didn’t show up, but Henci Goer is trying to get people to fund her website.

    • More of the same. How about throwing resources at something useful, like an alternative to all the NCB tripe that is out there? What about an alternate idiegogo that speaks more for our side – you know the side of science…

      • I can think of a few places where serious resources are needed – better understanding post-natal depression and PTSD, better support for loss parents, better information for mothers that isn’t smacking of bias and judgement, better recourse for when real rights are violated….

        • Oh and an Anti-BOBB….

  • yentavegan

    I incorporate the facts I have learned on this blog into my LLL meetings. I realize what a steaming pile of excrement I must have sounded like for the past 15 years compared to the nuanced balanced voice I now use when offering a forum for mothers to work out their breastfeeding/parenting quandaries.I say this without any irony, Thank You Dr. Amy for making me less of an asshole.

    • kumquatwriter

      Yentavegan, your humility and pride in learning amaze me every time you post! What a magnificent example 🙂

    • Lisa from NY

      Ironically, I am now the #1 A*Hole on other sites.

      I talk about the dangers of Homebirth, and I get insulted right and left. They say I don’t know what I’m talking about, and I have no right to enter into discussions that I know nothing about.

      I know what happened to my neighbor, and I am proud to be an A*Hole.

      • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

        Keep on with the assholery! I believe we’re planting little seeds that can grow into people becoming more skeptical of the fairy rainbow land of perfectly safe births.

  • anh

    I was going to send you this article! I was SO hoping you’d comment on it.

    What I don’t understand is why these twits don’t realize that someone can have all the resources and “information” at hand and still make an educated and informed decision to formula feed/sleep train/what have you.

    do they also not understand that it’s intellectually dishonest to “educate” people by sharing lies and half-truths to further your agenda

    • Bethany

      The thing is, we “twits” DO realize that someone can have all the resources and information and make an educated and informed decision to formula feed/sleep train/what have you.

      Sadly, however, a large majority of families DON’T have the information and resources (and I don’t mean “our way”, I mean *any* information and resources). They do what they see done, and don’t know the risks, benefits, etc.

      I congratulate parents who research and choose to formula feed. I think that’s great. I applaud parents who research and sleep train. Marvelous!

      But too often, moms and dads aren’t given ANY information. Practitioners like Dr. Amy just tell them the way it should be and expect they will do it. They fear a spread of information and the possibility that someone might think for themselves.

      • Amy M

        Why do you think this? I might agree that families that live in poverty, headed by parents who grew up in poverty, or teen parents, parents who have no access to health care (and therefore no pediatricians to tell them anything, let alone “the way it should be”) have no information or resources and may not know the risks of what they do. Those are the populations where we see the most infant morbidity and mortality, I’m going to guess that would extend to childhood morbidity and mortality as well, and certainly child hunger.

        Middle and upper class parents do not tend to have these issues as often, as they have access to education and medical care, etc.

      • Burgundy

        But what you said was not the issue that Dr. Amy addressed in the article. It was a good thing that you accepted others made different decisions from you. However, Tracy basically bragged that her way was the “educated way” and chastised the whom that were not on the same page as hers.

      • Allie P

        Do you really think there’s a cavalcade of doctors out there telling their patients not to breastfeed? Did you fall into a time warp through to the 1950s? When doctors tell you “the way it should be” they are telling you best practices to keep you healthy. There’s a LOT of wiggle room in there. Sleep in a crib in their room, sleep in a bassinet in your room, sleep in the swing plugged in next to the bed… breastfeed if you can’t don’t make yourself crazy if you can’t or don’t want to. Sure, go ahead and try for a pain med free birth but for God’s sake understand that a hospital is a safer place to do that.

      • PJ

        But things like formula feeding and methods of sleep training are basically unimportant as far as parenting decisions go. It’s ridiculous that anyone cares about another parent’s decisions on these matters and not, say, the importance of access to quality early childhood education or the vulnerability to poverty faced by children of single mothers–things that actually matter to children. It just reminds me of all these middle class, white NCB advocates who seem to think the problem of maternal mortality in the US is a problem that is to do with THEM.

      • Mrs Dennis

        Your attitude is incredibly insulting; why the hell should anyone have to do ANY ‘research’ (hate the way this word is bandied about by sanctimommies and sanctidaddies everywhere) in order to win your approbation? Who are these poor ignorant people that are such easy pfey to ebil doctors? Do you include yourself in that group? No, of course not; YOU have got research pouring out of every orifice. So you are in a position to pity the ignorant hordes and thrust your ideas of research upon them. Most people are more than happy to do what seems sensible to them at any given time, with no need for amateur research or faux education. Mind your own business!

        • Mrs Dennis

          Waddyamean it’s not spelled pfey? Go and edumacate yoursewf.

        • KarenJJ

          And generally there’s a lot worse advice they could be following then their doctors. Edumacated numpties on the internet for starters.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Here’s the comment that I left on her website:

    “Tracy, you start with the assumption that your choices are “educated” and based on “research,” but in reality they are not. Many people who are ACTUALLY educated (that is they have advanced degrees in science, medicine, psychology, statistics, etc.) do not agree with your assessment of current research.

    The sad fact is that “natural” parenting types live in an “alternate world of internal legitimacy” just like creationists and climate deniers do. Those people also consider themselves “educated” and believe they’ve done “research” but because they’ve only done so within the echo chamber of the natural parenting community, which has “journals,” conferences and “credentials” that aren’t recognized by anyone outside the community, they generally have no idea that most of what they fervently believe is factually false.

    I dare say that if you knew what people with PhDs, and MDs know, you would not have made the choices that you did, and you certainly would not be claiming the superiority of your choices.

    The ultimate irony is that you, who are not educated and have not done research, are chastising women who make different choices even when those women have far more education and familiarity with the research literature than you do.”

    • Esther

      Um…Amy? The problem is that Tracy really does have a PhD (or is a PhD candidate, don’t remember) in a relevant discipline. Which makes her (and her new BFF Darcia Narvaez, and Mayim Bialik, to name a few more) all the better at cherry-picking the research in pursuit of her agenda, and lending it faux credibility.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        How is Mayim Bialik’s PhD in neurobiology relevant to any of her parenting crap?

        IIRC, she was investigating neurological pathways in the hypothalumus in a rare obesity disorder. All great stuff, but not in the least relevant. No more relevant than my PhD. I just don’t go around pretending my PhD makes me better than everyone else in areas where it doesn’t apply (in areas where it does apply, OTOH, I AM better than pretty much everyone else).

        • Esther

          Most people don’t know exactly what Bialik’s exact topic of expertise is. When a PhD in neurobiology rants on about the supposed horrible brain damage caused by CIO or whatnot, people are prone to believing her.

          As for Tracy, her bio is as such: “Tracy Cassels is the primary writer for Evolutionary Parenting. She
          obtained her B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of
          California, Berkeley, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University
          of British Columbia, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in
          Developmental Psychology, also at the University of British Columbia,
          where she is studying how certain evolutionary factors affect children’s
          empathic behaviour.”, which, despite her obvious agenda and tendency to badly cherry-pick the research necessary to support it, is, in fact, a relevant discipline.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            It is not relevant to childbirth or breastfeeding choices, however. She’d need to be an obstetrician or pediatrician for that.

          • Bethany

            Absolutely untrue. Neither my obstetrician nor pediatrician are well-versed in breastfeeding.

          • MichelleJo

            Is that because they don’t agree with your choices, so they must not know anything? When my OB told me to stop breastfeeding, lots of people would have said that he said so out of ignorance. Unfortunately, as I found out with time, he turned out to be absolutely right, and I wish I had listened from the start. And no, he doesn’t say that to everyone.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        Here’s my response to her reply:

        “You may know people who disagree with me, but you must certainly know that my positions are mainstream within the obstetric and scientific communities while yours are not.

        Since you are studying psychology, you may wish to do a bit of extra research on passive-aggressiveness. You wrote an incredibly obnoxious, self-aggrandizing piece demeaning women who make different choices than you do (as a variety of commentors have pointed out here and on other websites where your post is being discussed) and now you piously assert that you had no intention to hurt others.

        I was once told by a psychiatry professor that you should always pay attention to your gut reaction to people: if someone comes across as seeming like they are trying to make you feel bad, they are probably trying to make you feel bad.

        A lot of women have responded very negatively to your piece and perceive that you are trying to make them feel bad, even though you have approached it a very passive-aggressive way. You could learn from this experience, or you could put up a wall of denial to reject it — your choice.

        One thing is certain. You are not an expert in parenting choices; you lack the relevant education and training in medicine, obstetrics and pediatrics. Therefore, you have no business passing yourself off as someone who is “educated” and whose choices are the standard against which all other women must measure theirs.”

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    There are quite a few eloquent comments pointing out Tracy’s hypocrisy. To her credit, Tracy hasn’t deleted them (yet), but she appears to be utterly shocked that anyone could interpret her desire to “educate” mothers who make different choices as nothing but an attempt to assert superiority over women.

    It’s like my satire come to life:

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2012/05/i-am-so-not-judging-you.html

  • MaineJen

    Only now those of us who aren’t towing [sic] the line and continue to share information are viewed as the “bad guys”.

    It’s funny how some pieces of information need to be shouted from the rooftops (epidurals have major risks!! Formula is bad!! Baby nurseries interfere with bonding!!1!), and other pieces of information need to be hidden (MANA homebirth death rates? *cue the crickets chirping*)

  • hurricanewarningdc

    Takes an asshole to recognize an asshole. Good job, Tracy!

  • Durango

    One more reason to love having teenagers–sanctimommies like this seem to vanish. Maybe it’s because we’re not all crowded together at preschool and playgrounds anymore, but I can’t think of anyone who is still doing the sanctimommy schtick, thank goodness. Those women are exhausting and irritating as hell.

    • Esther

      Also,if you let most teens assess you parenting skills…you’ll rarely be seen by your own children as cool (especially when you’re denying them something they want, like an unlimited curfew). Nothing like teens to keep you humble 😉 .

      • Young CC Prof

        Yup. When your kids are little, you’re a genius who can do anything. Then they hit about 12, and suddenly you become a complete idiot. Then, as the years go by, gradually you become pretty smart again.

        • Antigonos CNM

          My father often told me that his father told him that his father [my great-grandfather, in other words] had been a really stupid man when he [grandfather] had been about 16, but had become very intelligent by the time Granddad had reached 19.

          Another of my father’s favorite dicta was the question “Why is every female born already 2500 years old but men never get any older than 18?”

          • sleuther

            He was paraphrasing a Mark Twain quote. 🙂

            “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain

        • Amazed

          I am told that when I was little, I frequently asked, “Who else’s mum works on Saturday? Only you do!” (Mum was a schoolteacher and by a strike of genius – not! – public schools worked on Saturdays when no other workplaces did. Want to have a family weekend away? Sorry, Mom and Dad, you either go alone or don’t go at all. Kid is at school). So, I was quite fond of the idea of having my mum around all the time, obviously.

          Fast-forward some ten years and what do you have? “What? You mean you and I will be home at the same time for the next 5 YEARS?” It was hell! I don’t delude myself into thinking that Mum enjoyed it more than I did. I was a sweet kid, I am told – easy-going, agreeable and happy to play outside, read on her own and play with the baby. I can testify that I was a less than stellar teen. Of course, it was all my mother’s fault for being an idiot and being… at home. It was like having a SAHM, only worse because I knew what freedom tasted like before it was cruelly taken away from me.

    • sleuther

      Durango – agreed (although my kids aren’t teens yet.) A lot of the faux-expertise seems to vanish into emptiness as the kids grow older and guess what, they’re not perfect despite the “perfect parenting” they supposedly benefited from. Oh well!

  • dramysworstnightmare

    and if we copied YOU “Dr” Amy, we’d all weigh a ton and need mobility scooters……

    • Jen

      What is your damage, Heather? Did your pre-k teacher just finish circle time and let you have a go at the computer?

      • dramysworstnightmare

        Whose heather?

        • AmyP

          It’s a grownup thing–you wouldn’t understand.

        • MaineJen

          * who’s

        • Burgundy

          English is not my first language (actually my 4th) and even I know how to properly phrasing a question. Really kid, give the toy back to your parents and go take a nap. Grown ups are talking here and kids should not interrupt. Learn some manners and join the conversations when you are matured.

      • Amazed

        Hey, don’t engage the troll. S/he isn’t worth it.

        I am still waiting for a funny caustic troll to show up. Sadly, the NCBer ones seems to have that side of their personality surgically removed.

        • dramysworstnightmare

          I lost my personality when “Dr” Amy tried to eat me….

          • kumquatwriter

            Bravo, dramysworstnightmare! You called a woman fat to denigrate her! How deliciously clever and original! I’m sure she will be reeling from that barb all day! Truly you are a nightmare to contend with…

        • Karen in SC

          Yes, they never have any facts with citations. Heck, usually they don’t even try to state any facts.

          Notable exceptions: Claribel Rodriguez who claimed DNA can be changed by thinking, and Kelly with Eager Hands, who spouted off some stuff but never bothered to return with citations to back it up.

          • Amazed

            But they were not funny and/or caustic. They just looked pitiful. Claribel, especially. A young inspiring woman, indeed! Pity she deleted her account so her future clients missed their chance to take their fair share of her inspiration.

          • Dr Kitty

            Claribel wrote like someone in the middle of a manic episode, so I’m not sure we can really blame her for the weirdness.

            Kelly at least wrote in a fairly comprehensible way, but took her ball and went home as soon as people asked her to show data to prove her conclusions.

            You’re forgotting the person who shall not be named who felt his biggest acheivement was his SAT score, and that the decision to travel cross country with large amounts of frozen rice and beans rather than eat the food prepared by the relative he was staying with was totally sensible.

          • KarenJJ

            I wonder whether some NCB advocates that post on here get a bit of dutch courage into them before posting. It would explain a lot.

          • dramysworstnightmare

            You guys are so funny! Insulting me does not change the fact that “Dr” Amy is a FATTIE. I trust fat doctors about as much as I trust a convicted lawyer or a drug dealing cop. I don’t need to provide any factual evidence……look at her picture!

          • Jessica Atchison

            Two questions. One, what about her picture tells you that Dr. Amy is fat? It’s a portrait, shoulders up. Therefore you really can’t make any assumptions about her body type. If you have a full body photo somewhere that you’re looking at I’m sorry but the photo associated with this blog is not sufficient for making that assumption. Two, what does ones body type have to do with one’s mental capacity? Why should the validity of someone’s research be based upon their BMI? Are you saying that only someone who has 2% body fat can be intelligent and/or have research backed opinions that matter?

          • Antigonos CNM

            What, in any case, does being well-padded have to do with competency in midwifery or medicine?

          • Bombshellrisa

            I will not start on how many well-padded CPMs I have seen.

          • Antigonos CNM

            I am one very avoirdupois-challenged CNM, myself. So obviously, one cannot equate IQ with BMI

          • Jessica Atchison

            Exactly my point. I work in Academia. Trust me when I say that a lot of very smart people are well padded.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Banned. I suspect it was just a teenage boy having a good time. I certainly hope it wasn’t a grown woman behaving like a fool.

          • itroll

            How can you ban a guest Dr Amy? aka FATTY MC FAT FAT

          • itroll

            I think McDonalds should ban you….

          • Burgundy

            Grown ups are talking here and kids should not interrupt. Learn some manners and join the conversations when you are matured.

          • Amazed

            Oh my, I hope you’re wrong. I cannot fathom that this is how a teenage boy should spend his spare time. In my days, teenage boys and girls tended to spend as little time seated as possible. We preferred to stay active. Not that surfing the net is a bad way to spend one’s time but really, between a birth blog and the chance to go out I know what sounds normal for a teen in my book.

          • KarenJj

            The term ” “Dr” Amy” was used. Makes me lean towards a grown woman being a fool.

          • Amazed

            You might be onto something, Karen!

          • Dr Kitty

            I post on here after a post-work glass of wine and I still manage not to be a complete asshole (most of the time).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Hey, being an asshole is one thing, but being a childish asshole is very different.

            Seriously, the poster’s comments literally reminded me of the old “fatty, fatty, 2×4, can’t get through the kitchen door” taunt that we used in, I think, 3rd grade. And I don’t think I have thought of it since then.

          • Karen in SC

            I did indeed forget that individual. 🙂

          • Bombshellrisa

            The famous SAT score. Didn’t Kelly brag about her 4.0? What is it with these people?

          • Burgundy

            Man, I liked Kelly with Eager Hands. She just made me laugh with all her crazy stuff. I was so looking forward to see her citations.

          • Bombshellrisa

            You can always get a dose of her on her Facebook page or blog. Anyway, didn’t she claim to have a “source with ACOG”? Maybe her source heard quoted Dr Amy from the conference to her!

    • KarenJJ

      Well, for an article about assholes, you’ve done a great job here dramysworstnightmare.

      • dramysworstnightmare

        I bet “Dr” Amy’s asshole looks like King Kong

        • Dr Kitty

          So, nothing of actual value to add to the discourse then.

        • Tim

          There you go folks, the “female empowerment” movement in action.

          • KarenJJ

            True. Far from being dramysworstnightmare she does a great job at illustrating the nasty and vacuous side of NCB. She sure convinced us with her sharp debating skillz.

          • dramysworstnightmare

            These are my views and my views only. I do not represent NCB. If “Dr” Amy wanted to do something for the world, she should go on a diet and preserve some of our natural resources

          • I don’t have a creative name

            Sure you do. You absolutely represent them. Nearly all the NCB folks who come here are nasty and have nothing to add to the conversation other than insults. Stupid insults, too – my 7 year old could easily come up with something far more clever than anything you’ve said.

            The few NCB folks who come here who aren’t nasty talk about all the studies that support their views, yet disappear when asked for those studies.

            Either way, you all come off as seeming less than intelligent. Keep talking, though – the more you talk, the more anyone reading can see that the NCB movement hasn’t a leg to stand on and that the best they can do is “You’re fat!” “You’re ugly!”

        • Burgundy

          How old are you? 5?

    • Bombshellrisa

      So disabled people can’t be astute, intelligent or credible?

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      So, you think breastfeeding causes mobility problems and obesity? Hmmm … that is a new one on me.

  • Dr Kitty

    I just can’t be bothered with the Sanctimommy stuff.
    I don’t give two hoots if some woman I don’t know thinks I’m a bad mother.
    I don’t know these people, I have no reason to value or respect their opinions, so I pretty much ignore them.

    • Antigonos CNM

      I look at my three adult children and KNOW I was a good mother by the way they’ve turned out. Oh, there are some things that, in hindsight, I might have done differently, but, you know, it ultimately didn’t matter.

    • sleuther

      My attitude is: Let’s all get together when the kids are 30 and have it out then, if we still care to. (I’ll bring the wine and a DVD of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in case we decide that’s the more interesting way to spend the evening.

  • CafeGirl

    OT, but I like this quote…
    “All I’m arguing for really is that we should have a conversation where the best ideas really thrive, where there’s no taboo against criticizing bad ideas, and where everyone who shows up, in order to get their ideas entertained, has to meet some obvious burdens of intellectual rigor and self-criticism and honesty—and when people fail to do that, we are free to stop listening to them.” ― Sam Harris

  • rh1985

    Ugh, I hate people like this so much. It could be worse, but I’m pissed enough that the hospital I have to deliver it has some kind of “baby friendly lite” thing where you can use the nursery but they will heavily try to talk you out of it first, same with breastfeeding/formula. Already planning on having a family member there to kick those people out and hopefully my OB can put something in mt chart…

    No, rooming in is not better for me, my child, or my family. Stop assuming every situation is the same.

  • Mel

    Tracy, you’ve given me a cashier flashback:

    I worked my way through college by cashiering at a grocery store chain. The store was good about working around my college schedule and I was fast, friendly and accurate. The only day I hated working was on Easter. On Easter, I would always have 5-7 sanctimonious ‘guests’ who would start to tell me how horrible it was that I had to work on Easter…..I should be home….or celebrating at church…… and all while unloading their fricking packed grocery cart. None of them ever saw the irony that the flipping store was open on Easter because people like them were willing to shop on Easter rather than planning ahead or waiting until the next day.

    Tracy’s spiel sounds a lot like the “working on Easter” racket. She gets points for trumpeting her uber-motherhood by heaping oversized pity on the rest of us.

    • Lynnie

      I remember that when I was a cashier and was in customer service at a different job. “Your boss is making you work holidays?!?” “Um, we are open because people whine when we aren’t.” Um, DUH!!!

      • KarenJJ

        This always did make me laugh a little (having worked similar jobs as a student), but also because my mum was a nurse and worked shifts. She often liked working on Christmas Day due to extra pay for working on Christmas Day and also due to the cheerful atmosphere at work. In fact now that she’s retired, she’ll still pop down to her old workplace and help out on Christmas Day. Lots of people are working on holidays. We used to just pick a day around that time when we could all get together for the day (at one stage we had three shiftworkers and I was living in a different state… tricky).

      • Amazed

        I regularly have clients pitying me because I take extra work in the weekends when it comes around. Usually, their pity doesn’t survive the news that I charge extra for the weekends. Um, could it be that it IS quite pitiful to work in the weekends so it translates into extra payment?

        I am not likely to forget the man who insisted, “But I told you on Friday that I’d send you the papers!” Not quite. You told me that you’s send them immediately. And by the way, it was THURSDAY.

    • I get your point, although there is a difference between sanctimony and making smalltalk to cheer up someone who’s stuck at work.
      At least I appreciated it when I worked retail in uni.

    • Felicitasz

      Whenever I am shopping in an outrageous time slot, I usually thank the cashier for being at work so we can get groceries. 10pm any day or late afternoon of December 31st, or the second day of Xmas, whatever, thank you for working. For me, this is the same category as my OB having done a C/S six years ago yesterday, at 11pm on a Saturday evening when she surely should have been in a theater but not an operating one.

      • Antigonos CNM

        Of course, if one is Jewish, it might just be preferable to work on what are Christian holidays, which often offer an enhanced wage. That’s what I did when studying midwifery — I was very happy to work every Sunday when some of the devoutly Christian staff wanted to be off duty. Here in Israel, at Passover and Yom Kippur, staffing is always a problem in holidays, even with 200% wage bonus — until the large immigration of non-religious Russian Jews, who actually requested the problematic shifts!

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Unless your family is like mine and celebrates both Jewish and Christian holidays.

        • Dr Kitty

          I have to admit I didn’t mind working Xmas day as a junior Dr- you’d already discharged most of the patients, and let everyone who was even remotely fit go home on day release, so you only had the truly sick people, and almost nobody goes to see a Dr on xmas day unless it is life or death. So it was generally a nice, quiet day where you tried to cheer up your few remaining chronic patients and ate a lot of chocolate.
          Most hospital rotas I worked on had a “share the pain” system- where instead of a normal 8 or 12 hr shift, the xmas shifts were divided into 2-4 hr blocks and everyone worked a little bit of the day (unless someone who didn’t celebrate xmas wanted to volunteer for the whole day)…junior Drs in the NHS don’t get overtime, so there was no extra pay for Xmas.

          It is different now I’m a parent though- I don’t have to work Xmas unless I want to, and I no longer want to because I want to spend the day with my child. If i was going to work any holiday shifts it would probably be New years Day or Xmas night as an out of Hours GP.

        • Felicitasz

          Indeed 🙂 I encountered the same thing in Canada, with Muslims and Hindus signing up for Christmas and Easter, thanks for recalling the memory.

    • Mel

      The funniest part for me was that I didn’t mind working on Easter. I’m Catholic so I could go to Easter Vigil the night before and still work Easter morning… albeit a bit tired if was it was the full length service. My family would make a nice dinner at a time that worked for all of our schedules and my store was good about matching my shifts up with my siblings.

      A few years earlier when I was a teenage bagger/utility worker, a group of us threw a fit when our bosses, in their finite wisdom, decided to deny the requests of our Muslim bagger co-workers to work inside during Ramadan – rather than have to fast while bringing in carts from the lot in 80 degree F heat with 90% humidity. Those of us who were on the same shift had talked it out and we didn’t need those two people on the lot. In fact, they rarely worked outside because they were really good at packing groceries. We were close to a stale-mate – the bosses weren’t budging and our bagger group wasn’t budging either – when I remembered the nuclear option. I mentioned to my boss that I had set up a meeting with my union delegate to talk about this situation along with the affected baggers. Suddenly, everything was great! We respect diverse religions!
      *Looking back, it’s ironic that a bunch of 16 year-old kids were able to outmaneuver adults with years of management experience.

    • LibrarianSarah

      That is one of the reasons I was glad that I worked my way through college at a sex shop. People don’t get sanctimonious when they are asking for recommendations for anal lube. Btw the answer is to just use regular lubricant, anal lube often has numbing effects.

  • Gretta

    Haha that last line made me snort my drink all over the screen.

  • Young CC Prof

    Well, some parenting choices aren’t choices. You can feed your baby breast milk, or one of the many products labeled “infant formula.” Other foods, including plain animal milk, are inferior. You can circumcise your newborn son, or not, just have it done in a safe and sterile manner. You can pierce your baby daughter’s ears, or not, as long as it’s done in a safe and sterile manner.

    Your baby can sleep in a crib, basket, even a car seat, but the kitchen table is not appropriate. You can respond to every cry, or you can concentrate on training your baby to self-soothe, but you do need to feed him when he’s really hungry. And you can vaccinate, or you can keep your kid in a bubble. (Sorry, no third choice there.)

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
    • MichelleJo

      “Well, some parenting choices aren’t choices. You can feed your baby
      breast milk, or one of the many products labeled “infant formula.”

      True story. Witnessed by my sister one month ago in the UK. The lady in the bed opposite her in the post-natal ward was confronted by a member of staff as she tried to *feed her newborn baby jarred carrots*. “But is says baby food on it!” she countered.

      I guess childbirth education might have been helpful in this case.

      • Young CC Prof

        Oh, lord, that sounds like something Amelia Bedelia would do. (Remember those books?)

      • Dr Kitty

        I have had to tell Irish people (usually grannies) not to put oatmeal or sweet milky tea in bottles.

        Almost all the Sanctimommies forget that there is a large part of the population living below the poverty line for whom Co-sleeping is their “choice”, not because they want to, but because they cannot afford a crib or the money to heat or light a nursery.

  • Amy M

    Well, I agree with the idea that people don’t always reach their decisions by choice. Many people who end up formula feeding wanted to breastfeed, for example, but really had no choice, either due to supply issues, working making it unfeasible, drug incompatibility or whatever. I don’t care what Cassels’ opinion about that is….those women had NO choice. Maybe they are fine with that, but there it stands.

    Also, and I mentioned this over the weekend, but it got buried, what is Cassels’ issue with mothers anyway? She seems like she wants to punish them. She (and her ilk) seem to think all mothers must do everything the hardest way possible, be very sleep deprived, and go to extremes with sacrifices. Not happy with your post-baby body? Oh well, you are a mother now, get used to it, Flabbo. Not happy, period? Breastfeed more. You are probably doing something wrong anyway, and your kids will be all messed up and need therapy for years. According to her, mothers must be child-centric, to the detriment of the mothers—the woman herself ceases to exist, apart from being the source of sustenance for the child. That is an awful, terrible thing to do to a woman. What happens to the woman who buys this hook, line and sinker, when the children are grown and gone? Especially if she ignored her marriage in the quest to Raise The Children The Right Way, like a Good Mother.

    • KarenJJ

      I agree that people don’t always make a decision that is a free choice, “all things being equal”, when they are most often not. Being judged on my choice to formula feed would have been unpleasant because I really wanted to breastfeed.

      “Why? Because in very few cases are these parenting “choices” actually choices and when we try to take these acts and turn them into 100% voluntary acts by every family, we ignore the problems that lead parents to make some of the so-called choices they do…”

      This swings the other way too. Many people choose vaginal birth, cosleeping and breastfeeding when they’d rather not because of how circumstances have gone. I almost had to choose to not vaccinate one of my children with the MMR.

      I’ve had people (especially older relatives) tell me that I’m a ‘good mother’ because my daughter never used a pacifier, was out of nappies during the day by 2yo and never ate baby food from jars. I pointed out each and every time that THIS WASN”T MY DECISION. I don’t know whether I was blessed with an overly independent and noisy infant but she let me know in no uncertain terms that she didn’t like most baby food, the dummy got spat out every.single.time and when she was 22 months old we got hour long tantrums if we tried to get a nappy on her.

      And if they saw me with my second I know they would be retracting the ‘good mother’ statement. Still in nappies at 2.5, still will eat an occasional jarred baby food when he doesn’t like the dinner (he’s a fussier eater and won’t eat meat..) and he also used a pacifier when he was a baby.

      Being called a ‘good mother’ is like being congratulated for being tall, having curly hair and other random stuff I can’t really change. I don’t feel like I really did all that much but offer choices to my kids and then see how they reacted. It felt wrong to force something that obviously wasn’t working.

      Like buying the ergo vs the baby bjorn. We had a bjorn that my daughter loved. She loved facing outwards and loved kicking her feet freely. I wanted to get a second sling because I wanted one for myself where I could quickly use it without adjusting the straps all the time (husband used it mostly). I read online and found the ergo was very popular. At a baby show I popped my daughter in it and within minutes she was crying. Swapped to the bjorn and she was happy again. Swapped back to the ergo, more tears. She just didn’t like being cuddled in close. Of course I bought the Bjorn.

      I really think that this is how most normal people come to these sorts of choices.

      • Young CC Prof

        My parents have stories about needing to buy another car when I was an infant, and making the choice in part based on which cars made me scream and which didn’t. You’re right, often parenting choices have less to do with personal beliefs and more to do with your specific child’s needs and preferences.

        • Amy M

          Exactly. Or circumstances beyond your control, like in the case of how a baby is born. What I mean by that is, if there is an emergency, I suppose you could choose to avoid a C section and let your baby die, but really, sane people won’t consider that an actual choice.

          • KarenJJ

            “a quest that only the truest and bravest martyrs can fulfill, everyone else doomed to failure.”

            LOL’d at this part.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I never had twins myself, but I have twin nephews, anyway are all twins so easy and content or is it just my nephews? I mean all of my babies were really sweet and content. So much so that people commented on how lucky I was to have three easy babies, but my nephews are something different entirely.

          • Amy M

            My impression is that my boys were relatively easy babies, as babies go. They weren’t colicky, or refluxy or anything like that. But they did the typical newborn thing of needing to eat every 3hrs, and the typical toddler thing of walking unsteadily around, so with two tending to go in opposite directions, that posed a challenge. They are 4.5 now, still fairly laid back kids, I never would have called them “high needs.” They have their moments, like all children.

            However, I certainly know/know of women with twins (or god forbid triplets) through online multiples groups whose twins were not so easy. Usually their twins were much earlier than mine though, and did a lot of NICU time, and have various prematurity related issues.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            My SIL had hers at 37 weeks 2 days. They did spend a couple of days in the NICU for body temperature problems.

          • Amy M

            Mine were 36wk, no NICU. So far, they seem fine…they may turn up with ADD yet, but if so it would more likely be because their Dad has it, not from prematurity.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I had my single son at 35 weeks 5 days and he did not have to spend any time in the NICU either. He doesn’t have ADD, but he does have bipolar disorder type II as his paternal grandmother did.

          • Burgundy

            I am a twin myself. My mom said when my sister and I hit 1 year old, we just refused to talk. We “communicated” with each other but did not talk to other people around us. But when we turned 5, we started talking in full sentences and my mom wished we could be quiet again. (But check with the doctor first, my dad had took us to his hospital several times just to make sure that we were developmentally ok).

          • Amy M

            Well, there is such a thing as “twin language” which is what you describe, where they either make up their own language or do what your nephews did, for the reasons they did it. My sons didn’t do that (either one) though. I had heard about it before they were born, so we were on the lookout, but it didn’t happen. They just started speaking English (our native language) words around a year. They have tended to hit their developmental milestones at pretty much the same time, which probably has to do with being identical and may not be the case for fraternals.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            My nephews don’t hit their milestones at the same age, but one was conceived later than the other, was a lot smaller at birth, and is still quite a bit smaller. Actually, people more often think they are Irish twins these days instead of actual twins. I am not sure why because the bigger one does not look 10 months older, maybe a month or two older.

          • Burgundy

            I am a twin (identical, i was older by 30 minutes). My sister and I had our own language when we were little. We would have long conversations with each other in our own language and refused to talk to others around us. But when we were 5, one day out of blue we just talked to other people in full sentences. We were the first set of twins in the family and my mom and my Grandma still talked about this 30 years later. (Yes, my sister and I know what each other’s thoughts without verbal communication).

      • kumquatwriter

        THIIIIIISSSS.

        My son is verbally advanced, no pacis, nursed like a champ, sleeps like a pro.
        NONE of this was because of me. That’s. Just. How he is.

        I’ll accept praise for his good manners, but otherwise? Don’t praise me. I can barely keep up.

        • Mrs Dennis

          Kumquat, I miss your blog. Selfishly, I know. And I’m so sorry for your loss. You are a terrific writer. And not stalking you on here, vice versa! Wishing you all the best.

          • kumquatwriter

            *blush* thanks. I’m finally starting to feel bloggish again.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          When my oldest was born she was past term, but her mouth was tiny. So the hospital gave her a premie nuk. She loved it and always wanted it until one day it was so small she was sucking air when she tried to use it. I tried to buy her different ones because she seemed to want a pacifier, but she wouldn’t use any of them. after a couple of weeks she was fine without one. Everyone thought I was so great to break her from the pacifier so early. It had nothing to do with me.

    • Antigonos CNM

      Often, the marriage breaks down — that’s what happens.

      • Amy M

        Yep. And if she didn’t work outside the home, where is her income? Not the best long term plan….

        • LibrarianSarah

          Both my parents worked twelve hour days to support me and my brother. I guess we didn’t get the message that we were supposed to be felons. Well, I am off to rob a liquor store. I’ll be back in 5 to 10.

      • almostfearless

        Beyond not living in poverty, the second biggest you can do for your children is to not get divorced and have a happy marriage. It’s mind boggling to me that Mayim Bialik wrote a book about how to be the perfect parent then got divorced a year later. Yeah, I’m sure elimination communication is going to make a big difference as those kids are shuttled between two homes.

    • Allie P

      Ugh, they keep having babies. There’s a woman in my neighborhood OBSESSED with babies. She’s on six now, and she “attaches” every single one, and as soon as they start talking for themselves she kind of loses interest and has another. The older ones all run wild, they are all “homeschooled” (see above re: running wild), and the younger ones all hate and are disturbingly violent to the ones immediately after them for “stealing” the attention from their mother. It’s scary to watch. The kids are all really desperate for attention.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        I knew someone like that before baby wearing was popular. She didn’t wear her babies or home school them, but even told me once that she hates kids but loves babies.

        • Young CC Prof

          “Hates kids but loves babies.” Why doesn’t she just get a nursing degree (or even a nurse’s aid certificate) and go work in a hospital nursery, then? Or even work in the infant room at a day care? Seems like a better long-term plan.

        • Lisa from NY

          Sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder, hates kids but love babies.

    • Esther

      If women make these decisions when they genuinely have no choice, then guilting them with your (mis)information about the “research” is the absolute worst thing you can do.

      • Young CC Prof

        Well said, Esther. Now, if these women, lactivists or mommy warriors in general, were out fighting for better maternity leave, or better access to prenatal care, or health care for everyone (which means healthier pregnant women) then I could take them seriously. Guilting people who are just trying to live in the world as they find it is worse than useless.

    • auntbea

      The bother their adult children, and their adult children’s friends, incessantly.

  • Isilzha

    “But don’t you want what’s BEST for the baby??!!!!???”–Well, there are lots of other people to consider. Least of all is the mother herself…then there are other children, a partner, all of whom have needs/wants to be considered. EVERYTHING in life is a tradeoff! It really bugs me this woman is blogging under “evolutionary parenting” and seems to have never read a thing about parental investment theory, quality/quantity tradeoff, energy constraints or anything that’s even covered in an intro level evolutionary theory class.

    • Antigonos CNM

      Frankly, having a neurotic mother isn’t exactly “best for baby”. Sometimes I think “Sanctimommyism” [neologism] is a variety of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

      • thepragmatist

        I really think it is a sign of an anxiety disorder, actually. The worst Sanctimommies I know, if you get to know them personally, are awash in anxiety. The Sanctimommy routine is the only way they can maintain control. And then some are just bullies, flat out. They are bullies to both other women and their children.

        Then there is me. I’m just better than you.

        Oh, I jest…

        • Sue

          I agree. Constantly reading up and seeking validation reflects anxiety and insecurity, not confidence in one’s own judgment.

          • thepragmatist

            I remember the horror of one mom friend when she asked me if I worried about my son. I said, No, not really. My son has a disability he was born with. If I spent all my time worrying about it, I’d go nuts. This particular mom friend spent her time obsessively researching and restricting her diet, going overboard with activities to the point where her poor baby was just an overstimulated mess of not sleeping ever, and was constantly having panic attacks over him not sleeping. I suggested she speak to a doctor about an anxiety medication. No, I don’t worry every day that my son will die in his sleep or that the mole on his arm is cancer or that his vegetables are full of nuclear material, or or or… I’m a divorced mum with a disability who is single parenting a son with certain issues that need extra attention. I don’t have time to sweat the small stuff, and like they say, it’s mostly small stuff. The other part I really don’t get is how they completely miss out on the joy of parenting. It should not be some terrible slog. Do things that make it easier. Why is convenience a slur? The more convenient, the more time I have to actually spend with my son doing fun things.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Not to mention that there is no evidence that any of the AP parenting techniques other than the common sense ones lead to better outcomes, but there is a lot of evidence that the mental health of the parents leads to poor outcomes. Also, a healthy parental relationship leads to better outcomes. It seems like all this martyr parenting would lead to poor mental health and an unstable parental relationship.

      • Young CC Prof

        Indeed. Careful controlled studies of different parenting techniques find that anything reasonable usually results in kids that are just fine. They need to be fed, sheltered, given basic medical care, attention and education. Flexibility helps. All else depends on what works for your family.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Even if you did have carefully controlled studies that showed better outcomes, all you can say is, “All else being equal, it turns out better.” However, since all else is rarely equal, you are still going to have a variety of sources, depending on the individual.

  • kumquatwriter

    By coincidence, Spotify threw “Why Can’t We Be Friends” up while I read this. I think it added a lot to the experience.

    • Kerlyssa

      Spotify is psychic. It should teach Netflix how to operate- Netflix continues to think I have an interest in foreign documentaries, slasher flicks, gay and lesbian(this is its own category?), and period romances. 😐

      • auntbea

        “Two women’s blossoming love is ended prematurely by Jack the Ripper!”

        • LibrarianSarah

          I’d watch that.

  • You know what I call an “asshole problem” those who willfully seek to limit the choices of other women – you know the ones railing against maternal request cesareans, and formula freebies… I don’t see MRCS moms and formula feeding moms protesting the resources used to support vaginal birth and breastfeeding…

    • Guestll

      Yabbut, those things are BAD!
      In all seriousness, thank the deity of your choice for the Traceys of the world. When she’s not shaming women with her not-as-smart-as-she-thinks hubris she’s comedy gold!
      Tracey, it must be really hard to be you, being both a hypocrite and a never-was.