Lie, deny, decry, defy: the indisputable signs that natural childbirth is quackery

Lie defy decry deny copy

Rory Coker, professor of physics and University of Texas Austin, has written a very informative article for the website Quackwatch. The article, Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience, was not written with the philosophy of natural childbirth in mind, but the criteria he describes make it quite clear that natural childbirth in general and homebirth midwifery in particular are nothing more than quackery.

Consider Prof. Coker’s principles in light of the recent efforts by natural childbirth and homebirth advocates to suppress the dangers of waterbirth and homebirth.

Pseudoscience displays an indifference to facts.

Waterbirth is unnatural. No primates give birth in water and everything we know about neonatal physiology tells us that babies are “designed” to be born into air. No matter. Waterbirth is touted as soothing, comforting and above all “natural.”

Pseudoscience “research” is invariably sloppy.

Of course, that’s when there is any research at all. The tenets of natural childbirth in general, and waterbirth in particular, were instituted without any efforts made to empirically validate theirs claims. The fear-tension-pain cycle? It was made up by Grantly Dick-Read and is still promoted by natural childbirth organizations in the absence of any evidence to support it. Barbara Harper has never done any research to validate her nonsensical claims about waterbirth. She probably wouldn’t know how to conduct research even if she wanted to do so

Pseudoscience begins with a hypothesis—usually one which is appealing emotionally, and spectacularly implausible—and then looks only for items which appear to support it.

That pretty much describes the entire natural childbirth literature; it is one giant festival of cherry picking, highlighting papers that appear to support it and ignoring the vast body of medical literature that does not.

Pseudoscience is indifferent to criteria of valid evidence.

At this point, natural childbirth and much of contemporary midwifery theory isn’t merely indifferent to the criteria of valid evidence, they are actively hostile to it, offering claims as disparate as randomized controlled trials are “tyrannical“; case studies of deadly waterbirth outcomes are meaningless; the series of bald-faced lies about birth certificates put forth by Melissa Cheyney, CPM and Wendy Gordon, CPM to justify their refusal to compare MANA’s homebirth death rates with US perinatal death rates; and my all time favorite: Including the Non-Rational is Sensible Midwifery.

Pseudoscience relies heavily on subjective validation.

Waterbirth advocates like The Feminist Breeder have twisted themselves into knots over this. On the one hand, case studies demonstrating catastrophic outcomes at waterbirth are derided as useless and large scale studies that show that waterbirth is poor at relieving labor pain are dismissed out of hand, while at the exact same time (without any consciousness of irony), waterbirth advocates claim that they “know” that waterbirth provides excellent pain relief because some women claim it does, and we should avoid telling women about the dangers of waterbirth until we have large scale studies of those outcomes.

TFB’s piece is downright buffoonish, implying as it does that because she can’t see bacteria in waterbirth pools, there is no bacteria.

Pseudoscience always avoids putting its claims to a meaningful test. I would add to that the fact that natural childbirth and homebirth advocacy, like all pseudoscience, strenuously avoids debating real scientists.

Natural childbirth and midwifery theorists rarely carry out quantitative research to validate their claims, and often cheerfully ignore the results of those carried about by medical researchers. They never follow up and they never acknowledge, let alone learn from, mistakes. Midwives implemented waterbirth without ever investigating whether it is safe, are desperately trying to ignore the research from neonatologists and perinatologists that shows that waterbirth has deadly dangers, and, most revealing, have absolutely no plans to investigate the deadly dangers. Waiting for a large scale midwifery study to evaluate the risk of hyponatremia, drowning or umbilical cord avulsion during waterbirth? Don’t hold your breath.

Pseudoscience often contradicts itself, even in its own terms.

See above: we don’t have to pay attention to case studies of death at waterbirth, but we “know” that waterbirth provides excellent pain relief because women (case studies) tell us so.

Pseudoscience appeals to false authority.

A high-school dropout is accepted as an expert on “normal birth” and is awarded a fake midwifery credential (CPM). Barbara Harper, an RN thoroughly ignorant of neonatal physiology and even basic chemistry, is considered an “expert” on waterbirth even though though she has never studied it in any remotely scientific way. Henci Goer, who is not an obsterician, midwife or scientist is regarded as an “expert” on the obstetric literature.

Celebrity endorsements are integral. Ricki Lake swears that homebirth is safe, so it must be. Emotional appeals are common. (“Trust birth!” “Trust your mama intuition!”) Natural childbirth/homebirth advocates are fond of conspiracies. (“Doctors just want to ruin your birth experience!” “Obstetricians recommend interventions because they make money from them!”) When confronted by inconvenient facts, they simply reply, “Doctors don’t know everything!”

Pseudoscience relies heavily on anachronistic thinking.

It’s the wisdom of our ancient foremothers! That goes twice for ideas that are obviously wrong and have been debunked by science, while pretty much sums up natural childbirth and contemporary midwifery theory.

To paraphrase Coker’s conclusion:

Characteristics of Pseudoscience

The natural childbirth/homebirth literature is aimed at the general public. There is no review, no standards, no pre-publication verification, no demand for accuracy and precision.

No physical phenomena or processes are ever found or studied. No progress is made; nothing concrete is learned.

Natural childbirth/homebirth appeals to faith and belief. It has a strong cult-like element: it tries to convert, not to convince. You are to believe in spite of the facts, not because of them. The original idea is never abandoned, whatever the evidence.

Natural childbirth/homebirth advocates often earn some or all of their living by selling products (such as doula services, books, courses, and supplements) and/or pseudoscientific services (such hypobirthing, natural childbirth courses, etc.)

Most damning of all, infant deaths (and maternal deaths) are ignored, excused, hidden, lied about, discounted, explained away, rationalized, forgotten, avoided at all costs.

It happens with waterbirth, it happens with homebirth, and it happens with deaths at the hands of contemporary midwifery theorists. Lie, deny, decry, defy. Those are the hallmarks of quackery and those are the hallmarks of natural childbirth and homebirth.

  • Irène Delse

    I like how Clay Jones at Science-Based Medicine blog puts it: “complementary and alternative reality”. His last article covers waterbirth and is refreshingly no-nonsense about it:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/an-update-on-water-immersion-during-labor-and-delivery/

    • Jessica S.

      It is an excellent article!!

      • KarenJJ

        I enjoyed that one too.

  • LMS1953

    The cult of anthropogenic global cooling, er-uh global warming, er-uh climate change with high priests like Al Gore in the Church of Hubris of Latter Day Democrats has all the hallmarks of and fits all the criteria of pseudoscience as defined in the cited article. Nearly everyone on this blog immediately takes the bit that “midwife theory” is pseudoscience – propaganda to achieve a secondary agenda. Yet hardly anyone here will recognize precisely the same characteristics of the cult of anthropogenic climate change: the falsified data, the fraudelent and fabricated “research”‘and the bald-faced secondary agenda. So, if y’all want some psychological insight into why the crunchies think, feel and emote the way they do, you need merely look in the mirror when you wake up tomorrow.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      Everyone holds some irrational beliefs. The best we can hope for is to recognize them in ourselves and how they affect our thought patterns.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        Global warming isn’t an “irrational belief.” It’s a hypothesis based on the best available evidence that is subject to revision should new evidence become available.

        • Certified Hamster Midwife

          I didn’t say that global warming isn’t true. I said that everyone holds some irrational beliefs. Like that 98.8% of scientists are scientists who are conspiring with Al Gore.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Ah, sorry. I missed that.

          • Lombardi

            Does LMS1953 post anything on topic?

          • Trixie

            Yeah, and it’s usually petty great when he does. Then there’s this crap you have to wade through to get there.

          • S

            Best strategy is to read the OB-related information, ignore the baiting.

          • S

            …I guess unless you feel like being baited, then do your thing! (I meant to respond to Lombardi while agreeing with Trixie, and then i hit post and see i did it all wrong. It’s like a disorder maybe.)

          • Lombardi

            Lol

          • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

            I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone question his professional competence.
            But outside of his field of expertise.. good God.

          • Trixie

            Or that the President was born in Kenya.

          • LMS1953

            If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. So, yeah, if he says he was born in Hawaii (even though he probably said he was born in Kenya on his college applications which is why he spent millions to keep those records hidden) I’ll take that to the bank. You can take every single word that comes out of his sainted mouth as the gospel truth.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Hey, Dumbass, you don’t have to believe him. Ask the friggin State of Hawaii. It’s THEIR birth certificate, you moron.

            Seriously, this is a sign of complete detachment from reality on this matter.

            Only in Obama Derangement Syndrome land can you go to the courthouse, get a birth certificate, and it doesn’t count.

          • Susan

            Obama Derangement Syndrome! I just googled that thanks! Made me think of this birth video release…

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            At this point, if Obama revealed that he was really a Teal Green and his actual point of birth was somewhere in the Orion Nebula I wouldn’t care all that much. He’s been a reasonably good president and prevented the Bush recession from becoming a depression. What more does anyone want from a middle of the road politician from Illinois?

        • LMS1953

          The “evidence” for global “warming” is fabricated from projection models that are biased to produce “evidence” for global warming. Remember the hockey stick? It ain’t happening. Remember Al Gore’s polar bear propaganda that the polar icecap would have melted by now? It ain’t happening – the ice cap has gotten bigger. And the 98.2%, or is it 98.17825% horseshit – just remember, 4 out of 5 doctors who smoked, smoked Camels in the 50′s based on scientific surveys.

    • Trulyunbelievable2020

      Please explain how the theory of anthropogenic climate change meets the criteria for pseudoscience outlined in the post above.

      I don’t see it.

      • LMS1953

        Of course you don’t. And I am sure Missy Chaney and Henci Goer don’t see it with HB either. It goes with the territory of cultism and agendas.

        • Box of Salt

          LMS1953 “Of course you don’t.”

          And you don’t see your own blinders, either. Maybe you think the libertarian bent of the viewpoints you’ve been spouting off the last few weeks makes you superior, but honestly those comments (and these!) are equally full on in the “territory of cultism and agendas.”

    • AllieFoyle

      Nonsense. You clearly don’t have a clue about climate science beyond what you’ve seen on FOX. Scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change is occurring directly as a result of human activity. There’s an enormous amount of data from many different disciplines. You need to rely on pseudoscience and cult conspiracy theories to deny it, frankly. You might try that mirror thing yourself.

      • Young CC Prof

        I especially like the claim that the polar ice cap is growing. Um, no, it was bigger in 2013 (10th percentile) than in 2012 (record low) but it’s still a lot smaller than it was a few decades ago.

        That’s like the kid who gets a 45 on one math test and a 55 on the next one, then claims that since he’s doing better, there’s no need to study. Classic cherry-picking, not even cleverly done.

        • Box of Salt

          For a link on the ice cap data, see my comment below.

    • baileylamb

      My pride and joy, my baby boy loves salmon. I loved salmon as a child as well. My son can not eat it every week. This is because of how absolutely polluted fish have become since I was born 31 years ago.

      Lets step away from global climate change for a moment. I regognize that you love babies. Do you not want them to have a better world then when you grew up. We’ve done that with lead (although we still need more abatement).

      My father grew up in the South, he didn’t need air conditioning in the summer, now it is cruel not to have it.

      I had a professor who was an article researcher, I’ve read the literature on carrying capacity (there is a debate there), on conservation ( there’s a debate there). Perhaps we are ignoring micro climates, but the overwhelming amount of scientist and researchers agree than man can effect the climate.

    • baileylamb

      My grandfather (born 16 years before the depression) would always say hope for the best, plan for the worst.

      For the life of me, I do not understand why those who came before me no longer plan for the worst. Why they would try to condem their grandchildren to lives more volatile than what they had. Be assured you grew up in a time and place of relative ease, be it geologically, and climatically. Do you think this country is prepared for another Galveston? Flooding on the level of the late twenties to the dirty thirties? At least those generation tried to repair things (tree planting Ona massive scale learning where to build) but even that has been reversed.

      Truly, I think the new insularity of thinking (from the wooy and others) comes from the inability to buckle down and admit the mistakes, and seek to fix things; hope for the best, plan for the worst.

      I think my sons generation will learn to curse his grandparents, he already does every time he has to pass up fish.

  • SisterMorphine

    Dr Amy, I wish you would write a column on Bradley’s original book…when I read it I was floored. He clearly regarded the women he cared for as children who needed to be told what to do at every turn, very disrespectfully, and condemned some very unsound practices, such as waiting for labor to begin even when a c-section was planned & letting women go postdates, And still other “natural childbirth” advocates (who view NV as “empowering”) endorse it!

  • birthbuddy

    A poem of sorts:
    NCB lie…and babies die
    Babies die…and NCB lie
    Why?

  • SNM1

    A couple of terms ago we were required to read an article on physiologic birth for a class and I was struck by how very little actual evidence existed to support the claims in the article, particularly when it discussed how epidurals interfere with the natural cascade of hormones during birth… The article went on to say that hormone levels are very difficult to test during labor. I was amazed that we were required to read this information and that it was treated as though it was fact! While I do believe that there is probably a cascade of hormones that directs labor I have a hard time buying that epidurals have such an impact on the process, especially without solid evidence. That is one of my biggest issues with many of the natural/alternative treatments that some of my classmates live by. I believe that some natural/alternative treatments may have some use, but that research should be done on how safe and effective they are before we encourage their use. Because these treatments are becoming more popular I am hoping that more research will be done. In the meantime I find that I have to educate myself to make sure my patients are aware of what we do know and the possible dangers of the treatments they are choosing (because unfortunately many people believe that natural=safe).

    • theadequatemother

      I think evidence is mounting that epidurals have a positive effect on the process. Early epidurals shorten labour and are not associated with increases in csections or instrumental delivery. Baby cord gases are better in women who had epidurals prob because of a decrease in adrenaline and better placental perfusion. Epidurals also simplify the treatment of many obstetrical emergencies. But ya never hear about any of that right?

    • manabanana

      “how very little actual evidence existed to support the claims in the article”

      This has consistently been my frustration with my studies in midwifery (both American varieties: CPM and CNM) and nursing as well.

      I don’t know if it’s that nursing is still a field that is dominated by women, and therefore unfortunate belief systems have a stranglehold on the profession: “Math is hard. Science is hard.” “We don’t have to understand that, that’s for doctors to know.”

      SIGH.

      I chose midwifery because I appreciate the model of care – I wish it wasn’t so devoid of intellectual rigor. Yes. Women can understand science, math, physiology and all the ‘hard stuff.’ It’s a shame that this type of learning is not more strongly emphasized. Nursing and Midwifery might be able to generate some more valuable research if there was more science coursework (I’m not talking about “The Science of Nursing Theory” or whatever fluff the BSN programs are coming up with) required in their educational programs.

  • Manabanana

    Aaaaaaaand, on cue: here’s Barbara Harper.

    http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=8088

    And notice how she’s added “DEM” to her excessively long list of credentials?

    • Young CC Prof

      Other than RN, I have no idea what those credentials are, nor do I want to know.

      And she’s pulling the now-classic MANA STATS trick: Compare perinatal mortality for low-risk women carrying exclusively full-term fetuses to that of the nation as a whole, including preemies, and declare that your mortality rates are low.

      She claims that a perinatal mortality rate of 1.2 per thousand and special care admission rate of 8.4 per thousand are good. Sure they are, except when you’ve screened out EVERY major risk factor in advance!

      I’m not sure how much of it is dishonesty versus pure ignorance, as in they have no idea what kills babies in hospitals. [mostly being born severely premature or with major birth defects.]

      • Bombshellrisa

        I have no idea about the letters after her name, although I think CCE is certified childbirth educator. The CKC one really lends itself to some hilarious conclusions: cold knife cone, Cavalier King Charles (as in the spaniel), certifiably knowledge clueless…

        • Allie

          I know it as Canadian Kennel Club. I used to work in a pet store : )

          • Bombshellrisa

            Lol I have a dog who came from Canada and is CKC registered-I should have picked up on that one

    • RNandannoyed

      I notice she never actually worked as a labor and delivery nurse to use her RN. I wonder why? She could have seen the real reasons why we do what we do. I had my first shoulder dystocia the other day. it was awful, but at least I was at a hospital with a level 3 NICU standing by.

  • Mishimoo

    With NCB, it’s only ‘mama intuition’ if your intuition says that everything will be fine despite indications to the contrary. If your intuition says anything negative, your thoughts are immediately to blame for any complications due to not trusting birth. Yay, double-standards!

    • Young CC Prof

      Actually, if you refuse interventions/birth at home and suffer a complication, it CAN be reconciled. You just have to come up with an explanation of how things would have gone worse in the hospital, and how you were so right NOT to go.

      • Mishimoo

        Good point, because “babies die in hospitals, too!”

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT:

    The web designer says that she fixed the black at the bottom of long posts. Is that true for everyone? Does anyone still see it?

    • Young CC Prof

      Fixed for me! White all the way down, no weird buggies (Firefox on Mac.)

      • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

        Fine for me, using Firefox on Windows XP.

    • moto_librarian

      It is gone (hurray)! I am using Chrome on a PC.

      • anion

        When is the last time you cleared your cache? I’m wondering if maybe that’ll do it.

        • Jocelyn

          That worked for me.

          • anion

            I came here this morning to check replies and see if I ought to clear my cache, but the black bar is gone anyway! (Thanks so much for the reply, though!)

    • Josephine

      Looks good to me! Firefox on Mac as well. Thanks so much for getting it fixed. Much easier on the eyes.

    • realitycheque

      Safari on a Mac here, and looking all good!

    • Mariana Baca

      The black is gone, but the blue is still there.

      • Mariana Baca

        Ok, I don’t see that in Chrome. It looks correct there Maybe there is something wrong with my Firefox.

        • Mariana Baca

          Fine on my mac. Must just need to clear cache on FF.

    • auntbea

      Not fixed for mobile chrome.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Still there for me.

      • anion

        Me, too. :-( Chrome on a Windows 8.1 PC.

      • Jocelyn

        Me, too. Firefox on a PC.

        • Jocelyn

          I cleared my cache and it’s gone now. :D

    • Trixie

      I’m on chrome on a tablet and it’s been fixed for a couple days. Fine on Mac/Safari. Fine on iPhone.

    • Florence

      gone for me.

    • Elaine

      Still black on mine.

    • Jessica S.

      Fixed! Hooray!

    • melindasue22

      Gone on my iPhone.

    • Mer

      Yup it’s gone for me on my ipad (version 6.something or other IOS)

    • araikwao

      Looks ok in IE on Windows phone :D

    • sleuther

      Still there on my android tablet….Nexus 7

  • Marguerita

    Kind of OT, but not completely:

    I have some homebirthing/AP’ing relatives that pride themselves in how precocious their little one is. Of course, much of it is attributable to the perfect birth and breast milk.

    What I found out recently is that they have been drilling the child with this method or something similar: https://iahp.org/about founded by someone called Glenn Doman. It fits right in with AP as far as the mother having to be attached to her children 24/7 and the whole method revolves around the mother teaching her babies age 0-6 reading, writing, encyclopedic knowledge, music and other odds and ends. Apparently children who learn using this method do often learn to read before 2 and end up skipping a grade or two.

    I was wondering if any educators here could give me more insight about this? Have you seen kids that have been drilled in this way?

    • Young CC Prof

      You want to make an academically excellent young child?

      Talk to the child. Read to the child, and let him see the words and pictures in picture books. Let him play with assorted interesting and harmless objects, not necessarily toys. Let him interact with a variety of other children and adults. Later, provide age-appropriate books and read them together.

      As for math, incorporate counting and arithmetic into everyday tasks. Bake and measure together, or work on a budget. Most of all, do not accept or reinforce the idea that being “bad at math” is normal and OK, that “people like you” can’t do math, or that math is unimportant.

      It ain’t complicated, it doesn’t require a magic “system,” and extreme precocity is a poor predictor of later success. (But it’s not easy, it does require daily effort.)

      • Dr Kitty

        My kid enjoys looking for numbers (on signs, on TV, on number plates) and adding or subtracting them.
        She’s four. This is a game she came up with herself.

        You don’t need to push your kids, they’ll push themselves if you let them.

        She’s in the other room with her dad, they are stomping on cities, pretending to be King Kong and Godzilla at the moment.

      • Laura

        To sum up: be a parent. Right?

      • Laura

        Also, make early learning enjoyable and filled with early “successes.” If they associate pleasurable memories with early learning and confidence that they can learn, this can carry them far in many areas throughout their whole life. Furthermore, if mom and dad display a passion and enthusiasm for being life long learners and explorers themselves this will absolutely influence how a young person views the world in relation to learning. “More is caught than taught.” I am a different Laura than the first one to post here. From now on I will be Laura Learner !

      • sleuther

        Yay Young CC Prof! I totally agree with this.

        Also, maybe I’m biased because my kids are 9 and 7, but in my (limited) experience on intarwebz parenting, the people with kids at infant/toddler age know nothing. (Neither did I, when my kids were that age.) (I still know nothing, pretty much.) But I think you really need to experience a kid-in-school, with-other-kids-around, OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS (and preferably with more than one kid) to truly appreciate HOW LITTLE WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS STUFF and how much you really chalk up to temperament, genetics, and who-knows-what-else.

        Seriously, my kids are two years apart, same parents, same upbringing, both girls, and they could not be more different. Everything that was easy with #1 was difficult with #2, and vice-versa. It sure took my ego down a few notches with respect to everything I _thought_ I’d done “right” with #1. Turns out it was mainly just luck. #1 was a GREAT sleeper, #2 was colicky and I thought I’d die. #1 still has trouble with reading; #2 took to it like a fish to water at age 3 pretty much on her own (no flash cards!)

        I want a big flashing neon sign to advise parents that you control a lot less than you think you do. It’s scary. We _want_ this illusion of control. But it’s just that – an illusion. Love your children, nurture them, help them learn to live in the big wide world. Let them experience failure, and recovery from failure. But don’t kid yourself. Children are not a lump of clay that we use to fashion an end-result out of. They are who they are.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I want a big flashing neon sign to advise parents that you control a lot less than you think you do.

          I think this has been my key. I was never under the delusion that I had any control.

          Children are not a lump of clay that we use to fashion an end-result out of.

          One thing that I found really fascinating as a new parent is the extent to which we had to teach our child to do stuff. It’s something I really never comprehended before. But in that respect, yes, they are lumps of clay that are “molded.” However, in that same respect, once that aspect sunk in, I also realized that I was not the person who should be molding him. We were really happy to have him go to daycare when he did because we wanted him to learn from others, too. We wanted him to learn other songs, hear other stories and see the way that others do things. We wanted all that to help mold him, and didn’t want it to just be us.

          • sleuther

            Yep, certainly we do mold them to an extent – socializing and all that. A feral child would be even worse-behaved than my actual kids (KIDDING!- sorta…)

            One of my favorite stories with my kids was when DD1 was 18 months old – we were at an afternoon party where every adult except me was drinking (I was very pregnant), and a friend got up to grab his phone from the table, and the hostess moved his chair while he was up but he didn’t see, and so he went to sit back down without looking and WHAM! – down to the floor he went, and everyone started laughing at him – except darling toddler DD1, who toddled over to him and stood there looking down at him with a very serious expression.

            Everyone said “Awwww!” in unison – collectively thinking that DD1 was worried about whether he was okay. Then DD1 squatted down, picked his phone up off his chest, and toddled away with it. Yes, she rolled him for his cellphone. 18 month olds aren’t really all that concerned when a stranger may be hurt, apparently…. empathy comes later on. If we’re lucky.

        • KarenJJ

          I have one particularly strong willed child and I have found parenting her to be like steering a ship in a storm. I may have a little bit of influence of the direction, but it’s hard work, I’m constantly being buffeted about and I seen to have very little influence on her actual drive/internal motivation to do something that she really really wants to do. I don’t want to change her in the essentials – being stubborn and argumentative can certainly have its plus side in adults. It’s just hard to parent kids that are that way inclined. Number two is much more sunny natured and eager to please.

          • sleuther

            KarenJJ – I read a book called “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee,” by Wendy Mogel, that discusses how the thing that annoys you most about your kid is also probably her greatest strength – the “yetzer hara,” in Jewish teachings, is the spark or spice of life, and properly channeled it can be a blessing. Your daughter may be an excellent trial lawyer when she grows up! ^_^ (But that doesn’t mean that you relish arguing over eating her vegetables, day in & day out…. LOL.)

        • Young CC Prof

          My Chinese colleague quoted me a proverb: You raise your first child by the book and your second like a pig. (Apparently it works as a pun in the original, since the words for book and pig are very close.)

          • Jessica S.

            Reminds me of something my sister used to say (three kids, young adults now): with your first kid, if you drop the pacifier, you boil it before giving it back. With the second, you brush it off and give it back. With the third, you tell the dog to fetch. :D

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I don’t see the point. OK, if you drill the kid with rote memorizing from when they 6 mos old, they can learn words sooner. Great. OK, they get to skip a grade in school because they have learned it already. Good again.

      Then what? They graduate college year earlier than everyone else.

      Whoopti-friggin-do.

      Does that mean that they are especially adept at learning? Will the be straight A students in college? Or will they be typical college students but a year younger than everyone else?

      Do people reading job applications really pay attention to the fact that the student graduated college at 21 and not 22 like most students do?

      Advancing a student because they are exceptionally talented is one thing. Advancing a student because they started the “academic” part earlier than everyone else? Doesn’t mean much. Basically, it’s the equivalent of starting kindergarten a year before everyone else, but they didn’t actually need the social capabilities required to start kindergarten.

      • Marguerita

        I agree with you but proponents of this method appear to think that using it actually turns their kids into geniuses and Renaissance men and women who are brilliant with math, language, music and gymnastics. The institute claims that it’s all science based (I haven’t found any evidence anywhere).

        The institute also has programs for brain injured children and those methods have been criticized by Steven Novella here: http://quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/patterning.html

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Geniuses are born not made.

          Drilling babies and toddlers is foolish if not worse.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            I remember once sitting at a restaurant next to a very crunchy couple who were trying to drill a four year-old with flashcards. They kept showing him a letter and asking what words started it, but it clearly wasn’t sinking in. My favorite moment was when they tried about 10 times to get him to say something that started with “L.” He finally said, “M-N-O-P!”

            Smart kid.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Blecch. At a restaurant?

            We did have some flashcards with some words for our older guy that he was learning, but that was something we’d do like 10 minutes a night before books. Hauling them out at a restaurant would be pretentious.

            And I have to ask, why do you need flashcards to show a letter to think of words that start with it? Can’t you just start reciting Dr Seuss’s ABC book and then jump off from there?

            “B, b, what begins with B? Barber, baby, bubbles and a bumblebee! What else starts with B, Joe?”
            “buh…buh…buh…bathroom! Bathroom starts with B!”

            That’s a lot more fun than stupid flashcards, isn’t it?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Bread! Bread begins with B. Waiter! We need more bread at our table!

          • Young CC Prof

            That’s kinda what I was thinking. If you want to teach words and reading in a restaurant, how about the MENU? That’s, you know, interesting and relevant, since the words describe things you might be about to eat.

          • Jessica S.

            H, what begins with H? Helicopter! As in “helicopter parenting!”.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            “Blecch. At a restaurant?”

            Yes. At a restaurant. And really, really loud, as if no one else was there.

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            Show-off.

          • auntbea

            Yawning yellow yak with Yolanda on his back!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Goat, girl, goo-goo goggles, G. G G

          • araikwao

            Ten tired turtles on a tuttle-tuttle tree

          • Medwife

            Young Yolanda yorgeson is yelling on his back, I think you mean? Lol… My toddler has me read that book to him 3-4 times every couple days.

          • Durango

            Parent-initiated flashcards, ugh.

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            What I do find interesting is the impact the Baby Channel has had on my granddaughter. Using the “Sesame Street” model of short, soundbite programs directed to identifying shapes and colors, and things like the sounds animals make, and concepts like “near” and “far” and “inside” and “outside”, and the endless repetition of these programs, Shir has definitely achieved a level of awareness ahead of her age. No mother could provide such constant and consistent stimulus. But the programs are not intended to inculcate “encyclopedic knowledge” but rather basic concepts.

            Shir, whose native language is Hebrew, and who is now three, knows that Dora the Explorer and Barney speak a different language, and has picked up a number of English expressions without any prodding from me, such as “Let’s go!” and the “I love you” Barney song ["Nick nack paddy whack"] “How does Barney say ‘todah’?” I ask, and she replies, “Thank you!” Not bad, but I doubt she’s really a genius [even if she's my granddaughter]. We won’t begin geometry until she’s four. :-))

      • Are you nuts

        Yeah, you wonder what the long-term benefits could be. I certainly don’t want my child to be behind grade level, but it’s probably not helpful to be several grade levels ahead either. Except I can totally brag and make other moms feel bad about their kids being dumb.

        • Marguerita

          That’s absolutely right. They make sure everyone is aware of just how smart she is by sending us videos of her reading and counting. I think I’d be in a dilemma if I found out my child might need to skip a grade – the social part of being in school is just as important as the academic part.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My colleagues son has skipped a grade, I know, but I just found out about it recently (he’s like, 10). Then again, his parents are both university professors, so he’s got some genes working for him.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            My Son’s girlfriend skipped two grades in elementary school and ended up dropping out her junior year. You never know. It could be right for some people and not for others.

          • Mishimoo

            My teachers wanted to move me into 3rd grade while I was in preschool after the tests came back. (I was reading silently instead of playing, so they thought something was wrong.) My parents refused to move me up due to the social aspect, but given the joint issues that impacted on my later education, it might have actually been a good idea. We’ll never know though. *shrugs*

          • anion

            My older daughter is slightly developmentally delayed, and thanks to the way they do school entry here is one of the youngest in her class (she’d only just turned four when she started school; she’s an early August birthday) and it’s a real issue for her socially. Every time she’s switched schools here we’ve asked them to please put her in a lower grade, but they refuse, so she has a very hard time making friends and is bullied mercilessly. It’s pretty awful. So yeah, I’d be very hesitant about skipping grades–it can work really well for some kids, absolutely, but if a kid isn’t ready socially, it can be a disaster.

          • FormerPhysicist

            The social aspects of school are NOT improved by being the weird smart young kid at the back of the class with the advanced workbook. I skipped a grade or two and it was much better after that – I was only young, no longer young AND more advanced. It was only actually good when I went to a magnet school with the other weirdos. YMMV.

            There aren’t great answers. And no perfect universal answer.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I never really had that problem. My grandparents wouldn’t let me skip, but no one thought I was weird.

        • yugaya

          There is sooo much woo in the early learning debate. I teach foreign language, – something that is pseudo scientifically being sold all over the place in various “make your kid as early as possible bilingual” early start schemes. Measured and documented benefits of early learning of a foreign language which are there but just like for the breastfeeding pretty much guarantee close to nothing in the long run are being overstated and misinterpreted. Not to mention the overall snark attitude that laughs in the face of any adult learner when these language snake oil sellers go around promoting the fact that a kid who learned “perfectly”(sic!) a language while still in diapers is some kind of ultimate achievement goal in language learning.

          That entire industry of toddler foreign language learning completely ignores the fact that no complex language patterns and structures can physically be acquired before the kids hit early teens and their cognitive skills jump to the next level which is necessary for acquiring full proficiency in any language.

          One other thing I noticed that is similar to homebirth is how the things that are being promoted as most important, like speaking a language without an obvious accent are actually the things that objectively hold no such grand importance – you can be perfectly fluent and speaker of highest proficiency in a language even with a strong foreign accent, while on the other hand speaking without an obvious foreign accent is no guarantee that you are a proficient speaker.

          And all that before I dare go into more detail and state that there is no such thing as being able to speak any foreign language without an accent at all, or raise my fist in desperate anger at people who like to say the mantra “My kid speaks language X perfectly!”

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            “One other thing I noticed that is similar to homebirth is how the things that are being promoted as most important, like speaking a language without an obvious accent are actually the things that objectively hold no such grand importance…”

            Thank you from a fellow language teacher! The example that I always use to illustrate this point is Henry Kissinger. I happen to think that he’s a foul human being, but his command of English is far superior to mine despite his very thick accent.

            That being said, I think the way language learning tools are marketed to adults is even worse. I will never forgive Rosetta Stone for their idiotic, completely counterfactual claims about “learning the same way babies do.” Fucking charlatans.

          • anion

            Nonsense. Kissinger will always be cool! :-)

            (I actually have no opinion on the man, though I do know who he is and remember him being on the news all the time. I just couldn’t resist.)

            Question for you and Yugaya, if you don’t mind: Do you know of any good foreign-language self-study programs for adults? My one year of high-school Spanish is so rusty–I can still understand some of it, verbal and written, but can barely speak it–and my husband and I would really like to learn it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Bill Cosby says, “Henry Kissinger is from Alabama.”

            It’s in his bit about language.

            “People from New Jersy sawer things. ‘I sawer a dog.’ ‘What, in half?’”

            (it’s funny, I know a guy from Germany who took at job at Rutgers. Now he’s got this German Jersey accent that is absolutely a riot)

            “And you’ve never seen an Englishman leaning, unless he is dying. And even then, he’s ‘I’m so sorry to be leaning here, but it seems my life is leaving me, you see.’”

          • Young CC Prof

            My brother learned to speak German in Vienna, Austria. Then he went to Berlin, where they found his accent pretty hilarious.

          • FormerPhysicist

            My grandmother was from Vienna, my grandfather from Kussel, Germany. The fights they had about language!

          • Siri

            On a rough channel crossing: ‘You can’t be sick here, Sir!’ ‘Can’t I?’ (is).

      • Marguerita

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Yeah, I got bored with it after about 30 seconds.

    • Awesomemom

      That is a great way to make them hate learning and burn out quickly. I didn’t do any drilling just really basic stuff and my middle son was reading before Kindergarten. My youngest son has followed in his older brother’s foot steps and added in the ability to spell since I let him play with a writing app on our ipad. Really that is a lot of pressure to put on kids and parents because kids that age learn things at different times. All the slower readers in my middle son’s kindergarten class have caught up and now you can’t tell who was an early reader and who took a bit of time to get going.

    • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

      I loathe that mindset. In large part because I have a child who passionately loves letters and numbers – has since he discovered them at 6 months via some oversized letter – shaped books featuring Winne the Pooh. He’s 3.5 now, and he does read and do math. We’re not drilling him – he demands “more letters! More letter sounds! More shapes!” And we give him what he wants – but that’s just who he is! He can’t dress or undress himself or use the potty, he refuses to even try bikes or trikes. He’s just a kid – and we couldn’t make him NOT do reading and math. So we constantly have to hear all the educating toddlers woo, because we MUST be using it. If my kid liked butterflies as much as he liked letters that’s what we’d be playing with. I could not care less how young he graduates or how soon he started reading.

      • anion

        He sounds awesome! And yeah, they all go at their own paces/have their own interests, don’t they? It’s so cool to see.

        An aside: If you’re ever interested in a great potty-training tip, let me know. Our youngest went from zero to fully trained in a day and a half because of it–but, I say quickly, there is *absolutely nothing wrong* with having a 3.5 year old still in diapers (our youngest was about that age when we trained her; I am a total fan of “late” training) and I believe 100% that they have to be ready to train before you do anything potty-training-related, because trying before they’re ready only (IMO & IME) leads to weeks/months of frustration and accidents. (I have a friend who started training her youngest right when the baby turned two, and it took over a year before they were accident-free.)

        So again, only if you’re interested, please don’t see my offer as criticism or nosy butting-in. It couldn’t be farther from it; I’m just a big fan of the way we did it (a friend who was a nanny then ran a daycare and so had trained dozens of kids told us to try it), which is very basic and simple. It’s not a really unusual or weird thing, at all, just something that works in most cases.

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

          Sure, send away! My email is my username on gmail.com

          • anion

            Emailed!

          • LadyLuck777

            Ditto on the e-mailed.

        • theadequatemother

          I would be interested in that. Mine is 2.5 and depending on what list I read is either ready or not ready or sort of ready? I was going to wait until summer (close to 3) and spend a weekend in the yard in undies with a potty on the porch and just give ‘er. But I would totally love a better plan.

          • anion

            Emailed! (I got your email from your site, hope that’s okay. Great site btw.)

        • Jessica S.

          I’m up for any help I can get with potty training. Can I bug you for an email, too? My addy is jessica [at] creativers [dot] com.

      • Jessica S.

        “He can’t dress or undress himself or use the potty, he refuses to even try bikes or trikes.”

        Omg, I can’t tell you how much your comment makes me want to weep with joy. Our 3.5 year old is super sharp, exactly what you described with your son: more letters and numbers. He didn’t walk until he was 18 mos old but started talking at 10 mos. He would much rather sit and have a conversation with someone than go play on a bike. (Although he loves the scooter he got for his third birthday.) He’s cautious that way. I’ve been working with him on dressing/undressing but only very recently and it’s only his pants, socks & shoes. And he’s not potty trained either, but honestly, I haven’t even tried b/c the idea is so overwhelming to me. His doctor assures me that his age is not a concern and since he doesn’t show any concern sitting in a wet or poopy diaper, he’s probably not ready. But still. I agonize. Anyhow, my whole point here is what a bright spot to see that hey, he’s like other kids, just not kids I’ve met! ;) (I worry too much about such things but if you knew my husband and myself, you’d think “oh, of course!”. Neither of us are outdoorsy type, he’s a software engineer and I talk so much it’s no wonder he started talking first before walking!)

        • Certified Hamster Midwife

          I was the same way as a toddler — reading by 4 and very verbal, but didn’t walk until 18 mos, in diapers until 3 or so, but I did like my trike. However, I didn’t successfully ride a two-wheeler until I was, like, ten.

          I grew up to be good with words but shy and socially awkward with bad gross motor skills. (I can do fine needlework, but walk into everything and can’t catch a ball worth a dam.)

          • sleuther

            Certified Hamster Midwife – Have you ever looked up Dyspraxia? My daughter has it and everything you wrote sounds like her. Very good with art, handwriting, fine-motor – but gross motor, fuhgeddaboutit. She constantly falls off of chairs that SHE IS SITTING ON….

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            I am guilty of things like the chair thing.

            I have heard of dyspraxia and I probably have a mild form.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        You know, my youngest daughter actually hated numbers and letters and hated sesame street because of it. Every time anybody would try to talk about it she would say she didn’t care and didn’t like that. She loved to be read to though. It didn’t seem to affect her in any way though.

    • Laura

      As soon as it mentioned “Teach Your Baby to Read”, I knew it was a scam.

      My husband and I read to our daughter, and she LOVES books. She even “reads” to herself, it is so cute. We haven’t forced it in any way. I would say she is precocious, and I was induced and had an epidural with her! Honestly, I think it’s just how she is, and the fact we read to her and interact with her. That’s all.

    • wookie130

      I am a special education teacher, and when I read about these “methods” of instruction, I become very sad. First of all, I work with students who have severe and profound disabilities, and I can tell you from working with these children, that IQ and academic ability is highly overrated. It seems to me, much of the AP philosophy is about flaunting parental superiority, and now, a lot of these parents want their children to one-up the next child with their dazzling and precocious academic skills.

      Babies and toddlers need to be babies and toddlers, and they learn the IMPORTANT THINGS best through play, discovery, and experience. Developmentally, this is what very young children were made to do…

      Learning is a lifelong process. What we learn, and how we learn, is determined most often by brain development, and what a child is capable of handling cognitively, emotionally, and otherwise. I believe that parents are teachers, but good grief, there is plenty of time in a child’s life to learn how to learn academic skills. These miracle learning programs for babies is just another way of demonstrating how superior you are as a parent to the next person.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        “First of all, I work with students who have severe and profound disabilities, and I can tell you from working with these children, that IQ and academic ability is highly overrated.”

        Can you expand on this point? I think I know where you’re going, but I’m not quite sure.

        • wookie130

          I suppose what I meant by that statement, is that all people are valuable, regardless of their academic abilities. I have learned far more important lessons from working with these children, than I could have ever taught them. What my kids lack in academic skills, they make up for in other ways, in abundance.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Ah, yes, that’s how I took it, but just wanted to clarify. Well said.

          • KarenJJ

            Yes, a capacity to love others, work hard and enjoy life’s small blessings would be a lot more satisfying then learning to read at 3.3 instead of 4.2 years.

    • Lombardi

      Ugh… I really cringe when I read about these hot housing methods. It creates parrots not thinking, independent, creative children. I hypothesize this is why so many prodigies can’t translate their talents into adult careers. To much of their skill is in technical performance created from drill methods like these not in creative creation. Encyclopedic knowledge means jack shit in the 21st century. Any fact can be looked up instantly. Skill acquisition and knowing how to apply a fact is what counts. Knowing a fact has no use if it can’t be applied.

    • MJ

      Being the smartest kid in the room is no guarantee of happiness, and is often a hindrance to it. What I want for my kids is enough capacity to do what they want in their life combined with an awareness of what makes them happy and whole and how to achieve it.

      • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

        I was a “bright kid”, spontaneously reading by age 3, and spent 12 years in school bored out of my mind, never developed study skills, and even today have the attention span of a flea because I’m interested in too many things all at the same time. And I never learned my multiplication tables — so dull! [thank heaven for pocket calculators]

        When I had my own children, I prayed “Lord, give me ordinary, normal children!”

        Skipping grades is a great way to make a child a social misfit, IMO.

        • MJ

          I live in a neighbourhood where people look at you with an utterly horrified expression if you describe your child as ‘ordinary’. Apparently as a white, educated, upper-middle-class parent you are supposed to talk only about the ways in which your child is special and remarkable. Those people don’t realise that for me an ordinary, confident, happy, competent child is the grail.

          • Young CC Prof

            THIS. Now, my son is a bit young for skill comparisons, but the reason it makes me happy when he smiles back at me, or starts trying to make sounds other than crying, is because it means his brain is OK and doing everything it should be doing. Not because he’s better than other babies!

          • Elizabeth A

            OMG, yes.

            I don’t live in that neighborhood, actually. I live in an inner-city and send my kids to public school. (We enrich madly. Grocery store math games! Magna-tiles! Snap circuits! Ukeleles!)

            DS’s school tells me that he is very bright, and various people apply the word gifted. I agree that my child is very bright, but it’s my experience that “gifted” is more often applied as a marker of socioeconomic privilege then of exceptional intellect. I’ve been resisting the label on that basis.

            A lot of people find this shocking, like I’m running down my own kid, but I agree that confident, happy, confident children are what we’re aiming for. Plenty of ordinary people excel by working hard, and I want my kids to have the tools to do that.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I learned to read at about 3 and did really well in school. My daughter learned to read at about 3, the other two not until kindergarten, and she was my worst student.

        • Mishimoo

          I was 4 when I started reading. Must have been the lack of breastmilk sparkles. ;)

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            Hate to tell you I was exclusively bottle fed. Back in 1946 that was the “modern” thing to do.

          • Mishimoo

            Damn, and it was such a good excuse too!

        • Dr Kitty

          Hello? Are you me?
          Although my issue with attention is that I focus on what I want to do to the point of excluding everything else. I can’t read and listen to music at the same time.
          If I’m reading I have to be tapped on the shoulder if someone wants me, I won’t hear them.

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            That happens to me sometimes, largely because I read so fast [according to the BBC program "Click", if I managed to read a sample page on the TV screen in 15 seconds, I was an "average" reader. I read it 4 complete times in 15 seconds] and become so immersed in what I’m reading. But otherwise, I am very diffused: I knit baby blankets for gifts, and depending on my mood, [today I'm into pink; yesterday it was cream], I’ve got half a dozen projects going at the same time.

          • Jessica S.

            “If I’m reading I have to be tapped on the shoulder if someone wants me, I won’t hear them.”

            I’d give my left arm to have this characteristic. But I have ADHD, so it comes with the territory. What’s interesting is that my husband also has ADD, but the inattentive type, so he can absolutely lose himself to the point of not hearing things. He gets distracted in his own mind, tho, but that’s a different story. :)

      • Jessica S.

        Well said. My 3.5 year old is so sharp, it freaks me out sometimes. I often find myself dreaming of ways he could learn *slower*. Then I realize that called “playing”. :D

      • anion

        I have often thought about how much easier and more fun my life would be if I lost about twenty IQ points. Enough to still be a bit above average, but also enough that I wouldn’t be driven so crazy by so many things.

    • Jocelyn

      I was always in the top of my class (from elementary school to the time I graduated from my university) and I couldn’t read until I was 7. I honestly don’t see what the big deal is about pushing things so early. Seems stress-inducing for the parent and the child.

    • JustAGuest

      Not really an educator, but I did a short stint as a teacher’s aid for a 1st/2nd grade classroom. So, uh, not really an expert here.

      First, babies younger than 2 can’t read. Reading is part of a developmental process that hasn’t happened yet. Can some young toddlers say the correct response to a flashcard because it gets such a fun reaction from the adults? They sure can.

      At least in the school I worked at, skipping kids ahead was a last resort. Even kids who were ahead of their age in cognitive milestones, were still at age level in physical, emotional, social and language milestones. Some kids can do a fair amount of reading and math before kindergarten, but we wouldn’t skip a kid ahead because of that alone.

      Did I see 1st graders who had memorized some amazing things and loved to repeat them back? Yes, all of them! Some of them knew educational facts, some of them knew long stretches of Finding Nemo dialogue. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drilling as long as the kid is enjoying it. But it’s not going to fundamentally change the developmental path that little brain is on. The kid isn’t going to reach cognitive milestones earlier because of it.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        Not to mention as I have witnessed first hand if a child develops too much in one direction often times they are behind in the other. Like my twin nephews, one does all the talking and knows some colors and letters but crawled and walked pretty late, the other one has the most amazing motor skills and is just started to say things. It is not worrisome and they did it on their own, but I would be worried about too much drilling when they are so young.

      • Life Tip

        Kids have a pretty remarkable ability to memorize things they are interested in. I guess that ability can be forced if the child needs to repeat facts back to their parents in order to gain their approval. Pretty sad though.

        Being able to repeat “encyclopedia knowledge” is not much different than a child being able to quote Frozen. Except that one child is miserable and most likely treated as a prop to his parents’ giant ego, and the other child is happily expanding his vocabulary while enjoying something he likes.

        • KarenJJ

          A love of learning new things and trying something different and challenging is so important for kids (and adults). Much more than ability to memorise a lot of stuff.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Kids have a pretty remarkable ability to memorize things they are interested in.

          I’ve noticed that with our kids. Amazing how they can
          “read” their favorite books, although I can’t, even though I’ve been the one who has read it to them everyone night. I’ve been reading it over and over, and can’t do it by heart, and they know it by heart having only heard it.

          Then there are books that I know and they don’t.

          • sleuther

            My father-in-law tells a story about when my husband was a very young boy – he LOVED two books so much that my FIL had to read them both to him, out loud, repeatedly.

            One evening, my FIL picked up one of the books, opened, it, and (looking like he was “reading”) began reciting the text of the other book. My husband was VERY shocked at this!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My kids use the pictures to give them their cues in the books to know what it says on that page. Which is always surprising, because when we are reading, I never actually get the impression that they are paying that close of attention.

          • sleuther

            As they go into kindergarten, that’s one of the techniques taught to help literacy. :)

          • Jessica S.

            At which point, I’ll try to skip a page only to realize he most certainly was paying attention. :)

            Which gave rise to the idea of “the abbreviated version” of books. I thought it would help explain why we were starting in the middle, that is, I thought the explanation would be enough to satisfy. But not my boy. He used it as a negotiating strategy for the occasions when he’d been told there wasn’t time for a story, etc. “Read the ‘beeviated version?” he’d weep. It was hard to say no to that the first couple times he used it, just b/c it was so damn clever. I think he was two and a half at the time.

          • anion

            I had MISS NELSON IS MISSING memorized by the time I was about three. (I can still remember some chunks of it, too.)

    • AllieFoyle

      OFFS. I’m sorry you have such annoying relatives.

  • JMacG

    Delurking with an ironic post from the F. Breeder’s FB page. Hope it’s okay to post it, can’t resist …

    “I
    started out the day feeling like I finally wanted to tackle some things,
    then we had the school meeting about getting my son some support for
    his Aspergers and I just left feeling defeated and spent. I’m a little
    tired of lay people trying to convince me he doesn’t have special needs
    when his MD and his BCBA both said he does. “

    • Zoey

      But she’s not a lay person, she’s a public health scholar! Totally different.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Way to misrepresent the position of self advocates Gina. The idea isn’t that he doesn’t need support. It’s that you shouldn’t spend his entire life trying to “fix” him or make him “as normal as possible.” But continue to put your fingers in your ears and refuse to listen to people who actually have a brain that works like your son tell you how there minds work. You know better than the autistic about autism. You know more than everyone about everything.

      What a twit.

      • Young CC Prof

        Well, there’s a difference between teaching your child to adapt and self-advocate versus dealing with a school system that refuses to accommodate, especially for a very young child. (Been there, done that.)

        • LibrarianSarah

          I agree I am all for autism education but I can’t help but think that this was another swipe at autism self-advocates for having the audacity to disagree with her. I know the school system can suck and don’t want to spend the time and resources that they are legally required to do but this is Gina being spiteful and misrepresenting self-advocates.

          You should fight to make sure that the school system gives your kid the resources he needs. No one is denying that, this is the right thing to do. But you shouldn’t say “This is how you should feel about your disability” to an autistic person. Which is what TFB did multiple times.

          I’m also not a big fan of the term “special needs.” Yes we have needs some of which are different. They are only considered “special” because society decided that the needs of disabled need people are somehow different than the needs of those who are not disabled. I need to see a gyno and my brother does not is that a “special need” as well? Some groups of people need things that others don’t and only in the context of disability are needs considered “special.”

          • Young CC Prof

            Especially since that means that, in some cases, a public school can’t make even reasonable, no-cost or minimal-cost accommodations for, say, the student whose parents can’t afford to have his LD diagnosed. (I do remedial education for adults in the ‘hood. I have no idea how many of my students fall into that category. There’s only so much I can do as an individual, and it doesn’t seem fair that the student who can produce the $2K educational evaluations can get department policies waived and another one with just as many problems and no cash can’t. Of course, denying accommodation to documented disabilities certainly isn’t the solution, but I don’t know what is.)

          • Dr Kitty

            State funded educational assessments?

          • Mariana Baca

            How about providing the reasonable, no-cost accommodations to everyone that needs them, regardless of documentation? Kid learns better by not going to pointless assemblies which are noisy and overwhelming? Let them skip that part of school. Kid needs a fidget toy to pay attention in class? Allow that. Kid does not do well with eye contact? Don’t try to condition him to do so. etc. Kid can’t hand write quickly but can type? allow them to use their laptop from home or go to the library to type essays. Unless it impacts the lesson actually being taught, allow for opt-outs of accommodations. Require documentation for extra classes or costly modifications.

          • T.

            While I agree with the idea, the point of school is -also- to prepare you to adult life, and adult life (especially workplaces) are often (though not always) not accomodating.
            As a child and a teen I liked to have a fidget toy to pay attention. I was told not to use them, and had to learn not to. Which was actually useful, because where I work now I wouldn’t be able to use them. Same with things like pointless assemblies (ugh. Those are one of the worst thing in the workplace, but alas, they exist). Same with eyes contact, you will be considered “weird” if you don’t do it, and accomodation once you are out of school only go up to a point.
            There are things that a child can’t help with (dyslexia being one of them) but I do think children should be encouraged to try, even if they don’t like it (they would also probably like to eat icecream at every meal, but people usually try to force them to eat greens anyway). You must go beyond your confort zone, difficult as it may be.
            It is a difficult line to walk, between asking children things that they cannot do and not preparing them for life.

          • Elizabeth A

            OTOH, yes, some of these things are necessary skills for adult life. OTOH, if a child really has trouble with an issue, a therapeutic approach that acknowledges the child’s difficulty, and phases the fidget toy out over time, or works up to routine eye contact, but doesn’t force the child into it 100% of the time in the kindergarten classroom, is likely best.

          • Young CC Prof

            Honestly, I find that my workplace is much more suited to me and the way I do things than was my elementary school. Elementary school, and even middle school, it’s “my way or the highway,” unless you’ve got that 504 or just happen to have a very understanding teacher with the time to make exceptions.

            In the workplace, you can choose a career where at least most of what you do is things you’re reasonably good at and/or don’t hate doing. For some kids, even academically able ones, school means doing what you’re bad at all day long. At most workplaces, product matters more than process. School is all about process.

            Definitely, everyone needs some basic skills to get along. But IMHO public schools can take it too far.

          • sleuther

            I have a daughter who’s been diagnosed with Dyspraxia (formerly “Clumsy Child Syndrome.”) She is in normal classes, and for a time she had a 504 plan listing accommodations, but the best teachers tend to accommodate various kids’ needs throughout the day on an as-needed basis.

            For example, my daughter gets very fidgety if she has to sit in one position for a long time, so if there’s extended circle-time on the floor, the teacher asked my daughter if she’d be more comfortable in a chair. If she was skipping lines while reading, the teacher offered her a plastic visual aid that blocked out surrounding lines and highlighted the current one.

            Visiting my younger daughter’s first-grade classroom, I also see her teacher doing the same thing, very subtly and smoothly, giving extra-detailed instructions to one kid, asking another kid to be her special “helper” in a demonstration – just skillfully using all the tricks. The good ones make it look easy!

            The reason I got the 504 in the first place was to have something in my back pocket if my daughter happened to get an uncooperative teacher who insisted on punishing her for just being who she is – there was one “lazy battle-axe” whose class I did NOT want her in, and we dodged that bullet — but thankfully it hasn’t come to that.

      • Therese

        I don’t see where she is attempting to represent the position of “self advocates” with that post. She is talking about a meeting with people at her son’s school.

        • LibrarianSarah

          Yeah I re-read it a couple times and and realized that she was not making a swipe at self-advocates but at that the school didn’t find. I sometimes have trouble interpreting context and am obviously very (too?) passionate about this issue.

          Apologies to The Feminist Breeder.

      • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

        I could write volumes about learning disabled children since I have two [btw, this means something different in the UK than the US], but I won’t. My son has a mild dyslexia combined with mild hyperactivity; my older daughter has moderately severe classical dyslexia. Both spent time in special ed; my son for two years, my daughter from grade 3 onwards.

        My son, while not [yet] as rich as Richard Branson [also dyslexic], is on his way because he consistently thinks “outside the box” which has led him and his partners to build several successful businesses. My daughter has also learned how to compensate by identifying her strengths and using them — and letting her husband handle issues like bill paying [math is still hard] and letter writing [she can, but finds it an ordeal]. She works in a day nursery with pre-school children and does it very well.

        Israel has a special ed system which can be tough to get into, but once in, it is very good. There was never any attempt to pretend that they were “just like everyone else” because “everyone else” is different, too, in some way.

        • LibrarianSarah

          I didn’t use the term “learning disabled” at least not in this post anyway. Personally, I think the “you’re fine, everything is fine lalala” is just as bad as the “OMG something is wrong with you, you are broken and mommy must fix you” approach. I’ve seen both approaches and neither ends pretty. As much as I hate the golden mean fallacy in this case the answer does lie somewhere in the middle as you have seen and done.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I saw that. It’s like saying, “I felt defeated by my homebirth midwife insisting that breech is a variation of normal even though my obstetrician says it is high risk.

      I will say that I sympathize with Gina in her struggle to access services for her child. I have a child with Asperger’s so I know what that’s like. I used to say to those who balked, “We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way, but I assure you that you will be providing those services!”

      After dealing with me for a few years, they made life easier for themselves by always agreeing to provide the required services.

      • LibrarianSarah

        The Board of Ed. can be a real son of a bitch. Unless things have changed a lot in recent years (they haven’t) a good special education lawyer is worth their weight in gold.

        • Lombardi

          Not sure which states you all are in but NY schools are under huge pressure to stay at a certian percentage of students in Sp ED services. Go over that and state Ed may show up for an audit. I know several kids who were boarder line that have been declassified inappoperatly IMO. Also, there is the money. Normal Ed in my state per a student ranges from 10 – 30k depending on how wealthy the district is. Sp Ed costs per a student ranges from 25k – 75k.

      • Alenushka

        Getting services for my son was always hard.

      • Danielle

        I have an autistic brother (high functioning, but not Aspberger’s), and it was dreadful for my parents to negotiate with the school system. My sympathy is entirely with Gina on this matter. It’s a long hard battle and its hard to win. Those without some serious resources often don’t.

      • Laura

        It speaks to your character, Dr. Amy, that after all you’ve been through with Gina you extend sympathy to her with her child’s educational needs. Good for you. (Laura Learner :) ).

      • anion

        I sympathize, too. When we were doing the testing-therapy-go-round with our oldest, my mother kept insisting, every time I tried to talk to her about it, that “There’s nothing wrong with [Child]!” Uh, Mom, there IS something wrong with her, and it’s very painful to deal with, and all you’re doing is making me feel stupid and more upset. It sucks that Gina’s dealing with that.

    • araikwao

      So in this situation the MD does actually know best?

  • Trulyunbelievable2020

    For a good example of cherry picking evidence (among anti-vaccers, not NCB advocates), please see this ridiculous thread from MDC: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1396772/were-not-vaccinating-and-my-boy-has-pertussis

    The last post is a true gem: it includes links to two studies from 1936 and 1937 that show that, “the results are remarkable for vitamin C treatment in Pertussis cases.” What’s more, it’s clear that the poster didn’t even read the studies, since the third sentence in one of them reads: “Madsen reports that, of 1,842 vaccinated children, about 25 per cent escaped infection, while of 446 non-vaccinated children less than 2 per cent escaped. This decided improvement warrants the use of vaccines…”

    • Aki Hinata

      What useless advice. If I were that dad, I’d get the kid vaccinated one day while she was gone.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        He’s clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer. When she showed him some idiocy about Vitamin C he got really angry that their physicians had concealed this information from him. She hilariously writes that, “… he got even ANGRIER! but in a totally good way.”

        Being angry at her for being a moron= bad anger
        Getting angry at a doctor for not being well-read on woo= good anger

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Apropos of nothing: I was just checking and have verified that my 5 yo has all his shots needed to go to Kindergarten.

        No need to apply for an exemption here! Not that I would.
        (I actually didn’t see anything on the kindergarten sign up that allowed for examptions, although I sure there is a policy)

    • Are you nuts

      Ugh. I consider myself somewhat libertarian too, but your liberties stop where mine start. If you want to smoke pot in your own home, be my guest. Just don’t get behind the wheel of a car. If you don’t want to vax, ok. But you better make sure you don’t have your son with whooping cough out in public.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020
        • Trulyunbelievable2020

          Whoops, I guess something bizarre happens if you put a post in these guys

          It should read, “Dutifully puts out his joint and tries to look at the road at least every few seconds while typing this post.”

          • Young CC Prof

            They’re used to mark HTML commands. If you put something inside them that isn’t a valid HTML command, computers get confused.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Yeah, whatever, know-it-all. I coooooould believe that, but I think I am just going to trust my intuitive wisdom here and say that the message was intercepted and torn apart by gremlins.

            But seriously, thanks… I figure it was something like that.

          • Young CC Prof

            I think I prefer your version. Some days, it makes more sense.

      • anion

        Yeah, that’s the awesome part: they took their kid to the pediatrician, where there were probably some infants they could expose! Cool!

        *grinds teeth*

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    Here’s the problem, it’s clear much of it is dangerous quackery but when it comes to places for the “general public” to go the market place is flooded with NCB mouth pieces. Lamaze. Childbirth Connection. Science and Sensibility. March of Dimes. National Childbirth Trust. Mothers of Change. Etc. Etc. There is literally no alternative to turn to for quality information that is does not come with a side of bias. ACOG and SOGC aren’t exactly patient accessible. If the goal is to fight the quackery – then a few pages from their playbook might have to be stolen AND in order to adequately resource it, something might have to be sold.

    • auntbea

      RIght. If someone has the ability to high-quality from low-quality evidence, they don’t need a guide to help them distinguish science from pseudoscience. Those who believe pseudoscience also believe their evidence is strong.

      • lawyer jane

        I actually thought that Childbirth Connection was relatively unbiased when I was researching induction while pregnant. There’s a lot of NCB packaging, but the page on induction really pretty clearly spells out the proper indications for it.

        https://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10652

        • expat

          Science based birth is tricky like that too. A bit of misrepresented research mixed with terrible, foregone conclusions. The article on macrosomia is egregious.

  • Mel

    In the same vein of ignoring science –
    I’m pretty sure the diving reflex strength is inversely proportional to water temperature. If you are dropped into freezing cold water, the body shuts down blood flow to extremities and reroutes blood to the major organs and brain + the cold slows metabolic activities. If you’re dropped in a warm bath tub, you simply drown and die.

    So, logically, water births should take place in between the ice cubes keeping the bath water as close to freezing as possible. (It’s not gonna prevent umbilical cord tearing but, hey, why worry our pretty little heads about that?)

    Added bonuses: Most fecal bacteria divide much more slowly in freezing water. When mom starts going hypothermia, I’m guessing the labor pains may seem less severe – or at least compared to that terrible pins and needles feeling you get in cold, cold water.

  • Trixie
    • Lombardi

      “In a candle lit room ……” What is with ncb and candles?

      • Ash

        Some NCB advocates say that bright lights impede labor (what?)

      • Trixie

        Homebirth isn’t dangerous enough — it’s a good idea to add a fire hazard.

        • Jessica S.

          Omg, I laughed so hard at this for some reason. Good times!!

      • LadyLuck777

        This cracks me up too. I’m not getting a facial, I’m delivering a baby. I could give a crap about ambiance.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Because when it comes to neonatal physiology, who are you going to trust, Harper or some lousy neonatologist?

    • Anj Fabian

      She references the Aquatic Ape in all seriousness?

      Does she not know how ridiculous that makes her look? It’s someone’s pet theory that has zero evidence to support it.

      • Anj Fabian

        oh dear

        She plans on included the Aquatic Ape in her new book. Lady, step away from the echo chamber.

  • Deena Chamlee

    Wait a minute NOT ALL MIDWIVES.

  • fiftyfifty1

    ” Midwives implemented waterbirth without every investigating whether it is safe”.
    should be “without EVER”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks!

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Pseudoscience appeals to false authority.

    Seems to me that Ina May is the poster child for false authority, isn’t she?

    The Grand Poo-Bah of the MW world, despite her qualification was that she made up her own certification and granted it upon herself.

    IOW, what makes her a midwife? She says she is.

    • Amy M

      That’s kind of their whole world view, huh? Ina May is a midwife because she says she is. All pregnant women are a variation of normal because CPMs say they are. All birth goes well because they trust it, and they “affirm” it. If only we could really control the universe with our thoughts….how does that old saying go? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?

      • fiftyfifty1

        Those negative-thinking beggars, they’ve gotten what they deserve!

      • Dr Kitty

        “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride
        If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side
        If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no need for Tinkers”.

    • Young CC Prof

      If writing a book about midwifery makes her a midwife, then, if I write a book about squirrels, I must be a squirrel.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        I wish I could like this 10 times.

      • araikwao

        If you write that book, you should definitely change your username. Prof Squirrel, perhaps?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          If it were me, I’d be Rocket J. Squirrel, of course.

          It might be a little cliche, but hey, I gotta do it.

    • Siri

      Says the self-proclaimed Bofa on a Sofa – for all we know, you could be sitting on a chair… ;-b

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        That’s why I provided a picture.