10 things that homebirth and anti-vaccine advocacy have in common

Naked Muscular Man Covering with a Box Isolated on White

At the end of their piece in yesterday’s NYTimes Room for Debate feature on homebirth, Drs. Grunebaum and Chervenak make a particularly apt comparison:

We are now seeing the damage done to children from the propagation of junk science about vaccines. It is imperative we, as a society, do not make the same mistake when it comes to birth.

With the advent of the recent Disneyland measles outbreak, it has become painfully apparent that the anti-vax position is and has always been spectacularly wrong.

The Disneyland measles outbreak was not the first incidence of the resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases; multiple children (generally infants) have been sickened, hospitalized and have died since pertussis (whooping cough) has come roaring back. But for some indefinable reason, the Disneyland measles outbreak became the tipping point. Similarly, literally dozens of babies are dying preventable deaths at homebirth each year, but though we are approaching a tipping point (as indicated by the framing of the NYTimes’ question Is Homebirth Ever a Safe Choice?) we probably won’t reached it until a prominent celebrity’s baby dies at homebirth.

Homebirth and anti-vaccine advocacy are ideological twins.

Indeed, it is rather startling to consider what homebirth and anti-vaccine advocacy have in common:

1. Both are based on pseudoscience

Both homebirth and anti-vax advocacy rely on ignoring, twisting or confounding the existing science. Advocates present bibliography salads of cherry picked and misleading citations written by discredited authors or subsequently reversed or retracted.

2. Both ignore the consensus of experts

Vaccination is promoted by nearly all the immunologists, pediatricians and public health officials around the world, yet anti-vax activists imagine they know better than the experts. American hospital birth has been declared safest by obstetricians, neonatologists and pediatricians, but homebirth advocates imagine they know better than the experts.

3. Both are based on the belief that “if I haven’t seen it, it doesn’t exist”

Anti-vax advocates pretended to themselves and others that there was no reason to worry about vaccine preventable diseases since they were so rare, never acknowledging (or possibly even realizing) that they were rare BECAUSE OF vaccines, not in spite of them. Similarly, homebirth advocates pretend to themselves and others that childbirth complications are both rare and easily foreseen in time for hospital transfer, never acknowledging (or possibly even realizing) that they seem rare BECAUSE OF obstetricians and hospitals, not in spite of them.

4. Both are propagated through echo chamber websites that delete non-conforming scientific data and ban commentors with actual expertise

This is a hallmark of pseudoscience. For both anti-vax and homebirth advocacy, a truly educated consumer is their worst customer, so intense efforts are made to to delete scientific evidence and ban commentors who might raise suspicions about the validity of anti-vax and homebirth claims. Advocates are spoon fed what they are supposed to believe and they can’t be allowed to question what they’ve been fed.

5. Both rely heavily on conspiracy theories.

According to anti-vax advocates, we’re supposed to believe that vaccines are a massive world wide conspiracy involving nearly every immunologist, pediatrician and public health official. Indeed immunologists, pediatricians and public health officials are so devoted to maintaining the conspiracy that they actually give their own children vaccines despite the fact that they secretly know that vaccines are useless and dangerous. Similarly, according to homebirth advocates, we’re supposed to believe that modern obstetrics is nothing more than an economic conspiracy to deprive midwives of their livelihood, and to cause childbirth complications so that obstetricians can pretend to be heroes.

6. Both rely on magical thinking, the belief that thoughts can control events

No one conveys that reliance on magical thinking better than homebirth advocates who declare (with straight faces, no less) that the safest place to give birth is where the mother feels safest.

7.Both believe the mystical power of food to ward off disease and complications

Both actually believe, with absolutely no scientific evidence, that eating “right,” and taking supplements and herbs can ward off both vaccine preventable illnesses and childbirth complications. The highest mystical power, however, is reserved for breastmilk, which apparently can do everything from preventing pertussis and measles (it can’t) to treating eye and ear infections by squirting it into eyes and ears.

8.Both have a libertarian streak that invokes rights and ignores responsibilities

The battle cry of anti-vaxxers and homebirth advocates it, “I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” Preventing the illness and death of others is irrelevant in this libertarian conception of citizenship.

9. Both are about parental ego

Both anti-vax and homebirth are forms of parental tribalism where parents distinguish themselves from other parents whom they deride as “sheeple.” Both are concerned with parental “empowerment,” not science. Anti-vax is not about vaccines and not about children; it’s about the need for some parents to view themselves as special, smarter and savvier than all the rest. Homebirth is not about birth and certainly not about babies; it’s about the need for some mothers to view themselves as special, smarter and savvier than the all the rest.

10. Both harm or kill children, not the adults making the choice

Not coincidentally, the greatest risk of harm of these adult choices devolves on innocent children who probably would have made different choices (to preserve their own lives) had they been given the opportunity.

It took years, and dozens of preventable deaths, as well as hundreds preventable illnesses and hospitalizations to finally reach mainstream recognition that anti-vax advocacy is dangerous pseudoscience. How many years, and how many preventable deaths will it take for mainstream recognition that homebirth is the ideological twin of anti-vax, based on faulty science and every bit as deadly?

159 Responses to “10 things that homebirth and anti-vaccine advocacy have in common”

  1. pj fitz
    July 28, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    You forgot that both groups are comprised of relatively highly educated people. It is so crazy that ultra liberals (not using the term pejoratively) have such a blind spot when it comes to medicine. How can you criticize people for not believing in global warming then turn around and ignore another major scientific consensus?

  2. Brackonfire
    March 13, 2015 at 1:15 am #

    I read this article for the dudes.

  3. SporkParade
    February 26, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    Today on one of my mommy groups on Facebook: “1. Has anyone here used homeopathic alternative for whopping cough vaccine? 2. Has anyone been able to get polio vaccine separate from disteria/tetanus? [sic]”

    • Somewhereinthemiddle
      February 26, 2015 at 8:48 am #

      Oy. That’s… just… oy. Pitiful.

    • Young CC Prof
      February 26, 2015 at 9:04 am #

      New rule: You aren’t allowed to refuse vaccines for any diseases you can’t spell. (And describe.)

      • jenny vane
        March 25, 2015 at 5:30 am #

        So yes, if you know not how to spell the disease, you must vaccinate. And ask no further questions.

        • Amazed
          March 25, 2015 at 6:43 am #

          We had this lady around this part of the world who wouldn’t vaccinate because that would give her kid alotism.

    • Mariana Baca
      February 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      Ok, my question to this is *why*??? clearly the person doesn’t see a problem with a polio vaccine. And most kids play in the dirt, and might encounter dirty rusty metal at some point so why not get them tetanus in the same shot now instead of later and avoid the extra stick? If you have gotten all those shots, what is wrong with getting the D part ? When it is the most common of the three???

      I have noticed a trend of parents being distrustful of any vaccines that require booster shots as adults, especially if the recommedation is new. They don’t trust their future kids (which they see as babies that will need care FOREVER) as getting them in the future in their adult doctor’s visits, so better to give them a “lifetime” solution if they can find it, even if there is a greater risk of suffering or death. Or maybe they think the need for booster shots proves “scientists don’t know everything!” or “the vaccine is defective!” and thus should not be trusted.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 26, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

      Polio isn’t in the DTaP vaccine. What is disteria?

      • Young CC Prof
        February 26, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

        Actually, it is in the infant version. They mixed it to reduce the total number of injections for 2-6 month olds.

        I assume it’s supposed to be diphtheria, but it’s closer to distemper, a dog disease, the way it’s spelled.

        • Jocelyn
          February 26, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

          I just googled disteria for the heck of it, and this came up on Answers.com: “it is a very bad disease very common in the civil war and it made you have dieria and eventually you got de-hidrated and died an aginizing death”

          Sounds legit.

          • Young CC Prof
            February 26, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

            Clearly a reliable source! I mean, you can’t beat Answers.com!

    • Trixie
      February 26, 2015 at 11:32 pm #

      Maybe that’s when you get dysentery and listeria at the same time?

    • Who?
      February 27, 2015 at 12:20 am #

      Whopping cough and disteria are little known and minor conditions, entirely unrelated to the far more serious and common whooping cough and listeria.

      • Red Ear Reviewer
        February 27, 2015 at 11:36 am #

        Listeria? Probably diphtheria. But you were laughing so much you probably got confused.

    • Roadstergal
      February 27, 2015 at 11:55 am #

      I had one heck of a whopping cough when I cleaned my friend’s barn-find motorcycle that was covered with dust and dirt. I didn’t know there was a vaccine, or I would have taken it.

  4. Therese
    February 25, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    What is the best response to someone who says,”If scientists were so wrong about fat and cholesterol, how do I know it won’t also turn out that they were wrong about vaccine safety?”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

      Vaccines have been around for 200 years and tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of lives have been saved by them.

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      February 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

      Science is all about re-evaluating new evidence. That’s what was done with cholesterol. New evidence is always being obtained regarding vaccines, and none of it has shown anything other then that vaccines are safe and effective.

    • Sue
      February 25, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      Also, the fat and cholesterol research has not been turned upside down (despite what some people are saying) – it;s being refined.

      • theNormalDistribution
        February 25, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

        And not even that. A hefty chunk of the stuff we’ve been told about fat and cholesterol was not even supported by the evidence they used to come up with the theories.

      • Medwife
        February 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

        The new guidelines don’t take away the plus sides of, say, a vegetarian or very light on the red meat diet.

    • Young CC Prof
      February 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

      Because humans are too ornery to do decades-long controlled trials with diet, and they tend to lie and misremember.

    • SporkParade
      February 26, 2015 at 1:34 am #

      If you carry that argument to its logical conclusion, there’s no point in conducting scientific research because we can never know that anything is true. There is a difference between changing guidelines based on new evidence (you still shouldn’t be stuffing yourself with dietary fat and cholesterol) and getting rid of something that has saved millions of lives and eradicated deadly diseases on the assumption that some new evidence will arise at some point showing that it is unsafe.
      You might also add that older versions of vaccines, notably smallpox and the oral polio vaccine, were actually somewhat dangerous, but parents still got them for their children in droves because the risks of the vaccine were miniscule compared to the risks of catching the disease. The fact that we do not have to subject our children to these riskier vaccines anymore is precisely because of widespread vaccination.

  5. Sue
    February 25, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    To this list we can add: dietary fads (fructose is poison), homeopathy, and anti-fluoride pseudo-science.

  6. KarenJJ
    February 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    I’d also add that both prey on, and add a legitimacy to, the anxiety many parents feel around medical treatments like needles and hospitals. Needle phobia an hospital phobia are real things and much better to get some help rather than listen to the fear mongering and put your kids at risk.

    • Sue
      February 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      They also prey on vulnerable parents who already have children with developmental or behavioural issues, and want an external locus of blame. The validate the external blame and help the disempowered parents feel that they have some control.

    • Who?
      February 25, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

      I get that needle phobia is a real thing, but have pretty much zero patience or tolerance for it. One second, honestly. Breathe in and out, and it’s done.

      But it’s interesting how parents’ phobias are visited on their children. A number of my friends are scared to death of the dentist, don’t go themselves, and never take their kids. Now I don’t love the dentist, but it’s self maintenance: letting that anxiety overwhelm you to the point where children are neglected I just don’t understand.

      • Alcharisi
        February 25, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

        I have something of a moderate needle phobia, which I’ve been able to largely overcome via sheer bloody-minded devotion to my duty to be vaccinated. But in the moment, it seems to have been helpful for me to warn the nurse beforehand. I just say, “As a heads-up, I have a bit of a needle phobia–would you mind distracting me a bit while you give me the shot?” I’m usually rather apologetic about it, but folks have been great.

        • Who?
          February 25, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

          That sounds like a great way to approach it. Many things that are good for us are not fun, and even if nothing bad happens, they are still not fun. Acknowledging that is positive. Feeling that something isn’t nice to do doesn’t make not doing it a good decision.

        • Cobalt
          February 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

          I’m really anxious about blood draws/IV, but not vaccines, even though vaccines tend to hurt a lot more and I’ve got easy veins. I’ve straight up passed out getting stuck for a blood draw before, so I always warn whoever’s doing it and usually am made to lay down just in case.

          • Who?
            February 27, 2015 at 12:23 am #

            I’m the opposite, happy to line up for blood draws but really don’t enjoy even the idea of anything-including pain relief by IV-going in.

            No idea what that’s about.

      • JJ
        February 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

        I have struggled with anxiety and especially over the dentist. I even had to have my mother-in-law come with me for a while! The thing that helped me was finding a good practice where I trusted the people and I keep all my appointments. I also informed them that I was anxious and they really helped me stay calm. Just having the regular positive exposure to the dentist has made it better since I have had insurance the past 4 years. Plus, I floss and use fluoride daily to minimize dental work. I brought my kids even when I was terribly anxious because I did not want them to suffer from dental issues that could have been minimized.

        The worst is to barely go to the dentist/ignore their advice and then only go in pain and end up with major procedures every time. That only increases anxiety.

        I have needle phobia too but it had decreased since I have had to get more blood tests, IVs, and shots. I just inform the person if I feel anxious and recline since it helps me relax. When I take my kids for vax or the dentist I always emphasize how nice all the people are there and they are going to help us stay healthy. I really don’t want to pass that anxiety on!

        • Who?
          February 26, 2015 at 12:00 am #

          That is so great to hear! And good on you for taking a supporter to help you get there and get it done. Whatever works is fantastic-and as you say, with dentistry as with many things, prevention is better than cure.

        • SporkParade
          February 26, 2015 at 1:37 am #

          My grandmother gets sedated for her regular teeth-cleaning because she is so anxious, but she does it because she knows she should.

          • Kathleen
            February 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

            Boy I wish I could find a dental practice like that. We moved and I have yet to find a dentist or office I like because I have anxiety thanks to bad genetics and a bad experience(s) as a kid. I still go and will take my kids, but it’s never a good experience for me.

    • SporkParade
      February 26, 2015 at 1:41 am #

      I’m convinced that extreme fear is at the base of the whole natural parenting thing. Childbirth is painful and dangerous, and the only way NCB advocates can get over their fear is by insisting that the opposite is true. And then that spins into vaccination and medications in general because if vaccinations and drugs are necessary, that means that Little Snookums might DIE, and there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.

  7. Red Ear Reviewer
    February 25, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    The libertarians are becoming more and more strident on corporal punishment and fluoridation, as well as vaccination and home birth. It seems like a good number of them are even becoming viciously unglued — with outrageous claims and labeling anyone not with them as fascist or worse. Scary.

    • Amy M
      February 25, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      They are for or opposed to corporal punishment and fluoridation?

      I’ve seen some the crunchy types oppose fluoridation, because they think its harmful and causes every disorder that we don’t know the cause of yet.

      • Red Ear Reviewer
        February 25, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

        Anti-fluoridation and pro-corporal punishment.

        Libertarians are opposed to fluoridation as it is “government again trying to control what goes into their bodies” or more often as “government trying to poison us.” They would prefer to have designer water delivered to their taps, as if city dwellers could each have their own private water supply and sewer system.

        It is telling that the noisiest anti-fluoridation organization (Fluoride Action Network) is formally aligned with the anti-vaccinationists (NVIC) — with both getting funding from Mercola.

        Strangely enough, many libertarians defend corporal punishment of children. While staunchly defending the rights of the individual, they don’t recognize much in the way of child rights, if any at all. As also revealed in their opinions about vaccination, they tend to consider children more as the property. Many will claim that liberal Americans are bringing down the country by not using corporal punishment.

        • Roadstergal
          February 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

          “they tend to consider children more as the property”

          Rand Paul explicitly said “Parents own the children” in his recent anti-vaccine statement to CNBC. The current crop of libertarians views children as chattel. Therefore, corporal punishment is easy – the freedom to do what you want with your own property.

          Anti-fluoridation, like anti-vaccination, is a movement that appeals to both the far left and the far right.

          • FEDUP MD
            March 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

            Yeah, as someone who considers myself largely libertarian, the current ilk scares me. They don’t seem to consider children as separate people with their own individual rights at all. It seems completely counter to the underlying ideals and more of an adolescent “nah nah, you can’t tell me what to do” as opposed to a thought out philosophy.

        • Sue
          February 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

          “Anti-fluoridation and pro-corporal punishment.”

          A double whammy of abuse.

        • Amy M
          February 26, 2015 at 7:52 am #

          Thanks, I was reading your original comment, like they were for or opposed to both, and didn’t quite understand that. 🙂

        • Mariana Baca
          February 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

          ETA: nevermind, don’t have time for a political argument. (am in favor of vaccinations and not beating kids, though, just don’t want to make gross generalizations)

          • Red Ear Reviewer
            February 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

            I saw your deleted comment, and I agree. I hate to see libertarian groups taken over by quacks and conspiracy hobbyists. In my area they are chasing away the thoughtful and science-literate members — people who can understand distinctions such as the difference between individual healthcare and public health measures when it comes to informed consent.

            In the Skeptics movement, the libertarians are hounded by those who associate libertarian thought with the cranks. We get it from both sides, it seems. That’s why I’ve taken to calling myself a classical liberal.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 25, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

      I got called fascist for saying parents don’t own their kids, who are instead their own individuals. I told the guy to stop using words he clearly didn’t understand.

      • SporkParade
        February 26, 2015 at 8:16 am #

        So, these people believe that it is better to be dead than neurodivergent, they are willing to sacrifice immunocompromized children to accomplish that goal, and they tend to describe their own children using terminology such as “pure.” And WE’RE the Nazis here???

  8. Guest
    February 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    The libertarian comments are

  9. demodocus' spouse
    February 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I never understood the allure of either position. Even my hippie-hearted, no pain killers unless she absolutely had to, mother had her babies in the hospital (no medication with us older 3, and only with the twins because they got the escape hatch) and have us all vaccinated.

  10. Amy M
    February 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    In all seriousness, I think this is very true and probably why so many homebirth advocates are antivaccination. I know not all of them are, but it appears that NCB is a slippery slope for some and for those women, if they end up surrounded by the right (or wrong I guess) people, they go past “natural childbirth” and embrace homebirth, anti-vaccination, homeschool, anti-GMO, anti-science in general, the medical community and government are out to get us, chiropractors/naturopaths are gods, and so on.

    • Bugsy
      February 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      Yes. 100%.

    • Anonymous
      February 25, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

      Yeah… those people who are anti-any kind of establishment exist and they drive me nuts. My family homeschools for now, and there’s a fair number of those nutcases out there in the homeschool world. I think they’re a minority, but a sizable one. They give the rest of us a bad name! I don’t think public schools are evil and I think they’re a good option for lots of families, they’re just not a good fit for us right now. I promise lots of us are relatively normal people who just want the best for our kids! 🙂

      • Amy M
        February 26, 2015 at 7:58 am #

        Oh just to say, I don’t think homeschooling in and of itself is bad or crazy, just that it tends to get lumped in with the rest of the off-the-grid stuff, and doesn’t do the kids any favors because the parents are doing it for the wrong reasons. (because they think the schools are involved in the conspiracy with the government and BigPharma and so on.)

        • Young CC Prof
          February 26, 2015 at 9:03 am #

          Definitely. If you homeschool because your local school has major issues, or because your child has special needs that they aren’t meeting, that’s one thing. Doing it as the default because you don’t want the Government messing with your kids is… a little odd.

          • Lauren
            February 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

            I disagree. As a teacher who did five years of University study, and two years of College accreditation (University and College are different things in Canada) it’s every bit as insulting to have homeschooling an option as ‘home-doctoring’ or ‘home-dentistry’. There is a lot more to teaching than just planning lessons — there is an extraordinary amount of child development and psychology that must be learned, understood, and applied. That being said, I can sympathize when parents feel there are no good school options – especially in the US – because not every teacher is as good as the next, and not all schools are equal in their level of quality. But just as you wouldn’t stop going to the Dr because the first one (or first several) isn’t meeting your needs, or a good fit, and you would keep looking for one who was, I encourage parents to keep looking for a school that fits.

  11. Cobalt
    February 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    You didn’t mention the siblings: lactivism, homeopathy, infant chiropractic, ideological babywearing, etc. Parenting has gone insane over the last 2 decades.

    • MegaMechaMeg
      February 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      God, it is the least stupid on the entire list, but ideological babywearing is just the most obnoxious thing ever. Has it really gotten to the point where I need to have an opinion on how people carry their children? Really?

      • Cobalt
        February 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

        Not just an opinion, but also a few hundred dollars worth of whatever sling or wrap or native-inspired style carrier is currently en vogue. No strollers, no “baby buckets” (car seats) unless actually in a moving vehicle, no putting the baby down, and if you have another baby you just put one on your front and one on your back.

        It’s not sane.

        • Trixie
          February 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

          To be fair, it’s a pretty mainstream recommendation not to allow babies to spend much time in car seats unless actually traveling in the car. And use of car seats out of the car is a bigger cause of injury and death to babies than actual car accidents. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/07/05/peds.2010-0333.full.pdf+html

          • Cobalt
            February 25, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

            Car seats should be used properly, of course, and aren’t intended to be indoor baby furniture. Not because of sparkles, but because of science.

          • Trixie
            February 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

            Oh, I think we agree completely. I’m just tired of seeing babies in car seats on top of shopping carts.

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

            When my boys were infants shopping was a huge undertaking. Generally, my husband and I went together and one pushed the stroller and the other pushed the shopping cart. When the boys were old enough to sit in the shopping cart seats (yeah, BJs, double seaters!) that made it easier. I can’t imagine trying to wear both and spend an hour grocery shopping, with all the lifting and bending involved.

          • MegaMechaMeg
            February 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

            I have nothing but awed respect for parents shopping with small children. There are no good choices for child management in Target.

          • Bugsy
            February 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

            I’ve given up, and now try to cram all of my shopping into the hours when the little guy is at school or with a babysitter. Fighting him over toys/clothes/food, getting kicked repeatedly and chasing him across parking lots just isn’t my idea of fun.

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

            Yeah, we always tried to time it around naps/eating, but sometimes failed. Once, we left a fully loaded shopping cart in BJs because both boys melted down and we had to leave. I’m not proud.

          • Bugsy
            February 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

            Wow, with two of them, you’ve got my complete & utter admiration. I can barely handle it with one!

            Does the top pic on page 4 ring a bell? 🙂 http://twentytwowords.com/sarcastic-moms-hilariously-caption-ridiculous-stock-photos-of-motherhood/4/

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

            Hahahaha! Yeah, there have definitely been meltdowns over who has put more things on the conveyor belt. It does get easier, as they get older. I only have two anyway–I have friends with 3 or 4, and I admire them!

          • Cobalt
            February 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

            That’s good parenting, though. Sometimes, you just gotta be “that” mom.

          • momofone
            February 25, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

            We called them TCAs (for Total Cart Abandonment). They weren’t all that frequent, but they made an impression. The carrying the stiff-as-a-board screaming kid through the store under my arm (kind of surfboard-like) was always a treat.

          • MLE
            February 26, 2015 at 12:14 am #

            I had to do that once at IKEA. No cart (just a bag), but it was great fun carrying the screaming child through a never-ending maze, with IKEA associates offering helpful hints along the way.

          • momofone
            February 26, 2015 at 12:39 am #

            I’m sure that was very helpful indeed!

          • Medwife
            February 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

            Sure there are. Chocolate covered graham crackers from Starbucks.

          • MegaMechaMeg
            February 25, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

            That was my mother’s technique. If we got through a shopping trip without pissing her off we got to have a candy bar to split at the end. Bribery Works!

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

            I’ve done that. The promise of junk food or iPad time is powerful magic.

          • Medwife
            February 25, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

            There are two in the package. One to start us off on the right foot, the other at the end “for good behavior” (ie to get is through the checkout line).

          • Cobalt
            February 25, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

            Major fall hazard! Also the car seat on an upside down highchair at a restaurant is scary to watch. Some businesses are getting friendlier for younger babies, but it’s far from universal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

            I’ve never seen an answer to this, so here goes. (Imagine a totally non-snarky tone, because this is meant as an honest question, not a snarky one. It’s hard to convey tone in the written word.) If you run the shopping cart seatbelt through the back side of the car seat’s belts and tighten everything involved, and if the baby remains buckled into the car seat, why is this so dangerous? It’s what I did until DD could sit upright. I can see that it might be a bit top-heavy, but those carts have such a wide base they’d be pretty difficult to tip over, and in any case, if the cart tipped over a kid sitting in the cart seat would be more hurt, I should think, than one sitting in the protective shell of a car seat.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

            I’ve never seen anyone strap it in like that, but maybe it works.
            Here in the UK lots of supermarkets have carts with baby seats on them, shaped like bouncy chairs (but hard plastic and no bounce) with straps to keep baby in. I used those a few times, but did my major grocery shopping online.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

            Ohhhh, how awesome it would be to do grocery shopping online, especially in the first few months! Sadly, that’s not available in most of the US. 🙁

          • Young CC Prof
            February 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

            Peapod isn’t available most places? Huh.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 26, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

            I’d never heard of Peapod before, so I Googled it. Apparently, it’s available in “Chicagoland, Milwaukee, SE Wisconsin, Indianapolis, CT, RI, MA, SE New Hampshire, NY, NJ, MD, VA, DC, Philadelphia, and SE/Central PA.” Mostly on the East Coast, with a few areas in the Midwest, then. Sounds like a very cool idea, I must say; I hope they spread further!

          • Kelly
            February 25, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

            The new Walmart near me has carts that have a front part to specifically put car seats in. My only problem with them is hard to see around the seat. I am already planning how I am going to go shopping when I have a four year old, a one year old, and an infant. I hate grocery shopping as it is with two.

          • February 26, 2015 at 2:44 am #

            What you do is get a babysitter and go shopping by yourself, if you want to retain your sanity and not develop crippling back pain. Or, if you have a domesticated husband, let him do the shopping. I speak from experience– I had three children in three and a half years and only barely survived

          • Who?
            February 26, 2015 at 4:33 am #

            I loathe grocery shopping. Actually, all shopping.

            My husband likes to eat, which tones up the domestication quite quickly.

            Or he stayed home to care for his children while I shopped.

            I’m the laziest shopper ever-second pantry and fridge set up so we rarely run out of staples and frozen home made meals and foods ie veg keep us going when shopping falls through the cracks of busy life. Old habits die hard, I still do all that even though kids are grown and I now have a lot more time-it really does make a huge difference to weekly bills and time spent, and all wins are wins as far as I’m concerned!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 26, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

            While I don’t really like shopping at my local Walmart–dirty, awful selection, rude workers–that might almost sell me on shopping there. 😉 Almost. I’m beyond lucky in that the store I do use seems to be staffed almost exclusively with the sort of people who see a frazzled new mom and shrieking baby in line and say (genuinely), “Oh, poor kid! I know, sweetie, it’s rough being a baby sometimes. Hey, let me open this register to get you checked out quickly. Can I carry those bags out for you?” Seriously, this has happened more times than I can count in the last year. I actually pulled a manager aside once to tell him how amazing his staff were in this regard, and to mention that that’s why I’ll go two miles to his store rather than a few blocks over to another supermarket.

          • Cobalt
            February 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

            I wouldn’t trust the belt’s buckle to hold the seat secure if the whole thing went over. I envision the cart tipping, hitting the ground, then the seat continuing on its own trajectory, along with whatever was in the cart. Also, car seats are designed for the impact profile of an auto accident, not a sideways fall. There is also a concern if the angle isn’t right, the baby might be tipped too far forward or back, you have to check the level indicator on the seat.

            I wouldn’t risk it.

          • Trixie
            February 25, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

            Yeah, the baby’s head can project forward out of the seat when it overturns and impact the ground. Major risk of head injury.

          • Trixie
            February 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

            Because there are no safety standards for shopping carts, and the entire cart can turn over. A car seat on top makes it too heavy. This is a leading cause of injury among babies in car seats.
            It’s safer to put the car seat in the basket. If you read your car seat manual, virtually all of them now forbid putting the seat in a shopping cart.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

            I can understand that it makes it top-heavy-*er* than it would be otherwise, but the base of a shopping cart is still really, really wide, with small, corner-set wheels, which makes them very difficult to turn over. (Now I’m sorely tempted to ask my engineer brother-in-law to do some tests next weekend with a shopping cart, a carseat, and an appropriately-weighted baby doll. Teehee! Problem is, he’d likely try to add some fireworks or something to the mix “because they’re cool, and don’t you want to know what the explosive tensile strength of a carseat is?” :p )
            Strictly from a logistical perspective, putting a baby’s seat inside the cart means that you can’t fit a week’s worth of groceries in there. I mean, I suppose I could push one cart for the kiddo and pull another for groceries, but that seems silly at best and bloody annoying (to me and every other shopper) at worst.
            I do appreciate everyone replying to this question, and will continue to ponder it.

          • Trixie
            February 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

            Did you read the link? Shopping carts are a documented cause of injury. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2040559/Baby-James-Anderson-Berg-dies-falling-shopping-cart-Macon.html

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

            I did, but it indicated that the car seat wasn’t secured to the cart. In the scenario I describe, the safety belt of the shopping cart is woven through/around the carseat straps themselves and then buckled. This scenario wouldn’t be possible in that case.

          • Trixie
            February 26, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

            You’re using an untested method of securing your child that’s specifically prohibited, most likely, by your car seat manufacturer, and warned against by the AAP.

          • Lisa
            March 1, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

            I’ve had a shopping cart tip over when my 3 year old jumped on the end unexpectedly. No one was in the cart and no one was hurt but if I had a baby in a car seat on the car the baby could have been hurt.

        • MegaMechaMeg
          February 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

          I just don’t have the ability to care about that made up bullshit. Hell, I will make baby slings for anyone and everyone because my mother tells me that her sling was the only thing that kept her sane when we were babies but seriously. It is one way of solving a logistical problem that fits for some parents and some babies and doesn’t for others. Why on the earth does it really need to be anything more than that?

        • Mac Sherbert
          February 25, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

          You know they all love those baby carrier…I can see how it would work for some, but my baby hated it. She wanted her arms free and then she crawled and walked early and just wanted down. I couldn’t even keep her in a stroller.

          The other thing that bothers with the baby wearing is I’ve heard many mom’s say they’ve had issues when out because their toddler/preschooler was misbehaving and they couldn’t even pick the kid up because of the baby they were wearing…that sounds dangerous to me. Not to be able to grab and pick up your toddler in an emergency never mind a simple meltdown?

          • Trixie
            February 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

            I was able to hold both if I had to.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

            My first hated all carriers. My second loved them. Funnily enough, I was trying to be all AP with my first and had outgrown that by my second. My first taught me well.
            I never had a problem picking up my first while wearing my second. They are 20 months apart, so yes, I dealt with toddler meltdowns with a baby.

          • wookie130
            February 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

            Same here…my daughter wasn’t a fan of being worn. My 6 month old son LOVES it, and we use a variety of carriers. If I have any inclination toward NP or crunchy, it probably lies in babywearing…and I’m definitely NOT crunchy, really. Carriers and slings have made it possible for me to parent my children, who are only 17 months apart. I wear the baby while I bathe the toddler, I wear him while I make supper, when we go on walks, etc. It’s enjoyable for him, and for me. Strollers are great too. I just love the closeness babywearing provides for my son and I. But man alive, did my daughter HATE it! Ha!

        • Bugsy
          February 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

          I see some pics of FB of toddlers in the slings, and it amazes me. Toddler Bugsy is almost 2.5, and it’s been almost 2 years since he was in a sling or carrier. He flails and fights for independence so much right now, the thought of the bruises he would give me if I attempted to wear him make me shudder…

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

            Not to mention the weight—my boys are small for their age, but they still each weigh between 35-40lbs. That’s a lot to carry, and I’m not a big person.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

            If you have a child who is happy to be worn, it’s easy to wear a toddler. I rarely used a stroller when we travelled, as it was one more thing to fit into our tiny car. I found it easier to put her in the carrier going through the airport. I worked well other places we might be out all day, especially if the terrain wasn’t very stroller friendly. She’d walk until she was tired, then I’d carry her for a while. Honestly, she was easy to carry in a nice back carrier.

          • Bugsy
            February 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

            Wow, that’s awesome!

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

            It did not work well with her brother, except the airport, and even then that generally stopped before he was 2.

          • anh
            February 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

            Same. We travel a lot and it’s really easy for me to strap my two year old to my back. Airports are easier. Touristy stuff easier. And I enjoy awesome delicious guilt free meals in the new places we visit because I’ve gotten such a workout schlepping my daughter all day

          • Paula
            February 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

            I also prefer to wear my 18-mo when we’re traveling because it’s quicker and easier. We pretty much only use our stroller around home. I try to let her choose. At home I have the carriers sitting out, she will sometimes grab one and bring it to me and ask to be worn, otherwise she will go in the stroller or just be carried in-arms (if she doesn’t want to walk). When we go shopping I give her the choice between the shopping cart or a sling. She mostly wants the shopping cart but for some unknown toddler reason, going through the checkout line is traumatic and she needs to go in the sling for that, then back into the cart to take the bagged groceries to the car.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            February 25, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

            Same here with traveling. I’m not really “into” babywearing–extreme introvert here, love my personal space–but for airports, a carrier was easier to deal with for DD. With the one I got, I didn’t even have to take her out to pee; it was awesome! Having to try to find elevators and so on with a stroller would have driven me mad. Travel aside, though, I generally use a stroller. We even bought a stroller for the grandparents’ house for visits there.

          • Sue
            February 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

            That makes sense, Wren. My reference to ”legs withering” related to those AP parents who have to carry constantly – so the infant’s feet never touch the ground.

          • Medwife
            February 26, 2015 at 12:13 am #

            Did you ever watch the movie “babies”? Documentary of the first year of life of 4 babies from different places around the world. One was Mongolian and the kid seemed to spend a LOT of his time strapped into a cradle board, propped up against furniture. Oddly enough, he walked at a year, just like the babies who had been much more free-range in the US, Namibia and Japan.

          • Wren
            February 26, 2015 at 3:25 am #

            Honestly, I don’t know any parent who even as an ideal carries their child constantly.

          • Sue
            February 25, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

            Do these kids’ legs wither away?

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

            Do the legs of kids in strollers wither away?
            Actually, judging from the large number of kids obviously 5 and over in strollers at Disneyworld, maybe they do.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

            I don’t care what kids you have, use a stroller at Disney, because it’s a LONG day.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

            We took ours (Disneyworld, not land) at just turned 5 and 7 the first time 2 years ago. Not a stroller or a need for one. We walk a lot here in the UK though, and neither had been in a stroller for over 2 years. We went again last November and frankly it was me who needed the stroller. The kids walked my legs off

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

            The stroller is still very handy

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

            It can be. Of course, no stroller meant nowhere to stash purchases, meant we could put off any souvenir buying until the very last day. I’m sneaky that way. I also appreciated not having to hunt down my stroller, which was inevitably moved when we did Disneyland with both under 4, very time we walked off a ride. It was surprisingly liberating to go without.

          • February 26, 2015 at 2:38 am #

            When I do my weekly shopping in the open-air Machaneh Yehuda market, I am always surprised by how many mothers use the stroller as a shopping cart while the toddler struggles along beside it. I bet if third world mothers were given strollers, they’d probably still carry their babies on their backs while the stroller contained all the stuff the women were accustomed to carry on their heads.

          • MLE
            February 25, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

            Heck if they had an adult stroller and someone you could pay to push it, I’d be down.

          • theNormalDistribution
            February 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

            It’s called a wheelchair. And I’d be happy to push you around in one if you take me to Disneyland with you. 😀

          • Sue
            February 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

            You may be right – but at least they can climb out of the strollers!

        • Guesteleh
          February 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

          I saw a parent on Facebook ask if anyone knew of ring-sling class. As in a whole class you pay for to learn how to carry your baby. WTF.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

            I thought ring slings had gone out of fashion, something about some not too aware parents actually allowing babies to suffocate in them.
            I did use one, mostly with #2, but I found it only worked well for the first few months.

          • Guesteleh
            February 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

            My kid was all about the (apparently satanic) Baby Bjorn. He hated all slings.

          • Wren
            February 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

            Now that was one both of my kids agreed on: utter hatred.

          • Cobalt
            February 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

            That’s nutty. With slings and wraps, it’s a good idea to have someone with experience help at first, because getting them on securely is a learned skill. But more like a 5 minute tutorial, not a whole class.

          • JJ
            February 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

            I could not figure the ring sling out and sold it right away. I have a carrier that simply buckles and I loved it and my kids did too. I would not want to use it exclusively but it was good for getting things done.

          • Liz Leyden
            February 26, 2015 at 12:19 am #

            If there is a Babywearing group in her area, they can show her how to use a ring sling for free.

          • araikwao
            February 26, 2015 at 4:26 am #

            YouTube, perhaps??

      • Bombshellrisa
        February 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

        People feel free to offer their opinion too. My son was all about the Bjorn and Ergo until two weeks ago. Until he started walking. Now he is broadcasting his disgust for the ergo for the entire world to hear! So it’s stroller time, which is fine by me but the looks I get and the comments I got at a recent trip to the dog park were enough to make me scream. He loved his stroller view of the dogs as we walked but to hear the lady from “the baby wearing group”, I was traumatizing him

        • Staceyjw
          February 27, 2015 at 9:15 am #

          You must be in Oregon!
          I’m in Eugene and could see this happening.

          • Bombshellrisa
            February 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

            It’s funny how people can spot the attitudes and pinpoint people geographically!! We split our time between Seattle and Eastern Oregon. I absolutely loved Oregon until I fell off the woo wagon. Then I wasn’t so welcomed by people. Even in small town La Grande, there is more woo (and a couple killer midwives) than usual. I just wanted to walk through a park (or walk through town) and not have to get into a discussion about how birth, feeding or carrying choices.

  12. Cobalt
    February 25, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I think you’re absolutely right, but I have to ask:

    Why aren’t these guys holding signs on every post?

    • Anj Fabian
      February 25, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      It definitely got my attention!

      • Amy M
        February 25, 2015 at 11:52 am #

        Yeah, my first thought was: What’s with the beefcake?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 25, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      I hesitated before using this image. I’m not sure whether it will make the post more or less popular.

      • Cobalt
        February 25, 2015 at 11:38 am #

        There’s definitely a long discussion about objectification, commercialization and commoditization of sexuality, and gender equality issues that could be had, and that discussion might sidetrack your intended point.

        BUT: it is an attention grabbing image, you don’t carelessly attach such images to everything, and you’re not promoting the objectification of humans in your message. Not everything has to be so meaningful, and a person can only make so many statements at once.

      • fiftyfifty1
        February 25, 2015 at 11:44 am #

        It’s the sort of thing you see all the time with women. Pictures of hot female babes promote everything under the sun. It’s telling that substituting male babes seems very unusual. I do think that one point it makes, although subtly, is that the majority of the appeal of anti-vax and homebirth is NOT science or health, but rather an appeal to being seen as cool and daring.

        • Amy M
          February 25, 2015 at 11:56 am #

          Though maybe some anti-vax, pro-homebirth person could steal the image and use it to promote her views.
          “Hey check out these hotties! They weren’t vaccinated and they were born at home! Otherwise, they would like the dog’s hind end!”
          “Hey Girl–You should have my unvaccinated babies at home.”

          • Amy M
            February 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

            Like this….

          • Roadstergal
            February 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

            “You two are hot, but I won’t sleep with you unless you’re vaccinated.”

      • February 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

        Definitely improves your reputation as a no-nonsense, serious science-based expert.

      • mostlyclueless
        February 25, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

        If you can get one of those guys to hold a sign that says “I believe in evidence-based medicine” I might have to leave my lab early today.

      • DoulaGuest
        February 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

        You made the right choice.

      • An Actual Attorney
        February 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

        Well, to be the downer, it made me jump at the mouse to close the screen at work. I often read during lunch, and most of the pics are pretty non-offensive to a passer by, but those dudes could wind me in hot water. (Not in the way 95% of you just thought. 😉 _

      • Trixie
        February 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

        I feel it provided a bit of levity!

      • Staceyjw
        February 27, 2015 at 9:26 am #

        Love it!
        More often than not, you have great pic selections. Use this one as often as ya like…..

  13. Bugsy
    February 25, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    “7.Both believe the mystical power of food to ward off disease and complications”

    Hey, this doesn’t always apply to this crowd…I firmly believe in the power of chocolate to ward off all sorts of things! That, and good pint of ice cream. 🙂

    • Nick Sanders
      February 25, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      And especially chocolate ice cream.

      • Medwife
        February 25, 2015 at 11:35 am #

        The chocolate potentiates the effect of the ice cream.

        • Nick Sanders
          February 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

          After reading this, I *had* to get some chocolate ice-cream when I went grocery shopping. I found some that wasn’t just chocolate, but chocolate malt.

          If you guys don’t see me for a while, I’ve probably fallen into a diabetic coma.

          • Kelly
            February 25, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

            Me too. It is now sitting comfortably in the freezer as I impatiently wait for my kids to go to sleep.

          • February 26, 2015 at 2:49 am #

            I always made my hot fudge sauce in the microwave!

    • demodocus' spouse
      February 25, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

      Add free babysitting and a trip to the coffee shop next door, and you have the perfect date afternoon for my Demodocus and me. 🙂

    • Amazed
      February 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

      Don’t be so sure… Last night, my chocolate didn’t even ward off the evil power of microwave. No one ever told me that you don’t place melted chocolate back in the microwave to heat it.

      It’s deeply missed and deeply mourned.

      I literally burned 290 calories away (the thing was stevia-ed, not sugared).

      • Roadstergal
        February 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

        At least you saved yourself from the microwave Hitler crystals (sayeth the Food Babe).

      • Bugsy
        February 25, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

        Roadstergal beat me to it…I was just about to say that you clearly didn’t do your research. Microwaves are dangerous!!

        • Amazed
          February 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

          And then I did worse, ladies… I STILL didn’t do my research. I simply placed a new chocolate in the microwave and melted it. Those cocoa balls just needed to be drawn in chocolate, or they would have been dismembered and beheaded because – cocoa.

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