Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sugar, boobies, penises, and insanity.

When you've just given birth to a beautiful new human being, the last thing you want is to see them in pain.  Alas, it sometimes has to happen anyway.  A couple days after Charlotte was born, we had to spend one awful night in the ER, where no one apparently knew how to take blood from a newborn.  Then more blood tests the next day as well.  The hospital staff wanted to give her glucose water during the pokes.  It is known to help with the pain.  When I refused, they looked at me like I was a monster and said "What, you don't want to lessen your baby's pain?!"  What the hell kind of question is that anyway?  Of COURSE I do, but I have BOOBS!  TITS, BREASTICLES, MILK BAGS!  She doesn't need sugar water, when she has mommy's warm arms and body, and sweet milk.  Back then, I had never read anything about it, but it just seemed logical to me that nursing would be the most comforting thing possible.

Now, thanks to a fabulous facebook buddy sending it my way, I've got proof.


You know what makes me sad though?  That they even needed a study to prove this.  But, oh well.  Let's take a little look at what it says, just for kicks and giggles.

"What is already known on this topic
Current pharmacological treatments are not appropriate for pain relief during minor procedures like venepuncture or heel prick in newborn infants

Oral sweet solutions, non-nutritive sucking, and skin to skin contact reduce procedural pain in newborn infants

What this study adds
Breast feeding during a painful procedure effectively reduces the response to pain in newborn infants

The analgesic properties of breast feeding are at least as potent as the combination of sweet solutions and a pacifier"

Ummm... DUH.  Instead of carting these poor babies off to a bright nursery and giving them sugar water from a plastic nipple, those babies should be held in the comfort of moms arms and NURSED.  Why did they ever think they could trump nature on this one?  -headdesk- 

Some other things they say here really get me going on a totally different tangent!

"Evidence shows that neonates do feel pain1 and may even have increased sensitivity to pain and to its long term effects compared with older infants.2"

Let that sink in... babies DO feel pain, and they are probably MORE sensitive to pain and can even be impacted long term by it.  Even a heel prick or blood draw causes enough pain for them to insist that babies deserve some relief. 

How, HOW can anyone think that there is little to no pain associated with circumcision?  If even the trauma of a blood test can have long-term impact, how much worse is the impact of cutting off a large and nerve-dense organ?  Most circumcisions are still done without any pain relief, or with inadequate pain relief. 

"Up to 96 percent of the babies in the United States and Canada receive no anesthesia when they are circumcised"

"The researchers discovered that for those circumcised without anesthesia there was not only severe pain, but also an increased risk of choking and difficulty breathing."

"Researchers found that while topical anesthetics may help initially, they are woefully inadequate during foreskin separation and incision"


"In fact, they found the results so compelling that they took the unusual step of stopping the study before it was scheduled to end rather than subjecting any more babies to circumcision without anesthesia"

How are we THIS screwed up?  Yeah, babies have extra sensitive heels and veins, but their penises feel nothing?  Only the brain-dead would buy that.  So... roughly half of America.

Even worse, I think it's safe to say that blood tests are usually/always done for a medical reason.  Circumcisions, however, are almost NEVER necessary.  Especially on a newborn baby.  Many parents claim they can't bear to be there while it is done to their child.  If just SEEING it would tramatize an adult, how do you think a baby feels?

Do some of you people somehow have this sick idea that males can "handle the pain"?  No, this sick cycle must end.  I don't care what your husband's penis looks like.  I don't care about your perverted ideas about how "gross", "dirty", or "ugly" the foreskin is.  Look at your perfect healthy baby boy, and bring his ENTIRE body home.  Circumcision HURTS.  Not just for a minute, or a week, but for a lifetime.  

It was "reported in 1997 that baby boys who are circumcised with inadequate anesthesia exhibit behavior changes at six months of age that are suggestive of "an infant analogue of post traumatic stress disorder."27 Porter et al. report increasingly strong behavioral and physiologic responses as the invasiveness of the procedure increases.30 Circumcision is classified as a highly invasive procedure."  (source)

"Fitzgerald reports that excessive activity (pain sensations) in the developing and still plastic neural pathways of the newborn are likely to cause permanent changes in structure." (source)

"Lander's study67 was terminated after several infants circumcised without anesthesia experienced apparent life threatening breathing difficulties, including choking and apnea. The shock of circumcision without anesthesia and extremely vigorous crying can produce additional dangerous complications including heart injury41, pneumothorax42 and gastric rupture43."  (source)

"The pain and stress of the circumcision experience is intensely traumatic. Taddio et al. have documented behavior suggestive of post-circumcision traumatic stress disorder in infants at the age of six months.24,27 Rhinehart has documented PTSD from neonatal circumcision in middle-aged men.31 Anand and Scalzo suggest that early adverse experiences may result in stress disorders, hyperactivity, and self-destructive behavior.32
 
For more information on the long-lasting effects of the psycho-trauma of circumcision see Psychological Impacts of Circumcision."  (source)

"Over a dozen studies confirm the extreme pain of circumcision. It has been described as “among the most painful [procedures] performed in neonatal medicine.”( 2) In one study, researchers concluded that the pain was “severe and persistent.”( 3) Increases in heart rate of 55 beats per minute have been recorded, about a 50 percent increase over the baseline.( 4) After circumcision, the level of blood cortisol increased by a factor of three to four times the level prior to circumcision.( 5) Investigators reported, “This level of pain would not be tolerated by older patients.” (source)

"Some studies found differences in sleep patterns and more irritability among circumcised infants.( 17) In addition, changes in infant-maternal interaction were observed during the first twenty-four hours after circumcision.( 18) For example, breast- and bottle-fed infants’ feeding behavior has been shown to deteriorate after circumcision.( 19) Other behavior differences have been noted on the day following the procedure" (source)

"In one of the most important studies, the behavior of nearly 90 percent of circumcised infants significantly changed after the circumcision.( 23) Some became more active, and some became less active. The quality of the change generally was associated with whether they were crying or quiet respectively at the start of the circumcision. This suggests the use of different coping styles by infants when they are subjected to extreme pain. In addition, the researchers observed that circumcised infants had lessened ability to comfort themselves or to be comforted by others." (source)


An EXCELLENT look at cut vs. intact outcome statistics, a MUST read for anyone considering circumcision: LINK



 


22 comments:

Anonymous said...

A boob always calms any "boo boo" pain around here. That's the first thing she'll ask for after the initial cry and hug.

Caroline said...

Thanks so much for talking about circumcision. "Stop the Insanity" is pretty accurate! The more people learn about it, the better. Too many people just have no idea what circumcision actually is, or what it does to children.

Diana J. said...

When we did our firstborn's heel prick, my midwife said "Why don't you just breastfeed him while I do the prick; he'll love it and it will help with his pain." She was so right - it helped a TON, and he was easily soothed.

I love your blog! Thanks for your writing! I've already linked to 2 of your articles, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I also love what you have to say about comment-leaving rules (only civil and polite comments) - I totally agree. It is possible to disagree completely while remaining civil and maintaining friendship. Love it!

TopHat said...

About the heal prick aspect (I know it's slightly off topic), when I was researching heal prick requirements for the state we'll be moving to soon (we're expecting), I ran into a midwife's blog who said she didn't like it when moms breastfed during the heal prick because she didn't want the baby to associate nursing with pain. Maybe it's something on the lines of how, "I'm causing you pain, but I love you" is a confusing message- like in spanking.

Anyway, it was a different perspective- what do you think of it? I think I'd rather be comforting my child with my breasts.

Christa said...

anytime my little one cries (she's 26 days) I offer my breast first. I felt inclined to do it from the beginning and after reading the article about moms in Mongolia I knew it was best.

womantowomancbe said...

Re: heel prick -- I nursed my firstborn during the heel prick and he didn't even react one iota. But when my second-born got the heel prick and I suggested it, my mw said that she didn't like doing it that way because she either was afraid of or had seen babies gasp and inhale milk.

Oh, and they used to perform surgery on newborns (usually preemies) without anesthesia, giving them only a drug to temporarily paralyze them, because they were too young and underdeveloped to "feel pain." This was up until even the mid-80s, when some parents finally found out that their preemie child had had heart surgery or something without pain medication, and went public. *THEN* they did studies and figured out that rather than being more harmful (because, of course general anesthesia *does* have complications, and newborns and preemies are more immature and may not be able to metabolize the medicine as well -- which is one excuse made for not giving babies anes. during circ.), more babies died in the unanesthetized group because *gasp* they could actually feel the horrendous pain of their bodies being cut into, and couldn't handle it!

-Kathy

Jessilyn said...

And yet again, another GREAT post! So true - Stop the insanity people!! I find it hard to believe that people can deny the facts, still get this cruel procedure done, and they are still too coward to watch!! If it weren't so bad, how can they not be there for their son?? Sounds contradictory to me. Sounds like people cannot take responsibility for their actions for the sake of following "social norms". BAH!

Momioso said...

I can not, for the life of me, understand why anyone would think babies don't have pain. I mean - aren't they people? People have pain. I mean, duh?!! I also can't understand why parents don't really really think about what they're doing - and the pain they'll cause - before they needlessly hack off their child's foreskin. GACK. I may have to post on circumcision soon myself.

Jen said...

I was also told about the nursing being associated with pain, but have since dismissed, having watched as it fixed so many little pains.

My middle child had cranio-facial reconstruction when she was 14 months old. I did a much better job nursing her (quit too early with older one), and was still nursing at the time of the surgery. Five days after the surgery, she was happily playing outside again and no one was the wiser.
I am convinced the on demand nursing helped her heal faster and so glad I had not arbitrarily stopped before then. Even today with my son (23 months) not much stops him, but a quick sip from the 'na-nas' heals everything.

Prvbs31Mama said...

it is actually documented that dr's performing abortions have seen baby's cringe and shrink away from the pain...even when they're tiny inside the womb! It makes me sick that I live in a country that won't admit that these little babies are human beings worth protecting while still inside the womb...that it is legal in Canada to abort babies up until their due dates....that's even sicker than circumcision in my books...and done a lot more! I am against circ' too though...lol

Accidentally_Mommy said...

*is forced to roll her eyes at a comment above* Ahem. Moving on from people pushing agendas not spoken of in this post.

Bug was brought home whole. Every inch of him is intact. That said, he most certainly has PTSD from the sticks and blood draws necessary for establishing where he was at both immediately after birth (he was 36w5d, remember, with severe jaundice,) as well as our time in the hospital with Pertussis. That was WITH glucose when I was too ill, myself, to be with him, and breast when I wasn't.

Christfuck. If a child can suffer that degree of PTSD WITH those analgesic efforts implemented, my heart breaks at the thought of the sheer hell that those infants experience who are being cut without analgesic/anesthetic measures.

Even in indigenous cultures where MGM/FGM is culturally and religiously based you'll find mothers nursing their children through the ordeal.

We truly do grow more barbaric the further advanced we become.

Thinkbirth said...

I love your writing and your perspective. Thank you for putting this information 'out there'. I'm a midwife and so appreciate that you are spreading the word on so many topics that help women choose their path wisely - wisdom usually requires knowledge plus a willingness to trust your own feelings. The challenge for us in this day and age is that we are so habituated to only trusting someone else's opinion and therefore discount our own. For the woman who is worried about the association of B/F with pain when heel pricks and the like are done - I've found that talking to the baby, explaining what is being done and why helps the baby to feel more relaxed and accepting of the 'intervention' and breastfeeding does the magic it is able to do - babies are consciousness itself and explanations make all the difference.
Thanks again for your blog :-)

Joel said...

I love your writing style,

You make such clear points and back it up with refutable resources!

Thank you so much for taking on this issue of circumcision.

You're the best!

Here is a link to the largest group on facebook in support of ending infant circumcision:

http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=2209115729

please join! Lets make sure people know we exist!

Albany of the West said...

I followed a link here to the post from earlier this month about NIP - loved this MORE than I loved that one! Going to make DH read this for sure...don't understand why I am the one against it and he is still undecided.

Lauren said...

Fantastic as usual girl! :)
I agree wholeheartedly.
Regarding the heel stick, I made the corpsmen at the Navy hospital here leave a warm damp compress on C's heel for like 20 minutes, then nursed her while they took the blood. She didn't make a peep, just nursed until she fell asleep. They commented that it was so nice and gentle that way, and that they were used to stabbing a little heel and having the babies thrashing and wailing. :(

Erin said...

Accidentally Mommy, I don't get the rudeness... rolling your eyes at another commenter and sharing that with everyone? This post was about babies feeling pain, so therefore that previous comment had relevance, since this post was about babies feeling pain and how some people actually think they don't. How anyone describing that babies feel pain very early on in life is "pushing an agenda" is beyond me... it is just a fact.

Anyway, the reason I came to the comments in the first place was to say I totally agree and to express appreciation for citing some studies here. I have gone in-depth on the circumcision issue on my blog, and there is are so many different aspects that have to be covered when trying to convince somebody not to circ their newborn: that they feel pain, that it is not medically needed, that it is okay if they don't look like their father, that it is not unclean, etc., and then all the reasons why it became a popular procedure in the first place, and the benefits of leaving the boy as he is at birth... When I did a comprehensive post on circumcision, it was very, very long! It is an issue that seems to be more divisive that breastfeeding, co-sleeping, nursing in public... I would love to explore the reasons as to *why* it is so divisive. Is it because it deals with altering somebody's genitals? Is it because of society's perception of what "normal" is?

Anonymous said...

I recently saw a pro-circumcision justification that "I want to have it done when he's a baby because it will hurt SO MUCH when he's older!"

Ignoring the fact that 99.99% of intact men never need to be circumcised anyway, why do people believe that circumcision doesn't hurt babies? Just because they don't remember it? Because they can't tell you how much it hurts? Rediculous.

It should be MANDATORY that parents be present for any circumcision procedure. You'd see the number of circumcisions decrease massively overnight. To do this to an infant is horrific, but to make him suffer alone takes it to a whole new level.

~Erin

mandy_moo said...

Loved this post. Reading those articles made me say to myself, "no sh*t, Sherlock!" How can people not think that circumcision is excruciating and traumatic for a baby? good grief, it makes me sick. So glad I was given information by friends who cared enough about me and my little guy, who is intact :)

newincs said...

Kathy, My heart hurts from the information you shared. I can't believe it. I don't WANT to believe it. How incredibly awful! I look at my innocent little man laying here beside me, snoring softly and can't imagine him going through a surgery awake and able to feel. My stomach turns!
I think it is completely obvious an infant can feel pain. To anyone who doesn't believe that an infant can, they must only be present at a vaccine visit or while an infant's blood is drawn for state mandated tests or for checking bilirubin! My sons were both early and had horrible jaundice. Mikey was given blood draws daily until three weeks. At that point hubby and I demanded that the draws stop. He was going down, not up. That was established. The daily draws were no longer necessary> We simply couldn't witness him being in pain on a daily basis anymore! With Aiden we allowed the sticks until the level began to go down and then stopped it at once. Infants CAN feel pain and it is sad that anyone can fool themselves into thinking differently!
I too have heard both sides of the nursing through the pain debate. Here in Colorado I can't seem to find anyone that allows it. In Indiana I did it regularly. I am sad that this isn't allowed here. The doctor's here do seem to agree with the gasping and inhaling theory which I HATE!

It isn't fair, should be up to the mother and angers me that the mother does not have the right to choose!

newincs said...

Kathy, My heart hurts from the information you shared. I can't believe it. I don't WANT to believe it. How incredibly awful! I look at my innocent little man laying here beside me, snoring softly and can't imagine him going through a surgery awake and able to feel. My stomach turns!
I think it is completely obvious an infant can feel pain. To anyone who doesn't believe that an infant can, they must only be present at a vaccine visit or while an infant's blood is drawn for state mandated tests or for checking bilirubin! My sons were both early and had horrible jaundice. Mikey was given blood draws daily until three weeks. At that point hubby and I demanded that the draws stop. He was going down, not up. That was established. The daily draws were no longer necessary> We simply couldn't witness him being in pain on a daily basis anymore! With Aiden we allowed the sticks until the level began to go down and then stopped it at once. Infants CAN feel pain and it is sad that anyone can fool themselves into thinking differently!
I too have heard both sides of the nursing through the pain debate. Here in Colorado I can't seem to find anyone that allows it. In Indiana I did it regularly. I am sad that this isn't allowed here. The doctor's here do seem to agree with the gasping and inhaling theory which I HATE!

It isn't fair, should be up to the mother and angers me that the mother does not have the right to choose!

Claire said...

Wow, it's like I found my twin, in you!! This is great, I can't wait to read more. I'm following you now, hooray! I always nursed my first, while he got vax'd but these new dumb nurses keep saying "Oh no, they need to be held down on the table, for safety" My eyeballs roll out of my head, at how dumb medication professionals can be. Nursing creates great oxytocin's for babies to over come pain!!

Roger DesMoulins said...

Routine neonatal circumcision without anesthesia is barefaced sexual violence. It should be illegal. Hospitals that allow it should be liable under tort law. the willingness of American doctors to circumcise infants without anesthesia calls their humanity and common sense into question.

35 years ago, a hospital in New Zealand announced that it would circumcise a baby only if the mother watched the procedure being done. The circ rate fell to almost nothing and soon thereafter, the hospital announced it would no longer do RIC.

I regret to admit to all of you that I have 3 friends who told me that they held an infant son while he was being circumcised, and there was neither sorrow nor regret in their voices when they told me this.

Such is the hatred of the foreskin that we cut it off without pain reduction. Sometimes, Mom watches placidly. Something has gone drastically wrong with American sexual culture. All this I call the American Foreskin Holocaust. History will not view it kindly.

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