Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Circumcision, flu shots, and birthing centers.... or 10 new decisions you face with a baby (Part II)

This is part two of a series about the decisions I'm running up against as a first-time mom. The first post is here.

6. Immunize?
This is another hot button issue, but this one I have thought about and I have my own strong opinions about. Essentially, you will be strongly encouraged or pressured to put your kids through round after round of immunizations to protect against a whole bunch of diseases that are rarely seen in the US anymore. Lots of people say that these immunizations can cause harm of their own, or at least they are unneeded, and that we don't know the effect of many of them. For my part, I know that we will never have complete knowledge of the effect of medical procedures, but I saw whole societies in Papua without medical care to whom the entry and new availability of immunizations against disease absolutely transformed health and life in the area. My family has traveled the world  (as Isaac and I plan to) and are exposed to a great many diseases, so I think these immunizations are crucial to the health of my child. I think World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the missionary doctors we were treated by overseas are unanimous on this count, and I will choose to trust the experts. So there you have it, I actually stated one strong opinion.

7. Breast or bottle feed?

Of course, this one is an old debate that is rarely a debate anymore. Few people fight for bottle feeding in the US, but the fact is that sometimes it becomes impossible to breast feed. So I, like the vast majority of women out there, will shoot for breast feeding because it's natural, cheaper, healthier, and safer for my baby. But... if it doesn't work out, praise God for the availability of formula for cases where breast feeding becomes impossible. I hate it that moms who end up having to bottle feed because of extenuating circumstances feel guilty or judged.

8. Respond to cries or institute a sleep/feeding regimen?
So I discovered that there are two camps with opposite ideas about dealing with infants. The Ezzos of the Growing Kids God's Way series advocate putting your infant on a sleep and feeding regime that makes your life regular, teaches them discipline, and helps your infant sleep through the night earlier. The Dr. Sears camp says this is cruel to your child because you ignore their cries until they fall asleep and can be refusing to feed when they are actually hungry. Some recent research says the Ezzo's regime can lead to malnourished kids. Honestly the whole thing seems too dichotomized, and I am going to roll with the punches and see how it goes. If my baby easily moves into a schedule of eating and sleeping, great. We'll give it a shot. But if it isn't working, I'm not gonna force it. I'm also not going to read the Ezzo's book (Babywise) because I have my own thoughts against some of their philosophy in general about the nature of children and how to raise them.

9. Co-sleep or sleep separately?
Same camps as above, one says keep your baby separate from you so they develop independence and don't see you as responding to their every demand and grow into selfish, spoiled kids. The other side says to nurture your baby by sleeping with or at least right next to them so that you can respond to their cries and raise them in an environment of love in which they are gently nurtured and feel safe and secure. Again, I see it as too dichotomized, but in some ways Isaac and I don't have a choice. We're having this baby in a one-room situation, so this baby is IN our space, like it or not. We'll see how that goes! I really don't mind letting a kid cry themselves to sleep sometimes, and that's pretty much what my little brother did for ages - there was no other way. He moaned himself to sleep or else he didn't sleep at all. So, it's not that I'm against letting a kid cry on principle, but I'm hoping there are some mommy instincts that can tell the difference between a moaning cry and a desperate cry.

10. Stay at home, go back to work, work part-time, day care, etc?

How much does it help for a mom (or dad) to be at home caring for the child full-time? Does it help a mom's stability to be out of the house and working sometimes? Once again, this is a decision that is made for Isaac and I by virtue of our life situation right now.  Isaac is in seminary and we are dependant on my income, so I'll be going back to work, like it or not. We will be trading back and forth on baby time - I'll work from home a couple days while Isaac is in class, and he'll watch the baby the other days. When I get home he'll do homework or go to his night job or classes. It may be completely crazy and exhausting, we'll see. One year. We just have to get through one year! The discussion about stay-at-home motherhood just isn't in the cards for us at this point.


Dana Elayne Stuber said...

kacie, i have to applaud you for just being very laid back about everything. i think you are totally on the right road- you just see how it goes, and go with the flow. the baby will let you know what you are and aren't doing right, that is for sure! i'll pray it's all a smooth transition and that your one year will be awesome and memorable, even in the chaos.

Alice said...

I really like these last two posts because I pretty much agree with all your opinions. :-) I had complications with both my deliveries so was glad to be in a hospital. The epidural is glorious and makes everything so much more enjoyable. Thumbs up for immunization (my personal hot button). As for putting baby on a schedule, they kind of get into one of their own after 3 months or so, so everything's cool. I think it's great you've done so much research...this is a very exciting time.

Circumcision--can't help you with that one! :-)

Jaimie said...

Bravo on the immunization thing. I think it's pretty clear and I'm surprised when I hear otherwise. :/

junglewife said...

I was JUST talking about immunizations with one of my friends earlier this morning. One of the villages near us is having an outbreak of whooping cough, and we have even heard that it is an issue somewhere near LA as well. I have pretty strong opinions about immunizations! Even in areas of the world like the US where these diseases are pretty much non-existent right now, it doesn't mean that the diseases can't come back, especially when more and more people are making the decisions not to immunize. Don't get me started :-)

I love your laid-back attitude - take things how they come, and just see how it goes! I was so blessed that I was able to breast-feed both my girls exclusively. I didn't have to use any formula at all (although I had nothing against it, if I HAD had to!), in fact neither of them even took a bottle - they went straight to sippy cups. It was such a blessing when traveling so much to not have to mess with bottles, formula, etc!

I have also heard STRONG opinions on both sides about the "babywise" thing. As for us, it didn't really work. I didn't try super hard, but thought it would have been nice if my babies went onto a schedule fairly easily as a newborn. Turns out they wouldn't! But I know a lot of people who have used that method and it really worked for them. Just not my babies!

Co-sleeping... I don't think it's a good idea once the kid gets to be a bit older, but for babies, it really worked for us! With both girls we had their cribs in our room for the first few months. I'd put them to sleep in their cribs at night, but then for the middle of the night feedings I'd just bring them to bed with me, and would end up falling asleep, which was SO nice! And then they'd just end up sleeping with me for the rest of the night. And no, I didn't worry at all about rolling over on my babies!

Sorry for the long comments :-)

TulipGirl said...

Sounds like you have well-reasoned, informed ideas -- and a good attitude of "well, I guess we'll see!" (Must be a TCK thing, huh? *grin*)

Rach said...

Oh, and I think quite a few breastfeeding mothers have done part-time is nice to be able to do during those frequent newborn feedings. At this point I hardly ever end up doing that (and yes, Judah still wakes usually about once, sometimes twice a night, which is normal for a breastfed baby despite what some people will tell you!) just because baby sleeps better in his own bed now. Sometimes I miss those baby cuddles!

Kacie said...

It's okay Rach, I promise I'm not offended even when we end up disagreeing! :)

Sturgmom said...

Jason and I did the "tag team" version of child-rearing for my oldest son's first year of life. It WILL be exhausting, but you're right- it's temporary.

And I agree with your thoughts on #8 and #9. We liked the idea of a "routine" more than a "schedule." I'm not opposed to the CIO method for older babies, but for infants, I think it's plain ridiculous.

You are so thoughtful regarding these decisions. I'm sure you'll be a great mom!

bingkee said...

Because I have never been an expectant mother, I cannot say anything except congratulations. It must be very exciting to expect a bundle of joy. It's wise of you to plan these out as early as now.....But maybe, just relax and do not let the planning put so much pressure on you.

Annie Peterson said...

the immunization thing is so interesting, and has become way MORE interesting now that I work in a doctor's office, give vaccines, and get that view of them. When your baby gets his tetanus shot nowadays, he'll be getting a vaccination against Pertussis (whooping cough) with it, and I think that is an excellent one...junglewife is right - they are having an outbreak in Cali right now and doctors are recommending that everyone who is going to be around children/infants get immunized against it as well.

It actually came up in my life recently, too -- going into the medical field, it's recommended to have the HepB vaccine, which I had never had. I understand why Christian parents today wouldn't want to give it - they know their kids are going to live holy lives and won't get it as an STD, but in my mind I think way more of implications on the mission field. In the end I decided to get it myself because I expect to be in other nations, and if I ever need a blood transfusion or am working medically on the field, there is basically no protection from it! When I think of giving it to my kids, I expect that I will for the same reason - hopefully they will be in the nations!

In terms of sleep schedules, my sisters found "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" really helpful (and Elizabeth has AMAZING sleepers they started sleeping through the night super early). But there is always mom-instinct that overrules books and methods. :)

ailie said...

I'm so excited for you Kacie! I agree with Dana . . . you have a great approach with seeing how things go and figuring them out along the way (having done a lot of research beforehand to know your options). It's easy to make decisions before the baby comes, but every baby/situation is different and what works for someone else may not work for you. You're going to be amazing parents and you will know what is best for your little boy and for your family. You'll get lots of advice (much of it unsolicited), but just take what works for you and say thanks for the rest (while internally rolling your eyes - wait, maybe I'm the only one who feels like doing that).

Especially with the birth stuff, I have friends who have been upset/disappointed when it didn't work out to have their baby without an epidural or they ended up having to have a C-section. In the end, the most important thing is that you and baby are healthy. So, like you've said, just keep an open mind and then whatever happens you'll have an amazing birth experience!

Ha ha, there's my unsolicited advice. :)