Weird uses of English words in relation to babies.

My basic philosophies in life are to keep things natural, simple, and frugal. However it seems that in America, people like to needlessly complicate things, and through aggressive marketing and criticism and shaming techniques, the "new way" becomes the "normal way" and the real "normal way" becomes the "poor dirty hippy old fashioned way" or "alternative" and they make new language to describe it.
This strange use of the English language is not limited to things concerning babies and childcare, many people know the infamous George Carlin routine in which he picks apart the way people attach meaningless words and change language to make things sound "more important."

A common theme I noticed in things concerning babies is attaching the word "delayed" to things. "Delayed" means postponing an action that should be carried out immediately, but it is often used to describe actions in which being "delayed" is normal and doing it immediately would be abnormal. For example:

"Delayed cord clamping" Clamping the cord immediately prevents the blood transfer from the placenta to the newborn, and can lead to many health problems. Clamping the cord after it stops pulsing, which can be anywhere from 5-30 minutes after birth, is what should be done for optimal health of the newborn. The reason it became the norm to clamp the cord immediately after birth was because of the narcotics they used to use to drug up the laboring mother, and they wanted to prevent all of those drugs from going to the baby, which makes it even more ridiculous to carry out immediate cord clamping after a natural labor and birth. 

"Delayed vaccinations" If a baby is fully breastfed and the mother has been vaccinated or has built up immunity to the diseases in question, you don't need to be injecting newborns with aluminum and everything else in the vaccine besides the actual disease cells. I'm still researching this subject and will probably do a limited vax schedule after Chinami turns 2. 

"Delayed solids" Most pediatricians will recommend starting rice cereal at 4 months and waiting until later makes you "delayed." A baby's stomach isn't fully matured until around 6 months or when the baby can sit up and loses the tongue thrust reflex. Force feeding goop from jars or Elmer's glue (wait, that's called white rice cereal...could have fooled me, has the same texture, taste, and nutritional value and spikes blood sugar to boot) to a 4 month old that is clearly not ready is ridiculous. Also, a baby can thrive just fine being exclusively breastfed up to and beyond 1 year, food before one is just for fun, to get them used to chewing, textures, tastes, and working on their motor skills. 

"Delayed potty learning" Oh wait, this is what "normal" potty training is in Westernized societies. A 4 year old with no developmental delays or physical disabilities, who can eat, run, talk in complex sentences and has a basic knowledge of phonics shouldn't be in a diaper. It is much more logical to introduce the concept of the toilet earlier and have it be a gradual process, or if you have the energy for it and don't live in a carpeted apartment, go diaper free and work on EC. 

There are some other terms that strike me as odd too.

"Extended breastfeeding." In our society, this refers to breastfeeding past the age of 1. However, the WHO recommends breastfeeding until the age of 2 as a minimum, and beyond as long as it is desired by mother and child. However in the US many pediatricians recommend switching to cow's milk after the age of 1, either because breastmilk magically loses all nutritional value after the baby's 1st birthday (just like how spinach loses all of its nutrients after your 18th birthday, right?), or because after baby's 1st birthday, she magically transforms into a baby cow. I'm not sure what the real story is but I know that most of the world goes a little bit closer to the WHO's guidelines. So perhaps weaning before 2 should be referred to as "premature weaning."

"Un-circumcised" This implies that the baby boy is lacking something, when really, he has simply been left with healthy, fully-functioning genitalia instead of having non-consensual cosmetic surgery.

"Sleep training" I hear this a lot, and actually don't really know what it means, because to me the concept of "training" a baby to sleep is ridiculous and right up there with "night weaning" or refusing to nurse a baby during the night so they will stop waking up looking for comfort or a small drink. Because all the adults doing this have never woken up for a glass of water or wanting a snuggle from a loved one, right?

Unfortunately, once something is rooted in language it can be hard to change...but at least things in this household are getting off to a good start! 

3 件のコメント:

  1. American thought on Birth and Infant care is mind boggling to me. I am 13 weeks pregnant in Japan. When I told my mother about the Ladies Hospital I will be giving birth at my mother flipped because they don't administer epidurals or pain medication during child labor. My mother then implored me to "come home" to give birth(My parents live in a 1 bedroom condo, and I have no residence, HEALTH INSURANCE, or earthly possessions in the U.S. So where would I go?) Even though it is an excellent facility with many options and types of rooms to choose from (you can even give birth in a tatami room on a futon or in a birthing tub if you would like plus you get to stay a week in a fabulous room that looks like a hotel, eat nice food, sleep, hang out with other new moms, and take infant care and yoga classes and it is all paid for by the Japanese Govt.) My mother sees natural birth as primitive and dangerous. She says staying at the hospital for a week is stupid because she thinks it is the "grandmothers right" to take care of "her grand-baby" while the baby's actual mother recoups at home after being drugged and stitched up in the crotch after the inevitable episiotomy she would get from being forced to give birth in stirrups on her back or worse an unnecessary c-section that American hospitals can't seem to resist. Other Japanese mothers tell me how wonderful those 6 days stay in the hospital were and how restful and fun it was for them. It might not be a necessity to stay but it is free! Why miss out? In the U.S. they kick most people out 3 hours after giving birth. When my sister in law gave birth she could feel nothing from the waste down, was freezing, and shaking uncontrollably from all of the pitocin (which made her painful contractions continue long after the baby was out) and "pain relief" she received. As soon as the baby was out the doctor said "Ok we'll get you stitched and cleaned up and the nurse will prepare your paper work and after care instructions so we can get you outta here. Take care now!" She couldn't even walk to the car on her own she had to be carried from the wheelchair to the car. To make matters worse her episiotomy became infected and did not heal properly because she had so much excess scar tissue. If I gave birth in the U.S. I would do it at home. I shudder to think of how my mother will object to the food I will feed my baby and how "late" I will start. They don't even have baby cereal here. At least I have never seen it. The average breast feeding schedule in Japan is 2 years. Many Americans think that is "gross". I just don't get it. It is so frustrating.

  2. Unfortunately, I used to be like your mom! I thought epidurals were the "modern" way and the "right" way and anything else was primitive and outdated! Then I actually read up the subject and realized how very wrong that mindset was! I wonder, if your mom thinks she should be taking care of the baby, does she also think she should be formula-feeding that baby? After all, breast-feeding is "gross" and "not enough for the baby" right?
    In Japan I think first food is commonly o-kayu. I am not really down with that either as it is still the whole white-rice empty carbs no-nutrition thing. Avocado or sweet potato is much better for a first food IMO.
    I worked at a preschool in Japan and I saw my students sneaking a quick snack/comfort from Mommy at their trial lessons or big noisy events several times, so I can attest that the average weaning age is definitely over 1.
    Oh, and lastly, big congrats! You are starting on a very exhausting but rewarding journey!

  3. Oddly enough my mother is all for breast feeding, but she is against expressing milk with a pump (which I intend to do to build up a frozen supply) and swears that expressed milk is empty and worthless and that pumping will cause you to stop producing milk (The Japanese lactation consultant told me this is not true. Stress, poor diet, and over all poor health stops milk production). Everything she seems to know about babies is purely anecdotal. She took care of her last baby 27 years ago (her 3rd baby was taken care of by an Au Pair). My sister-in-law told me breast feeding is disgusting because "boobs are for sex not food!" so she fed both of her kids with WIC baby formula courtesy of tax payers. It is interesting how not one female in my family can agree on baby food lol. As for non-milk food objections my mother claims to be allergic to soy (she is also "allergic" to cats(she lived with mine for a year and never sneezed once or showed signs of allergic reaction, and she was very mean to my cat so it would "stay away from her"), and any food or product she doesn't like) and objects to me eating soy or giving my baby soy because she believes I must be allergic to soy too (which I am not) and therefore my unborn children and my children's children WILL be allergic to everything she is allergic to. My mother thinks the best baby food comes in a jar from the grocery store. My Dr. is very against giving babies jarred baby food unless nothing else is available because he insists babies must eat freshly prepared foods. I have a recipe book that I received from the hospital full of baby food recipes and my mother would object to much of what is in there (there is a great deal of soy products in those recipes). This is from a woman who believes cut up hot dogs and boxed mac n'cheese is acceptable toddler food. I cringe at the thought. I don't think plain okayu is good enough for a first food either. I will probably stick with pureed vegetables. The ladies I have met so far usually add vegetables and tofu to their babies okayu. In the book I have as well okayu is on the list of first foods but the recipes all include adding vegetables and tofu etc.