Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on December 23, 2008

Reader Fiona in New Orleans asks, “Medically, is it an OK choice to not circumcise your son?”

We asked our on-call pediatrician, Dr. Reva Snow, for her thoughts on the (delicate) matter:

In short—absolutely yes. You should feel comfortable with whatever decision you make on the issue.  The decision of whether or not to circumcise your son is a very personal one that involves religion, culture and ethnicity in addition to any medical concerns. If you’re trying to make the decision based mainly on the health perspective, I’ll go over the known health benefits and risks to circumcision.


1) A lower risk of urinary tract infection in infancy. Circumcised boys under a year have about a 1 in 1000 chance of having a UTI, while the chance for an uncircumcised boy is about 1 in a hundred.  Bear in mind though that UTIs are, generally, very treatable with a low risk of any future problems.

2) A slightly lower risk of STDs. Studies have shown that circumcised adults are somewhat less likely to acquire or transmit HIV and other STDs. However, uncircumcised men can lower their risk through proper hygiene.  And while we’re on the subject, though it’s impossible to think of your baby boy ever being a teenager, talking to him then about safe sex and condoms can go a long way towards keeping him healthy!

3) A lower risk of developing penile cancer as an adult. Now, “cancer” is never a word you want to hear, but penile cancer is actually pretty rare (about 10 in a million) so whether or not your baby is circumcised, he probably won’t be up against this particular disease.

4) Less chance of minor and manageable issues like foreskin infections and phimosis (a too tight foreskin).


1) It is a painful procedure. Anyone who performs a circumcision in this day and age should be using some form of pain control.

2) Complications of the procedure.  These are most often minor and might include bleeding, infection, leaving too much or too little foreskin, and problems healing.  It’s a somewhat more involved and risky procedure in older boys, so it’s recommended to do it in the newborn period if you’re going to do it.

You might hear people say that circumcision diminishes male sexual pleasure. There’s really no research supporting or disproving that claim, not to mention it’s a pretty subjective outcome, no?
Bottom line (to quote to American Academy of Pediatrics): circumcision is not essential to a child’s health. Take all the facts and your personal influences into account and make the decision that makes sense to you.

(Editor’s Note/Chelsea’s take: Do it, Fiona. You don’t want all the chicks in the sorority house making fun of your kid one day. Then again, if all the chicks in the sorority house are talking about his penis, perhaps he’s doing something right…....).


Posted by Chelsea on December 19, 2008

The top story on today (yeah, I read it regularly): the birth of Jim and Michelle Duggar’s 18th child - and their desire to keep on havin’ more.

The Duggars, who reside in Tontitown, Ark., have 10 sons and eight daughters, ranging in age from 17 months to 20 years, all with first names starting with the letter J, including the newborn addition, Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar. They are featured on the TLC network show “17 Kids & Counting” (which will no doubt have its name updated to reflect the birth of No. 18). I guess Jon and Kate Plus Eight wasn’t hard core enough for some people, so they had to go with another clan of folks who think a house full of kids is a recipe for bliss. I don’t watch either show, but I do know of Jon & Kate. I watched it once, and was so put off by how disgustingly Kate treats Jon, I had to turn it off. I guess if I had eight kids and was with them all day, I would treat my husband like crap too, but still, she’s just too harsh - even for me.

Naturally, I have all sorts of thoughts on the Duggars. Here they are, broken into categories:


1) Sister Michelle has been pregnant for 162 months. That’s 13.5 years. Jesus. Can you imagine all that heartburn? With all the Tums she must have consumed in her lifetime, I bet her bones are like iron.

2) I wonder if she just perennially shops in the maternity department. I mean, she must, right?

3) Does she even try to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight? Does she know what it is?

4) Her hormones must be yo-yo-esque. I would hate to be her husband - or her kids.

5) I bet her nails are kick-ass. With all those pregnancies, they must be killer.


1) Initially, I thought he must be really lucky in the sex department - with all those pregnancies, it seems like he and Michelle must get it on all the time. However, after more careful analysis, I have come to the conclusion that this poor dude actually has the worst sex life in America. He wife is always pregnant AND they have a messload of kids. Think she’s in the mood often? You catch my drift.

2) I’m thinking the “J” names of the kids are all to honor him, some weirdo narcissistic George Foreman kinda thing. If so, dude, that’s lame. I mean, you’ve spread your seed 18 times, Jim. Your genetic material is all over the place. There’s really no need to brand all of them with your initial to seal the deal, is there?

Jim and Michelle

1) These people are, without a doubt, on freaking crack. 18 kids? And they want more? I’m sorry, but that’s just flat-out weird. Even if you absolutely adore kids, when you have that many, you can’t really develop these deep, meaningful relationships with each of them. It’s just impossible. I guess the kids will end up having them with each other (or at least the ones closest in age to them), and that is of value, but that’s with each other, not Jim and Michelle. So why, people? Really? Are they just gluttons for punishment? So socially awkward that they have no friends and therefore had to create a whole community of people who had to hang out with them? Members of a weirdo religious cult? I think the latter. Michelle has that horrendous cult hair (read: unnaturally long and worn in some bizarre Little House on the Prairie ‘do), as do her teenage daughters. Definitely cult.

2) What do they drive to cart around all of those kids? I know having three kids means getting a minivan, and you all know I cringe at the thought of that. But seriously,  do they own a schoolbus?

3) Do you think they find out the sex of the baby before it’s born? I doubt it. I mean, with 10 of one sex and eight of another, do they really care? If they like to be surprised, when the baby comes out and the doctor announces its sex, do you think they’re like, “Oh, okay, cool. Whatever.”?

Things that make you go hmmmmmm….


Posted by Chelsea on December 10, 2008

The other day, Momtourage member Alison was having lunch with her twin 3 year-old daughters, Lauren and Alexis. They were discussing Alison’s mother’s upcoming birthday, and Alison asked the girls what they thought they should get Grandma for a present.

“Obama,” answered Alexis.

“Obama?” asked Alison.

“Yes, Obama.”

“You want to get Grandma Obama for her birthday?” Alison asked, puzzled.

“Yes, Mommy,” Alexis asserted. “Present Obama!”

A fantastic gift indeed, little one.


Posted by Chelsea on December 10, 2008

Need a good new baby gift or wee one holiday gift? If buying something adorable and doing good is your bag, you must get yourself over to From Dec. 17-31, the makers of that gorgeous children’s footwear are reducing the price of select shoe styles and then donating 50 percent of the sales from said shoes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far, pediped has raised more than $87,000, enough to grant the wishes of 12 children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more information, visit


Posted by Chelsea on December 09, 2008

Choosing gifts for all of the loved ones on your list can be tough - especially when your wallet’s a little lighter than it’s been in years past. In the market for some cool, sure-to-please gifts that offer a big bang for your buck? As always, I’m here to help!

This afternoon (Tuesday) at 1:00 PM EST, I’ll be joining Broads Molly and Christine of Sirius and XM Radio’s “Broadminded” (tune in on XM Channel 155 and Sirius Channel 120!) to discuss my favorite holiday gift suggestions - nearly all of which are under $50! Here they are, below:

1) The Perfect Cashmere Robe, $35,

This snuggly soft cashmere-blend robe (which comes boxed and gift-ready) is seriously luxe - especially considering the price. For and extra $29, you can add the matching slippers.

2) Erin Condren 2009 Family Calendar, $40,

This personalized 11.5” x 17.5” 16-month calendar from whimsically wonderful designer Erin Condren features a centered hole punch for easy hanging and is backed with heavy-duty acrylic should you prefer to rest on any cookbook holder in the kitchen for easy viewing. Its front page is an info guide you can complete with valuable information for babysitters or housesitters. Also included are 216 colorful circle stickers to highlight birthdays, vacations, doctor’s appointments, & more. You can also use the colorful “blank” stickers to create your own color-coded system. Each month features a different bright design and inspirational quote. For an extra $48, you can add a matching life planner. Can’t get enough Erin? Check out the ultra-affordable line of holiday cards she created for

3) C.O. Bigelow Barber After-Shave Balms in Elixir Blue, Green, Red and Black, $10 each,

He’ll love these stocking-ready aromatic, after-shave moisture lotions for just-shaved skin are formulated with healing aloe vera and cooling, calming extracts to ease skin discomforts and promote healing of minor nicks and cuts. And the fragrances….so subtle and classic.

4) Chesapeake Bay Candle’s Green Bamboo Jasmine Home Set, $60,

This clean-smelling fragrance set contains one 7 oz. soy wax filled candle in a silkscreened glass vessel, one silkscreened mini diffuser bottle and set of reeds, one 100 ml bottle of fragrance oil and one embossed ceramic fragrance ball (containing sachet with scented beads). It’s an ideal hostess gift or gift for your boss.

5) Nuvo Sparkling Liqueur, $30 for 750 ml,

This pink sparkling liqueur is made with vodka and a small amount of delicate French sparkling wine (chardonnay with a touch of pinot noir), natural raspberry, peach and strawberry fruit nectars.  It can be enjoyed chilled over ice in a champagne flute, or served over a pink sugar-rimmed glass of ice with a splash of Prosecco. Housed in a chic bottle that is reminiscent of luxury perfume bottles, it’s the perfect hostess gift.

6) Lavanilla’s The Healthy Candle, $32,

An ideal gift for your favorite greenie, this good-enough-to-eat candle is all natural, non-allergenic, non-toxic, and eco-friendly, burning clean to create a safe and healthy environment without releasing harmful smoke, pollutants, toxins, or soot into the air you breathe. My favorite scent: Vanilla Coconut.

7) Trish McEvoy Snowdrop & Crystal Flower Roll-on Eau de Toilette, $20,


This elegant, roll-on fragrance, a romantic, modern blend of white narcissus, snowdrop flowers and crystal musk, is a pocket-perfect Trish fragrance. Encased in a pretty organza drawstring pouch, it’s perfect to slip in a stocking or give as an elegant gift. 

8) Lambie Sleep Blanket, $35,

Your favorite little guy or gal will love wrapping up in this big, snuggly blanket all winter long.


Posted by Chelsea on December 08, 2008

Last night, Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno clad in head-to-toe J. Crew:

Of course, J. Crew promptly began promoting the heck out of the outfit:

And all three pieces have promptly sold out. Guess buyers followed those instructions on the bottom of the ad.

Of course, during campaign season, the wardrobes of the ladies on the campaign trail were frequently examined, discussed and, often, coveted, so I guess it should come as no surprise to me that folks so quickly jumped at the opportunity to own a piece or two of Michelle’s clothing. What I think is kinda cool about this apparel-oriented frenzy, though, is that her outfit was not some designer ensemble, but off-the-rack (or, I guess I should say, off-the-pages-of-a-catalog) J. Crew, the all-but-official outfitter/style haven of Washington, D.C. While campaigning, she, just like Cindy McCain and, of course, Sarah Palin, wore designer clothes. While she could certainly afford to continue doing so (especially since schmancy designers are likely sending her boxes of free stuff to wear), I imagine that she’s taken the current economic situation into account and is doing her best to be “of the people”. As she said on Leno, “You can get some good stuff online”.

I just wonder if before placing her orders, she searches for a coupon code like I always do…..

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