Sunday, April 23, 2006

Circumcision Leads to Breastfeeding Complications

Mothering Magazine, News Bulletin Dec. 2005

Need another reason to skip routine circumcision? For over twenty years, studies conducted by medical doctors and researchers have documented a connection between circumcision and breastfeeding complications. According to findings, the newly circumcised infant expresses noticeably decreased responses to a mother’s attempts at engaging their attention. This “subdued” behavior has been linked by several researchers in separate studies to a subsequent struggle in the achievement of successful breastfeeding. Research has also demonstrated that following circumcision, infants suffer from âprolonged periods of non-REM sleep, a symptom that would further contribute to inactive and unreceptive tendencies.

Some of the infants observed in one study were supplemented with formula after circumcision due either to frustration on the part of the mother from failed breastfeeding attempts or because doctors felt the infant was incapable of postoperative breastfeeding. Because infants usually leave the hospital seven to ten hours after the operation (many leave as early as three to six hours post-op) the long-term negative effects of circumcision on breastfeeding is more difficult to determine; however, “the observed deterioration in ability to breastfeed may potentially contribute to breastfeeding failure.â€

Despite the fact that "circumcision is a painful, stressful, exhausting, and traumatic experience for many infants," as many as 45% of doctors ignore the recommendation by medical authorities to use an anesthetic during the procedure. Because conclusive benefits of infant circumcision are not evident, there is no danger in refusing or delaying the procedure. The Work Group on Breastfeeding of the American Academy of Pediatrics officially discourages €œ"stressful procedures" such as circumcision and promotes breastfeeding as "€œprimary in achieving optimal infant and child health, growth, and development."€

Source: Journal of Human Lactation 19(1), 2003.


Joanne said...

Last year when I was in nursing school I worked with several newborns on the day they were circumcised. One baby stands out in my mind: this baby had not really been catching on to breastfeeding really well yet when the circ was done, and when they brought him back to his mother she tried to feed him to help him calm down & also because he really had not eaten in several hours. This baby was totally not interested in breastfeeding. I tried to nicely explain to the mother that frequently babies don't feed really well right after being circ'ed, but in my head I was thinking "of course he's not interested in breastfeeding, you just let them cut off part of his PENIS, and they gave him TYLENOL!" Duh!

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

I _am sure_ that this contributed to the difficulties that I have written about quite a bit with our son...and how did I never put that together until I saw your post title?


cooler*doula said...

So glad we left our little guy intact... Thanks for this... WIll add it to my discussion folder for when friends ask.

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