Oh, Des Moines Moms, you drive me insane

And I’m not even talking about the message board, long known to be a hangout for women thrilled with their inductions, convinced their 2 month olds have serious sleep problems because they refuse to just go to sleep in their cribs like good little babies, spank their 18 month olds for being curious, etc., etc. – in other words, mainstream.

This time, I punished myself by picking up the quarterly magazine, “Des Moines Moms’ Baby Magazine.” I don’t know why. Perhaps I wanted to find out “the information you really need to know about that new baby.”


The article is written by Janet Klockenga (I always thought it was Glockenga?), who I’ve spoken with several times and I have nothing against her. She’s a nice woman, she does a generally good job at condensing long phone conversations into page-and-a-half articles. She has never, ever misquoted me. She doesn’t seem to insert her opinion into articles, which does make one wonder why she’s working for the Register.

My beef is really with Dr. Nathan Boonstra, the pediatrician from Blank who is quoted extensively in the article.

Let’s cut the man some slack and admit up front that he includes good information, such as the fact that breastfeeding babies can go a week or so between poops and not be constipated. And the obligatory “never leave your baby unattended in even a small amount of water.”

Let’s look at the section titled “Babywearing.” “Baby wearing is perfectly safe” as long as you’re not in a car or sleeping. Then he talks about carseat laws. Um… I guess that’s better than nothing, but what about the many, numerous benefits of babywearing??

But you knew my favorite would be “Co-Sleeping.” “Although co-sleeping is common in many cultures, there is increasing evidence that in America it increases the risk of SIDS and suffocation. Babies should sleep in their own crib or bassinet, preferably next to the parents’ bed for the first six months of life.”

I’m sorry, what? What increasing evidence? What evidence, period? Honestly, Dr. Boonstra, can you show me ANY studies, not paid for by the JPMA, that support your claim? Here are a few papers that support MY claims that not only is cosleeping very safe (if done safely), but is, in fact, safer than solitary sleep for infants. One by James McKenna. A 2005 review of studies. A brief article from Dr. Sears, who has surely done far more research on the subject than Dr. Boonstra.

Honestly, I considered writing a letter to Dr. Boonstra and carboning the Register, but I really lack the energy for that right now, so decided to bitch on my blog instead.

My next-favorite article was “Eating for Two” in which we are advised by Dr. Lungren (an OB/GYN) to gain only 15-20 lbs during pregnancy. Using the figures provided in the article’s sidebar, a woman would gain 17-18 lbs just with baby, amniotic fluid, placenta, uterus, breast tissue, and increased blood volume. Hm.

And then there’s the winning “BPA Buzz.” “Local experts say not to worry about safety of plastic cups and bottles.” Oh, OK. Well, “local experts” ought to know. They say that there is “not sufficient information” about whether BPA is harmful.

Rewind back a number of years, there was not sufficient information about whether lead was harmful, so we used it in gas and paint and other items. I mean, I’m not saying to go into a panic about it, but it seems prudent that if evidence is starting to mount that ingesting and absorbing BPA is not healthy, maybe we should start taking easy and practical steps to reduce the amount we take in. PARTICULARLY for our babies, who are so much smaller than we are.

I wanted to add that at least one patient of Dr. Boonstra’s has contacted me letting me know that he’s very supportive of breastfeeding, takes patients who refuse vaccinations, and is an excellent doctor for her children. I’m sure he is. And I’m sure he’s a great person. I do not know the man. I do know that he is severely misinformed about cosleeping and is apparently spreading that information around as much as he can and that really, really bugs me.
But this particular article is my only exposure to Dr. Boonstra at all. If he was misquoted in the article, or if he can support his claims with research studies NOT paid for by the JPMA, he may absolutely contact me about that. Like I said, I would have written him myself but the article came out at a time that I had no extra energy for letter-writing.


2 responses to “Oh, Des Moines Moms, you drive me insane

  1. You have listed the reasons I never read any of that junk. It just makes me mad. It is so backwards when people say how dangerous it is to co-sleep. You mean putting my brand new baby in a room down the hall where I can’t see, hear or feel them is safer? Then again, we co-sleep with two kids so I probably don’t know much about safety (eye roll).

  2. I don’t know where to even begin. I just don’t get why people are so lame when it comes to common sense mothering. I read once that a theory behind SIDS is that the baby actually dies of a broken heart, from being left alone to cry in a crib and then just being left alone. Babies need their mamas. They need to be held. They need to be interacted with. Duh.

    I wonder if people make the connection yet with our suicidal, homocidal, depressed teenagers. They are coming right out of being Feberized as human beings.

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