Vaccines and Circumcision

**If you’d like to share your opinion I welcome the comments, but please do not attack us for our decisions. I’d welcome articles to read and scientific information. However, if you personally attack us and claim we must not love our baby, I will not be able to take anything else you say seriously. Thanks :) **


I don’t know that much about what the specific delayed vaccine schedule is, but I know I’m interested in doing it. I don’t think it is harmful to delay certain vaccines, whereas it may be harmful to give 6 at once.

From what I can tell, hepatitis B is the only vaccine given AT birth… others start around 6-8 weeks (please correct me if I’m wrong). What bothers me about that: the vaccine can cause fever, lethargy and feeding problems–not things you’d want for a newborn! Plus, newborns can’t get hep B, it’s an STD. Sooo.. it just doesn’t make sense to me. I want to delay it for sure.

Apart from that specific one, all I know is I don’t want a handful given at once. I’d rather make more trips to the clinic in order to have only 2 or so given at a time. That includes only ONE live-virus vaccine at a time and ONE aluminum-containing vaccine at a time (effects on brain).

Please let me know if you have any information. Do these sound like normal requests for someone who wants a delayed schedule? Any other specific vaccines I should be aware of? We meet with a pediatrician next Thursday and plan on asking him then (and my OB next Friday if needed).

Oh, as for the eye meds: NO. It’s an antibiotic to protect against STDs from the mother that the baby could pick up going through the birth canal. I do not have and have never had an STD, neither has DH.

The vitamin K shot: OK. It’s for blood clotting purposes and since he’s getting circumcised he’ll need it.

The PKU test: OK 24 hours after birth. It’s an important test, but can’t be accurate immediately after birth.


I planned on talking more about this on here, but I don’t want to. Not after responses I got before and on twitter. No matter what we decide, we’re going to be attacked by someone. As I said above, please don’t leave a comment suggesting we don’t love our son.

We are circumcising. For those that say – isn’t it his body, his decision? Well, yes it’s his body. But as a newborn/infant, parents must make many decisions for their child. We need to do what we think is best for him right now and we really did research this (including watching terrible youtube videos and viewing awful images of circumcisions gone wrong). We have to think what he may want in the future and know that if the procedure is done now, rather than later in his life, it will be more bearable.

I do understand why people decide not to circumcise and I applaud them–it is a hard decision to make. That being said, I’m outraged that I read somewhere they’re thinking of making circumcisions routine and not giving parents the option (in the US). It should always be a choice, regardless of which way parents decide to go.

I’m aware that rates of circumcision are dropping (as is medicare coverage of the procedure), that my son may actually be in the minority once he’s in school, and that he may be losing a sensitive part of his penis. I know it’s not the case for all, but my husband is circumcised and I must say he’s still quite sensitive 😉 We made this decision together and I value his opinion in the matter–him being the one with a penis and all! Just as parents must decide at birth on vaccines and delivery options and antibiotics and everything else a newborn needs, we needed to make a decision on this. I feel no matter how many times I ask you please not personally attack us, we will hear it anyway. But I can tell you now, your method will not be effective. We intend to discuss this with the pediatrician next week as well.

Thanks much for all who shared resources and gave us material to read. We appreciate the information!

31 comments to Vaccines and Circumcision

  • PKU is ok 24 hours after your milk has come in. It’s not very accurate before then.

    Everything else looks great!! You’re going to be a great mom!!!


    Baby Dickey Reply:

    Thanks so much for all your help!! I really appreciate it 🙂


  • Dr. Sears has a great book out on vaccines. Here’s a link with info:

    I have it, I’ve read it, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in a nonbias, informative book. And yes, I agree with your shot schedule and views. 🙂

    On hep B, it can be transmitted through blood, and therefore givin at birth because of the high rate of it in hospitals. I had a home birth to which my baby didnt recieve it until 2 months. I’m pretty sure you can opted to not get it, but depending on your state, you may not. You would also need to tell the hospital. When I had my other babies in the hospital, I dont recall anyone telling me they were going to give them the shot, or asking if it was something I wanted. I might be wrong on this one, it was several years ago.

    I’d go with the vitamin K and the circumcision. It was a hard decision for me to make with my second son, but since his dad is, we did him as well. And I know some people hate that reasoning. My OB only circumcizes (sp) at a week old to make sure there are no other complications at birth and so I had to take him in to the office. I stayed with him, which I would never do again. He cried, and he cried hard. There was certainly pain there and I gave him some tylenol on the ride home.

    You’ve brought up some pretty serious topics and I think it’s great you’re getting all the facts and dealing with them now, ahead of time. 🙂


  • circislove

    Kudos on the circumcision decision. I’m procirc, so I of course feel you two are making the best decision by circumcising your son when he’s born, but I wouldn’t attack you for either choice.

    Vaccines I know less about, but it makes sense to be concerned about the side effects like you are. I think your request is reasonable. I agree that it’s good you’re thinking about these things ahead of time.

    Best regards,


  • Diana

    Toni’s book recommendation is a great one. I’m due with my first baby at the end of March and have been doing lots of reading about vaccines. I really like all of Dr. Sears’ books, but the one about vaccines has been especially helpful! Good luck!


  • Rachel

    Em- you know I support you and I 100% agree with the whole “he’s an infant and the parents are responsible for decisions at that age”. You know what? if others don’t agree with you than that’s their choice… no need to force opinions I should think. You are going to be a great mama 🙂 And I’m sad you’re having a boy because you can’t name him Eaglita Canoesha…he would get made fun of for having such a girly name 😉 ohhhh….maybe Talon Canoer? no, that rhymes with Manure.. shoot… I’ll keep you posted


  • Jennifer

    Yes, people will always question your parenting decisions so sometimes it’s best not to put it up for discussion. For some reason circumcision really brings out a select few who are super in favor of it and some who caution against it. I have two sons, the oldest is circumcised, the youngest is not. They both are fine and if I have another son I won’t circumcise him but I always feel really awfully reading circumcision blog comments. I mean, I “tortured” one by doing it and am setting the youngest up for all kinds of “problems” by not having it done. LOL! So nobody on either side of the issue ever likes what I did. Ah well, we all do the best we can in the parenting department, don’t we?

    And I agree, newborns don’t need the Hepatitis B vaccine unless they are having sex or shooting up drugs. Chances are high your kid won’t be! 😉


    Baby Dickey Reply:

    Yes, we do the best we can! 🙂 I know it’s a touchy issue to post publicly on my blog, but I am very open to hearing from the other side… I wouldn’t mind hearing more facts, scientific info, etc. It’s when they attack me personally that it bothers me (and has a negative impact on their effort!) But it seems for the most part I’ve avoided that with this post 🙂


  • justaguy

    Regarding the circumcision thing, this was our worst argument during pregnancy. We totally disagreed. Thank goodness we had a girl. As a guy, I wish I had been given the choice. I disagree with the “like father” arguement as there are many things we cannot make the same. As this is a free choice, there is not any argument that will alter you mind, however at least you took the time to think about it. When he is older and if he wants an explaination, you can provide him with all the reasons he will need – hopefully. I never got such satisfaction, as my mother (a nurse) did not know the status of my father, and decided based on “everybody was doing it”. I cannot ever fully forgive this – but it may never happen to you.


    John Dalton Reply:

    In most cultures, there is no argument since there is no decision to make.

    The majority of cultures simply presume that, since the boy has no disease and can give no consent, he gets no circumcision.

    There are of course those cultures where circumcision is believed to be a religious right or even a duty by the parents. There again there is no decision, it just happens.

    Only in the US have parents been told they have this big bad decision to make. And of course the medics and hospitals will put them under enormous pressure to make the “right” decision if they show any sign of wavering.


  • WJA

    Just re the comment you made about your son ‘may wanting’ to be circumcised. What if he chooses not to be circumcised. Once you have removed his foreskin you have also removed any choice in this matter for your son.

    My parents made the decision to circumcise me – a choice that I cannot undo.

    Had they left me intact I would have had the freedom to make this determination for myself.

    Please respect your son’s right to make this decision for himself.


  • Justaguy and WJA, thank you for your comments… I do appreciate the ones that make me think rather than attack me. And you’ve both made me think… it is a very hard decision and I’ll admit I’m still struggling with it.


    John Dalton Reply:

    I hope people do make you think and they don’t attack you.

    For some men it is the source of great anger and resentment that circumcision was forced on them and it is difficult for them to respond without letting their feelings show.

    You shoudl not think of it as a hard decision since it is very easy. Leave his penis alone.

    The difficult bit will be getting the boy out the hospital without it being done. It is the medics who want it done and they will make it hard for you to make the “wrong” decision.


  • I really don’t understand why the choice to not circumcise a baby is a hard decision. Is it because the US has a culture of cutting the genitals of boys?

    There is no overwhelming medical reason to circumcise infant boys. No medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision. But, baby boys are still circumcised. Why? For cultural reasons? To look like daddy? So they will look like 56% of the other boys in the locker room? So the doctors and hospitals can make easy money?

    Many young men are learning from the Internet that circumcision took away part of their sex organ. And, many of these young men are very upset with their parents for having them circumcised when there was so much information available about the risks versus the benefits of circumcision. See to read stories of young men who wish their parents had not had them circumcised. I am often surprised at the anger some of these young men have towards their parents.


  • It’s weird to me that men get upset at their parents later for getting circumcised. Huh? I mean, what in the world are they doing that making them all of a sudden realize they miss it? I don’t get it! I know in some cultures they do it later in life and I’ve heard that sucks.

    I do feel that is the parent’s decision, just like it’s their decision to vaccinate, or to breastfeed, or for them to go to honor their bed time when their 8-years old. Some decisions are for the parents to make and I think this can be one of them.

    Your parents gave you LIFE how can you hate them for having your circumcised? Sorry but I think there are bigger deals in life. (but no, I’m not a man).


    Raz Reply:

    Futuremama, It is not wierd that men get upset later on for getting them circumcised. Often they do not figure it out untill their teens that something has been done to them because you don’t tend to have conversations with your school mates and parents about the shape of your cock. Imagine finding out in your teens that half of the people you know have a complete penis and yourse has had a bit chopped off before you could even form memories. What would you do? you can’t talk to anyone, you can’t change it. In fact all you can do is worry.

    Sure there ARE bigger deals in life than getting a part of your anatomy cut off but there are also bigger deals than getting your money stolen or a rock thrown at your head but that’s no reason to invite it with a friendly wink. If my parents GAVE ME LIFE then proceaded to hack off my ring finger I’d probably wonder why when I was old enoguh to. Sure it’s not the most useful finger but would I have been better at tenis if I still had it? and why do other boys get to keep theirs? I’d feel bewildered and wouldn’t know wether I could talk about it.I mean my parents love me, why would I want to stir things up by asking why they’d had me operated on before I knew what was what. Why would they do it when there was no benefit to them or me? The uncertainty would be horrible.

    As a side note sex is more important to teenage boys than tennis.


  • PS: this is a topic my husband has asked me NOT to blog about, haha! I can see why now!


  • Raz

    If you don’t circumcicise your son he can always get it done later if he wants, though it may hurt a little. On the other hand, if you go ahead and do it now he will not have a foreskin and nothing will be able to change that.


  • hi there

    congrats on ur delivery.i just found your blog and i like the contents.

    i am pregnant for almost 8 months the way, i’m from malaysia.:)
    yeah..your blog is read by people from asia.:)

    about the circumcision, i fell like i want to give my view on this matters.

    i absolutely agree you & your husband want to circumsize ur baby. in malaysia, almost everybody done it. it’s can prevent your baby from many of decease. i didnt hear many cases in malaysia circumsicion went wrong.infact actually, i didnt hear any of that matters. so, come to malysia to circumsicion your baby. hahaahhah! just kidding.

    i just want to let u know, there are many advantage and benefits if your baby is circumsicion.i am 100% supporting u to circumsoce your baby boy. gud luck.


  • Sondra

    Circumcision “more bearable” as an infant? do you have proof of this?

    I think its reasonable to assume that our sons would appreciate it if we gave them the decision weather or not to have their genitals mutilated.


  • Thermon

    As a male who was circumcised, as an infant, all I can say is that he will thank you when he’s older. Not only do I have not memory of the procedure, I also have enjoyed the benefits of it. (ie ease of maintenance and cleanliness)

    Also, as far as the kid’s later love life is concerned, there are women that will flat-out say, “I won’t sleep with a guy who’s got dog-dick.”
    I’m not a woman so I can’t speak for their decisions.


  • I don’t know what decision you ultimately made about your son’s penis and frankly I don’t want to know, because it just makes me feel sick and sad every time I find out that parents have done that to their baby boy. I don’t agree that circumcision is in the same category as breastfeeding, vaccinating, and enforcing bedtimes. Those are things that either have proven benefits, no proven risks/consequences, and/or present no ethical dilemma. Circumcision has NO proven benefits, MANY proven risks/consequences, and presents the ethical dilemma of removing a healthy, fully functioning part of another person’s sexual anatomy, without his consent.

    I wish people would stop and think about this from a basic biological viewpoint. The baby is born. In virtually all cases, he has 2 eyes, 2 ears, ten fingers, ten toes, etc…and a penis with a foreskin. He’s not perfect, no one is – but he most likely has all the parts he needs for life. And yet, for 40-something percent of baby boys, a part of his anatomy will be violently removed. Some babies scream – some babies go into shock and don’t make any noise at all. Afterward they are given only Tylenol to numb the pain. How can anyone look at this and say it’s the right thing to do? Maybe if there were clear medical benefits, but there aren’t. So why? How can anyone do this to their son, just because some other people are doing it? If many people started cutting off the clitoral hood on their baby girls, would you? (It’s the same body part, but it’s illegal in this country to modify a baby girl’s genitals.) It’s silly to think that a baby’s penis will ever look like his dad’s, and why would they be comparing, anyway? In the same vein, why does the dad get more say in this decision, just because he has a penis? I think both parents have a duty to protect their son from painful, unnecessary surgery.

    As for some of the other points raised above, if a person needs or desires to be circumcised as an adult, general anesthesia is used and narcotic pain medication can be taken afterward. Further, most adult circumcisions can be avoided by not forcefully retracting the foreskin as a baby/child and maintaining simple hygiene once the foreskin retracts fully (as an adolescent). The first hours, days, and weeks of life are a period of huge adjustment for babies, and this is one thing they do NOT need to be dealing with as they try to grow, learn, and adapt to their new environment.

    My son is intact, and guess how much cleaning and “maintenance” I have to do? NONE. None is necessary until his foreskin fully retracts on its own, which may not even be until adolescence. Then it’s as easy to clean as any other body part. Brushing one’s teeth take more effort. And just like his teeth, if my son fails to keep his penis clean, he’ll suffer the social and possible health consequences. But at least I know I gave him the choice about what to do with his sex organ, his most personal part, and let him keep all the body parts he was born with.


  • dolceforte

    I have done research on vaccines. Opted out on the Hep B, Vitamin K and eye ointment.
    What I did before going in to have my baby. I did a Power Of Attorney for me. Also I typed up my vaccine wishes.

    To Whom it may be concerned,

    This letter is to specifically state our wishes on vaccines. Not only does it interfere with our religious beliefs, we also have concerns on its effectiveness and possible harmful effects.We, _____________, Do Not want Silver Nitrate, Penicillin or Erythromycin eye drops given to our child at birth. Since I do not have nor have I ever had an STD, we find the eye drops unnecessary and possibly harmful to our child. My husband has Penicillin and Erythromycin allergies and we do not want to chance that with our newborn baby. Also We do not condone the administration of the Vitamin K and Hepatitis B Vaccines. In regards to getting Vitamin K, I am planning on strictly breastfeeding, so our child will receive vitamin K through my milk.

    ~The prescribing information on Vitamin K shot states that fatalities are an adverse reaction according to the Merck pharmaceutical package insert.
    “WARNING – INTRAVENOUS USE Severe reactions, including fatalities, have occurred during and immediately after the parenteral administration of AquaMEPHYTON® (Phytonadione).”
    ~A conflict arises because my religious convictions are predicated on the belief that all life is sacred. God’s commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” applies to the practice of injection of carcinogenic substances that can kill.
    ~The Hepatitis-B vaccine supposedly protects against a disease that is only transmitted through multiple sexual partners or street IV drug users and therefore usurps my parental authority to condemn such activity in my child. The acceptance of this vaccine promotes sexual promiscuity and immoral behavior in direct contradiction to the teachings of our faith.

    When given to my Dr. I was pressured to talk to the pediatric dr.
    When I spoke with the pediatric dr. he stated it seems we did our research and he said okay. Stand firm on your choices and don’t be pressured. All we can do is try to be great parents. We will all make some type of mistake but do what you feel is in the childs best interest. If the child grows up asking why did you do something or why you didn’t explain you did what you felt was the best decision.


    babydickey Reply:

    Thank you for the great comment!! This is really helpful and that’s such a great idea to have that document printed and ready.


  • windigo77

    You do not love your baby if you mutilate his genitals.


    babydickey Reply:

    Haha, you have got to be kidding me. You know, if you want to change minds about circumcision, this is NOT the way to do. You start out with that sentence and people will immediately shut off and stop listening to you. One, the claim is just asinine and two, it takes away all your credibility. Fight with facts.


  • windigo77

    The medical evidence is easy to dismiss. An uncut boy has a 1% chance of getting a UTI. That means 99% of boys do not need circumcision to prevent UTI. STDs are irrelevant as HPV can be vaccinated against if you are worried about cervical cancer, and HIV can be prevented with a condom. Circumcision is a brutal unnecessary and inhumane thing to do to your child.

    If you commit this act of ritualistic violence. I repeat. You do not love your son, and do not respect the rights of the man he will become. 38% of men dislike or resent having been circumcised. Will your son be among them?


  • windigo77

    Hello expectant mothers. We have a wonderful new procedure out for you all today. It’s just two simple snips and we can do away with those pesky cheeks, after all it’s just a little skin, and think how yucky little kids mouths are when they aren’t taught how to brush their teeth.

    Sound horrifying? Yeah, now you know why your a monster if you do this to your children.


    danb Reply:

    Geeze. You posted that a year ago and I can’t even begin to describe how I got to this page, but I just can’t leave it ended at that.
    My male siblings and myself are all adults and I just asked them.
    All of us agree we’d rather not have a foreskin. Also, I think my parents love me just fine.


  • You ask for scientific information, but there is more than just science to inform decisions on behalf of children.

    Circumcision is not a decision that needs to be made on behalf of a child and to circumcise hime before he can make his own decision denies his right to autonomy.

    Circumcision differs from vaccination, since vaccines only add immunity. Circumcision removes a normal functioning part and gives at least an 8% risk of meatal stenosis.


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