Important Things to Decide Before the Baby Is Born

Videotaping, circumcision, breast feeding

Videotaping Your Future Star
Everyone has a different opinion about videotaping and photographing the birth, and hospitals have different policies, so it's wise to check out the policies first. Although you might think that you can get everything on camera, actually, that might not be the case. Hospitals will generally let you film before and after the delivery, but not necessarily during it. Blame the insurance companies and lawyers for this new rule, which is based on legal issues.

If you have a boy baby, the doctors will ask you if you want to have him circumcised, which involves the removal of the foreskin on the boy's penis. This practice is fairly common in the U.S., but not as common in other countries. Sometimes, it is determined by your culture or heritage, although often the father seems to be the one to decide whether or not the baby will be circumcised.

There is a wealth of opinions, both pro and con about circumcision, and you would be wise to research the subject before proceeding. In the past, the procedure was performed to stave off infections, but many people feel that with today's health standards, it is no longer necessary. Most pediatricians will agree with whatever the parents want to do. If you want it done (or not), you should notify your family pediatrician, who will stop by the hospital to check the baby anyway. At this time, the procedure can be performed.

Parents will be counseled extensively about the risks of the procedure and must sign a consent form in order for the doctor to perform the procedure, which will take place in the nursery. Most of the time, the baby's foreskin will be anesthetized, so the baby doesn't feel any pain. The baby will be uncomfortable for a few moments when the anesthetic is given. Sometimes, the foreskin will come off immediately, but it may take a couple of days or a week or so to fall off.

It's Your Decision
As a mother of three boys, I decided against circumcision, figuring that the boys weren't born that way and natural must be better. This was strictly my opinion and my husband's, but we did discuss it first with our pediatrician. Our doctor said that in today's society where hygiene is not an issue, circumcision is no longer necessary. Other pediatricians might feel differently. They might cite the fact that the boys will "look" different or might need to have the procedure done later in life when it would be more painful. My boys have never had any problems, and they are now grown. Moral of the story: Do your own research and make your own decision.

Breast Feeding
By now, you should have an inkling of whether you will breast-feed or bottle-feed your baby. As soon as the baby is born, you will have an opportunity to feed the baby fairly soon. Doctors do stress that there is a wealth of information showing that breast-feeding has significant advantages for the baby over formula-feeding. Breast-fed babies have fewer problems with infections, bond better to the mother, and receive better nutrition, according to the research. Simply put, babies who breast-feed are healthier than babies who don't, which is why women are strongly encouraged to follow this practice. If for some reason you can't or don't want to breast-feed, let the nursing staff know so that they have a plan in place for bottle-feeding the baby.

If you're thinking about nursing your baby, most hospitals have lactation consultants who will help you get started and give you encouragement. Nursing a baby is not as instinctual as you might imagine, but both mother and baby can be taught. It can be painful in the beginning as you're getting started and used to it, but well worth it to persevere.

excerpted from:

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Pregnancy, by John Adams and Marta Justak, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit Amazon to order your own copy.

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