Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm a Natural Parent - BUT...

Welcome to the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.
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Hours old and never out of our sight.

 I have written before that I hate labels, mostly because they are limiting. No matter what the label is people have certain ideals that they think are inclusive of that label. I believe this to be true for just about all labels; political, racial, social and of course parenting labels. My parenting style is very much in line with principles of Natural Parenting but there are no rules as to exactly how that is carried out. What does that say about my parenting?

To me natural parenting is doing what feels natural to us as a family. It is about parenting with love, gentleness, care, and consideration. If I don't follow all the stereotypes that are considered to be a part of natural parenting, am I less natural as a parent?


I am a Natural Parent - BUT... we use disposable diapers. I hate laundry. I hate washing, drying, flooding and putting it all away. I usually wait till the dressers are empty and then wash it all at once. Now, I know that is part of the problem, I get overwhelmed with the amount of laundry that there is but for whatever reason I can't seem to stay a head of it. I would love to Cloth Diaper, I love that it is better for the environment on so many levels. It is economical, I would have saved thousands of dollars. My mom cloth diapered all of us four kids and back then it wasn't even cool to. They didn't have adorable cloth diapers in bright colors and cute prints.  Honestly the idea of scraping poop off the diaper just seems gross and the modern convince of disposals has sucked me in. It's so easy to tie it up in a bag and toss it out.

How ~B~ goes to sleep.

I am a Natural Parent - BUT... we have a crib and use it for sleep. I loved Co-Sleeping and I miss it tremendously. For the first six-ish months ~B~ slept in between us. It is and was the best. I would recommend it to everyone. We never had sleepless nights. Breastfeeding was easy (after the first 4ish weeks). I love the closeness and security co-sleeping gives. Why did we stop? ~B~ napped in his crib pretty regularly from early on. I am not a napper so I felt it was safer to have him nap in his crib then a bed without an adult in bed with him. He was pretty used to napping there and never gave us a hard time. Around six or seven months he started waking up a lot at night and wanted to play, so we decided to try to put him in the crib for bed and see how he did. First we started with one in our room and he quickly started sleeping though the night again. It was pretty obvious that he preferred his space. We never did Cry-It-Out and always respond to him promptly when he does wake at night. I love the nights that he ends up in our bed. Waking up with him next to us is pure heaven.

I am a Natural Parent - BUT... I had a scheduled C-Section. You can read more about why on my son's birth story page. My water did break 10 days before the scheduled date and I went into labor pretty quickly. It was an unwanted c-section but at the time it was right for us. I couldn't be happier with the unwanted c-section, both of us were healthy and safe. I will do things differently in the future, but it was still an amazing experience. 

I am a Natural Parent - BUT... we vaccinate. We do a selective and delayed vaccine scheduale. I am constantly looking for more information on vaccination. I have the hardest time with deciding on what to do about vaccinations. I am split on this topic, I see reason for and reasons against. I think at this point we are going to hold off on anymore until he's older, because I am not convinced one way or another. To me the most important part of parenting is making informed decisions that you are confident about. 
Baby-lead weaning/feeding.

I am a Natural Parent - BUT... my son weaned at 19 months 2 weeks. You can read about this more in the up coming Carnival of Weaning (stay tuned). Despite all efforts, my son self weaned at 19 months. I know that statistically the normal self-weaning age is between 2-6 years, but you just can't force a child to nurse because they are done when they are done. Just like its hard to force a child to wean before they are ready. Breastfeeding was my driving force on natural parenting, seeing how it is such a beautiful symbiotic relationship is what inspired me to really follow what naturally felt right to us as a family.

Those are some of my, I am a Natural Parent - BUT confessions. It's not these personal decisions that make you a natural parent, it's following the principles of Natural Parenting; 



  • Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature: Despite using disposable diapers we still strive to reduce our carbon footprint whenever possible; recycling, having one car, using public transportation, choosing organic when possible, supporting local farmers and stores, and most importantly spending quality time outside to enjoy what nature has to offer.
  • Ensure safe sleep: We strive to have a positive associations with sleep. We bed shared until it didn't work for us and now we are sure to respond to him at night and not “Cry-It-Out”.
  • Prepare for pregnancy and birth: I was well researched and informed about my birth situation, the risk involved, and ultimately agreed that this was the safest option for us at that time even though it was not what I had wanted. 
  • Holistic Health Practices: I am sure to research and make educated decisions regarding all medical interventions. I am not afraid to question or refuse 'standard procedures'. It is my responsibility to make sure I am fully informed regarding all medical treatment.
  • Feed with love and respect: I practice exclusive breastfeeding and respect when ~B~ was ready to wean, regardless of my own wants, it is always his choice.
Parent with love and respect and you will always parent naturally. <---TWEET THIS



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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
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21 comments:

  1. Love how upfront and frank you are about it. No apologies, no feeling sorry for your choices... just straight up. Very cool :)

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    1. Thanks Hun, I think that I beat myself up for so many other faults that doing what feels right and is working for us, even if it doesn't fit an ideal description of a "Natural Parent" can't be one of them. :)

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  2. I am really enjoying this blog carnival.

    I agree with you: just because your lifestyle doesn't follow some of the traditional natural parenting options doesn't mean that they don't take a page right out the natural parenting book. Your sleep arrangements are a perfect example - our son decided that he napped better on his own at a young age, and that translated to him sleeping at night better on his own. Our door is always open to him in case he wants to come by us, which happens about once a week, but for the most part he's on his own in his room. Like you, we listened to our child's cues, balanced the safety needs and the general needs of our family, and worked out a solution that way. I think that's natural parenting at its finest.

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    1. Sleep is one of those things that I feel go with whatever works for the child. If not you will lose your mind! :)

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  3. I totally agree with the vaccine issue. It's such a gray area to me. Sounds like we have similar approaches to doing the laundry. :)

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    1. I wish it was a black and white on the vaccine issue. I struggle with this constantly. And I do HATE laundry I am glad to say at this moment the cloths are all clean and folded (not put away though) lol.

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  4. You're a natural parent BUT - you are doing what is right for you and your family, and you are doing it in an educated, thoughtful way. And you rock :)

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    1. Thank You NPN has really opened my eyes! You guys all rock!

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  5. I love how Dionna put it!
    I haaaate cosleeping. I've done it with both kids, and it's okay for the first few months but as they get older and the oxytocin levels in my body normalize, the wiggling and snoring and breathing keep me awake. There was one night when my husband, daughter, and the dog were all taking turns snoring, and I got maybe 3 hours of sleep.

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    1. Ya I loved it but it definitely has to really work for all parities involved. If not the days are so long and every one is unhappy!

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  6. We use disposables sometimes, too. It's one of thosethings that I wish we didn't, but sometimes my stress level with everything else means something has to give.

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    1. It's actually funny because of this Carnival I have decided to try cloth and I love it... We are slowly switching over. I am doing a post "It's never to late to Cloth Diaper". We are still using disposables at nap and night and depending on where we are going. But always striving to be more natural is what its all about.

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  7. I resonated with so much on your list! I think the same on the vaccine debate, we also use a a crib after 6ish months, and my kiddos also self-weaned before age 2. But like you said, that's what was/is natural for us and that's what's important! Love all the pictures too!

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    1. Thank you this carnival has be so cathartic. Just to know that you are doing your best and not be judge on where you fall short! THANKS

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  8. I'm right with ya on disliking labels...whilst they can be convenient at times they can also be restricting and divisive and set people on the attack or defense with just a word. So I love how you've decided to craft your own natural parenting path by taking on board what works for you and throwing out the rest (without throwing the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bathwater!) I also clicked and read your birth story which was amazing - more strength and power to you Mama!

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    1. Thank you so much Terri. I loved my birth even if it wasnt the home-birth I longed for!

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  9. "To me natural parenting is doing what feels natural to us as a family. It is about parenting with love, gentleness, care, and consideration."

    This is exactly how I feel about this 'label' myself. As long as everyone's needs are met with respect and dignity, then how it comes about does not really matter. It can be unnatural for one family to babywear for example if the child in question resists it strongly and so engaging in it despite the obvious signs it isn't working is not being mindful of their needs, regardless if its 'crunchier' to do so or not. Also, needs change over time so adapting accordingly even if it means not seeming to be 'crunchy' anymore is okay. It is the underlying philosophy of consciously following our children's cues is what matters, not how we appear to be to others.

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    1. Fabulous Mama, you took the words right out of my mouth! (er. . . fingers)

      It isn't how we appear to others, it's the principle of respecting and following our children's needs and being attune to the organic and ever changing elements of family - that makes us natural parents.

      LOVED your post Lani, and LOVE you!

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  10. That's so funny that you list weaning at 19 months (SELF-weaning at that) as something that would make you less of a natural parent. Considering most moms nowadays don't make if for 19 WEEKS, I think that's pretty awesome!

    I've loved reading everyone's "Natural Parent But..." posts. It's nice to see a peek behind the curtain when most people primarily write about the good stuff and ways they're succeeding at whatever they're trying to do.

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Thanks for commenting!