With all the “going natural” that’s happening lately, you may be left wondering, why? Why should I change what I’m doing now, when it’s been working for me/our family for this long? Well, there are plenty of reasons for both, but today I’m sharing some things that surprised me about natural parenting. I’m by no means totally “crunchy,” but I’ve learned a lot from other natural mamas over the last several years.
I learned more about myself and my baby from my midwife in one visit than I learned the entire previous pregnancy from my OB/GYN.
Going natural doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make many of the cleaners and things you use for pennies on the dollar in comparison to doing it the normal way and picking a product off the shelf.
Hearing a lot about essential oils? They really do work! So do herbal tinctures! I was skeptical, I have to tell ya. But when a high fever breaks within three minutes of applying an oil, you pay attention. Of course, as with everything, just remember moderation is key. (I’m doing a series on this soon, too.)
Modern cloth diapering is actually really, really easy! None of that prefold-pinning stuff like your grandma did (unless you just really want to go old-fashioned–no shame).
My babies didn’t puke when allowed to eat on demand, versus the typical “scheduled” feedings. This is different for everyone, but my initial opinion is that when we pay more attention to our babies and how they respond (things like listening for the “hungry” cry), they’re more likely to also let us know when they’re full and can’t hold any more. Note: Small breastfeeding babies should still eat every 2-3 hours. But you can vary the exact time between feedings (within reason) based on your baby’s signals.
I actually prefer babywearing to carrying a car seat around, or even sticking a kid in a stroller. At a certain weight it becomes unpractical, but until then, it’s way easier to take care of baby’s needs on the fly, definitely helps me get housework done with three other littles underfoot, and just helps us bond better in general.
Breastfeeding is WAY easier than bottle feeding! It can be difficult to figure out at first, but if you can get past the first couple weeks, you can do anything. (Amazing help in this support network!) And you don’t have to do “extended” breastfeeding if it doesn’t work out for your family–I know several mommies who do, but we only ever did it around a year (per child), simply because I was pregnant again at that point with each and they became disinterested, or they just wanted to eat what everyone else was eating all the time (again, this is different for every child, but do what works for you, not what everyone else is doing).
We have had way more success training our children than disciplining them. This looks different for every family, but the more you can reinforce the positive, the better and happier everyone (including you) will be.
If you and I sat down for coffee together, the first thing I would tell you is, do what works best for your family. Learn what makes your babies tick, each one (cause they’re each different people), and do that. There is no true handbook for parenting, we figure most of it out as we go. The only real important thing is that everyone is happy and healthy.
What things have surprised you about natural parenting? Please share your thoughts below!