Welcome to the second week in our 10 week series on Natural Living! I hope that you learn something that will help you on your journey to natural living. Wherever you are, just jump right in! Hopefully we can all inspire each other to live more mindfully, one step at a time.
This week’s focus is on natural baby care. There are so many ways we can naturally care for our babies so we’ll just be skimming the surface this week, but I’ll share below several other resources for more information. For starters, you can check out the whole series The Hippie Housewife did on Attachment Parenting. It would be a wonderful place to start to learn all the tenets of Attachment Parenting and parenting gently.
One of the most talked about parenting topics is baby sleep (or lack of it). My remedy for this was bedsharing which is the way I got sleep! We bedshared with my daughter until her 2nd birthday when she happily moved to her own room and bed and are currently bedsharing with my 10 month old son now. Of course, the right way for you and your baby to get good sleep may look differently than mine. But if you are interesting in sharing sleep with your babe, whether it be bedsharing or co-sleeping (where baby is on a separate sleep surface but in close proximity to mother) you can read how to do so safely and get tips for co-sleeping and nursing at Diary of a First Child. Hybrid Rasta Mama also offers a product recommendation for bedsharing as well as tons of links at the bottom of the post on co-sleeping. Another nice resource for getting baby to sleep is the book Gentle Goodnight.
If you have a nursery set up for your little one, you might want to check out what hidden dangers may be lurking. Nine Naturals also has some information about crib mattress safety. Don’t worry though, there are fixes for each problem area in the posts as well as these suggestions for a safe and healthy nursery you can implement.
I have some favorites for what I use on my sweet boy’s skin. I didn’t know quite as much with my little girl but once I learned about how toxic the conventional lotions, soaps and shampoos can be for baby’s I switched to Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. They even have a “Baby Mild” version. For my little guy, I use and love Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash. It has a delightful sweet orange scent. I’m not crazy about the pump on it (it sticks sometimes for me) but the actual product itself is very nice. It’s a soft foam and very gentle.
I’m very fond of Baby Hugo Oh So Soft Lotion in Shea Butter & Chamomile for baby lotion. The scent is delicious. My mother-in-law couldn’t get enough of sweet baby Jude after he was bathed and rubbed in this lotion. I can’t either! Just like Earth Mama Angel Baby products, this lotion scores a 0 in the Skin Deep Database.
For more nontoxic baby products, from amber teething necklaces (a product we have had success with) to organic clothing, I Thought I Knew Mama has some suggestions for you. She shares her favorite natural baby items and has some great items on there, too.
I have an entire series devoted to Preparing for Birth but since we are specifically talking about baby care, I’ll stick to once the baby is earthside. 🙂 I have some resources on new baby care and Hybrid Rasta Mama has a list of what you really will need to care your little bundle instead of what you think you may need. Caring for your new baby starts the moment they are born so if you aren’t sure what newborn procedures might be taking place, read up on what happens once the baby is born and get more info on one of those procedures, the Hep B shot.
Another big decision parents of boys will face is whether to leave their baby boy intact. We chose to leave our baby whole for a variety of reasons, starting with it being a completely cosmetic procedure with absolutely no health benefits whatsoever. You can read how diaper changes are made trickier, what the Bible says about circumcision, 10 reasons to leave your son intact as well as this excellent post detailing the facts about circumcision.
My favorite book on the first year of your baby’s life is The Other Baby Book. Everything you will need to know to take care of your baby naturally is in there. You will love it, too! Also, be sure to check out my advice for new moms; it’s my most read post.
Nothing could be more natural than the act of nursing your child. I came to think of it as my own special superpower. There are so many wonderful facets of the nursing relationship. For lots of great information about why breastfeeding is so amazing, you can read all of the posts put together in this breastfeeding round up. Hybrid Rasta Mama has put together several breastfeeding lists and resources that are pretty great including her experiences nursing a toddler. Practical tips for nursing on the go were included as part of my Preparing for Birth series as well as resources for preparing for breastfeeding. Toxins that make their way into breastmilk was also addressed. And, in case you didn’t hear enough talk about coconut oil in the natural skincare week, why yes, coconut oil is great for the breastfeeding mom, too!
If supply is a concern for you, Diary of a First Child has some recipes you’ll want to try like one for Breast Milk Enhancement Tea and Lactation Cookies. She also shares a breastmilk smoothie recipe you can give to your littles who are eating solid foods.
Speaking of solid foods, we have enjoyed going straight to solid foods and avoiding those messy purees with a method called baby led solids. We just put food on our wooden high chair and our daughter would go to town! We are currently enjoying this same method with our 10 month old. Both of our kids love to eat, and I partially credit this process with that.
Lastly, nursing clothing makes the whole process easier. My favorite nursing shirt has gotten a lot of use! However, a tank top underneath another shirt (the easiest being a button down) works well, too. And you may consider a nursing pillow as well. I haven’t needed it as much the second time around, but it was invaluable with my first child. I am a big fan of the My Brest Friend Pillow. And very last, when you are coming to the end of your nursing relationship, I’ve shared a sweet little nursing poem you might enjoy.
Keeping your child well is always a big concern for parents. No one likes to have a sick baby. But when the inevitable happens and your baby gets a fever, you want to be prepared with knowledge about what a fever’s purpose is and the best way to naturally care for your feverish little one. (I’ll give you a hint, medicating is not your best bet typically.) Some other concerns you may have in that first year are teething and constipation. Hybrid Rasta Mama also shares tips on dressing your baby warmly. I loved using cute baby leggings this winter on his arms and legs (as well as under pants) to keep Jude warm. They are terrific for babywearing when little pant legs are pulled up by the carrier. The leggings stay put and keep those legs warm and toasty. And my Moby Knot Hat was a wonderful addition to our cold weather gear as well. Lastly, a topic that is important to consider is respecting your child’s bodily autonomy. This will serve them well in their lives to have a healthy view of their body.
Ah, one of the “joys” of parenting is dealing with poop and pee. It does present another opportunity for us to bond and connect with our babies, even if it is oftentimes messy. One of the most natural ways to help our children with this basic need is elimination communication. Of course, this may not be what works best for your family. Cloth diapers are a cute alternative to the conventional throw away diapers that are not nearly as gross as you might think. I shared how I cloth diapered with my daughter with pocket diapers, Thirsties covers and prefolds for nighttime, and Imse Vimse liners for dealing with the poop. I also reviewed the cloth wipes we use and the very nice organic CurlyMonkey wipes. To wet your wipes, some people just use water, others use a premade solution (my favorites are Baby Bits [type “baby bits” into the search bar on the site in the link to find them] and SewLittle Stuff’s soap bits) and some people make their own cloth wipe solution. For additional resources, check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s cloth diapering resources. And Just for fun, I did a little round up of products I discovered during the Cloth Diaper Hunt as well.
If you started out with diapers, you will eventually retrain your child to use the toilet on their own. For us, we found Super Undies helped us when we needed to still use a diaper at nighttime.
Of course, your baby doesn’t need toys. He or she really just wants to interact and play with you mostly! And you’ll soon come to realize that the most exciting things for a baby or what we consider the mundane everyday things around our homes. But it is fun to buy cute little toys all the same or make some of your own. These super sweet Sock Monkey Love Dolls, for instance, would be a fun little project for your wee babe. Or if you’re not the crafty type, check out some of these natural gifts for a one year old. I really like this Eric Carle Puzzle for Marcella. She has played with it for years and still does at 4 years old. I Thought I Know Mama has some good ideas for toddler gifts as well.
Later This Week
This week you’ll be seeing a couple guest posts on helping your baby sleep naturally and elimination communication. I’ll be writing about co-sleeping/bedsharing as well as cloth diaper types and accessories. The Other Baby Book Blog, Living Peacefully with Children and Queso Suizo will be sharing some of their own natural baby care posts at their blogs on topics ranging from cloth diapers to labial adhesions in baby girls so be checking their spaces for that information.
Natural Skincare (May 5 – May 11)
Natural Hair Care (May 19 – May 25)
Natural Cleaning (May 26 – June 1)
Natural Wellness (June 2 – June 8)
Eating Naturally (June 9 – June 15)
Eco friendly Clothing (June 16 – June 22)
Reducing, Reusing and Recyling (June 23 – June 29)
Natural Mouthcare (June 30 – July 6)
What Living Natural Means to Me (July 14 – July 20 )
Want to participate? Learn more in my Call for Submissions post.