I've been asked by quite a few friends over my time as a mum what we do in regards to certain parenting subjects so I thought I'd write a blog post about our ways. I have included links to certain things.
Pregnancy & Labour
When I was pregnant with my first child, Charles I was super careful about everything I ate and drank. I didn't lift anything heavy and I rested a lot. I took pre-natal vitamins religiously. I wrote a colour coded birth plan. When I was pregnant with Ellizabeth, my second child, I was a lot less pedantic. I drank a tiny bit of alcohol on a special occasion, I had pate on toast once and I ate brie a few times too. I took folic acid for the first 12 weeks and ate a really good balanced diet. My birth plan was short and sweet, "delay cord clamping as long as possible, let me deliver in the pool, and do not under any circumstances give my baby formula, pump it from me, or call XXX and use their stash of donor milk as previously agreed"
If we have anymore children in this way I will take more time out for myself to focus on my unborn child and I will plan a home pool birth with delayed cord clamping and of course, 2 years + of breastfeeding. :-D
I will also drink my placenta in a smoothie and encapsulate the rest.
We strongly believe in the "fourth trimester" theory.
Fourth trimester - http://sarahockwell-smith.com/2012/11/04/the-fourth-trimester-aka-why-your-newborn-baby-is-only-happy-in-your-arms/
My newborns are rarely cuddled by other people. Letting anyone but my husband (or other children) cuddle my newborn makes me edgy for the first 6 weeks or more. I assert my authority and priviledge wherever I go. I AM THE MAMA!
I breastfeed, as you all know. The first few weeks are spent breastfeeding a lot. I breastfeed on demand, I do not record my baby's feeds, I do not time them. I just let baby feed, whenever and wherever they want to. Sometimes baby goes in the sling and feeds for an hour or more, other times they are in my arms and feed for five minutes. Whatever baby asks for, baby gets.
Explaining why breastfed babies behave the way they do, and that your baby is normal - http://theleakyboob.com/2011/08/baby-explains-normal-newborn-behavior/
I do not like formula or the companies that make formula. The companies are full of shit to be quite honest and the use clever marketing to make you think they are ok. I don't tend to preach about my feeling about formula but I would never give it to my children. If I ever adopt a baby, I will take drugs to induce lactation. If I couldn't breastfeed I'd use donor milk, hire a wet nurse or ask a relative to re lactate for me. If I had to use formula, I'd use goat milk formula as it is more easily digested by the human body. I do not get into conversations about breastfeeding vs formula. I do not judge if you use formula. As long as you've made an informed and educated choice, I have no problem. :-)
Reasons to not use formula - http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/baby-formula#.VNYt-PmsW2o
Goat milk - http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/feeding-infants-toddlers/goat-milk
We don't put our newborns in a pram. Not at all. Nope, not even for five minutes. They are carried in arms or in a stretchy wrap.
Reasons to carry your baby - http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/laura_simeon.html
We room share and bed share, or co sleep. If done safely it is better for your child's emotional wellbeing than sleeping in a cot, crib or moses basket.
If you have not been drinking, smoking or taking drugs and are not so tired that you are drowsy you are safe to co sleep. This goes for Dad's too. My husband is not allowed to sleep with us if he has had an alcoholic drink just before bed. He has to sleep in the bunk beds. Can you tell we don't drink much? ;-)
Here is an article we like about co sleeping - http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/familybed.html
Obviously the points about abuse do not apply to us but the others remain. My children sleep a lot better when they are together in the bed, even if my husband and I are not in the bed. Charles and Ellizabeth love to snuggle up to each other, they even hold hands and cuddle in their sleep.
We have used dummies but limit use of them for getting to sleep only when they've been particularly sucky. We do not let them have a dummy past the age of 6 months to protect their teeth and speech development.
We also use cloth nappies from the start. Here are some links for you - http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/09/why-i-prefer-to-use-cloth-nappies-and-cut-down-on-landfill
We still carry and breastfeed and cosleep, and cloth bum!
My only real point in this one is weaning. We do not use purees. I have never pureed a single meal and don't intend to start now. Personally I think it is a blooming waste of time and baby food jars/packets are full of God knows what. No thank you not for my babies.
I literally just cook for my husband and I, and once they are past 6 months I let them steal food from my plate and put it in their mouths. Once they are regularly stealing food at every meal, they get their own in a highchair/floor seat, facing us, so we can eat as a family.
Then, I again just plonk food on their tray, the same as it is on my plate and let them try it.
You cannot do a mixture of baby led weaning and traditional or puree weaning. You are not doing baby led weaning if you aren't doing it completely. If you use purees and finger foods, then that is what it is. It is still not baby led weaning.
When using purees the baby has to learn to swallow the food, and them learn to chew, which is great until they hit a lump of food...what next?! Choking hazard!
Do you swallow your food before you chew it? No? Me neither!
I chew food before I swallow it, which is what baby led weaning teaches your baby to do.
If you are having soup, or yoghurt then load the spoon for baby and let them take it from you. It's messy, but it's natural. Children who learn to eat in this way as less likely to choke as they are doing it all at their own pace. Hence the term BABY LED!
Here is some information about baby led weaning - http://www.babyledweaning.com/some-tips-to-get-you-started/
Now, let's all learn together the difference between GAGGING and CHOKING.
Gagging - They make a coughing sound. The food has gone to the back of their MOUTH and they are making that sound as they toss it to the front with their tongue. This is natural, normal and good! If they didn't gag, they'd choke....you see? Gagging is a reflex that is stimulated at the back of the tongue.
Choking - If a baby is choking, their wind pipe will be blocked, so they will not be able to make a noise. There will be no coughing, because coughing takes air. If the wind pipe is blocked, there will be no air.
Here is an article that shows you what choking is like and what to do if your child is choking. http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/choking.html
We don't use babywalkers or jumperoos or things as we feel they are unsafe.
(babywalkers could knock over items and hurt baby and jumperoos are not ergonomic aka knee to knee so not advised for more than 10 minutes at a time, so what's the point?!)
We also do not leave our children to cry. No cry it out, and no controlled crying. My personal, and very strong feelings are that is neglectful. Below are some articles supporting my beliefs
I do not wean from the breast onto formula or cows milk. What is the point exactly? Follow on milks were invented so formula companies could advertise them as they are not allowed to advertise first infant milks. It's a gimic stick with breastfeeding or infant formula until 1 year and then use full fat cows milk, or an alternative milk if that is your choice.
If my toddler needs a drink of milk, and I am not around or do not have any breast milk expressed then they have goat, soy, oat or hemp milk. Occasionally they will have cows milk.
I keep my toddler in soft soled shoes until they are two years old. The arch of the foot does not develop until a child is two years old. A hard sole shoes does not give your child's foot enough wiggle room to grow and flex like it needs to before the arch is developed. A soft soled shoe however does.
Here are some examples of soft soled shoes, often called pre-walkers - http://www.clarks.co.uk/p/26105636
Extended rear facing carseats. I agree with this totally. The only reason we didn't do it is because we couldn't afford it. The cheapest seats are around £130 and it was just not in our price range.
Reasons to rear face - http://www.rearfacing.co.uk/
Cheapest rear facing seat on the market in the UK - http://www.toysrus.co.uk/Babies-R-Us/Travel-and-Pushchairs/Car-Seats-and-Boosters/Group-0-1-and-2/Joie-Stages-Carseat-in-Midnight%280100430%29
Preschool and Older
I can't take you much further than this point as my eldest is only 3 years old.
I didn't rush potty training, it just happened on it's own. Charles is now confidently using the potty, with no accidents. I've not done a thing. I just let him do his own thing, and he's dry and clean now, day and night.
We are home educating. Charles attends preschool twice a week for the morning to give me time with his little sister. He does no formal learning there. Ellizabeth probably won't go at all. It is not compulsory to send your child anywhere, to preschool or primary school or secondary school. It is however compulsory to educate your child from the term after he or she turns five years old. For my children, whose birthdays are in January, they must be educated from the end of April in the year they turn five years old (2017 and 2019, if you were interested!). We follow a preschool curriculum, and will follow the national curriculum in English, Maths and Science. The rest of their subjects we will encourage but let them lead. They will learn History, but they can choose the era, etc. We already attend several home education groups, so there is plenty of socialisation.
School is an opt in service. It is not compulsory, education is. If you would like our reasons for home educating, please comment and I will do my best to answer your polite queries.
Our children continue to share a bed with us until they choose to move into their own bed.
That is all I can think of to tell you about our parenting.
I've been honest, I hope I've not hurt anyone's feelings. I always say the only person who can put guilt on you, is yourself.
I hope you enjoyed reading my essay and the links provided.
Happy educated and informed parenting! Happy Baby = Happy Mama! :-)