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Friday, April 1, 2011

What Natural Parenting is to My Family

I was supposed to submit this post to the Hobo Mama and Codename: Mama's Carnival of Natural Parenting for March.  Things got busy, and well the deadline passed.  Anyway, the topic for last month's carnival is a natural parenting "Top 10" list.  It got me thinking about how natural parenting applied to my family.

To be honest, my family doesn’t practice any one form of parenting. I research and read and discuss with my husband how we’d like Naima to be brought up or what changes we’d like to implement in our household. I’d like to think though that certain changes or practices we implemented are geared towards natural parenting. So here are the 10 things that we practice in our family and which I think fall within the spectrum of natural parenting.

Co-sleeping.  Since Day 1, Naima has slept with Stanley and I on our bed.  When she was a newborn, we had a full-sized bed.  Stan constantly jokes about how we slept with half our bodies hanging out from the bed because were afraid that we would squish Naima.  Now, Stan has a bed on the floor because he finds our current queen sized bed too crowded (go for a king-sized bed!!).  Naima sleeps with me on the big bed and crawls down do her dad at the break of dawn. Her crib?  Toy storage!

in her Tushies
Cloth Diapering.   We started late with cloth diapering.  Naima was about 8 months old when we started and we went for BumGenius, Happy Heinys and Tushy Wushys.  Although Naima was already semi-potty trained at 1 year old, we still used cloth diapers for another year since the pee training took some time.  And I'm pleased to share that I have also started using cloth pads for my monthly!  Review on my cloth pads upcoming.

Gentle Discipline. With Naima now a lively toddler, gentle disciple is the major challenge I am currently facing.  I was spanked as a child and I remember my grandmother punishing me by making me kneel on having to kneel on munggo while facing the wall.  Naima has not been spanked since day 1.  I have to admit, Stan is more successful on gentle discipline than I am.  When both of us are upset, he is the reasonable one and is able to make Naima understand what went wrong.  I tend to get emotional and raise my voice. Gentle discipline is something I have to work on.  Luckily, Stan is on the right track and we both agree that we are not going the spanking route.

Breastfeeding. After a rocky breastfeeding start, we now have a smooth breastfeeding relationship.  Still going at 39 months, I have been inspired by my experiences to train as a counselor and maintain this blog.

Naima's raw plate: unfried rice, salad and maki
Raw food. I sent my cook to Raw Food cooking seminar in hopes of adding more variety and healthy food in our diet.  Not quite a success here.  Initially, I wanted to incorporate 1 raw meal per week in our diet - not quite successful.  We are now down to 1 raw meal every 2 weeks.  My major problem? Lack of nearby fresh markets.  I'm stuck with the usual mainstream groceries and despite having a weekly organic veggie delivery, I haven't been THAT successful in planning raw dishes acceptable to Stan and Naima.

Holistic Health.  I am not really a *crunchy* mom but I bring Naima to a homeopathic pediatrician.  However, I still have a *regular* pediatrician that I go to but I just felt that she was always prescribing medicines and antibiotics which I really didn't want to be giving Naima all the time.  You can say that I am a "problem" patient since I always ASK doctors about the procedure or medicine that they are administering. I first brought Naima to her current homeopathic pediatrician when she was about 3 months old.  But due to her comments about breastfeeding, I transferred to a different pediatrician.  But when this breastfeeding friendly pediatrician had to undergo chemotherapy, I went back to the homeopathic pediatrician.  She was able to clarify the breastfeeding issues to a friend and I'm now happy having her as Naima's main pediatrician. So Naima doesn't take vitamins - just bee propolis daily plus her homeomeds from Centro Natura, 24 Mahusay St. UP Village, Quezon City (928-5386, 0918-9138-14) when needed.

transferring her herbs
Mini Garden. The main peeve I have with living in a condominium in the city is the lack of a garden or green space.  I grew up in Davao City (biggest city in the world in terms of land area!) and even if we lived inside a compound with construction vehicles, we had several gardens, a grotto and lots of greens.  My grandmother had her own backyard garden with avocados, calamansi plus some chickens!  I feel guilty depriving Naima of this so we opted to have a mini garden in our balcony with herbs from weekend markets instead.

Practical Home Help.  As a full-time working mom with a sideline, having a nanny for Naima plus an all-around for our condo is a blessing.  I'm happy to say that Naima's current yaya has been with us since Naima was 7 weeks.  Actually, the current yaya is our former cook.  Naima's former yaya has moved to my sister to take care of Anya.  Our current all-around cook came to us in January 2010.  I send both helpers to various cooking classes and treat them well.  I am also happy that they treat Naima well - play with her, teach her and are really very patient especially when Naima wants to "help" with the cooking, cleaning or gardening.

My 2010 birthday cake from cousin Winie!
Breastfeeding Blog and Advocacy.  Because of my experiences, I wanted to help other moms achieve and enjoy the successes I have with breastfeeding.  I was invited by Buding and Jen to join the LATCH training and have not regretted doing so.  Also, since I was always online during the early days and couldn't find resources or blogs on breastfeeding applicable to Filipino moms, I decided to start this blog.  It really makes me happy to receive emails, texts, calls or comments from moms I meet saying how helpful my blog was to them in their own breastfeeding successes.  This is my way of paying forward and sharing the tips and help I got from breastfeeding friends.

The Portable Baby. Our first experience with babywearing was with a Moby which I found too complicated.  We moved on to a Baby Bjorn and gave this up for a Blissful Babes pouch when Naima got too heavy for the Bjorn.  {Update: 6/23/12 - Please note that BabyBjorn is not a recommended carrier because of its narrow seat base.  Read this post for more information} Then we moved to a SaYa when it came out in mid-2009 and finally to a Patapum Toddler Carrier. We also still travel with a stroller which we use especially when traveling to hold the diaper bag and our shopping!  Having been "worn" all the time, Naima also enjoys wearing her babies.  Being breastfed and "baby-worn", I can say that Naima is truly a portable baby.

What are your family's natural parenting practices?


Martine said...

Hi, Jenny!

I see we're similar in our "hodgepodge" natural parenting in many ways:
- I, too, am still breastfeeding Vito at 16 months. We also babywear, but since he began walking and running, he prefers that we don't carry him!
- We also do cloth diapering, thanks to Tushy Wushy, but we still do disposables for going out on weekends (We're home the whole week, all day!).
- We do co-sleep, but we're training Vito to sleep on his own now. He slept in our bed for over a year!

And thanks to blogs like yours and other mom's examples, we have gone more green and organic in our approach to eating, sustainable home products, etc.

As you can see, I'm sort of like a disciple. Hehe.

Jenny said...

Thanks for visiting Martine! Yes, it's never an all or nothing thing.. i also keep learning new things and making changes here and adapting to what is best for our family at the present moment :D

Yenyen King Chan said...

mini garden. i so understand this. i grew up climbing trees. growing tomatoes, monggo, okra, ampalaya, picking malunggay leaves, etc. fix up an herb/mini veggie garden is on my to-do list... plus composting. ;-)

sinisterspark said...

OMG I love the pix of your baby wearing a sling!!! Too cute!!

Jen CC Tan said...

we're pretty much the same, jen, except for the raw food. (well, but i guess fruits count?) our king sized bed came in really handy! (can be used to sleep far apart in times of LQ or a host to four warm bodies when the boys climb into bed with us)

I had a total of 9 slings I think (and 4 of those were before I got into the biz ha)...including formal ones!

i think that natural parenting, for me, is doing what you feel is right. i guess there is some point when you kind of have to understand that not everything you can make decisions for (e.g., if your child is terribly sick), but i generally parent from the *gut*. lol, excuse the term!

Jenny said...

yen!! don't you ever think about bringing up marion in cebu? the air in davao is so much cleaner and i've been telling stan na move na kami dun. hay

Jenny said...

we need a king bed!!!

Jenny said...

thanks for visiting :D

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