What Is Unschooling?

“All I am saying can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”

John Holt

Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that is child-led and interest based. It does not follow a set learning schedule, it does not have a set curriculum, and it doesn’t have learning goals the children are supposed to reach. Unschooling is allowing a child to take charge of their education through the pursuit of their own interests and curiosities. Unschooling is the lighting of a fire rather than the filling of a pail – it is creating intrinsically motivated learners who know their own passions. Unschooling is play. It allows children to dive deep into subjects, work on long term projects, and learn the interconnectedness of the different topics they pursue.

How to unschool Wild school homeschool

This idea that children won’t learn without outside rewards and penalties, or in the debased jargon of the behaviorists, “positive and negative reinforcements,” usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat children long enough as if that were true, they will come to believe it is true. So many people have said to me, “If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.” Even worse, they say, “If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything.”

John Holt, How Children Fail

We all know the importance of free play (or is that just my child development degree speaking?)- it supports emotional, cognitive, and social development. A child can not develop to their full potential without unstructured play. But at what age did we decide this is no longer valuable? As children age, we step away from seeing curiosity and play as a necessity. But the truth is, even as adults, play is healthy. The New York Times even wrote an article on adults needing to play, stating play has immense benefits, “including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being” (NYT). Depression and anxiety are at an all time high in adolescents, yet research has found that number is lower in homeschooled kids. We have to take the pressure off children and adolescents and allow learning to unfold.

“Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.”

Wendy Priesnitz

Unschooling focuses on allowing the child to develop their critical thinking, research skills, and their role within the world. Unschoolers learn real world, life skills daily, rather than memorizing or regurgitating old information from a worksheet or text book. Learning is hands on and builds on past knowledge rather than following a set curriculum. This allows children to engage deeper and create useful life skills.

It is important to note unschooling IS NOT leaving your child alone. It is not isolating a child. It is not ignoring their needs. Unschooling can only be effective when a child is well cared for and has support in their learning process. The unschooling adult should be available regularly to answer questions, provide resources, or to scaffold learning.

Ready to Unschool but don’t know where to start? Check out my resources!

Unschooling Course: Raised To Thrive
Unschooling Handouts: What You Need To Know & Getting Started
Unschooling Podcast
Creating An Unschooling Environment
Shop Organic Kid’s Clothes

Creating An Unschooling Environment

Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.

The space should inspire children to direct their own learning. To create an engaging environment there are a few key areas to focus on – aesthetic, loose parts, natural materials, and basic resources. 

The space should allow time and space for a child to linger with an idea or project they are interested in.

Key Loose Parts

Wood Blocks

Play Silks

Stainless Steel Bowls

Sensory Bin Tools (Scoopers & Tongs)

Art Supplies

Modeling Clay

Watercolors

Chalk

Math Tools

Size Relevant Block Numbers

Counting Puzzle

Weaving Loom

Color Pie Puzzle

Play Clock

Play Money & Cash Register

Market Stand With Scale, Clock, and Cash Register

Magnetic Number Board

Geography Tools

Magnetic World Map

World Map Puzzle

Science

Anatomy Magnet Puzzle

Human Body Puzzle

Pretend Play

Wood Pretend Dentist Set

Wood Pretend Make Up Set

Farm Animals

Play Kitchen

Sensory Silks

Organic Baby Doll

Early Literacy

My Favorite Kids Books List

Alphabet Matching

My Favorite Board Games

You may also like What Is Unschooling?

How Your Morning Routine Controls Your Life

We all have different ways of starting our day – some of us try to have a very intentional routine while others linger in bed scrolling, and most of us have experienced both. Starting our day with intention has a monumental impact on our productivity, mood, and overall well-being.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but the way you start your day is the way your day will go. Our perspective determines how we feel about the day and if we start the day with a feeling of “I’m exhausted and don’t want to do anything” it will surely linger throughout the day slowing us down and making our daily tasks feel like an annoyance. While on the other hand, if we start our day with gratitude and the intention of being happy, our day is much more likely to be full of positivity.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Benefits of A Morning Routine

Creating a morning routine can impact our mood, our productivity, our creativity, and our overall mental health. Not only does the routine itself help relieve stress because you don’t need to make choices each morning and you know what to expect, but the intentional time each morning can have monumental effects on our well being and personal growth.

Researchers have found that routine can have far-reaching psychological benefits, including alleviating bipolar disorder, ADHD, and insomnia.

Headspace

Tips For An Effective Morning Routine

What your morning routine consists of will alter its effectiveness. These practices will allow your routine to improve your mental health, overall wellness, and personal growth.

Schedule your day research on morning routines

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude has been defined as an emotion or state resulting from awareness and appreciation of that which is valuable and meaningful to oneself.

Psychology Today

When you’re focused on the good, it’s a lot harder to be upset when things don’t go the way you hoped. Practicing gratitude can bring us joy by seeing all that is good in our lives.

Gratitude can change your brain and overall emotional state. When you wake up each day and think about what is good in your life, you shift your selective attention. You train your mind to focus on the positive.

Psychology Today

If you don’t know where to start or feel silly you can start really simple by just making a list each morning of 5 things you are grateful for. I am grateful for my cozy home, I am grateful for warm coffee, I am grateful for the birds singing outside, I am grateful for nutritious food, and I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on life. You can also try guided gratitude journals or gratitude cards. Do your best to really feel the gratitude and joy with each statement. The more you do it, the easier it will get!

Meditate

Meditation is a practice used to train your brain to control your thoughts and focus (usually on your breath). It is often defined as a tool to heighten your state of awareness. Meditation is great way to start your day refreshed and gain control of your thoughts and intentions.

One study found that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation helped reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, along with increasing positive self-statements and improving stress reactivity and coping

Healthline

There are endless guided meditations you can try. One of my favorites is Breathe People (not an affiliate). These meditations are very helpful for releasing stress, tension, and creating a sense of calm. You can also try just sitting and focusing on your breath. Breathe in. Breathe out.

For more information and guidance on meditation I recommend Practicing Mindfulness and Quick Calm.

Journal

Journaling is the act of writing in a journal– you can write about your feelings, about a memory, about your day, or about your hopes and dreams.

Research has shown that expressing your thoughts and emotions in your journal can enhance your emotional intelligence.

Psychology Today

When we write about our hopes and dreams, it can actually help those dreams happen. You can create a mental rehearsal by writing your dream: a practice of feeling and planning what your dreams will look like and how they will make you feel when they happen.

According to research on mental rehearsal, once we immerse ourselves in that scene, changes begin to take place in our brain. When we are feeling the emotions of our future — whether that’s gratitude, joy, freedom, abundance, enthusiasm, love, and so on — the creative thoughts in your mind can become the experience. As the body receives the chemical signals of these emotions, essentially the body is receiving the signal that the event has already occurred.

— Dr. Joe Dispenza

Plan & Set Intentions

Plan your day! Create a schedule, decide how you’ll feel for the day, and set intentions. Planning and setting intentions can happen while journaling, you can write to do lists, you can choose some affirmations for the day, and organize your thoughts and schedule.

For example, if you are wanting to eat healthier, set the intention that you will nourish your body with healthy foods and plan ahead by preparing healthy meals and snacks.

Do you have a morning routine? What are your favorite parts? What do you want to add to your morning routine?

As I’ve gotten older, time feels like an increasingly rare commodity, so I try to be more mindful of how I use it.

Liz Fooslien


You may also like: Realistic Expectations for Motherhood, 5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books), and The Secret To Being A Calm Mom

It’s Not Gentle Parenting

It’s not gentle parenting

It’s just love

Without conditions, sorrow, and intentional hurt

It’s not gentle parenting 

It’s parenting 

The love our babies deserve 

Without conditions 

Don’t let them fool you

Your baby is not bad 

Needing to be punished

They are love

If you allow it

Littles need gentle guidance

Support learning expression

And if you guide them with hurt 

They will learn to hurt

Put down your hand

Forget the punishments

And just love

And your little will show you their light

It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

L R Knost

You may also like: The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books and 5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

What You Need To Read Before Homeschooling Your Child

Whether you’ve always planned to homeschool your child or have newly decided to homeschool due to changes from Corona Virus, homeschooling is a consequential and life-changing endeavor for the parents and child(ren). It’s important to be informed and change your view from mass schooling and typical education to individualized and personal learning.

Public school is intended to easily educate a mass of people, so when you choose to homeschool, it does not make sense to follow the typical teaching and learning methods used in the education system. In order for you, as an educator & guide, and your child to thrive in homeschooling, it is necessary to learn the research behind natural, child-centered learning. This list of books will give you more than enough information to become an expert (and happy) guide in your child’s home learning process.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Books to Read for Homeschooling

Unschooled by Kerry McDonald

If you read just one of these books, make it this one. This is a research and experience filled book that reveals the importance of taking an alternative approach to education that allows children to learn according to their own interests as well as how to support and optimize that learning process.

Passion-Driven Education by Connor Boyack

One of the reviews I read for this book talks about how it broke the mom’s heart that she didn’t read it before homeschooling because she felt she wasted years not igniting her children’s passion for education. A must read before homeschooling in order to change your approach and get your child(ren) engaged and passionate about what they’re learning.

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Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Written by a mother who homeschooled her own children, this book teaches parents how to make homeschooling a part of daily life rather than forced and scheduled curriculum. It invites parents to live curiously and role model for their children how to learn by exploring interests and adventures. It provides practical and applicable ways to make homeschooling easy and effective.

Free To Learn by Peter Gray

A developmental psychologist discusses the importance of shifting learning away from structured and forced schooling to children pursuing their own interests through play to become passionate and curious learners.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

Learn the importance of unrestricted outdoor play on your child’s health and development. The book also provides helpful strategies on helping your child thrive regardless of where you live.

How To Raise A Wild Child by Scott Sampson

A research filled informative book on why and how to get your child interested and engaged in being in nature and outdoor learning.

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life.” ~ Vince Gowman

https://greenmamalife.com/2020/01/27/20-quotes-for-world-schooling/

You may also like: The Nature Books You Need In Your Homeschooling Library and 20 Quotes For World Schooling

The Beautiful, Natural, & Unassisted Birth Story Of Our Second Child

It is so strange and beautiful how every pregnancy and birth has its own story. I always hear how different each pregnancy can be even for the same woman, but I had no idea how true that could be until I became pregnant with my second child.

We had wanted a second child for a while and were hoping to have two little ones close in age so they grew up enjoying each others’ friendship. I also knew I wanted to be a full time stay at home mom while the kids are little so taking a pause on my career made more sense if we had multiple children closer together (although now the plan has changed since we plan to homeschool/unschool long term). 

I became pregnant with our first almost immediately, so it was a bit surprising and frustrating when we couldn’t seem to get pregnant with a second, although it made sense because I was still breastfeeding full time. I loved breastfeeding and I knew how much my little one loved it, so I couldn’t bring myself to wean her just because I wanted another child, so we patiently waited. Finally, around when our daughter was 20 months my cycle returned and we conceived our second child! (I also think switching to a Berkey water filtration system helped with this, but that’s another conversation). 

The pregnancy was immediately entirely different than my first. As soon as I was pregnant with my first, I found myself irritable and moody, constantly achy and tired, and most challenging, I injured my back a few weeks into the pregnancy, which remained injured and painful until giving birth. It was definitely a challenging pregnancy. With my second, I found my mood and patience improved almost immediately. I felt great other than wanting extra sleep and the occasional upset stomach!

With the pregnancies being so different, I was surprised to find I had the same long last month of pregnancy full of prodromal labor. Being much more active and healthy during my second pregnancy, I thought I wouldn’t have the long and exhausting prodromal I had with my first, so when contractions started happening around 38 weeks, I thought baby would be coming soon, but I was very wrong! 

Our sweet baby didn’t come until 42+4 after about 4 days of strong labor. Once I hit 42 weeks, I was planning to get a scan to make sure everything was healthy with baby so I could feel comfortable letting the pregnancy continue as needed. I never made the call to make the appointment because right at 42 weeks, my contractions became much stronger and regular.

I listened to birth meditations, did lots of spinning babies moves trying to make sure baby was in a good position, walked, went up and down the stairs, did squats, and labored on my yoga ball. I was in pure bliss and excited to meet my baby. I thought surely the baby would come in the night. The contractions were waking me up so I labored in the shower while everyone slept.

I finally fell asleep around 4 am and was disappointed and discouraged to wake up the next morning with my contractions slowed and my baby still not here. This went on for 2 more days (Saturday and Sunday) and while it was physically exhausting, it was much more mentally exhausting. I cried countless times feeling so discouraged that again, just like with my first, I had been in labor for days. I kept resetting myself, attempting to stay in a positive and oxytocin filled space.

Finally Sunday evening, I got some encouragement. I lost my mucus plug! Soon after, my contractions became more intense and I could feel baby getting lower. I moaned and huffed and puffed through them grabbing my husband and tensing up. It was the first intense pain of my labor, so I was so happy to be experiencing it because it meant PROGRESS! However, with how exhausted I was, I was not handling them well and I had forgotten to relax and let the pain and pressure flow.

Although the contractions were only getting more intense, I told my husband to go to sleep since baby would be here soon. I too tried to sleep and somehow slept between my contractions which were only a few minutes apart and was in a half asleep daze for each contraction in which I’d wiggle and tense up while lying down. Around midnight, the pain became so intense I couldn’t rest anymore and I was wiggling everywhere. In my half asleep daze, I had a realization. I needed to try and relax and breath normal during a contraction. At least just try it rather than wiggling and making noise. IT WORKED. My contractions somehow went from intense pain to slightly painful pressure. I found myself back in the blissful and excited state I had been in my first day of labor.

After a few of the relaxed contractions, I had to jump out of bed because I very suddenly and urgently needed to use the restroom due to an intense contraction. I went to the bathroom and struggled to get off the toilet because the contractions just kept coming. I threw on a diaper, a very cute adult diaper I purchased for postpartum, in case of another intense contraction so I wouldn’t have to run to the potty again. I walked to the living room and had insane pressure so I hummed and calmly breathed through the contraction but another immediately hit and I again felt like I had to pee. I tried to make my way back to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. (Thank you diaper!)

While stopped by a contraction, my body involuntarily started to push and I felt a big warm rush. My water broke! It was such an intense and relieving feeling. A warm gush soaked the diaper and more water trickled when I attempted to move. At this point I whisper yelled attempting to wake my husband up. I quietly yelled “Wake up! The baby is coming!” I attempted to put one back on, but it wasn’t happening because baby was coming! With each contraction, my body was pushing. I told my hubby to put the shower curtain and some towels on the bed and I knelt on the bed while holding his shoulders. I slowly and calmly breathed when my body wasn’t forcing me to push (fetal ejection reflex).

After a few pushes, I could feel the baby’s head just an inch or so inside and I recall telling my husband “I feel something but I don’t know what it is” ( I wasn’t sure it was a head because it was wrinkly from the pressure). I pushed two more times, none of which were forced, and the head still wasn’t out and I calmly repeated to myself “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. They’ll be here soon. They’re almost here.” With another push, the head was out! The baby immediately started crying and my husband said “What do I do- she’s crying!” I told him leave her and get ready to catch the baby because I still had to push them out! We were both ecstatic and completely calm. I kept repeating “our baby is here!” With another push, the baby shot out and only their legs were still inside. My husband held them up as I took a few breaths before my body started pushing again. They were out! I asked my husband to hand them to me and he passed the baby under my legs as I flipped over onto my back.

I laid there in bliss that our sweet baby was there and we both were doing great! I asked my husband to take some pictures and grab some towels and the bowl for my placenta. Within a few minutes I delivered the placenta. We started to clean baby and I up and decided to finally check what our baby is. Our baby is A GIRL! We were pretty shocked and excited!

We were both in a beautiful, exhausted, daze completely amazed we just welcomed or second daughter into the world. It was so peaceful and nothing felt rushed. I nursed our sweet baby, took photos, and slowly started cleaning us. I had my husband help me to the restroom and shower so I could get cleaned up. After a quick shower, we all relaxed, ate food, and basked in the beauty of the experience and our new sweet child until big sister woke up and met the new addition.

I absolutely loved my freebirth and know it was exactly what I needed. If we choose to add to our family in the future, I will definitely choose to free birth again.

You may also like: Ways To Prepare Your Body For An Easy & Intervention Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

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The cord was over her shoulders, but not around her neck.
She latched right away!
Meeting big sister! 🖤

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Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth

Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. There’s the amazing experience of first kicks, your growing bump, shopping and preparing all the cute baby items (checkout my non-toxic baby registry), and, of course, meeting baby! However, some women experience anxiety when nearing labor.

It’s no surprise many women experience anxiety about labor when we commonly hear and see horror stories about birth in the media and from others. However, many women still have easy and uncomplicated births and you can too! Whatever your desired birth, natural homebirth or uncomplicated and gentle hospital birth, it is important to prepare your body. There are many natural and easy methods to prepare your body for birth!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

What to Put in Your Body

Prenatal Vitamins

Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy is the best thing you can do to keep your baby and body healthy and ready for labor. A good balance of of vitamins and minerals allows the uterus to contract effectively and prevent difficulties during labor such as hemorrhage. Easily absorbed prenatal vitamins and a balanced diet will help ensure your baby and body are healthy and ready for labor.

Dates

Dates are a delicious and nutritious treat that can benefit you greatly in preparation for labor and postpartum. Dates can provide you with antioxidants, high levels of magnesium (which can also lower blood pressure), and choline, a key vitamin B. They’re also a great source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese, and fiber! Not only will dates give you a great nutritional boost, research has found they can lower your need for induction, lower need for interventions, and lower risk of complications.

Women who ate six dates a day from 36 weeks until birthing dilated more quickly, had intact membranes (water hadn’t broken) more often, and needed induction far less frequently (96% went into labor spontaneously) compared to the control group which ate no dates.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

Research showed that women who were given dates to eat experienced significantly less postpartum bleeding over women who received a Pitocin injection.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

If you’re not a big fan of dates, but want the awesome benefits for labor, you can try this tasty organic date syrup. We use it for baking or topping waffles as a great low glycemic alternative!

h Mama® Organics

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea is amazing for the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to not use nettle tea before 35 weeks because there’s not enough research to decipher if it may cause preterm birth since it encourages the uterus to tone and contract. However, consuming Nettle Tea during the end of pregnancy may decrease risk of complications and increase chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Nettle leaf tea is also beneficial in preventing hemorrhage due to it’s high iron and vitamin K content.

Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Nettle tea is also helpful because the high calcium content helps the uterus to contract effectively.

The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, in the legs and elsewhere.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea, probably the most well known herb used for pregnancy, is a great tool to prepare your body for labor. Similarly to Nettle Tea, it is recommended to only use this tea after 35-37 weeks because it’s ability to tone and contract the uterus, possibly increasing risk of preterm labor. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a delicious and easy way to tone your uterus in preparation for an easier labor.

The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

Not only will it likely make labor quicker and easier, it will also decrease your risk for intervention.

Women who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

What to do With Your Body

Yoga Ball

An exercise or birth ball is really helpful in preparing your body for labor. Using a yoga or exercise ball during pregnancy can help strengthen the back and abs, open up the pelvis, and increase your chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/what-is-a-birthing-ball-and-should-i-use-one#benefits

Find great exercises for kick starting labor on a birth ball here.

Walking/Exercise

Exercising regularly during pregnancy may shorten the duration of your labor as well as decrease your risk of needing a c-section. (See why to avoid a C-section here).

The American College of Nurse Midwives, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine all endorse exercise during pregnancy.

https://www.gwdocs.com/specialties/midwifery-services/nutrition-exercise-guidelines/
Natural Ways To Prepare for Labor
Natural ways to prepare for labor birth
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Let me know if you find these tips helpful! Was there something you did previously that helped prepare your body for labor?

You may also like: Preparing For A Home Birth and Natural Home Birth Plan

My Minimalist and Natural Baby Registry

A Non-Toxic Guide To Everything You Need For Baby

There are SO many baby items. You can (and I have) spend hours upon hours looking into all of the different products. Creating a baby registry we love can be hard because we want what’s best for our babies but there’s endless products advertised that are dangerous, toxic, bad for development (see preventing container syndrome and growing a creative child), and just bad quality. For the mamas looking for non-toxic, gentle products that also support development, I’ve designed this guide to creating a registry you’ll love.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Gear

Gear is a great area to cut down on clutter and cost. You don’t need a ton of different things to put your baby in. Not only is it costly and takes a lot of space in your home, having a lot of “baby containers” is bad for baby’s development (learn more here). Stick to the basics and invest in high quality gear.

Car Seat

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats. It also saves lots of money by being convertible and growing with your child! No need for a bucket car seat or buying a booster later.

Bouncer/Rockers

A lot of bouncers and rockers contain harmful flame retardants. There are a few natural options that are great!

Shop Natural Baby Rockers at Finn + Emma.

I also love the aesthetic and organic Bloom Coco Rocker.

Moses Basket

Click photo to shop!

Baby Carrier

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Portable Crib & Play Yard

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it is the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Bedding

We chose to cosleep and have a bedside cosleeper. We decided to never get a crib, which saved money and worked great for us! However, I do understand that doesn’t work for some families, so I’ve included some natural crib gear as well!

Organic Crib Sheet

Organic Crib Mattress

Diapering/Potty

Cloth Diapers

We decided to cloth diaper in order to make sure our daughter isn’t exposed to toxic chemicals commonly in diapers as well as to lighten our environmental footprint. We LOVE cloth diapers. They’re cute, easy to use, and don’t create waste! Plus, you save a TON money. We used these cute pocket diapers.

Disposable Diapers

We love these compostable, non-toxic bamboo diapers! We used these for travel or anytime we needed to take a break from cloth diapers (such as when we were moving).

Wipes

We’ve primarily used reusable wipes and had great success with them. There are some great natural recipes, but we typically would use just warm water and a few drops of lavender oil which smells great and is naturally antibacterial.

Organic Reusable Baby Wipes

Reusable Wipes Container (BPA-free)

Disposable Wipes

Extras

Organic Portable Changing Pad

Organic Changing Pad Cover

Bathing

We love this large BPA Free, PVC Free, Phthalate Free, Lead Free, Non-Toxic, & Recyclable Polypropylene baby bath. It’s a bonus that my toddler can still fit in it!

Clothing

Always aim for organic!

100% Organic Gender Neutral Baby Clothes

While cotton is a natural fiber that can biodegrade at the end of its life, it is also one of the most environmentally demanding crops there is. The cotton industry now uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/eco-friendly-fabric-ranking

Cute Organic Baby Clothes at Little Lentil Clothing


Feeding

Breastfeeding

Click photo to shop!

Reusable nursing pads are a must-have, especially the first few months while your supply is regulating. Not only are the reusable pads more sustainable, they’re also more comfortable. It can be really uncomfortable if the “fuzz” from disposable pads stick to your already sore nipples!

Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle

Pumping

Always check with your insurance if they will cover a breast pump, and if so, what kind. I got an awesome $300 pump fully covered by my insurance!

BPA- Free Hand Pump

Bottle Feeding

Glass Baby Brezza Bottle – All materials are food grade, FDA approved and free of BPA, BPS, Phthalates and all other harmful chemicals

Baby’s Health

Vitamins

Organic Vitamin K Drops

Organic Vitamin D Drops

Extras

Helpful
Pacifiers

Natural Rubber Pacifier

Bibs Natural Rubber Pacifier

Both are 100% free from BPA, PVC and phthalates

Toys

The Best Organic Toys, Teethers and Stuffed Buddies On Finn + Emma!

For Mom

Pregnancy

Read my list of a minimalist Mama’s pregnancy must-haves here.

Birth

Check out my everything you need for a homebirth here along with creating the ideal birth plan here.

Postpartum

Find everything you need for a natural quick recovery here along with many great natural postpartum essentials you can find here.

h Mama® Organics

You may also like: My Favorite Eco-Friendly Baby & Toddler Brands, Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products, An Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Guide to Gifts for Kids, and The Only Things You Need For Your Pregnancy From A Minimalist Mama

Preparing For A Home Birth

Home birth is a beautiful and grounding birth option that allows you to experience birth your own way from the comfort of your home. 

Home birth may be an option for you if:

•You are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy

•You want to avoid an episiotomy, cesarean section, epidural and other similar interventions

•You want to share the experience with family and friends

•You want to be free to move around, change positions, take a shower, and eat or drink freely during labor

•You want to enjoy the comforts of your home and familiar surroundings

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth

Benefits of Home Birth:

“Benefits of planned home birth include lower rates of maternal morbidity, such as postpartum hemorrhage, and perineal lacerations, and lower rates of interventions such as episiotomy, instrumental vaginal birth, and cesarean birth.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/

“An average uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about 60% less in a home than in a hospital.”

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth/

Birth Supplies:

Although you don’t need much more than your body to give birth, it’s helpful to have plenty of supplies to create a comforting and relaxing environment that can address any issues should they arise.

The birth supplies you’ll need will depend on whether you’re having a midwife or an unassisted birth. If you’re getting a midwife, you’ll want to ask what they will supply, otherwise you’ll need to get most items yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Helpful Gear:

If using a birth pool and planning a water birth, there are a few additional items you may want or need.

  • Lead-free potable water hose
  • Sink water hose adapter
  • Fish net (in case any accidents happen in the pool)

The Basics:

  • Extra sheets, towels, and rags
  • Thermometer
  • Underpads
  • Plastic sheet or shower curtain liner

Setting The Environment:

  • Dim lighting options
  • Essential oils

Comfort & Pain Management:

  • Birth gown for mom
  • Organic Herbal Heating Pad
  • Ice Pack
  • Healthy Snacks
    • Homemade fruit popsicles
    • Peanut butter
    • Vegetable Broth or Soup
    • Any quick & easy healthy snacks you love!

Unassisted Birth Medical Gear:

Home Birth On Your Own Terms: A How To Guide For Birthing Unassisted

•Hanging Weight Scale

•Blood Pressure Cuff and Stethoscope

•Umbilical Cord Clamp

•Kleenprint Footprint

For Baby:

  • Newborn diapers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Birthday cake (for family to celebrate!)

You may also like: Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery

Being a new mom and experiencing postpartum was, and is, one of the strangest and most difficult transitions I have ever experienced. As someone already familiar with the world of parenting and childbirth due to my education (masters degree in infant and toddler mental health and 8 years as an infant and toddler teacher), I thought I had some slight idea of what postpartum would look like. Oh, how wrong I was. Most likely, your body will look nothing like your pre-pregnancy body and really it shouldn’t. After all, you just created another human. It takes a toll on your body. From the fun and oh so stylish adult diapers to the roller coaster of emotions, postpartum can be a challenging and life altering experience.

My Experiences

Having a home birth with my first, I had a supportive group of midwives to guide me and attended monthly childbirth classes. We discussed the process and what to expect regularly. Regardless of the support and education, there were things I just had no clue about, especially regarding the postpartum body.

First off, I felt like I had been hit by a car after birth. Every muscle in my body ached and I couldn’t walk unassisted for a few days. To be fair, I had an unusually long labor, 75 hours, with around 7 hours of pushing, but I had no idea I would be so physically exhausted and aching after birth. I knew birth was hard and would be painful in its own regard, but I didn’t realize the residual pain it would cause, and not just in my nether regions.

Pregnancy and birth completely changed my body. Everything looked and felt different. Fluids were coming out of literally everywhere. I would wake up drenched in sweat, breast milk and other fun fluids everyday for weeks. (Apparently heavy sweating is a postpartum thing?!). I didn’t recognize myself or my emotions. I would swing quickly from one mood to the next even though I had some lovely bliss hormones from meeting my new baby. Postpartum is different for everyone, but if no one shares what really happens, how can any of us really prepare for this crazy time? I had endless numbers of people attempt to tell me what to expect from the baby, but no one told me I’d be in diapers icing my nether regions for a week or so.

Thankfully, my midwives, tips I picked up from other moms, and my own research helped me to make it through postpartum and heal my body. After what felt like endless months, I found my balance and my identity as a mother. I began to feel healthy and whole again. As I prepare to bring my second child earthside, I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful tips for postpartum to make the transition less dramatic and easier for myself and hopefully for other mamas who face the transformative time of postpartum. 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

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Tips for Postpartum Recovery

Magnesium and Zinc Supplements

A few months into postpartum, I found myself still struggling with the baby blues and mood swings. I struggled to regulate my emotions. Looking for solutions, I took to the internet and dove into the research. I was so thankful to have actually found somewhat of a solution. It turns out, depression or depressive symptoms can actually be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. I even heard a few other moms mention it helped them during their postpartum period. I decided to try it out and within a day I found it easier to enjoy daily living and not so hard to regulate my emotions.

“Magnesium deficiency could cause abundant psychiatric symptoms including depression, behavior disturbances, headaches, generalized tonic-clonic as well as focal seizures, vertigo, tremors, irritability and psychotic behavior”

“In pregnancy, the fetus and placenta absorb huge amounts of nutrients particularly magnesium from the mother; this depletion of magnesium with not enough intake of magnesium by the mother is hypothesized to be the cause of postpartum depression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Although I personally did not try zinc supplements during my postpartum time with my first, I plan to try it with my second. Similar to magnesium, this mineral may play a key role on postpartum mood disorders.

“Zinc as a trace element has the second highest concentration of all transition metals in the brain, and its deficiency is associated with behavioral disturbances. Lower zinc blood concentration was found in women with postpartum depression.” 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Herbs

Herbs have endless medical and healing properties and are a great resource for healing during postpartum. From sitz baths to teas, herbs can play a key role in healing after giving birth.

For a sitz bath or peri bottle to promote healing after birth, there are some great recipes of natural herbs to prevent infection, soothe pain, and speed up healing. My favorite recipe is from Wellness Mama:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf

1/2 cup Lavender Flowers

1/4 cup Plantain Leaf

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/4 cup Yarrow Flower

1/4 cup Calendula Flowers

1/4 cup Shepherd’s Purse

1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

1/4 cup Sea Salt or Epsom Salt

You can find a premade sitz herb mix here.

If you are interested in a calming cup of tea rather than a soak, there are a few great options that will help you heal and recover.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea strengthens the uterus, helps it to return to it’s pre-baby size, and eases postpartum cramping pain.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea regulates digestion and promotes calming relaxation to ease anxiety and promote better sleep.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea promotes breast milk production, relieves nausea, and reduces stomach cramps.

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea helps restore iron levels, calms the body, and boosts breast milk supply. It also replenishes the body because it is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Sunshine

Even if this seems like common sense, it needs to be said. Getting outside during the postpartum period is pretty low on any mamas priority list, but it’s necessary for you and baby. The sunshine will replenish your Vitamin D, as well as babies, and regulate both of your hormones, especially sleep hormones. The more natural light baby gets, the more likely they’ll jump on a day/night sleep schedule and you’ll all get more sleep. Not to mention, the awesome happy hormones the sunshine will help you release.

“The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#mental-health

Support & More Support

As much as you may think you will not need support during postpartum (me thinking i could be a super mom), you WILL need support. If you don’t have family or friends available to help, try to set aside money or request as a gift from your baby shower practical support like a maid or food service.

Enlist those who are willing to help with the daily duties, not the baby, while you recover and bond with your new baby.Although I didn’t really want my mother to be present after having my daughter so I could enjoy my new time as a parent, I actually ended up being really thankful she did show up. She was happy to help with the grunt work like laundry, dishes, and walking the dog while I focused on my new role of being a mom. Also if possible, have your partner take off as much time as possible. You’ll both want to be present for these new days and learning together what works makes you feel more like a team.

Postpartum, or the fourth trimester, is a substantial time in your new experience as mama and while no one can predict how it will go, it is helpful to have natural healing remedies on hand to face any challenges that may arise as well as ease the basic aches and pains that come with giving birth.

Please note I am not a medical professional and this information should not be substituted for medical advice.

You may also like: The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

Fourth Trimester Natural Healing and Recovery
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