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?

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

subscription box for moms
The cord was over her shoulders, but not around her neck.
She latched right away!
Meeting big sister! đź–¤

.

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.

subscription box for moms

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
Pin me!

h Mama® Organics

The Only Things You Need For Your Pregnancy From A Minimalist Mama

The Must Haves For Your Pregnancy

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you. I only recommend items I love and use. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Effective & Healthy Prenatal Vitamin

The prenatal vitamin you use during pregnancy is extremely important. Depending on the vitamins’ contents, it can either promote or hinder your baby’s growth and development. A plant based vitamin is necessary for the best absorbtion. Synthetic versions are much less readily absorbed. It’s also important to use an organic vitamin. Pesticides, used on non-organic food, have been linked to irregular brain development and autism. My favorite plant based vitamin is the Organic Garden of Life.

Comfortable Maternity Clothes

You’ll be pregnant for nine months and for at least four of those, not fit your usual clothes. For both of my pregnancies I’ve been in maternity clothes by three months since my belly pops so early! A few of my Amazon favorites are below and

Kindred Bravely

also has some great options!

Organic Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea helps with heartburn, nausea, lowers stress, headaches, sinuses, and energy, so pretty much everything you need help with during pregnancy! I had a cup of peppermint tea almost every morning of my pregnancy and it instantly would soothe any nausea or heartburn I had and gave me a little boost of energy!

Water Filter

A water filter is a necessity because a leading cause of miscarriage is chlorine in tap water (learn more here). I use the Berkey filter which is one of the most effective filter systems you can get and also offers an optional fluoride filter. 

Pregnancy Journal

A pregnancy journal is great to remember your pregnancy as well as to stay engaged in your baby’s growth. I love this reflective and guided journal, Sacred Pregnancy A Loving Guide and Journal for Expecting Mothers, for a more connected and spiritual pregnancy or this simple pregnancy journal just to record memories.

Pregnancy & Birth Books

See my favorite books to read during pregnancy here.

Are there any other necessities you’d add to the list?

You may also like: Natural Home Birth Plan and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

My Favorite Resources To Visualize A Positive Birth

Having the birth experience you want requires planning, education, and understanding. It’s important to know all the whys behind different approaches to birth and navigate what will be best for you and your baby. If you approach birth without knowledge, your birth experience will be whatever your medical professional would like it to be rather than your own preferred experience because unless you give direction, others will take the lead. There are endless resources to understanding and learning all about birth. In order to align with the birth you want, it’s important to dive into that experience. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help learn more about birth and decipher your own ideal birth.

As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

The Birth Hour Podcast

“The Birth Hour Podcast” is one of my favorite and one of the most accessible resources. I listen on Spotify, but it’s available on a myriad of platforms. It’s important to be aware though that it shares ALL types of stories, including the more negative or more medical focused experiences, but it’s a great place to start in figuring out what you may or may not want. This resource is all about the birth stories and not so much the educational side of things or hearing research behind birth although it does come up occasionally. It’s a great place to start when forming ideas about your ideal birth because you’ll begin forming a vocabulary around birth and hear about all the different things that can come up and the approaches to birth. I think it may be ideal to lay off this resource or be more selective with episodes once you do have a set birth plan to make sure you’re not filling yourself with fear or giving yourself different visions of birth than you would like.

Empowered Birth Project

Instagram Account

EmpoweredBirthProject.com

The Empowered Birth Project was one of the first birth resources I was exposed to outside of my formal education and I was immediately obsessed. I had never seen birth framed as a beautiful and empowering experience before and that’s what the Instagram page is all about. This page shares real stories along with photos and videos, and emphasizes birth education and awareness. 

Unique, eco-friendly products chosen just for you and your little one!

Pinterest

Ok so this one is probably a no brainer, but I think Pinterest a great resource for planning a birth because you can find stories, research, and inspiration for any birth you may desire. I have a Natural Birth Inspiration board you can check out here. It provides a myriad of resources from research to things like affirmations for birth.

Books

Books can be an amazing resource as they go into depth about topics allowing you to gain more understanding and possibly even more skills to prepare you for the birth you want. This is a quick list of a few of my favorites, but I will probably write a separate article shortly to go into more depth about all of my favorite birth books.

Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way

Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

The Doula’s Guide To Your Empowering Birth: A Complete Labor and Childbirth Companion For Parents To Be

Mindful Birthing: Training The Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond

In Your Community

Some of the most important resources you will use are those in your community. I personally suggest using a midwife group or hiring a doula (or both). They’re a great resource for natural and empowered birth options. You can also check into local Le Lethe League meetups which is a great moms’ support group for breastfeeding. I also suggest looking into local birth classes, pregnancy support groups, baby-wearers clubs, prenatal yoga, chiropractic, and acupuncture. All are amazing resources to ensure your body and mind are healthy and prepared for natural and/or an empowered birth. You’ll also find the transition to motherhood much easier if you already have a like minded mama tribe through different prenatal groups.

You can also reference My Natural Home Birth Plan for more information and ideas!

Learn how to prepare your body for labor naturally here!

Ecocentric Mom how it works

Natural Birth Plan Template!

Book for big siblings  expecting pregnancy
Check out the book here!

You may also like: Preparing For A Home Birth, Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth, A Quick Guide On What To Read For An Empowered and Informed Birth, and The Beautiful, Natural, & Unassisted Birth Story Of Our Second Child

Car Seats Are For Cars: How To Not Container Parent

Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones’ lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.

Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.

Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.

Nation Wide Childrens

Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.

 Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day

https://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Earth Mama Organics

Alternatives

Baby Wear

Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and it allows baby to feel safe and involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the 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

Lille Baby Carrier

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Play Mat

In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!

Organic Explore Playmat

Organic Cotton Round Playmat

Portable Play Yards

A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still keeping them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.

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

Holding Baby

Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby! 

Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby

If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!

Convertible Car Seat 

A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.

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.

How to support your baby's development

How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?

Ecocentric Mom box

You may also like: 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

How To Grow A Creative Child

Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play In Your Child

Why Is Creativity Important?

Creative play supports cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.

Creativity involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of, or relationship to, the world.

The Conversation

Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.

Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!

Set Up The Environment

The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits.

If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well. 

Simple Toys and Supplies

Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.

Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.

Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)

Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal.

Ecocentric Mom box

Give Children Space

Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.”

A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.

Role Model

Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand.

Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.

 “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

Finn + Emma Organic Baby

You may also like: Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products and 5 Easy and Green Toddler Activities

5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

How To Succeed at Attachment Parenting

Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.

If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.

First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.

An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.

If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving). 

Finn + Emma 100% organic baby clothes

This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.

https://parentology.com/what-is-attachment-parenting/

As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!

1. Follow Your Gut

Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.

2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence

It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.

The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.

3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas

Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level. 

4. Self Care & More Self Care

I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.

Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves. 

My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.

If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.

5. Find Relevant Resources

Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.

As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!

GreenMamaLife Facebook

Natural Parenting Group on Facebook

“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”

Maya Angelou


100% Organic Gender Neutral Baby Clothes

You may also like: 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Commenting On My Parenting – Natural Parenting and The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books