Is There A Right or Wrong Way To Parent? Intuitive Parenting

There is so much to debate around parenting. There are endless choices to make – different styles, techniques, “tricks,” ways of disciplining, and so much more. But what if those choices don’t matter? What if there is not a right or wrong way to parent? Stay with me here, don’t worry, I’m not suggesting it’s fine if people are neglectful of their children.

A friend and I had a long conversation about how overwhelming motherhood can be. Before becoming mothers, a lot of us have an idea of what motherhood will look like, but it can be challenging when reality doesn’t match up (you can read more about realistic expectations of motherhood here). While I was very shocked by how challenging I found motherhood as a new mother, looking back, it makes sense. How can we know how to parent our child when we don’t know who our child is?

We get ideas about what parenting is – guidance, discipline, teaching, and love. But these ideas make the assumption that our child is an empty vessel for us to pour into, but anyone that’s been around children knows each kid comes with their own unique way of being. Research even backs up the theory that children are born with personality traits and differing temperaments. Some kids are happy to play alone and are often quiet, while some cling to your leg screaming all the time. No two kids are the same, and therefore, should not be parented the same.

Ok, so kids are different, why can’t we parent them the same?

Well, the short answer is, you can.

But it won’t feel right and it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the child (look into the concept of goodness of fit for more info on this).

The more you grasp for answers outside of yourself, the more you follow what others say you should do, and the more you parent from the ego (decisions based on what might make you feel embarrassed or proud & taking your child’s behaviors personally), the more you’ll feel disconnected.

It doesn’t matter the style of parenting you want to do, what matters is what makes you feel aligned and connected as a mother (or parent).

Parenting disconnect is easy to recognize – you have a lot of guilt, you often feel like you’re failing, you are typically overwhelmed, parenting doesn’t feel fun and most days, feels like a challenge. While parenting intuitively won’t solve all your problems, it will, without a doubt, allow you to feel more present and connected as a mother.

“Learn to trust it, trust your intuition, and in good time, answers to all you seek to know will come, and the path will open before you.”

Caroline Joy Adams

What Is Intuition?

Intuition is the ability to know something without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind (Forbes). We all have gut feelings and science is now reaffirming the importance and value of listening to your “gut instincts” or intuition in daily life.

Scientists believe intuition operates through the entire right side of our brain, the brain’s hippocampus and through our gut (digestive system has neurons as well).

Forbes

How To Start Parenting Intuitively

When you have parented by all the “shoulds,” it can be challenging to make the switch to intuitive parenting. Getting in touch with our intuition and listening to it can take practice and patience. It is totally normal to need to check in with yourself to decipher if you are parenting from a place of fear and judgment or from the gut. As I began making the shift, I utilized meditation, journaling, podcasts, and alternative parenting/motherhood books (read some of my favorite books for gentle/alternative parenting here) to help me get more aligned and connected to my intuition.

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.

Resources To Help With Intuitive Parenting

My favorite parenting books

Intentional Parenting Challenge

Sacred Motherhood: An Inspirational Guide and Journal for Mindfully Mothering Children of All Ages

Journaling

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

Psychology Today

GreenMamaLife Facebook Page

Earth Mama Get Ready For Summer Sale

You may also like: When I Am Not Being The Mom I Want To Be, 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Commenting On My Parenting – Natural Parenting, 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting, and The Peaceful and Intentional Mom Challenge

Growing Your Family: Books To Ease The Transition For Your Older Child

Growing your family is beautiful. (Congratulations by the way). For little kids, expecting a new sibling can be a time of excitement, confusion, and concern. One way to help your child process these emotions and gain more understanding around the changes in their life is story telling. Relevant story books can help children process the big changes in their life and even become more excited about the new baby!

When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I knew it was important we help our daughter transition into being a big sister. We put a big focus on how exciting a little sibling would be and how important her role is as a big sister. We began reading books about being a big sibling every day as the end of my pregnancy neared and sure enough, our first child was excited and proud to become a big sister! Even more heartwarming, big sister now loves to “read” the sibling books to her baby sister.

Picture books are an important source of new language, concepts, and lessons for young children.

Frontiers In

Mommy’s Magic Within- A Book For Big Siblings

I wrote this book after seeing there was a lack of books explaining pregnancy to kids in a fun way! This books talks about how mommy’s are magic and how sometimes they might not feel well while growing a baby but it’s worth adding another amazing person to the family!

Mummy, What’s In Your Tummy?

This book is adorable! It’s fun and silly from the toddler’s point of view of what might be happening in mom’s growing tummy!

Hello In There! A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting

One of my favorite big sibling books, this book helps your daughter connect and get excited with the little one in your tummy! It was our daughter’s favorite!

You Were The First

A very sweet book to remind your first child they are still loved and important!

Little Dragon and the New Baby

This book adds a fun twist to typical big sibling books since it’s about a dragon getting a new sibling! This book addresses the emotions of jealousy or avoidance a big sibling might feel when expecting a new baby in a fun and gentle way.

There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

You may also like: 5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books) and The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books

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

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

C-Sections: What You Need To Know and Why To Refuse Unnecessary C-Sections

What Research Says About C-Sections and How To Mitigate Negative Effects

C-Sections are a revolutionary medical procedure that have saved many women’s and babies’ lives. C-Sections are an important emergency tool, however, C-Sections should only be used as a life saving tool and not regularly used by physicians as a way to control birth or as an alternative to vaginal birth. 

“Nearly a third of childbirths in America happened by cesarean section in 2017, but whether a woman has a C-section may have more to do with where she gives birth than her health or that of her baby.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/slideshows/c-section-rates-are-highest-in-these-states

Although some may feel C-Sections are a better choice because they are more controlled than vaginal birth, C-Sections can have a myriad of consequences for both mom and baby.

Not only can more medical issues occur for mom such as hemorrhage, infection, and blood clots, C-Sections can also have a lasting impact on baby’s health and development.

“Research had shown various associations between cesarean delivery and long-term health problems, including higher rates of obesity and asthma in children.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Despite the research showing the negative impact on both moms and babies, C-Section rates remain high. Some doctors continue to push mothers to schedule a C-section merely because they are near their due date or because it is more convenient. 

“Rates of cesarean deliveries have increased despite warnings from WHO that it should only be used in life-threatening cases due to risk of complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611

It’s important as mothers that we are aware and educated about the possible effects of a C-section so we can make an educated decision when a doctor suggests a c-section, whether it be continuing with a C-section, getting a second opinion, or changing doctors.

Risks For Baby

“Studies have reported negative health outcomes in offspring born via cesarean delivery, including obesity, allergy, asthma, type 1 diabetes, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2749054#225229759
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Asthma and Allergies

“Cesarean section rather than vaginal deliveries may raise the risk of childhood asthma and allergies by interfering with the child’s immune system development”

https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20080521/c-section-tied-to-childhood-asthma

“The report found that infants delivered by C-section were at more than double the risk of developing food-borne allergies and asthma by their third birthdays than babies born vaginally.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Autism and ADHD

“Birth by cesarean section was associated with a 33 percent higher risk of autism and a 17 percent higher risk of attention deficit disorder.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Type-1 Diabetes

“Even when accounting for all the known risk factors, it was found that children delivered by C-section were 20% more likely to have type 1 diabetes than those delivered vaginally.”

https://defeatdiabetes.org/c-section-delivery-increases-risk-type-1-diabetes/

Decreased Breastfeeding Success

“Women who had a cesarean delivery showed a lower rate of exclusive breastfeeding and any breastfeeding than those who had a vaginal delivery. In addition, cesarean delivery was related with using formula in the hospital and delayed breastfeeding initiation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29365288/

Risks For Mom

“Women who had C-sections were 80 percent more likely to have complications than those who delivered vaginally” even when controlled for pre-existing health issues or complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611
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What If I Need An Emergency C-Section?

In the case an emergency C-section is needed or you choose to go through with a C-section when suggested by a doctor, there are a few ways you can mitigate the potential negative effects. According to research, there seem to be a few key factors that cause the negative health effects to babies born via c-section. A primary factor is babies receiving moms’ microbiome by going through the vaginal canal. An alternative that can be used when a c-section occurs is vaginal seeding.

“Experts have long suspected that bacteria passed from mother to baby during vaginal birth – a process known as “microbiome seeding” – could play a role in protecting children.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Vaginal seeding, also known as microbirthing, is the practice of using a cotton swab to transfer mom’s vaginal fluids to baby’s mouth, nose, and eyes in an attempt to transfer mom’s vaginal bacterial flora to baby. While there is little research surrounding vaginal seeding since it is a new practice, the only risk of attempting vaginal seeding is if a mother has a vaginal infection or STD. Otherwise, baby is simply being exposed to the fluids they would have been exposed to had they experienced a vaginal birth.

Another key factor is breastfeeding. It is often hypothesized that the lower rate of breastfeeding among c-section mothers plays a role in the negative effects correlated with c-sections such as obesity, allergies, and Type 1 diabetes since breastfeeding has been found to protect against all of these issues as well as other illnesses and disorders.

“There are many health benefits to your child from breastfeeding, including prevention of infections such as ear infections, diarrhea, and other bacterial and viral infections. Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help protect against diabetes and some cancers.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107563

Whatever choices you make, it’s important to make the decisions knowing the facts and choosing the best direction for your family. I hope this helps empower mothers to make the best choices they can and feel informed when being their own and their baby’s advocate.

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

Facts risks of csections

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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