We did it! We had an absolutely beautiful home birth with the support of our midwives' wisdom, knowledge, experience, & herbs! We've just completed our first couple of weeks of p/maternity leave & are leaving the newborn stage and entering the infant stage! :-)
What are your top 3 pieces of advice -from a permaculture perspective- for an infant (age 4 weeks – 1 year)?
Check out the gift that we received from a permie friend of ours:
Note that the squares of the quilt denote the 3 ethics of permaculture.
Congratulations! Glad things are going well for you all!
One thing that comes to mind for teething: We had a mesh teether that you could put an ice cube, or frozen puree, or frozen breastmilk in and the baby couldn't swallow it. Something like this:
You could probably engineer a more permaculture-y version. Or even just a cloth with a knot dipped in water, or breast milk (and tied to a stick to prevent swallowing) and frozen.
Our daughter had a hard time teething and an ice cube really gave her a nice break from the discomfort enough to fall asleep. We also used acetaminophen suppositories as needed.
Another thing that helped us a lot. Our baby seemed to be very active and easily bored. She wanted to move around all the time and we couldn't keep up. Especially in the cold of winter, the house was boring, the car was boring (at the time, doctor visits and grocery shopping were an hour car ride each way) and she wasn't mobile enough to entertain herself yet. It worked well in our situation to get her a kindle tablet and make a playlist of interesting (to a baby) videos. This was her favorite:
When all else failed, we would bust out this video. The music is pretty mellow, but it can always be muted. The striking, high contrast visuals would snap her out of night terror crying, entertained her in the car, and made diaper changes easy. With the "blue shade" feature turned on at night, the screen color is shifted to red so the light doesn't wake you up.
I guess a more permaculture-y alternative to create striking visuals would be a kaleidoscope type thing over a light or maybe colored water and oil in a bottle that you shake up.
Last would be a swing. Our daughter loved to swing, still does.
I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old so the baby days are over but still quite fresh in my mind. I think Montessori and Waldorf methods go quite well with permaculture ideology. Well most of the alternative parenting/education does.
We loved the simplicity of Montessori. Open wooden shelves and minimal toys. Montessori and Waldorf put emphasis on natural materials and Montessori especially emphasises use of proper (but child size) plates, cups spoons etc. Not plastic ones. My eldest could drink from a shot glass unaided at 9-10 months.
Also the toilet learning aspect. Montessori encourages toilet learning from early (meaning less cloth diapers to wash) so that also works well for permaculture principles.
Lastly, I'd recommend a sling or baby carrier. Those are invaluable for getting chores done when all baby wants is to be held.
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