I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Stephanie Ladd
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Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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I was not sure where to put this thread as there doesn't really seem to be a good place for it. It would be nice if there was a forum section for Parenting or Growing Human Beings or something, but I suppose that is up to Paul. Anyways, I have been thinking (obsessing) a lot lately about the "right" way to get pregnant, give birth, raise a baby, etc. Now, I understand this can be different for everyone depending on circumstances. So maybe that is not the best way to say that. I guess what I am looking for is how did all this procreation stuff work before there were bottles, cribs, flashy toys with lights, daycares, voluntary inductions, scheduled c-sections, baby formula, jarred baby food, in-vitro fertilization, hormones etc etc etc. Why all this STUFF It's not all really necessary, is it?

I am planning on trying to conceive within the next year or so and so I am really trying to approach this "making a human thing" with intention. How did our ancestors do this? I do know a few things they did and I am very interested in it all. Things like: baby wearing, extended breast feeding, co-sleeping, organ meat consumption for better fertility and infant health etc. When I talk about breastfeeding a child until they are the age of 4, people give me dirty looks, even the ones that are pro-breastfeeding. But I know that indigenous people and actually a lot of civilizations breastfeed their children well past the infant stage. It bothers me that we can't get past these cultural taboos to really delve deep into what is actually the best thing for baby.

I think I would just like this thread to be a more open discussion about growing a human being in a simple way, more in connection with how we have been doing it for millenia. What things have you done? What kinds of reactions did you get from people? What worked? What didn't work? What do you think our ancestors did?

Possible topics:
-Co-sleeping
-Pre-conception nutrition
-Extended breast feeding
-Birth "seasons"
-Baby wearing
-Home births
-How old is too old to have a baby in other cultures?

Feel free to add anything else in. If the moderators want to move this whole thing somewhere else or add it to other sections too, please do so. I look forward to the conversation

 
Ryan A Miller
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Location: Southern California (God Help Us)
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I'd look for a natural birth midwife in your area to help you along - I agree all of this crap (like most consumer crap) is not necessary!

I also found this great looking website: http://www.mothersnaturally.org/
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

I do plan on hiring a mid-wife and having a home birth, however, I've met some mid-wives who don't seem to really "get it".

I was hoping to have this thread be more of an open discussion about these things. I like to have the permies perspective. We are trying to create a new world after all.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Stephanie Ladd wrote: How did our ancestors do this?



As a rule they did not do it as a an individual (single mom) or couple (mom and dad, mom and mom, etc) but as part of an extended family, and in non-civilized cultures (the vast majority of cultures), a band/tribe. All the modern support services of doctors, nurses, day care, baby sitters, schools, etc, are so recent as to be not even a blip on the record of making human beings. So obviously not necessary. Even the midwife would probably have been a close female relative. How to emulate this kind of social situation these days seems like the biggest of tremendous challenges!
 
Chadwick Holmes
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My step grandfather Dr. Robert Bradley wrote husband coached childbirth, it was one of the first natural childbirth "systems" and was the first time, in quite a while that men were in the delivery room.

His ideal birth experienced was directly affected by his time on the farm helping the cows goats and what not give birth, all of the "techniques" are from direct observation of the way animals that retained their instincts do this.

Babies born by his meathod have higher agpar scores at birth and are healthier happier and smarter throughout life.

Because it is based in observing nature and using that as the model........sound familiar?!? I never made that connection till I read this!

I grew up around him and remember stories of farm births, human births, and thoughts on both, and cantaloupe for breakfast every morning.

the only time I was able to name drop was when my wife was pregnant and the nurses and doctors directly connected with childbirth knew who I was talking about!

I think the book is fairly affordable and is still in print, they do classes like "la maz" but I think that's because classes were expected in that time.....

The grandkids who wanted to pull his chain (me) would mention la maz birth method and watch him go!
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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At 38 I was ancient for delivering my first baby. This made me "high risk". Ha! Doctors! Taking the Bradley class was very helpful to me though. It took the fear of the unknown (to me) out of childbirth.

Another suggestion, consider taking a class on the Billings Method. It's a class that is required to be taken by the Catholics. They accept non Catholics into the classes though, I don't remember the price range. They teach natural birth control... Which mysteriously, can also help you know when the optimum time is to attempt conception! Some of us had to work at it! Then, if you need to avoid another pregnancy, you can do so without all those chemicals.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Joylynn you have a Bradley brat?!? That's what he called them in his house, I think just for illiteration.

That's awesome!
 
Steven Kovacs
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Stephanie Ladd wrote: How did our ancestors do this?



As a rule they did not do it as a an individual (single mom) or couple (mom and dad, mom and mom, etc) but as part of an extended family, and in non-civilized cultures (the vast majority of cultures), a band/tribe. All the modern support services of doctors, nurses, day care, baby sitters, schools, etc, are so recent as to be not even a blip on the record of making human beings. So obviously not necessary. Even the midwife would probably have been a close female relative. How to emulate this kind of social situation these days seems like the biggest of tremendous challenges!


I couldn't agree more.

Co-sleeping and extended nursing can be great for the emotional and physical health of the child, but tough on the parents if they don't have significant familial support because it's hard to get away for a moment and catch your breath. Living in a multi-generational household would be ideal, I think. Failing that, it is very, very helpful to have close family nearby who are able and willing to spend significant time taking care of your child. The best thing we ever did for our daughter was moving to be near my in-laws.

Baby-wearing has been great for us, with no significant downsides. We are lucky to live somewhere where it is common, so there is no social stigma. Having your baby snuggled up against you is a wonderful feeling, and I really do think it has helped the family bond.

Pre-conception nutrition was pretty easy for us - listen to your body and eat what it tells you you need. Also, the "chocolate during pregnancy = a happy baby" correlation is not necessarily causal, but we were happy to err on the side of more chocolate.

We didn't do a home birth, which was probably good because we ended up with an emergency c-section, but we did use midwives and a doula and are glad we did. The doula helped us feel more at ease about the pregnancy and birth, and the midwives were warm and caring.

Most of the "stuff" really isn't necessary, no. A bottle and pump are good to have on hand in case the mother has to be away for more than the time between feedings; add freezer bags if the mother might have to be away for a day or more at some point. Baby clothes can be gotten second-hand or as hand-me-downs in many cases. A changing table and pad aren't strictly necessary, as you can easily change a baby on the floor - but we found that a pad strapped to the top of a low dresser (to hold the baby clothes, diapers, etc.) works well.

In an ideal world, there would always be another family member or close friend around to hand the baby to when you have to do something (like use the bathroom); in our world, a crib or travel crib can serve that very temporary but critical function.

Cloth diapering has worked very well for us; we use a diaper service (simple.coop) and absolutely love it. Buying the diapers ourselves and washing them at home would likely be cheaper, but take a lot of time and leave us with an ever-increasing pile of outgrown diapers. This way we don't have to deal with the cleaning (saving precious time) and as our baby grows, the diapers are replaced with larger ones.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Chadwick Holmes wrote:Joylynn you have a Bradley brat?!? That's what he called them in his house, I think just for illiteration.

That's awesome!

Yes, indeed. Thank him for me will you?

If you can home birth, do. My experience at the hospital was fine, no horror stories, they just want to bother you too much. I had a unofficial doula, a friend who had home birthed. If we'd been blessed with more kids, only an emergency would have seen me in the hospital.

For the first couple days, have something to feed your baby, in case your milk is slow in producing. Me and baby were bawling on the floor at 2 am. Not enough milk. My body caught up and all was good.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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He is past, 1998 so depending on your views we can tell him later!

 
John Master
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The W.A.P.F. is very involved in teaching prenatal nutrition for best health of you and baby, as well as nutrition topics on raising children to help them achieve optimum health and development using traditional foods and holistic healthcare practices. If you haven't read much of their work you can find them here: http://www.westonaprice.org/ They have many great books geared toward the subject and here is one of them: http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Book-Baby-Child/dp/0982338317/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447341042&sr=8-1&keywords=nourishing+baby&pebp=1447341038088&perid=07HBAY8AN13945RS117Z
 
Julia Winter
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I'm a pediatrician, and had seen too many (rare, but those are what I get called to, so they don't seem as rare to me!) emergencies to consider a home birth. However, after observing hundreds of hospital births, I knew what I wanted:

I wanted to deliver with a midwife, in a hospital, with an on-call obstetrician sleeping down the hall.

If I had been less than thirty I might have been more interested in a home birth. I would have seen a lot fewer emergencies by then, that's for sure! But, I was busy with my schooling and pairing up, marriage and procreation came late for me. I was officially "high risk" for both of my deliveries, and I miscarried my first pregnancy in a dramatic way that required surgical intervention to keep me from bleeding out, so being in the hospital to deliver seemed wise.

I was lucky to be in Wisconsin, where midwives have access to hospital deliveries. I worked with a team of UW associated midwives, seeing all 7 of them for my prenatal visits since you don't know who will be on call when you go into labor. I liked that as a "happy medium" experience. Meriter Hospital was certified baby-friendly, so nobody tried to take my baby away from me at inopportune times and nobody offered a pacifier or formula or any such nonsense.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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As a rule they did not do it as a an individual (single mom) or couple (mom and dad, mom and mom, etc) but as part of an extended family, and in non-civilized cultures (the vast majority of cultures), a band/tribe. All the modern support services of doctors, nurses, day care, baby sitters, schools, etc, are so recent as to be not even a blip on the record of making human beings. So obviously not necessary. Even the midwife would probably have been a close female relative. How to emulate this kind of social situation these days seems like the biggest of tremendous challenges!


I agree! I do think that is a difficult thing. I've been working in childcare for over 10 years and I see how stressed all these parents are. Working 60 hour weeks doesn't seem to help, but hey, they can buy their child a new toy every day to make up for the guilt. I am lucky enough to live down the block from my in-laws. I also still live near my parents. And the women I work with at the childcare center I work at are extremely supportive. If I decide to keep working full time after baby, I will be able to bring my child to work with me everyday and the other ladies will help care for my child while I work. And I think that is a pretty good emulation of the ancestral ways.

My step grandfather Dr. Robert Bradley wrote husband coached childbirth, it was one of the first natural childbirth "systems" and was the first time, in quite a while that men were in the delivery room.


I have heard of the Bradley method. I will look into it, thanks!

At 38 I was ancient for delivering my first baby. This made me "high risk". Ha! Doctors! Taking the Bradley class was very helpful to me though. It took the fear of the unknown (to me) out of childbirth.


I am 27. So I am really starting to feel my "biological clock" ticking. And I would like to have 2 children and nurse both. So logistically, I am a little worried of waiting so long to have my second ( I will be about 33). But I also feel like if you eat a healthy diet (I stick to WAPF and Paleo diet principles) "geriatric high risk" might not apply the same way. I don't know....

Then, if you need to avoid another pregnancy, you can do so without all those chemicals.


I only did hormonal birth control for about a year in my early twenties. It didn't seem to work emotionally for me so I stopped. I've never had any close calls so I never felt I needed it.

For the first couple days, have something to feed your baby, in case your milk is slow in producing. Me and baby were bawling on the floor at 2 am. Not enough milk. My body caught up and all was good.


I wonder, ancestrally, if other women nursed infants if mama's milk was slow to come in. Or did they never have that problem at all?


.A.P.F. is very involved in teaching prenatal nutrition for best health of you and baby, as well as nutrition topics on raising children to help them achieve optimum health and development using traditional foods and holistic healthcare practices. If you haven't read much of their work you can find them here: http://www.westonaprice.org/ They have many great books geared toward the subject and here is one of them: http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Book-Baby-Child/dp/0982338317/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447341042&sr=8-1&keywords=nourishing+baby&pebp=1447341038088&perid=07HBAY8AN13945RS117Z


I ordered the book as soon as I read your post. I can't believe I forgot about that book! What strikes me as interesting though, as I have heard Sally speak on several occasions in regards to bringing up children, is that she is against attachment parenting (baby wearing) and she is pro-circumcision. She speaks so highly of the ancestral ways, yet seems to think their practice of wearing babies well past infancy isn't wise. Why are their dietary ways the holy grail, but not their child rearing practices? Sally is a very popular person the Waldorf education movement and I believe she is a believer in the ways of Rudolph Steiner. Steiner says breastfeeding should be stopped at age 1, no baby wearing, no co-sleeping, etc. Maybe that's where her position is coming from?

I was lucky to be in Wisconsin, where midwives have access to hospital deliveries. I worked with a team of UW associated midwives, seeing all 7 of them for my prenatal visits since you don't know who will be on call when you go into labor.


I am in Wisconsin!! I am near 2 really nice birthing centers here in Milwaukee. I will check some of them out further. I still think the idea of being in my home with my newborn instead of a strange place is more comforting to me. But, who knows. My whole family (not my husband) thinks I'm wacko for wanting to deliver at home.
 
anise dean
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I've had a hospital birth (first) and a home birth (second). Home was definitely better for us. I'm in New Zealand, and midwives are the norm here, but my first midwife was a nervous, overcautious type, so it wasn't my ideal experience. I went out of my way to find one for my second pregnancy who was more open and relaxed about letting things work as they are designed to She turned up 15 minutes before my son was born, then sat and watched as hubby delivered him

Both kids were cloth nappied (diapered). I made most of my own and enjoyed it, so having lots of outgrown nappies weren't a problem, and I reused them for my second baby (then lent them out to family and friends, and then sold them). It was an extra half-load of laundry per day, and I didn't have a problem with that. I was definitely a cloth addict, though, so it was part of the fun. Back when my daughter was born (almost ten years ago) cloth nappies were only for crunchy weirdo types, now they're practically mainstream, so even if you buy all your gear it can be a lot cheaper. I'm using all my terry and flannel flats and prefolds now to wash windows and stuff, so it's not like they're sitting unused or going to waste.

I breastfed both kids long past the socially acceptable point around here, but even that didn't seem terribly long term to me. My mother-in-law was horrified when she realised I wasn't going to wean my first baby at 6 months! She came around, though. Other family members were more obnoxious, but I simply ignored them. None of their business, in my opinion. My daughter weaned herself at around 20 months when I was pregnant with my son, and I weaned him at 2+ when I had had enough. I bought bottles and a pump before I had my first baby and barely used them. Waste of money, to be honest, at least for us.

I didn't co-sleep with my daughter, but she was a good sleeper. My son, however, from the moment he was born, wouldn't sleep alone. I never intended to co-sleep with him, but the first night I brought him into my bed out of necessity, and he didn't leave until he was around 3. It worked for us, I got far more sleep while he was small than with my daughter!

Again, I didn't find babywearing until my oldest was a toddler, so my son was really the only one worn a lot. I sold the stroller because I never used it! When my daughter was a baby I had to wait until she was sleeping before I could get anything done, when my son was a baby, I simply threw him on my back and he was quite happy to watch or sleep while I did the housework.

My son was the only baby who had jarred baby food, though. I made all my daughters food from scratch, but I was only juggling one kid then Totally dropped the ball with my second baby there, and after a couple weeks of jarred food, he wouldn't touch my homemade stuff :/ He's still kind of a fussy kid, whereas my daughter will eat anything...

Neither of the kids ever went to daycare. We went to Playcentre together (Playcentre in NZ is a parent co-op ages 0-6 early childhood education). Lots of people around here think that if your kid doesn't get left at kindergarten (also early childhood education, not the first year of school, such as in the US) for at least a year before they start school, they'll be clingy and won't transition well. My kids had no problem. While other new entrants were crying and clinging to their mothers in their first week at school, my kids happily waved us goodbye. They'd never been left with strangers before they started school, and I think that made them feel a lot more secure to be left when they were ready.

We didn't have the kind of support families had in years gone by, unfortunately. We've had family fairly close, but none that were willing to take up the slack when we needed it. But we coped, and it doesn't last forever. It was still an easier, cheaper, and less stressful way to raise my babies
 
Chris Badgett
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We've written about "unconventional" parenting over at http://unconventionalparents.com

If you haven't checked it out yet, check out a book called Continuum Concept: http://www.continuum-concept.org/

I've also been really digging what Gabor Mate about his book Hold on to Your Kids

 
Stephanie Ladd
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Chris Badgett wrote:We've written about "unconventional" parenting over at http://unconventionalparents.com

If you haven't checked it out yet, check out a book called Continuum Concept: http://www.continuum-concept.org/

I've also been really digging what Gabor Mate about his book Hold on to Your Kids



Wow. Thank you for all this info! I've begun reading some articles written by Jean Liedloff, the author of the Continuum Concept. My favorite quote from the first article says "It is important to understand who the real experts are. The second greatest babycare expert is within us, just as surely as it resides in every surviving species that, by definition, must know how to care for its young."

I really enjoyed the second article. I think a lot of parents I have worked with have a very hard time with this concept and it leads to some pretty unhappy, unruly, and downright unenjoyable children to be around.

Here are the link to the 2 articles I read.

The Importance of the In-Arms Phase

Who's In Control?

 
Kerry Rodgers
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Our kids are 11 and 13 now, and most of the questions you brought up in the original post have been commented already, so I'll just list ours:
+ doula - I wish we had had one. I hated the hospital experience (my wife hated it a lot more!), but I'm convinced we'd have lost our first if we had delayed the C-section any longer. Friends have had good luck with a doula to make hospital staff behave. If you have access to the kind of hospital Julia described, then you may not need it.
+++ breastfeeding until you and the kid agree not to (don't listen to other people's perscriptions)
+++ baby wearing. This is a skill to learn, and it may start out rough. The more "ancestral" carriers that are just cloth are way better, but also way harder to learn, especially if you don't have someone to teach you. My wife graduated through a bunch of different types, but she dropped back to a more basic one for me.
+++ co sleeping. This was the easiest thing, and the only way to get any sleep! As soon as my wife lost sleep, her milk would go down and baby was miserable. The first one is very independent, and she was able to let us know she wanted to sleep separately somewhere between 12-18 months! (We were shocked.) The second one still probably wouldn't mind sleeping with us.
+++ non-circumcision. Why? Well, we did let it get infected once. Some cream fixed that quickly. I think it was a prescription, but about 4 or 5 families passed the one tube around. I would hate to have to be apologizing now for the parts of him that we decided to cut off!

People already said most of that. Anise alluded to the main addition I want to make.
> after a couple weeks of jarred food, he wouldn't touch my homemade stuff :/

The "mainstream" world is very seductive. It spends a lot of its creativity on making itself more appealing and addicting. If you hope your kids will grow up in a certain lifestyle, then I suggest you pretty much have to create that lifestyle before they are born.

Some kids are more accepting of following "weird" parents than others, but their friends, extended family, and family friends need to support the parents lifestyle, or your children will want to leave it. Live in the city now? Your kids will not want to move rural once parents have saved up "enough" money. Have no family friends that you are already close to with kids the same age as yours? Your kids will look to the other kids they find in the mass media. Have an ultra-clean house that isn't very engaging to youngsters? Kids will be bored. Are you a homebody, but your kid is a born traveler? She will beg you to send her to school! One or both parents speak another language? Kids can learn it effortlessly, but don't want to, as soon as they find out it isn't everywhere.

We've been lukewarm about committing to a fully alternative, unplugged lifestyle, so now it seems like we've almost lost the opportunity to educate our kids about this stuff.

So that's our experience. It is a much longer-term thing than the conception-infant period. Kids need an immersive experience from the beginning. I wish I'd taken them backpacking from infancy, gardened from their infancy, learned ancestral skills like firemaking, cobbing, etc so they'd never have known anything else. And above all, found and joined with other adults and kids who would have reinforced this choice. And reality being what it is, you probably have to keep replacing those other families over time, because people are not committed to a community or land anymore, so they move away. Good you have the grandparents at hand. Start trying to "win them over" to some of your ideas.

Honestly, our over-concentration (and frankly worry) on the birth/infancy/food stuff distracted from the bigger picture. We did all that until they were 4, then we were totally unprepared for the rest of their lives.

PS. The baby sign-language really works, and is a lot of fun. Especially for the late talkers.



 
Julie Walter
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This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart!! I'm continually looking for ways to apply and integrate permaculture methods into my parenting as a whole. On my journey, I have come across some wonderful methods and resources that have been invaluable. I love the work of Magda Gerber, called RIE or Resources in Infant Educaring which is a way of relating to children, letting them take the lead in their own development. In my opinion it is well in line with permaculture methodology. Essentially it is about setting up clear limits, and letting natural development happen withing that framework. Janet Lansbury has written a few books about RIE and how to apply it. She also has a wonderful blog where you can get a good sense of what its all about for free: http://www.janetlansbury.com/

I recently read a lovely book called "Honeycomb Kids" by Anna M. Campbell. A nice book that gives ideas and suggestions for how to keep children and families connected to the 'big ideas' and larger picture of our place in the world while engaging in meaningful and tangible activities together. At the end of each chapter there is a section with ideas on how to apply what is discussed which is always nice.

I blog about permaculture parenting, as well as other topics of the permaculture journey (including a lot of inner work). Here is a link to a post I wrote called "Top 10 Permaculture Parenting Tips": https://familyyields.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/top-10-permaculture-parenting-tips/

As far as pregnancy and delivery, many of the things that have informed our birthing and pregnancy have already been mentioned. Something else to look into is Infant Potty Training. It has been a wonderful experience for our family. (I posted about it here: https://familyyields.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/elimination-communication/)

 
cate white
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I second the WAPF principles, but based on Price's book, 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration' rather than sally fallon's accompanying Nourishing Traditions book. It was once my bible but I still can't eat grains or dairy of any description, including raw and fermented, in spite of the WAPF insisting I can.
AIP Paleo is the pinnacle of total health as far as I'm concerned. I used this protocol for my third pregnancy age 40. I ate raw oysters, liver, smoked salmon etc. and swanned through ignoring all the nurses and doctors well-meant advice. Easiest, quickest, least complicated birth ever. Barely hurt- not that I would have napped through it, but certainly the opposite of a horror story. I had absolute respect for my body and instincts by then.

My first and second pregnancies aged 21 and 35 I was a train wreck and had swollen feet, barely slept, developed the worst restless leg syndrome, addicted to sugar, wheat at every meal. Awful. Milk, cheese, the works. I was sick and tired and it was generally uncool all round. Scared of everything, not quite enough research to fully relax. No www back in 1995 either. What a scam!
I had to go through midwives and doctors, and ended up with an epidural with my first. My second in 2009 was a natural birth with a magnificent midwife who I'd never met prior, and she took my >>BIRTH PLAN<< seriously, even halting a vitamin K shot to my thigh- she fought for me against the head nurse and I never knew it until much later, via my partner...

I wish I hadn't had men in the birthing rooms. Apparently their smell is out of whack for birthing women. They have no business in there.
I wish I hadn't taken chemical nutrition with the first two pregnancies. I ate liver with the third and oh the sleep quality! Deep, restful, restorative sleep! But with the first two I had anaemia and was put on stupid iron tablets. Just say no. It messes up you and the foetus. Eat as much liver as your body requests. The folate is gold. (Folid acid will mess you and the baby up too.)

Be extremely wary of ultrasounds and doppler radiowave systems to spy on your foetus. They can cause all number of issues with speech, development etc. Nasty navy technology to scare away sharks. No one needs that. Get the nurses to use the old-fashioned ear horn things. If they can't use them anymore, tell them to use their hands for feeling weight and length. Trust your instincts, not their fear-mongering.

I wish I'd had a better relationship with my mother and/or was closer geographically to my aunts. You NEED help, and not from nurses who will lead you astray with their best intentions, taught to them via the pharmaceutical industry, just like the doctors who will try and scare you in to all sorts of hideous choices like vax, man-made folic acid instead of folate proper, etc..

I also agree with the doula idea- I had one for the last birth and she was worth her weight in gold. She was a student doula so we didn't have to pay her, but did because she was just SO VALUABLE.

The learning curve is so steep it can be way too intense for comfort. We, as females, should be taught about nutrition, conception, birth and child-rearing from five or so, not study various subjects to ensure a lucrative career. This is coming from a woman who was sent to an expensive private school with a mother who worked, with the intention of making lots of money and hand-picking her partner from the creme de la creme. It's bullshit. I ended up with an Italian peasant anyway, and he's rad. Family is all.

I co-sleep and breast-feed still, and will until she or I have enough of it. Co-sleeping is an excellent way to get sleep, though it can mess up the shoulders/back if they're a bit weak/westernised. I also baby-wore both of the last two babies. Highly recommended, just make sure you research your carrier- some of them can wreck the infantile hip joints.

Righto! Over and out. Good luck with it all, it's such a blast. Best thing in the world, parenting.
x
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I like Kerry’s way of breaking it down, so I’m pretty much going to do the same!

Doula/Hospital: We did a hospital birth, for most of the same reasons as Julia Winter. I wasn’t old (28 ), but I’d miscarried my first and had no idea if I’d be an “easy” birther. I didn't want to risk something horrible happening and losing the baby. It ended up we needed to be at the hospital anyway, because even by almost 43 weeks, I still was not dilated at all. So, they dilated me, but aside from that, it was a natural birth—no epidural, no meds, squatting labor. I think the most helpful things were having the bathtub to endure contractions in (no water births at our hospital), and giving birth in a squatting position. It’s so much easier to push that way! I think having a doula would have been great, but having a knowledgeable husband worked out well enough.

Community: Oh man, I wished I had/have one. We’re only 30 minutes from friends and family, but that seems like eternity when a baby screams the whole time in the car. The stress of driving anywhere was too much to bear. As for people visiting me, well, they were always working so much or I was “too far away.” My parents came and visited and helped with big house projects. But, we had only one meal cooked for us, and aside from that, no one came and helped with cooking/cleaning/baby care. I was so stressed by colicky baby that I didn’t force the issue, and being an introvert, I didn’t that many connections, either… It didn't help that after the first week home, my husband got hit by a big provider instinct and worked 36 ten-hour nightshifts in a row. So, I was home, alone, with no help, with a colicky baby, nearly hemorrhaging, and very hungry and tired. It was a horrible, horrible time! Prevent that from happening to you if at all possible!

Breastfeeding: My son is now two, and we’re still breastfeeding, though starting a weaning process (mostly nightweaning for more sleep!). I am so thankful I breastfed as long so long. He had a lot of colic and food sensitivities and so I was able to adjust my diet to help his gut. It was also so wonderful to be able to nurse when he got sick. When he wouldn’t drink water or eat anything, he’d still nurse. It comforted him, gave him liquids, nourished him, and strengthened his immune system.

Baby Wearing: We never bought a stroller, and frankly have never even desired one. I would strap him on my belly (baby k’tan was what I used) when we went shopping, walking, or gardening. Now that he’s older, I just put him on my back in a boba carrier—that thing is a life-saver! He’s always been chunky, and I don’t even notice his weight or have back pain with it. As for baby-wearing above one, the Waldorf schools might be against it because they’re big on kids learning skills and becoming autonomous. But, my son learns a lot through observation, though I encourage him to run around and “help” as much as possible.

Co-Sleeping: Wasn’t easy in our case, but it was also the only thing that worked. We had a colicky baby that woke up every 1-3 hours all the way until about a month ago. He’d nurse for a good half an hour to an hour each time, and often I couldn’t even fall back asleep afterward. But, at least I wasn’t crossing the house to tend to him, and when he was older I could often sleep through feedings. So, it wasn’t a miracle cure, but it made it possible for me to get some sleep.

Baby Sign Language: I worked so hard to learn sign language, used it all the time to communicate with my son, and he never used any of it. But, he did start talking early, so I’m sure it helped, but he didn’t care for the signs at all! I plan on using it if/when we have our next one, as I think it’s very good for development (and, it’s really handy to be able to communicate quietly when the baby is sleeping!). Just don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t end up using it!

Working/Nature/Helping Out: I think such a vital part of “natural” parenting is letting your children be a part of what you’re doing. Let them help make the food, plant the seeds, stack the hugel sticks, shovel the dirt, help clean up, etc. They don’t know it’s not fun unless you tell them! Thank them for their work, encourage them to help more, and they will learn naturally how to garden, clean, care for others, etc. Taking walks and talking about what you see is also really helpful, especially when they are itty bitty and cry all the time. I had a colicky baby. So, I sang songs and walked outside and explained what I saw. It often helped the screaming, and even when it didn’t it helped me cope and it filled his mind with words and knowledge to build upon later. If you think about parenting in previous times, there was nothing for kids to do *other* than to watch Mama cook and garden. Mama had no TV to stick her child in front of.

TV/Technology/Etc.: I tried/try REALLY hard to limit it for my son. Little kids brains are not wired to learn from technology, and it’s addictive, and wires their patterns of thinking in less-than-beneficial ways. Having said that, it’s REALLY hard to avoid, especially when you have to do research and your child always wants to see what you’re doing. I try to always explain the images we see, help him understand the videos, and I try to limit how many he sees. In his first year of life (about 6-12 months), the only video he got to see was the same 15 minute segment of Frozen over and over. He loved watching it, it gave me time to use the bathroom, and by only seeing that segment, he actually got to process it more, rather than just being numbed by flashing images…

Potty Training/Elimination Communication: Oh, yes, this is good stuff! Even if you can’t commit to getting your baby on the potty every time they need to pee, just getting them on there a few times a week from a young age is good. If you “catch” them peeing, you can cheer them on so they know it’s a positive experience. Even just getting them so they aren’t afraid of the potty is useful. I taught preschool, and it’s really hard to potty train a kid who’s been effectively trained to pee in their diaper and is terrified of the potty because they weren’t introduced to it at a young age. I figure, if you’re going to be holding your baby all day anyway, you might as well hold them over a potty and catch some of that pee and poo so you have less diapers to clean!

Diapers: We used cloth (still use for sleeping), but I just wanted to say, cloth diapers are not always easy. There can be ammonia and detergent build up in the diapers, yeast issues, ammonia burns, etc, etc, etc. Finding a way to wash the diapers that works for your water and diapers is not always easy! We dealt with yeast, ammonia burns, diapers ceasing to absorb, you name it. Hanging them to dry in the sun helps a lot, but doesn’t fix everything!

Diet: Before pregnancy, I ate paleo/Weston Price/GAPS. I ate lots of fish and liver and heart and broth and filled my body with natures nutrients. Then I got pregnant and just struggled to eat organic—I was so nauseas that I resorted to rice, tons of cheese, custards, fruit leather, and expensive organic processed foods just to get food in my belly. I couldn’t stomach meat at all, let alone the liver I was planned on continuing to consume—so I gave up and took the best prenatals I could find. Just do the best you can do. And, if you're craving something poisonous, try to find a healthy alternative (organic ice cream instead of that Dairy Queen Blizzard, for example!). As for toddler nutrition, we were almost solely breastmilk for the first year as our son had so many food-sensitivies, wasn't interested, and didn’t get teeth until 11 months. When he did eat solids, he ate what we ate, just mashed or ripped up or so large that all he could do was gnaw on it. I think this method is called “Baby Led Weaning” and pretty much skips that whole purred-food thing and just gives the baby real food. It’s a lot simpler in many ways, too, because I frankly never had time to purre baby foods—I was carrying a screaming baby the whole time!


... Wow, this is really, really, long. I should be in bed! One more thing before I go, though!

Julie Walter wrote:
I blog about permaculture parenting, as well as other topics of the permaculture journey (including a lot of inner work). Here is a link to a post I wrote called "Top 10 Permaculture Parenting Tips": https://familyyields.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/top-10-permaculture-parenting-tips/


Love your tips! These are the principles I try to live by, and worded so well. I especially love when you wrote: "Accept feedback in all its forms. As difficult as it is to take a critical look at my role in my children’s behaviour (especially those rough times), usually the root cause of the turbulence is that I’ve inadvertently created a climate of ‘control.’" It is so vital to continually re-assess the environment and conditions we are creating for our children and see if we can better form that environment so that they can succeed. Just like plants need specific amounts of light and nutrients to grow and flourish, our children will have a much easier time flourishing if we create a life for them that is easier for them to grow in!
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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This is a subject that I have thought about a great deal. Because of my upbringing, when I started a family I had no real idea about alternatives approaches to parenting so I read a LOT of books. I ended up co-sleeping, breastfeeding until my eldest was 4 and am now homeschooling. There have been a lot of very interesting contributions to this thread already so I think the best contribution that I can make is a list of the books I found useful.

The one that most directly addresses the original post is Small - Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the way we parent http://www.amazon.com/Our-Babies-Ourselves-Biology-Culture/dp/0385483627/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500613&sr=1-1&keywords=small+our+babies+ourselves


Others that I found really helpful in both forming my ideas and helping to defend them when I was challenged about them by family or health professionals were:


Naish - Natural Fertility http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Fertility-Complete-Achieving-Conception-ebook/dp/B00DCJJF7U/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447499952&sr=1-2&keywords=naish+natural+fertility

Jan de Vries - Pregnancy and Childbirth http://www.amazon.com/Pregnancy-Childbirth-Well-Woman-Vries-ebook/dp/B005I4DA3W/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500021&sr=1-3&keywords=de+Vries+pregnancy+and+childbirth this is a useful guide to using homeopathy

Orgasmic Birth DVD https://www.amazon.com/Orgasmic-Birth-Best-Kept-Debra-Pascali-Bonaro/dp/B0084WO6SS/ref=sr_1_1/ref=sr_1_1?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=orgasmic%20birth&qid=1447501303&sr=8-1

Mongan - Hypnobirthing http://www.amazon.com/HypnoBirthing-natural-approach-comfortable-birthing/dp/0757302661/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500529&sr=1-1&keywords=hypnobirthing

Gaskin - Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth http://www.amazon.com/Ina-Mays-Guide-Childbirth-Gaskin/dp/0553381156/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500112&sr=1-1&keywords=in+a+mays+guide+to+childbirth

Balaskas & Gordon - Water Birth http://www.amazon.com/Water-Birth-Concise-Pregnancy-Infancy/dp/0044405677/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500179&sr=1-2&keywords=balaskas+-+water+birth

Liedloff - The Continuum Concept http://www.amazon.com/Continuum-Concept-Happiness-Classics-Development/dp/0201050714/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500395&sr=1-1&keywords=continuum+concept

Jackson - Three in a Bed : the benefits of sleeping with your baby http://www.amazon.com/Three-Bed-Benefits-Sleeping-Your-ebook/dp/B0077RMSKY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500434&sr=1-1&keywords=jackson+three+in+a+bed

Heller - The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact with your baby leads to happier, healthier development http://www.amazon.com/Vital-Touch-Intimate-Healthier-Development/dp/0805053549/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500463&sr=1-1&keywords=heller+vital+touch

Motha - Gentle First Year http://www.amazon.com/Gentle-First-Year-Essential-Wellbeing/dp/0007213050/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500071&sr=1-1&keywords=motha+gentle+first+year

Solter - The Aware Baby http://www.amazon.com/Aware-Baby-Aletha-Jauch-Solter/dp/0961307374/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500233&sr=1-1&keywords=solter+aware+baby - This one was interesting as it challenged my ideas about nursing my babies when they were upset and talks about the need for babies to express their emotions through crying

Rosenberg - Raising Children Compassionately http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Children-Compassionately-Nonviolent-Communication/dp/1892005093/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500139&sr=1-1&keywords=rosenberg+raising+children This is about using Non Violent Communication

Bengson - How Weaning Happens http://www.amazon.com/How-Weaning-Happens-Diane-Bengson/dp/0912500549/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500365&sr=1-1&keywords=bengson+how+weaning+happens This is a really useful guide to how the breastfeeding relationship finishes

Rapley - Baby led weaning http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Led-Weaning-Essential-Introducing-Foods-/dp/161519021X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500495&sr=1-1&keywords=rapley+baby+led+weaning This is about letting babies eat what you do without the need to puree or mash foods

Granju - Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for your baby and young child
http://www.amazon.com/Attachment-Parenting-Instinctive-Young-Child/dp/067102762X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500573&sr=1-1&keywords=granju+attachment+parenting

Jackson - Letting go as children grow http://www.amazon.com/Letting-Go-Children-Grow-Independence/dp/0747565767/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500677&sr=1-2&keywords=letting+go+as+children+grow

Payne - Simplicity Parenting http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500714&sr=1-1&keywords=simplicity+parenting

Aldort - Raising our children, raising ourselves http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Our-Children-Ourselves-relationships/dp/1887542329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500749&sr=1-1&keywords=aldort+raising+our+children

Kohn - Unconditional Parenting http://www.amazon.com/Unconditional-Parenting-Moving-Rewards-Punishments/dp/0743487486/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447500823&sr=1-1&keywords=unconditional+parenting





 
Nathan Kershner
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Location: East Aurora, NY
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Parenting is a huge topic but one in which permaculture ideals are very relevant. There are other places on the internet that discuss "ancestral parenting," but what about permaculture parenting? (Julie Walter, thanks for the link to your blog--I'm glad someone IS talking about permaculture parenting!)

After all, what is the aim of parenting if not to create resilient, self-managing, interconnected, productive systems?

Just as in permaculture design for your landscape, I believe that the most success comes from taking the long view and observing before acting. What is trying to emerge from each of your family members and the relationships between you? How can you nudge these things toward your goals with minimal intervention, working with the nature of your family members?

There have been great responses in this thread so far. Parenting is a realm in which it's easy for people to get dogmatic and judge-y and try to push their approach on others, but there are many successful approaches that can yield healthy families. Unfortunately, there are so many options that it can be overwhelming.

Others have given you their approaches and some great resources. I will give the highlights of our experience below, but I think the most important thing is this: When navigating all of this parenting stuff, from conception to college and beyond, learn to listen to your internal response. If something doesn't sit right with you, do something about it. Guide your family on the path that you believe is best, and don't be afraid of anyone else's judgement. Don't be afraid to change your mind, either: flexibility is part of resilience.

What works for us in a nutshell:

Home birth: Both of our children were born at home and we can't imagine choosing any other option for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy.

Circumcision: I have strong feelings about this one. Why prune a tree that grows perfectly on its own?

Co-sleeping: I don't know how non-co-sleeping parents get sleep. It's enough work just to roll over and change a diaper; I don't want to have to go into a different room to do it. My wife can just roll over and nurse (our youngest is 5 mos); she doesn't even wake up for it.

Breastfeeding: We plan to do it until mom and child agree not to. Our oldest (almost 4) still nurses about once a day. I'm sure he'll stop someday.

Baby-led weaning/baby food: We start giving food when the baby starts grabbing it off our plates (6 mos with our first, 5 mos with our second). We never did commercial baby food. With our first child, we made our own for about a week. It was work. Then we realized that we could just give him whatever we were eating. Babies are fine with mushy stuff or things that are too big for their mouths. (There is nothing wrong with a toothless baby sucking on big piece of steak throughout dinner.) We don't reduce seasonings or anything else for our children, so they learn to eat what we eat. Our oldest (almost 4) will eat almost anything.

Babywearing: There are lots of reasons to do this, and lots of ways. Just like Kerry said, I think the more "ancestral" carriers are best, but not easiest.

Also, I completely agree with almost everything else Kerry said.
Kids need an immersive experience from the beginning.


This may be the most important thing! Wear your baby or have him/her nearby while you do things. Babies will watch and learn. Our experience is that, if you let your 2-year old help, you'll have to re-do a lot of things. But it's worth the investment in extra time and frustration, because our 3-year-old is already doing many things well (shelling peas/beans, sorting laundry, cutting vegetables [with a sharp knife], and many other tasks).


 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 52
Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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"Co-sleeping and extended nursing can be great for the emotional and physical health of the child, but tough on the parents if they don't have significant familial support because it's hard to get away for a moment and catch your breath. Living in a multi-generational household would be ideal, I think. Failing that, it is very, very helpful to have close family nearby who are able and willing to spend significant time taking care of your child. The best thing we ever did for our daughter was moving to be near my in-laws."

YES. All the cosleeping, extended breastfeeding (my first breastfed for the last time on her 5th birthday), babywearing, etc. - all the "unconventional" stuff - is pretty easy to find casual community around, in my experience - but what really makes it viable is having close, nearby community, live-in if possible. That said, we have about 1/4 about as much community as I actually would like, and we're doing it. It's exhausting, but I can't imagine choosing formula/weaning at 6 months/keeping my baby in a swing all the time.

The Continuum Concept is a great read. Please take it with an enormous grain of salt, don't use it to make impossible standards for yourself, and *do what works*.

Someone recommended having alternative feeding possibilities around in case your milk doesn't come in soon. I'd be very cautious with that recommendation. Consider lining up a really excellent lactation consultant instead. Milk *usually* takes a day or three to come in (unless you're nursing a toddler when you have your baby) and the colostrum that comes *before* the milk has what a newborn needs. It's normal for newborns to lose a little weight in their first week of life. They're drinking colostrum, which is not abundant but is the perfect food for them at the time. If there really are serious issues with milk supply, have your lactation consultant at the ready. In order to make your milk come in your newborn needs to be nursing at your breast, not at a bottle. You probably already know this.

I really can't think of a more important arena for strong, supportive community than that of growing a family.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 52
Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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Also, just a fun story: when my oldest was about three, I was in a Pho restaurant nursing her, and the proprietress was also our waitress, didn't speak much English, but came up to me smiling and started to chat about how in her country that's how they do it, they nurse their kids until they're 5 or 6 (but if they go to kindergarten and are still nursing sometimes their friends will tease them). It was such a delightful, affirming interaction.

Can you imagine a kindergartener in the U.S. saying they breastfeed and just getting a little teasing rather than having someone call Child Protective Services on the mom?
 
Marija Mikolajczak
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Location: Connecticut
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I'm happy to see this conversation come up here. I feel I am in two different movements at times, the natural/instinctive parenting one, and the permaculture one. Why shouldn't they be the same world? So this is great.?
Some really great resources have been mentioned in this thread.

I want to mention that sally fallon's book about babies has been criticized by many in the natural parenting community for its bias. I was in the WAPF camp for a while, but I became outraged at sally fallon's anti-breastfeeding position. She denies being anti-breastfeeding but her overall position clearly has the impact of being so. Fallon is a dairy farmer and heavily promotes a homemade formula using raw cow milk and raw cow liver for babies which La Leche League points out is highly problematic. In contrast, the ancestral way of handling a situation where a mother is having trouble breastfeeding was other mothers in the community would breastfeed the baby (modern application of this is through peer-to-peer milksharing networks like HM4HB on Facebook.)

Fallon puts forth in her book and elsewhere that any mother who does not eat a ridiculously impossible "nutrient rich" diet (which includes way more food than anyone I know would eat in a day and most of it not readily available) has substandard breastmilk and then a baby would be better off with her cow milk formula. Her book just her view on baby raising and has no basis in the science of attachment or biological evolution/ anthropology or anything other than her own opinion. To be fair, I believe that her own opinion is perfectly fine for her own choices but not fine to put in a book and press onto other people.

For prenatal diet and preparation, I recommend instead Chris Kresser's program The Healthy Baby Code, which is based on an ancestral (paleo) diet. I find the paleo diet more in line with polyculture by the way.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 52
Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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I also want to add (Marija's tag reminded me of this) that practicing Elimination Communication/natural infant hygiene with both my little ones (who were totally diaper free by 14 months and 18 months) made me feel *so* badass permaculture. All that returning nutrients straight to the ground, less laundry, etc., plus the respect I was showing my kiddos by helping them stay in tune with their inborn ability to control and communication about their own elimination. It can be a learning curve, but so worth it, imho. (I learned the second time around that staying relaxed about it and going for progress, not perfection made it even more fun . )

Lots of print and web resources for EC out there.
 
Stephanie Ladd
Posts: 67
Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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The "mainstream" world is very seductive. It spends a lot of its creativity on making itself more appealing and addicting. If you hope your kids will grow up in a certain lifestyle, then I suggest you pretty much have to create that lifestyle before they are born.


This is what makes me a little nervous. I'm definitely not going to be living the ideal lifestyle when my kids are born. For now, we are stuck in the city and there's nothing we can do about it. But I do think our lifestyle is good. We heat with wood so we have lots of splitting and chopping to do. We have a few gardens and are working with a Permaculture consultant to grow as much food on our property as possible. We cook at home from scratch for every meal... etc etc. So I think that the things my children will be immersed in is healthy. We don't do much sitting around, there is always work to be done. I do agree that mainstream is very seductive. I witness this in children all the time. I have a few boys in my center that have never seen Ninja Mutant Turtles or Star Wars on TV, but they cannot stop talking about it. And once a 3 year old sees Frozen, her play is stuck in that for months. All creative play is gone.


Live in the city now? Your kids will not want to move rural once parents have saved up "enough" money.


I don't think that is necessarily true. I work with a girl who's parents moved to a farm when she was ten and she loved it. She lives in the city now and she can't wait to save up enough to buy land.

Have no family friends that you are already close to with kids the same age as yours? Your kids will look to the other kids they find in the mass media.


I don't think that's necessarily true either. When they are young, they won't have much contact with mass media, and when they grow up, I don't think there is any stopping them of being interested in that stuff no matter how many family friends they have. I think the idea is that you need to set up a good start for them and hope they come back to it. All teens rebel, they always have in every culture. Unfortunately, because we no longer have rites of passage or journeys that teenagers can be a part of, that rebellion can be worrysome. I think you just have to hope that they come back to it eventually.


Essentially it is about setting up clear limits, and letting natural development happen withing that framework. Janet Lansbury has written a few books about RIE and how to apply it. She also has a wonderful blog where you can get a good sense of what its all about for free: http://www.janetlansbury.com/


I really love RIE and Janet Lansbury. I always am sending her articles to our families at work. She's good stuff!

I recently read a lovely book called "Honeycomb Kids" by Anna M. Campbell. A nice book that gives ideas and suggestions for how to keep children and families connected to the 'big ideas' and larger picture of our place in the world while engaging in meaningful and tangible activities together. At the end of each chapter there is a section with ideas on how to apply what is discussed which is always nice.


Thank for you for this, I am going to check it out as well as your blog.

Righto! Over and out. Good luck with it all, it's such a blast. Best thing in the world, parenting


Thank you for saying this. I am pretty nervous about it all. But, it's also sooooo exciting. I am pretty much planning on doing everything the opposite way I was raised. It's like finding out how to be human again. I have a very idealistic picture in my head right now and I know everything won't turn out as planned. But I think all of us permies are on this journey to another place. And we aren't all going to make it to the destination, because I think the destination is a few generations away. But we are a very important part of the journey.

Baby Sign Language: I worked so hard to learn sign language, used it all the time to communicate with my son, and he never used any of it. But, he did start talking early, so I’m sure it helped, but he didn’t care for the signs at all! I plan on using it if/when we have our next one, as I think it’s very good for development (and, it’s really handy to be able to communicate quietly when the baby is sleeping!). Just don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t end up using it!


I have never been a huge fan of Baby Sign Language. I know so many people swear by it, but in my experience, children will start signing about the same time they could start speaking. I don't plan on using it.

Working/Nature/Helping Out: I think such a vital part of “natural” parenting is letting your children be a part of what you’re doing. Let them help make the food, plant the seeds, stack the hugel sticks, shovel the dirt, help clean up, etc. They don’t know it’s not fun unless you tell them! Thank them for their work, encourage them to help more, and they will learn naturally how to garden, clean, care for others, etc. Taking walks and talking about what you see is also really helpful, especially when they are itty bitty and cry all the time. I had a colicky baby. So, I sang songs and walked outside and explained what I saw. It often helped the screaming, and even when it didn’t it helped me cope and it filled his mind with words and knowledge to build upon later. If you think about parenting in previous times, there was nothing for kids to do *other* than to watch Mama cook and garden. Mama had no TV to stick her child in front of.


I agree. I think this is one of the things lacking from children's lives today. A lot of the parent's I work with don't have any work to do. They don't cook, they have a cleaning lady, they don't garden. They have landscapers to do their lawn work. So children aren't seeing any work being done. It makes me really re-think the whole way my life is set up. I am actually thinking, what more can I add so my baby/child sees me in action? I'd like to get chickens for this reason.


The Continuum Concept is a great read. Please take it with an enormous grain of salt, don't use it to make impossible standards for yourself, and *do what works*


Thank you for this!! I tend to be a perfectionist and I know I can't implement everything in that book because I don't live in the jungle. I will do what I can and hope for the best.

I want to mention that sally fallon's book about babies has been criticized by many in the natural parenting community for its bias. I was in the WAPF camp for a while, but I became outraged at sally fallon's anti-breastfeeding position. She denies being anti-breastfeeding but her overall position clearly has the impact of being so. Fallon is a dairy farmer and heavily promotes a homemade formula using raw cow milk and raw cow liver for babies which La Leche League points out is highly problematic. In contrast, the ancestral way of handling a situation where a mother is having trouble breastfeeding was other mothers in the community would breastfeed the baby (modern application of this is through peer-to-peer milksharing networks like HM4HB on Facebook.)

Fallon puts forth in her book and elsewhere that any mother who does not eat a ridiculously impossible "nutrient rich" diet (which includes way more food than anyone I know would eat in a day and most of it not readily available) has substandard breastmilk and then a baby would be better off with her cow milk formula. Her book just her view on baby raising and has no basis in the science of attachment or biological evolution/ anthropology or anything other than her own opinion. To be fair, I believe that her own opinion is perfectly fine for her own choices but not fine to put in a book and press onto other people.


Yes! It was very surprising for me to find all that out. Like I said, in her Baby book she warns against baby wearing and co-sleeping and such which is so strange to me. On the cover of Nourishing Traditions, there are two illustrated women carrying their babies. Why would that be detrimental? Like I said before, I am pretty sure Sally's children were Waldorf children and Rudolph Steiner had some different ideas about children. He has said that extended breastfeeding will cause undeveloped larynx and throat problems. Something about the throat not "dropping". I think that is a very interesting claim to make since that is how human babies have been eating for millenia and their language developed just fine. I like some of Steiner's ideas, but some are really out there.

For prenatal diet and preparation, I recommend instead Chris Kresser's program The Healthy Baby Code, which is based on an ancestral (paleo) diet. I find the paleo diet more in line with polyculture by the way.


Thanks for this. I really like Chris Kresser so I will check that out.

 
Anna Tennis
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Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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@Stephanie "And once a 3 year old sees Frozen, her play is stuck in that for months. All creative play is gone."

Permit me a moment of soapboxing. My observations of my own girls has shown me that yes, I have heard heartfelt renditions of "Let it Go" about 1,462,807 more times than I really want. However, I've mainly noticed that Frozen becomes a jumping-off point for creative play, for explorations of relationships (especially sisters, which is of course applicable to my two girls), for exploring power dynamics, inventing crazy adventures, and extemporizing all kind of songs and amazing monologs. It's been at least 1.5 years since my 5 year old saw Frozen and it goes in and out of her play - sometimes verbatim movie recreation, but most often springboarding from it as I've described, and also quite often play that is totally unrelated. Give your future kids more credit for their unstoppable imaginations.

Something that I've found quite humbling in the journey of parenthood is letting go of attachment to many of my ideals and focusing instead on how my children actually are and what they actually are interested in. The book "Playful Parenting" (Lawrence Cohen) which I highly, highly recommend to any parent or anyone who has kids in their life makes a point that struck me as vital. Cohen describes how his young daughter kept wanting him to play Barbies with him. He occasionally did, reluctantly and with bad grace, and it didn't take him long to realize that by doing that, in essence, he was communicating to his daughter, "This thing which you love and value so much and is so important to you, is stupid and not worth my time."

Not something I want to be telling my kids in word or deed or energy. He goes on to tell how he infused the Barbie games with silliness and lightness and opportunities to talk about important stuff, but most importantly real connection with his daughter.

I think there is some spirit-crushing that can be perpetrated in the name of thoughtlessly applied idealism. Maintaining our connection with our kids with their myriad interests (and disinterests), in my opinion, is far more important that guiding what they're interested in.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Good points Anna (I bet your girls love that that's your name )

I am in the field of Waldorf education. So I have a major bias towards screen time. I dislike it for young children. I personally do not think 2 year olds need any TV time at all. I will do my absolute best to stand by that with my children. So while I agree with you, I also think it depends on age.

I grew up watching Disney movies and I have fond memories of it. And I imagine, when my children are older (and interested), I will probably watch the movies with them. But I can imagine that I would do something like read the book Grimms Fairy Tale "The Snow Queen" before watching the movie "Frozen". And then discuss the differences or something.

I also want to be careful about playing with my children. I have mixed feelings about this. I think family game night will be done, but I worry about "playing" with them like I am a playmate, because I am not. I work with a lot of little ones who have no idea how to entertain themselves because their parents guide their play. They sit around in the backyard while the others play and cannot engage in an activity. They hang around the teachers and have to be directed to go get a shovel and dig. I notice the same thing with children that get a lot of screen time. I do not want this for my children, but I do think a balance can be achieved without giving the message that "what you are doing is stupid". I'd rather give the message "I have work to do, and you have your work, which is play". I suppose that would be hard for an only child. Though, I was an only child and my parents never played with me. They had work to do and I played outside. Sometimes with friends and sometimes not.

Overall, Anna, I really like your message to not be so dogmatic about it all. Which is a message I REALLY need to hear from time to time.
 
Katie Erickson
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I had one hospital birth (baby came too early) and two home births. All three were great, also fast.
I recommend checking out Spinning Babies http://spinningbabies.com/ for ideas on exercise/stretching, etc for optimal baby positioning during pregnancy. Just getting baby head down isn't enough for an "easy" birth.

I also attempted to eat WAPF/ Brewer's diet while pregnant, not organic, unfortunately. I took high quality whole food-based prenatals also, since I knew I didn't eat perfectly, took herbal glycerin tinctures http://trilighthealth.com/ I drank a lot of herbal teas, especially in the third trimester (specifically red raspberry leaf).

All three of my labors were fast, my third was 1.5 hours. My baby's head was out before my midwife arrived. It was pretty exciting! I had dreams during my pregnancy that my baby would arrive with no one around around to help, so I did what I could to read up on emergencies and had an emergency childbirth book on hand. I think you should pay attention to your intuition, and don't attempt a homebirth unless you are completely comfortable with it. I wanted homebirths so bad, and I was confident that my body could handle it. I'm thankful that everything went well!

We did exclusive breastfeeding until 7-ish months, then extended breastfeeding until I dried up during pregnancy. Our third is 19 mos old and still breastfeeding a little.

We did baby-led feeding. I meant to make all kinds of homemade baby foods, but when I realized that it was much more appetizing and way less work for the baby to eat what we were eating, we did that. I've chewed up some of their food, (gross, I know), but that's probably what our ancestors did.

I did some babywearing.

We co-slept with all three babies. I had a co-sleeper next to our bed with our first, and since I was breastfeeding around the clock, it was just easier to have our baby in bed. With number two, we built a low platform bed and bought a firm mattress. If baby rolls off the bed, he/she is less than a foot from the floor. I can't imagine getting up to breastfeed while your baby is sleeping in a different room... talk about disrupted sleep!

Our kids have never had any medications, including vaxs. They are rarely sick, and when they are, I just give them garlic/ginger/honey tea.

We are homeschooling our kids. There's an awful lot to learn while living on a farm. Science, Math, Statistics, Social Studies, etc. I think learning while living is the best way to do school!
 
Julie Walter
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PermAculture parenting is such a broad topic. There are functional considerations, like what carrier or diapers to use, but then there are the larger issues of growing children. I went to a lovely homeschoolers chat night this past week. Although my point here is not to discuss homeschooling, our discussion centred around issues of being the 'outliers' of mainstream culture. It is difficult by times to not see your lifestyle reflected in those around you, and even challenged or refuted. Because there are no 'norms' when you're forging new ground, it becomes quite easy to compare oneself to others, or want to 'know' how things should be done...but really were ALL just trying to figure it out for ourselves! I think one of the most beautiful things a permaculture lens brings to parenting is that it supports the perspective of learning as I go. Much of our culture is based on pretending to have it all sorted, instead of admitting were mucking about to see what works and what needs to be reconsidered...observing and responding to feedback. Parenting is the best example I can think of for maximizing edges! What I have found to be the most helpful is to have a clear vision for what I want my family ideals to be...the perameters of our life. What are the things we truly value? When I can maintain a long term vision, then things can go a bit awry on the journey towards it (the messiness as I learn and muck about). The parenting path for each one of us is not clear, I believe it is my ijob as a parent to figure it out. But having an end goal in mind helps to filter the abundance of parenting advice and sadly, judgement that is so prevalent. Having ones own family holistic goal helps me decipher which advice to consider, integrate or that which would be best left to float on by. Looking for black and white in a world that is painted in shades of grey was hard, and defined my early parenting journey. There have been so many times when I have wanted easy answers...but I have since realized that because each of our parenting paths are unique, no clear answers will ever come....only directional arrows hat have pointed me in new directions. The best advice I can give is to find ways to enjoy the journey! <3
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Very good points. This thread is so fascinating to me!
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Julie makes a really good point about observing and responding. You need to be prepared to throw all your ideas up in the air to a certain extent once you have kids as none of them have read the books Just as all plants have different requirements, what works for one child won't work for another so you need to adapt your parenting to each child as an individual rather than follow a particular dogma. My two boys are so different in personality that the term "chalk and cheese" really does apply and they need very different interactions with me and their environment in order to thrive.

Stephanie, you say that with respect to baby sign language you think that children start signing about the same time they could start speaking. In my experience that is not true. Both my children were early talkers, however at just a few months of age they could sign for when they wanted a breastfeed or a nappy change. I found it to be really useful as instead of trying to interpret whether their cry meant hunger, tiredness or needing changed my baby could let me know very clearly with a simple sign.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Taking the Bradley class was very helpful to me though. It took the fear of the unknown (to me) out of childbirth.


I just took a look at my books again. Doctor Bradley's book is good, but appears more geared to convincing you to use his method. Excellent to convince family.
"Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutchereon was more valuable to me, describing what to do. The book comes complete with a preface from Dr. Bradley.
 
Anna Tennis
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I am also not actually a big fan of spending a ton of time playing with my kids like I'm their playmate. That's mainly because I find it pretty tiring and I'd rather be getting work done. That said, I do think it has its place and is an okay, connective thing to do from time to time.

There's a big difference, too, between giving your child your full attention for a limited time and following *their* lead (as opposed to directing their play, which I'm not into) and being at their beck and call and being super "child-centered."

I do think paying attention to what works and being willing to hold ideals very, very lightly is a useful skill to have as a parent.
 
Nicole Alderman
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For me, whether or not to spend time playing with kids revolves around what kind of life you want to model for them. If you think it's important to be getting things done and accomplishing them, than you want to model that to your kids--so you'd be spending more time working and less time playing. If your personal value system values play, imagining, and enjoying life through play; then you want to model that with your kids--so you'd be spending more time getting down and playing with that, whether that is guiding their play or following along with it.

I personally enjoy spending time playing with kids, because even as an adult I enjoy playing. Imagination and fun bonding games is something I value. Not everyone does, though, or values it as much as I do. And, that's okay! I think it's important to remember that if we all raised our kids the same, they'd turn out more the same. Different parenting methods end up helping make different individuals with different skills, knowledge and perspective to contribute to our world and community. I think that's great!

Speaking of play, though, one reason I like "leading" their play is because I like to teach through it. If I see kids driving cars down ramps, I like to point out the physics of how steepness of the ramp influences the speed of the car, etc. I like to think that life can be fun, and work and learning can be "play." For me, "play" is just enjoying and exploring what you're doing. I want to be able to enjoy ("play") all my activities, and model that to my son!
 
Anna Tennis
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Beautifully put, Nicole.

I would call your kind of direction of play more just facilitating learning. What I think of as directing play is more like being a super-helicopter parent. People do this all the time in simple interactions with kids, not just in play - feel the need to get all in the kid's space and direct how the kid shows up in the moment, direct the interaction, rather than letting the kid just be how they are.
 
Steven Kovacs
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Stephanie,

I'll echo Katy here on the sign language being very useful. Our daughter picked up a handful of signs ("more", "milk", "hurt", etc.) before she could ever speak, and it was hugely helpful for everyone because it meant that she could express herself before she could talk. She became a lot less frustrated in trying to communicate with us. And teaching the signs took almost no additional effort - we just made the motion every time we said the word, and she picked the signs up.

I agree as well with the comments about "playing" - everything in moderation, but our daughter definitely seems more interested in observing and taking part in what we're doing (raking leaves, etc.) than in playing with toys.
 
Anna Tennis
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Ours started signing and talking around the same time, but we weren't very assiduous about using signs in the first place. I've heard of babies of deaf or hearing impaired parents starting to sign around 4 months old.
 
Julia Winter
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The first sign I taught my daughter was for "all done," because when she finished her food she would throw the bowl on the floor! She was less than a year old, and didn't say much.

I was lucky that she had a distinctive sound she would make while making the "all done" sign, so I could hurry to her in her high chair before she actually threw the food on the floor. I didn't teach her a whole lot of signs, just "all done" and "more" (which morphed into something that meant more like "give me" and got combined with pointing) and "please."

Huh. There must have been more than three. . . Anyway, the one's my girls learned were useful.
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
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