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Natural Parenting and Germs: Where do you draw the line?  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Location: Little Belt Mountains, MT
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You guys! We just got ducks!! I am so excited, and so is my 13 month old son - he is very interested in their poopy water. So yay!



We're typically pretty laid back around here when it comes to germs - we wash on an as needed basis, and I use vinegar and alcohol to disinfect, no bleach. We have a house full of animals, and so freaking out over every little gross this is just more anxiety than is worth the trouble generally.

Now not only do we have 3 big beautiful Pekin ducks, we have 7 chickens, 25 chicks, 3 dogs, and 2 cats. So yea, germs abound. That being said, we're pretty darned healthy for the most part. We get sick every now and then, but I'm still breastfeeding so my son gets those antibodies from me, and we take a healthy dose of probiotics when we start feeling rough.

We're big on a maintenance diet of natural anti-inflammatories too, like garlic and turmeric and such. I've read up a lot on natural wellness and prevention, and I'm really excited about beefing up that information with the Natural Gut Cures course here soon. I've learned a lot recently about how an unbalanced digestive system can actually lead to your body not even absorbing those natural cures and immune system boosters properly in the first place, so that's the next area I plan to work on.

In the mean time though, my husband is cringing as our dirt-covered, dog food eating son develops this ever-growing fascination with poopy duck water. So my question is this: in a home where germs abound and natural health is the chosen method, where do you draw the line?

I feel like splashing in duck water is an obvious no, but then he runs through pasture and puts rocks in his mouth, and I wonder just when I'm supposed to say, "No, put that down, that has germs on it!"

Because hot damn, everything in this house has germs on it.

I need to be more diligent in sticking to my guns on 'the rules', and more proactive with managing our gut health, but where do you other moms and dads stand on the germ discussion?

 
gardener
Posts: 697
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
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Around here we've pretty much just focused on getting the kids not to put things in their mouth that they've picked up off the ground and to wash their hands before they use them for eating. We are definitely not the cleanest of households with two teenagers, one toddler, two cats, two german shepherds, four chickens and 9 ducks. And don't get my wife started on her dirty husband tracking bits of trees and mud everywhere he goes.

That being said, I think that most of the illnesses (all minor colds and such) came from their interactions at school/daycare more than anything from the homestead.
 
Posts: 67
Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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Good question!

I'm extremely laid back with this kind of stuff. When I'm working with kids, I'm very lax on hand washing and dirt eating. After all the research I've done about soil organisms and how healthy they can be for our gut (I even take a soil organism probiotic), I'm more worried about children not getting enough exposure to those kinds of things.

That being said, I'd still be cautious around poop. I've had kids pick up rabbit poop before or touch bird poop and I usually just have them wipe their hands on the grass. And then I'd be sure to wash hands before coming inside to eat anything. Growing up, I never washed my hands. And I played outside a lot. So, maybe I was just lucky to never get sick.
 
gardener
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There is one issue with duck water, that I know of. Swimmers itch is caused by a snail or a bacteria associated with the snail, that thrives in the anaerobic conditions of really poopy ponds.
 
Posts: 40
Location: Whitefish, MT
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I'd be afraid of poopy water too! Essential oils are a great way to keep antibacterials, antivirals, and antifungals in your repertoire without bringing chemicals into your house. doTerra essential oils are high quality and sustainably sourced. They sell a blend called OnGuard which pretty much can handle anything. I highly recommend it.

Lots of great ways to use essential oils in your house, cleaning, treating illness, etc.

Good luck!
 
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He's just building his immune system. He'll probably grow up healthier than any kids in his class
 
Destiny Hagest
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I do use essential oils quite frequently in my cleaning, but I'm very picky about what I use and how much - I personally don't feel comfortable using blends with small children and animals around. I really just prefer to know exactly what's in what I'm using, since a few of those oils can cause some serious toxic reactions.

He is an incredibly tough little guy, very rarely does he get sick. He's incredibly active. My husband attributes it to the enormous amount of game meat I ate while I was pregnant, but I think being exposed to germs has really hardened his immune system.

I'm pretty laid back when it comes to this stuff, very much into free range parenting, but with a toddler, well you know, there's only so far I can really let that go haha! I feel like duck poo is a no, dog food isn't the end of the world, and climbing on the furniture can only happen with supervision, until he's older lol.
 
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germs and feces are two different stories, I completely reject the germ theory, as you say practically every surface of every object on earth that hasn't recently been baking hot or doused in a chemical has germs covering it (including you). Both of my older boys had been playing a game that had to do with drinking from a cup filled with bath water, the one threw up an hour later and the other had major gut issues the next day. We try our best to eat on the wapf guidelines (in a world convinced that pasteurized dairy is a good idea) which includes many raw cultured and fermented foods teeming with Germs! There is little money to be made from not "killing germs" which every household cleaning product or pasteurization process prides itself on it's ability to do. For my kids I would say yes to the ducks (and not run after them with an anti bacterial wipe after playing with them ) but no to the playing with their poopy water...
 
Destiny Hagest
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John Master wrote: For my kids I would say yes to the ducks (and not run after them with an anti bacterial wipe after playing with them ) but no to the playing with their poopy water...



I think this is precisely where I have landed He's so sweet, he's 14 months, and every morning he runs after our terrified ducks, arms outstretched chanting 'Whack! Whack! Whack!' (that's how he quacks). He tries to feed them and they just run from him as he shoves handfuls of feed at them enthusiastically. Definitely worth the experience of letting him have his ducky friends!
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pollinator
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John Duffy wrote:He's just building his immune system. He'll probably grow up healthier than any kids in his class


My opinion is the same as this one from 2 years ago.
I grew up (long ago, I'm over 60 now) putting everything in my mouth, and it was also my father's opinion that was 'good for the immune system'.
 
gardener
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I've heard that farm kids are far healthier than non-farm kids - germs exercise and develop the immune system. That said, I'd love a little update from Destiny. My math would put the youngster in the picture at just over 3 now. How is he getting along with the ducks now?
 
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This is all fun and games until parents get separated.   Judges and lawyers do not think eating dog food and playing in poop water is funny.   We like to not care what other people think until other people have the power to take our children. Then it becomes an entirely different set of permaculture skills.  How does one live and raise permies farm kids and still appear to the outside world to be "normal"?.   Clean shoes and preschool might not seem important until you child's life depends on them.  When you are out doing something fantastic with your child,  think how the experience will be recounted to the other parent by your child or others present.   Then think how the story will sound when your angry former partner recounts it to their lawyer or the judge....    This little bit of forward thinking may help you dial back your activities just a touch or you may be able to re-frame activities so they sound better when your angel excitedly tells of their happy life with you to the 'Other Parent"    
 
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