Sunday, March 6, 2011

Top 10 Things That Have Helped Me Become a Natural Parent

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


The Accidental Natural Mama's Top 10 List
1. Breastfeeding support group: Prior to giving birth, I had never been around breastfeeders and was not breastfed myself. I didn’t really know how the whole thing was supposed to go—the only images that I had in my mind of nourishing babies involved bottles and cans of formula. When I was knocked upside the breast (left breast, to be exact) with mastitis two weeks post-partum, I made my way to a local breastfeeding group at the hospital where I had delivered my daughter. It turned out to be one of the best choices I ever made. Not only did I find the support I needed to continue nursing, but I also made some wonderful friends who have become an integral part of my life as a natural mama.

(Nursing in the park, 5 months old)

2. Alfie Kohn: Let’s face it—ever natural mama needs some Alfie in her life. Kohn’s book Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason was a game-changer. I’m serious—this book changed my life. I read it; I loved it, and now I live it.

3. Moby Wrap: For the first six months or so of my daughter’s life, the Moby was our best friend. Not only did it keep her snuggly, close, and safe, but I was also able to write the first three chapters of my dissertation while she snoozed cozied up against me. I was also able to do some more basic care things, like eat and move around the house. I visited New York City with my daughter wrapped in the Moby! Heck, I even scrubbed baseboards once. Don’t worry, though, that one didn’t become a habit!

(NYC in the Moby)

4. Playgroup: Remember those friends I made in the breastfeeding group? Well, we formed a playgroup. Finding like-minded mamas has been so meaningful for both me and my daughter. We share ideas, books, support, food—what more could you ask for? I realize how isolated many women are—parenting can be such a lonely act. Having a consistent group to call my own has been invaluable.

5. Google: Let me just put it this way—thanks to Google, I now know what a Lotus Birth is. See—you are going to Google it, aren’t you?

6. Facebook: Oh, Facebook—how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…In all seriousness, I am continually amazed by the amount of natural parenting content on Facebook. All I have to do is “Like” a page or add a friend, and I am immediately linked into seemingly limitless information. Not too long ago, I was using Facebook to keep track of old pals' weekend shenanigans. Now, I use Facebook to keep up with the latest in the natural parenting world. Okay, okay, I still may do some light cyber stalking.

7. La Leche League: The LLL Toddler Meeting has been really helpful in particular. I think it is really helpful to hear about a range of experiences that are situated within a parenting framework that is similar to my own. I know that when I bring up a topic at LLL, I am going to hear feedback from people who are coming from the same general space that I am. Even if there are some differences in parenting, the underlying philosophies tend to be the same.

8. A Child-Friendly City: I live in Athens, Georgia, which is known for a great music scene, a large university, and lots of bars (not necessarily in that order). What I didn’t realize before having a child was that Athens was also great for raising a family. I feel like I have a wealth of resources—a great kids’ program at the library, a fabulous conscious parenting network, several parenting centers that cater to the natural set, an active breastfeeding community, a vibrant homeschooling culture, a farmer’s market, and more. If you know where to go, natural parents can find lots of folks to chat with about cloth diapers, nursing, doulas, and more. I know I am really lucky to live in such a place, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know a different side of the town!

(Visiting one of the many in-town parks)

9. A Supportive Co-Parent: My co-parent happens to be my husband, Luke. He is so supportive and has really been willing to join me on the journey towards natural parenting. Nothing melts the heart more than watching your burly husband enthusiastically use Baby Signs in the middle of a crowded restaurant or defend my nursing in public or boast about the merits of co-sleeping. Alexandra is really lucky to have him as a Daddy, and I am proud to have him as a husband. Okay, mushy stuff over.

(Daddy and Alexandra checking out snakes at the zoo)

10. A Great Family: My daughter and husband are fantastic, but I am also referring to my extended family. Okay, so my mom isn’t crazy about the nursing in public thing (yet) and my mother-in-law might not totally be convinced about the “try to avoid the word ‘no’” bit, but I think that we are slowly yet surely revealing the magic of natural parenting. I would like to believe that our families see that even though we are doing things a little differently, we aim for every action and utterance to be filled with love, empathy, and peace.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Choosing to Breastfeed — From selfishness to self-giving, CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy lists reasons why breast is best for her and her family.

  • The Top 10 Ways to Succeed as an Working Attachment ParentThat Mama Gretchen shares tried and true ways to succeed with attachment parenting even when working away from home during the day.

  • Ten Ways Families Can Enjoy Nature (for free!) — Spring is nearly in the air, and Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction is dreaming of the fun and frugal ways that her family is going to get out and enjoy nature this summer.

  • Top 10 Nursing Positions / SituationsMomma Jorje uses her 5½ years of nursing experience to share her Top 10 Nursing Positions/Situations. She includes some adorable photos of her youngest daughter at the breast.

  • My Top Ten (plus two) Life Altering and Growth Inspiring Books — A top ten list of books from MJ at Wander Wonder Discover that changed her life as an individual, a parent, and an earth dweller.

  • Top Ten Ways to Be Present With Family — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares how to make the most of parenting and family life through being present.

  • Top Ten Reasons Why Natural Parenting Dads Are So Attractive — Nada at miniMOMist sure digs her husband, but it's not just his good looks -- it's his parenting!

  • Top Ten Natural Tools for the Work of Play — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree offers insight into 10 natural toys that will span the early years (and save you money).

  • Top Ten Ways To Have a Harmonious Home — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her natural parenting-inspired methods for maintaining a harmonious daily life with her toddler.

  • Top Ten Reasons Why Home Birth Rocks — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares her passion for birthing at home - the natural place for natural birth.

  • Top Ten Books for Natural Parenting — Pregnancy, herbs, cooking, and healthcare — the ten books Asha at Meta Mom the most.

  • Top 10 Slacker Ways to Natural ParentGuavalicious is happy to show you how to parent naturally the slacker way.

  • Top10 Ways to Spark Interest, Learn, and Have Fun With Everyday Tasks! — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon gives you her top 10 ways of incorporating fun and lessons into everyday tasks and chores.

  • Top 10 Tips on Authentic Grandparenting — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting offers a list of tips to make the grandparent-parent-child relationship flow smoothly.

  • Top 10 books for raising loving, spiritual children — In her 'food for the soul' post, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her favourite spiritual books. No matter what religion you practise, there's something for everyone!

  • Top 10 Ways to Know You Are a Natural Parent — So what makes us "natural parents," anyway? A lighthearted look at the Top 10 Ways to Know You Are a Natural Parent by the editors and readers of Natural Parents Network.

  • 10 Things That Helped Me Become a Natural MamaThe Accidental Natural Mama counts down ten things that helped her find her moderately crunchy inner mama self.

  • 10 Reasons We Unschool — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains why unschooling is the right choice for her family.

  • Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Toddler — Extended breast-feeder Kate Wicker of Momopoly makes her own top 10 list for why she loves nursing her 2-year-old.

  • 10 Lessons in 1 Year — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares 10 parenting lessons that she has learned throughout her first year of motherhood.

  • My Top Ten Parenting Tools — Amyables at Toddler In Tow names the top ten tools that have been helpful to her while learning to parent respectfully and successfully.

  • 10 Reasons to Choose Baby Led Weaning — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares ten reasons to choose Baby Led Weaning when it comes to solids.

  • Top 10 reasons to choose midwifery care — Lauren at Hobo Mama lists the features that drew her to midwives' care for pregnancy and birth.

  • Top 10 Reasons to Co-Sleep — 10 practical, emotional, and completely selfish reasons to co-sleep and share a family bed from Lily, aka Witch Mom.

  • Top 10 Things No One Told Me About Natural Parenting — Adrienne at Mommying My Way explains that the best things about natural parenting are things she never expected.

  • Natural Parenting Benny & Bex Style — Pecky at Benny and Bex explains why Natural Parenting principles work best for her boys.

  • Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Time-Out — If you are uncomfortable using time-outs in an attempt to control your child's behavior, try one of these gentler alternatives. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Time-Out.

  • Top 10 Breastfeeding Misconceptions — Sheila at A Gift Universe examines ten reasons women give for why they didn't breastfeed as long as they wanted, and shows how these obstacles can be overcome.

  • Postpartum Gift Ideas — Alicia at I Found My Feet suggests a top 10 list of gifts for mother's after giving birth.

  • Top Ten Mama Necessities Money Can't Buy — Buying baby gear is fun, but Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama knows real parenting must-haves can't be bought in stores (or even on Amazon).

  • The Pandas' Top Five Crunch-osophies — Top five crunchy philosophies, as employed at the Panda Residence by Ana at Pandamoly.

  • Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children has shared 10 reasons why you should leave your newborn son intact.

  • Top Ten New Mom Survival Tools — Wolfmother shares her most beloved motherhood survival tools at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.

  • My Top 10 Parenting ScripturesDulce de leche is learning to integrate faith and parenting. Whether it is breastfeeding, babywearing, comforting her children, or gentle discipline, she finds that the Bible has beautiful passages to encourage her on her journey.
  • Ten Great Spring Activities To Do With Preschoolers — Kellie at Our Mindful Life and her family have come up with a great list of activities to do together this spring.

  • Attachment Parenting in the NICU — Erica at ChildOrganics shares some strategies to help you parent naturally in some unnatural circumstances.

  • Preparing for a Hospital VBAC: My Top 10 — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis shares 10 ways she's preparing for her upcoming hospital VBAC.

  • 10 Ways to Reuse Yogurt Containers — Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes keeps the stacks of yogurt containers out of her recycling bin by reusing them in both practical and creative ways.

  • Top Ten Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Know — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood believes knowledge is power and wants all moms to be well informed.

  • Simply what it looks like — Andrea!!! from Ella-Bean & Co. offers a glimpse into natural parenting through the eyes of mama and babe.

  • Natural Cleaning Ideas - Top 10 — Laura at Laura's Blog lists the ways she keeps her house clean and clear of chemicals.

  • My Top Ten Shows Worthy Of Screen Time — Tree at Mom Grooves shares her top ten list of shows that she believes are positive, educational, kind, joyful, and a nice way to share some downtime with your children.

  • 10 differences between pregnancy and parenting in Japan and the US — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry gives her impressions about differences in pregnancy and parenting in Japan and the US.

  • Top Ten "Dad" Things — Liam at In The Now talks about his favourite ways to spend time with his children.

  • 10 Most Popular Ways To Treat Cloth Diaper Stains — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey gives ten easy tips to make your diapers like new.

  • Top 10 reasons why cloth nappies are fun — Tat at Cloth Nappies Are Fun shows how using cloth nappies can brighten up your day.

  • Top 10 Books for a Natural Mum — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine talks about her Top 10 Books for a Natural Mum.

  • Top 10 Ways to Use Natural Parenting for Children with Special Needs — Danielle at Mommy Makes Cents feeds the needs of her family and special needs child through the use of Natural Parenting.

  • Ten things everyone should know about unassisted homebirth — Olivia at Write About Birth shares practical tips for women considering an unassisted homebirth and debunks some common myths

  • Ten Reasons it Felt Sew Good To Make My Own Play Food — Brittany at Mama's Felt Cafe lists her 10 (OK, 11) favorite reasons to grab a needle and start sewing your own felt play toys.

  • Ten Reasons to Plan a Home Birth — Since a home birth can be an incredibly empowering experience, Leslie at Lights and Letters outlines ten reasons why you should plan to have your baby at home.

  • Top Ten Books for Birth, Breastfeeding and Parenting — Megan at Just Me(gan) writes about the ten books that have helped her the most in her natural parenting journey.

  • Step Away From the Amazon List — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine wishes she hadn't bought so much useless stuff.

  • 10 Ways to Cloth Diaper on a Budget — Michelle at The Parent Vortex shares her best thrifty cloth diapering tips.

  • Top 10 Natural Strategies for Conception (aka How to Get Pregnant!) — Despite facing plenty of health issues, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama found her way to two first-try pregnancies thanks to these natural strategies.

  • Must Read: Natural Parenting Top Ten — Amy at Anktangle wants you to do a little reading! She shares her top ten favorite books to help parents prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

  • Top 10 ways I'm not very good at natural parenting (and why I keep trying anyway) — Jenny at Babyfingers shares the ways she is imperfect as a natural parent, and why she embraces natural parenting anyway.

  • Going Granola — Tashmica from The Mother Flippin' Blog describes the 10 ways that natural parenting sneaked up on her. She never expected to go all granola on the world.

  • My Top Ten New Mommy Moments — Melissa at The New Mommy Files recounts the ten most memorable moments of her daughter's first year.

  • A Top Ten Letter To Me... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes herself a letter of reflections and bits of wisdom she would have liked to know as a new mama.

  • 10 reasons why I chose breast over bottles — Becky at Old New Legacy writes a quick list of why she chose breast over bottles.

  • Top 10 Ways to Get Breastfeeding Off To a Good Start — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes shares 10 effective ways to ensure breastfeeding gets off to a good start.

  • Ten Fundamentals — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante gets philosophical with a list of the fundamentals that drive her natural parenting.

  • Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives her top 10 list of Montessori principles parents can use to encourage their children’s natural learning.

  • Ten Top Ways to Connect Kids with Nature — Terri from Child at the Nature Isle offers 10 ways to immerse ourselves in the natural world and develop a love affair with the Earth.

  • 10 Natural Baby Items I Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares product ideas to support your natural parenting.

  • Top 10 Things In My Arsenal of Kitchen Witchy Mama Tricks. — Joni Rae at Tales of A Kitchen Witch shares with us the simple things she would never want to be missing from her cupboards.

  • Top 10 Flower Essences for Families — Kim of Nature Baby Bloggings lists her pick of the top ten flower essence which can help ease families through the ups and downs of life.

  • 10 Family Systems and Routines That Work for Us — See what routines, organizational systems, and parenting approaches work for Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings to help avoid conflict and maintain sanity in a family with three young children.

  • Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Before Little Man — In this reflective post, The ArstyMama discusses ten things she wishes she knew more about before the birth of her son, Little Man.

  • The Top 10 Things Every Natural Household (with children) Should Have — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a list of the most common natural products and remedies she uses for health and cleaning.


    Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

    "Every natural mama needs some Alfie in her life." I couldn't agree more! :) I love the light-hearted way you write, and I so agree with all your points. I remember Googling lotus birth at one point…

    MJ said...

    You, Alfie Kohn's book is the only one in the host of peaceful and respectful parenting books that I have NOT read yet!!! I know it must go on my list :). Also nice to hear a plug for Athens. We live in Orlando and are looking to relocate so we'll have to check it out!

    Liam J. said...

    I'm guessing a lot of natural/attachment parents came about the same way - a slow trickle leading to an abundance of resources, leading to a better way of doing things.

    Good post!

    Guavalicious said...

    I love, love, love the picture of you nursing. I was huge on nursing in public and happily smiled at anyone who gave me the stink eye. They should consider themselves lucky I wasn't tandem feeding my twins. :)

    BTW, a night of sleep in a hotel alone is high atop my fantasy list too.

    Gretchen said...

    Athens sounds like a wonderful place for natural parenting! Cheers to you for connecting is so many ways!

    I echo the importance of a great co-parent. My husband can't stop talking about how much he loves co-sleeping. It's too sweet :)

    Megan B. said...

    The natural parenting community online has been a great resource to me as well. I need to read Kohn's book.

    Kids fashion blogger said...

    Thank you all for reading the post and commenting!

    Momma Jorje said...

    Great post! I can relate from parenting my older daughter. I wish I had the same support locally with my youngest, but then I also just don't want to go anywhere. Working outside the home makes me want to spend every spare minute at home.

    (So the support is probably out there to be found, I just haven't hunted.)

    Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

    Thanks so much for sharing~ it is amazing what a few good connections can lead to! Alfie changed my life too ♥

    Come & Join the Playdate!

    Wolfmother said...

    I keep hearing about Alfie Kohn, I'll have to order myself a copy of his book then!

    melissa joanne said...

    I could hardly agree more with your list! I love that google is on there as well ;) Playgroup has been a major lifesaver for us, and Alfie Kohn is brilliant!

    Dionna said...

    Oh Alfie - he is a mind-changer, isn't he?! And as far as a child-friendly city - we live in Kansas City, and there are so many great things for kids to do (I just wish we had better public transportation). It's also a wonderful city for homeschoolers - which is an added bonus :)

    Isil Simsek said...

    what a wonderful community you have!

    Kat said...

    Love this post and the pictures (especially the one of you breastfeeding in the park...lovely!). Love that you mention how important family's a huge part of your community and it's so good to have them be involved :-)

    pecky said...

    Love to hear from another accidental Natural Mama! My story is similar to yours - I didn't know my parenting style had a name until the wonderful world Google opened up to me. Now between that, all the new Facebook groups, and the NP Carnivals, I'm picking up new tips and tricks all the time! Thanks for sharing :)

    Tat said...

    I am going to look up Alfie Kohn and his book, it sounds like something I can definitely use.