What is natural parenting anyway? Usually it includes things like cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding, and holistic medicine. But I think it is also about mindset and attitude, about trying to do the best for our children and ourselves in a natural, holistic manner.
Every family has to find its own balance and decide which practices are right for it. For example, I am an avid supporter of cloth diapering but find it much more convenient to do disposables at night and when we are out and about.
None of us will live up to the ideal of an “all-natural” parent, but the point is that we are trying and that we seek out the best for our families. Here are some resources we have found useful in that respect:
La Leche League The one, the only, the grandmother of them all. I am proud to say that I am the daughter of a La Leche League leader, from back in the days when breastfeeding was not widely accepted. I personally have found the LLL groups I have visited to be very warm, welcoming places. I have also continually been impressed at the knowledge and kindness of the LLL leaders, who also make themselves available for phone consultations. Please note that each LLL group is a little different, so if you find that the first one you visit isn’t quite the right fit, you may want to try another.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, published by La Leche League, is a must-have for the nursing mom’s bookshelf. Chock full of information and personal stories.
Kelly Mom is a really great, comprehensive online resource for nursing mothers. Many times I have found the answers I needed to some really random questions on this website.
Thomas Hale’s Medications and Mothers’ Milk is a classic reference book that is continually being updated. If you need to take a medication and aren’t sure how it will affect your nursing baby, this is the place to go. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the book, you can also check out Dr. Hale’s latest website.
Another resource to check regarding medications and breastfeeding is the database LactMed. One of the most comprehensive resources you can find online for this topic. Apparently this is also a LactMed app!
There are so many resources out there about cloth diapering. How do you know where to start? Here are some of my favorite websites:
Jillian’s Drawers is a wonderful online store based out of Ithaca, NY, that has a great deal of information about cloth diapering on its website. If you are just getting started, check out their New to Cloth page. I must confess I have a sentimental attachment to this store, because even though I have since found local sources for buying cloth diapers, I bought my first package of diapers for my Little Monkey from Jillian’s Drawers. I can still remember opening up that big package of beautiful diapers when I was very pregnant and just imagining the little baby that would soon be wearing them. *Sigh*
Another great resource is the online store Green Mountain Diapers, especially their very informative FAQs page. They also have a New Mom page that gives a great overview of getting started with cloth.
If that isn’t even info for you, the Kitchen Stewardship blog recently ran an in-depth series all about cloth diapers. I actually recommend starting with the last post in the series, which gives an overview of the topics covered (from absorbency tests to how to make your own cloth wipes).
Health and Wellness
William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN, The Baby Book. The first book we consult in all baby matters. Dr. Sears also has a wonderful website. He is a long-time supporter of breastfeeding and attachment parenting.