Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Post: A Few Interesting Natural Parenting Tidbits

Hybrid Rasta Mama: A Natural Parenting, Healthy Living BlogBy Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama.

I read several non-natural parenting blogs. GASP! I know, I know…shun me now! But in all seriousness, just because someone does not practice the same parenting principals that I do, does not at all mean that they are horrible parents. Yes, sometimes what I read gets my stomach turning because I know that there is a better way to handle situation X, Y, or Z but in the end, every parent is on their own journey and I simply cannot inspire or influence them all!

However, I was floored by a comment I read on a blog the other day. It got my hackles up in a big way! The blog’s author said that “natural parenting is just a bunch of hippie hype which attempts to make real parents, struggling in the real world, feel like a bunch of Neanderthals incapable of making decisions about what is really best for their children.” She then went on to outline how perfect her non-breast fed, fully vaccinated, crib sleeping, cry-it-out sleep trained, non-organic fed, pack and play confined, Johnson and Johnson baby wash scrubbed children are. Ok – maybe her children are doing just fine (from her perspective) and that is  terrific. I hope that they really are as perfect as she made them out to be. However, I take great offense to A) Natural Parenting being referred to as “hippie hype” and B) her assuming that ALL parents raising their children from a natural parenting framework pass harsh judgment on those parents who employ a different method of parenting. I for one have never once made anyone feel like a Neanderthal. I swear.

The blog author continued on and although I should have just stopped reading, I had to persevere and see if I could make sense of this mother’s thought process. Well, all I succeeded in doing was getting more agitated. You see, this mother had the nerve to go on a three loooong paragraph rant about how natural parenting is a fad, something popular, that every “green living wanna-be” parent out there is “pretending” to wholeheartedly do. She then proclaimed that within the next decade we will all go back to the norm – formula feeding and beating our children senseless. Wow! Double wow! Words escaped me.

On the same day that I read that atrocity, I was perusing various internet sites and stumbled across some rather interesting facts. I thought that the information presented a pretty good argument as to why natural parenting practices are NOT a phase or a fad. Just because advocates of natural parenting are making their voices heard in a big way does not mean that natural parenting is far outside the norm or some sort of “popular, newfangled” approach. When it comes down to it, natural parenting has worked since the creation of human beings.

Here are the few tidbits that I thought might interest a few of you. I believe that they completely destroy that misinformed blogger’s argument.

Breastmilk has nourished mankind since the beginning of time. If you couldn't nurse your baby, or find someone else to do it, there was no driving to the corner store for a can of formula: your baby was doomed. Formula was created in 1867 by Justus von Liebig as a means of feeding orphaned infants, but it wasn't until the mid-twentieth century that formula really came into vogue. Breastfeeding was deemed archaic, and breasts themselves lost their purpose as sustenance and became viewed as nothing more than sexual devices.

Which is more natural: 250,000 years of breastfeeding or 140 years of formula?

Babywearing was not just a fashion statement when humans were still new to this planet. It served a dual purpose: it kept the mother's hands free while she worked and gathered food, and it held the baby close to keep it safe from predators. It wasn't until 1733 that an alternative arrived: an English architect named William Kent invented the first baby carriage for the Duke of Devonshire's children. Even though strollers are now widely available in developed parts of the world, the majority of mothers in less industrial areas still choose to wear their babies, for the same reasons the first cavewomen did with their own infants.

Which is more natural: 250,000 years of babywearing or 274 years of strollers?

Cloth diapers, or diapers made out of any organic material, have been the norm since babies have been pooping in them. Some ancient diapers consisted of animal skins stuffed with moss or leaves, while infants in tropical areas usually just went naked and pottied wherever they sat. In 1950, Marion Donovan invented the first disposable diaper, which continues to be innovated to this day as they accumulate in landfills.

Which is more natural: 250,000 years of cloth diapers or 57 years of disposables?

Cosleeping was a necessity to early man. Piling all the family together in one bed to sleep at night not only helped keep everyone warm, but it gave the children and infants protection against predators, who would surely have wasted no time snatching them up if they'd been laid to sleep in a separate bed in a different part of the cave. As man evolved to the point where warmth and predators were no longer an issue, cosleeping still remained, mostly as a matter of practicality. Only royalty lived in houses big enough to put their youngsters in separate bedrooms, so the average family continued to sleep together. Even now, the majority of the world's population lives in one-room homes, and the ones that don't still might cosleep for comfort and security. America is an anomaly in the fact that most of us have enough money to live in houses with separate bedrooms for each family member. It wasn't until the 18th century, when American culture began to boom and most of its citizens became quite wealthy as a result, did the multiple-room house become the standard.

Which is more natural: 250,000 years of cosleeping or roughly 200 years of separate beds?

Homebirth was the standard up until the 1940s, when America was obsessed with everything that modern science could offer. It didn't take long for women to object to the model of hospital birth, however, and in the 1960s homebirth celebrated a revival. But by the 1970s, it was back to the hospital, where C-section rates over the next 30 years climbed from 5% to over 30%. 1 in 3 pregnant women today will deliver their baby by surgical procedure. Does this mean that our reproductive organs have suddenly stopped functioning? No. It simply shows that the medical field still has a very long way to go when it comes to understanding the mystical complexity that is birth, and in a day and age where we are blessed to have proper hygiene, clean water, and access to life-saving technology if necessary, the optimal environment for birth still remains to be the home.

Which is more natural: 250,000 years of homebirth or roughly 60 years of hospital birth?

Interesting stuff is it not?

Peace and Love,


Jennifer blogs at Hybrid Rasta Mama and sees herself as a hybrid parent. She takes a little of this, throws in a little of that, and blends it all together to create a parenting style that is centered on what her daughter needs in order to flourish as a human being. Jennifer blogs about all things related to mindful, conscious parenting, natural living, holistic healing, real foods, and Waldorf education/Waldorf inspired parenting. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle +, and Pinterest.

Photo Credit:
Cloth Diapers: My photo

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  1. Thank you for sharing this, and I'm sorry you had to deal with someone so narrow minded and pessimistic.

  2. It being /more/ natural isn't the point; the lady had already dismissed natural parenting. It being old also doesn't indicate the *the current surge to return to these ways* is not a fad. And the age of the practices does not mean they are better than newer ways.

    I don't like what that person said, and I am a fan of attachment, gentle, and natural parenting, but I think your logic is rather flawed.

  3. The same thoughts run through my mind in respect to those issues as well. Why am I planning to babywear, breastfeed, and cloth diaper? Because it's been done by women for centuries who were successful because it was their only option. They didn't have instant solutions thrown in their faces as soon as they had trouble. Most of what I read in opposition to natural parenting are in favor of convenience.

  4. I would have to agree with Anonymous in that your logic is flawed. If you wanted to continue with that logic, you could say that infant/child car seats are unnecessary because they are a newer invention. Being the old way of doing things is not necessarily the best. While I do plan to parent as naturally as possible, I'll simply explain "this is my choice" when questioned rather than trying to justify it.

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