As is the case with every day of the #AtoZBloggingChallenge, I rack my brains all day, start panicking by evening and then suddenly a light bulb comes on somewhere in my brain and I find a topic for the day’s alphabet. But today was a moment I have been waiting to write about even before I started the #AtoZ Challenge and in fact the whole purpose behind my blog I think. Today’s topic was also fueled by this little boy, the reason for everything else right now. <3
After losing a small piece of my mind, over why #babyT was not yet stacking stuff (Yes, when you are a mom, such stuff is what nightmares are made of. I exaggerate of course.) I decided to take the plunge and buy him the very expensive Wooden Blocks by Melissa & Doug. We do have several types of blocks already, stacking rings, shape sorters, but i wasn’t seeing him enjoy them nor was he sharpening his fine motor skills. So the wooden blocks happened. And what do we have? I opened the packaging and placed the blocks in front of him and he stacked them. The boy stacked them. 5 in a line. He did!! I went into “hence proved” mode and for the n’th time accepted that natural parenting was the right way to bring up our child.
What do blocks have to do with natural parenting?
To understand my ecstasy let me tell you what natural parenting is in the first place and how we follow it. But before that a tiny disclaimer. Every parent and caregiver does their best for their child, considering their environment, means, interest and philosophy in life. This post by no means wants to bring down anyone else or their beliefs. It is an honest confession of how we have benefited by following some of its principles. By no means are we experts on natural parenting. Also every child responds to the particular environment they are in, learns and adapts to it. In no way are one set of children better than the other. Everyone is beautiful, talented and holds a lot of potential in their tiny hearts. <3
The Natural Parents Network defines Natural Parenting as a desire to live and parent responsively and consciously. While no two families who practice natural parenting may define it the same way, there are several principles that are widely agreed to be part of this lifestyle.
The large principles of Natural Parenting are –
When I started my parenting journey, I did not know what Natural Parenting was or that it was even a thing. However I knew that we as a family wanted to bring up a child in a simple manner, adopting a back to grassroots approach, emphasise the importance of breastfeeding, minimal medical intervention and so on and so forth.
So we did a lot of things and only later did we realize that we were not alone, we were actually a clan of people with a common goal of bringing up our children in a particular way.
But what were those things that do qualify as Natural Parenting?
Over the course of MommyingBabyT for a year+ and based on the reading I have done, I have come to understand that Natural Parenting is about following Mother Nature. It is about how She intended us to parent our children.
This involves a going back to basics approach, using just the objects available in the natural environment for bringing up baby. So, there is no formula or baby food, but there is breast-milk. There are no blenders to puree baby food, babies eat what is in the plates of their parents. There are no (disposable) diapers, parents use cloth or practice elimination communication. There are no plastic toys, but parents would fashion toys out of wood, stones, leaves or use elements present in the house to play with. 🙂 There are no walkers for babies to glide across the house, babies learn to play, stand, walk with support and then walk independently on their own. How heartening it is, isn’t it?
You may find, as you read more of this blog post and other reading you do, that you have indeed been following many of these principles. That’s just what it is, it is about what we know, have learned from our elders and combined with modern research and some of it innate, just like an inborn instinct.
Let me now tell you about our household and what practices we follow. This is an evolving list. As my faith continues to grow in this area and of course, as BabyT grows, I am sure I will find more ways to practice Natural Parenting.
Attachment & Responsive Parenting – Attachment parents prepare for pregnancy, the birth and parenting. It is about being responsive to your child’s cues and needs. Learning to interpret what the infant wants, and giving it each time he asks for it – be it mother’s milk, or a bottle or just to be held. Here’s what we did and practice now.
Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature – “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Having a child has made me realize how bad a shape the planet is in and how we continue to build landfills, pollute air, water and the land. Small baby steps by one household (ours) and at least a few more can go a long way to creating a demand for a new set of products which are sustainable and beneficial for the planet. That is what we can hope for at least.
Holistic Health Practices – the human body is an ingenious work of art and Mother Nature intended for us to be healthy, live wholesome lives and find all our remedies in nature itself. Of course one cannot discount the tremendous progress mankind has done with regards to healthcare. But understanding and making educated decisions before accepting modern healthcare blindly can contribute to giving us a healthier body and mind. I am not a supporter of the No Vaccine debate. But in other ways we do try and live holistically.
Natural Learning – This is where the wooden blocks come into the picture. As I mentioned earlier, babyT was having a tough time balancing plastic blocks or rings. He was able to do it but rather awkwardly. I was very amazed to see that the moment I opened the pack of the wooden blocks, he began stacking it and made a 5 block tower. Why did it happen? Because wooden blocks have weight. It engages a variety of senses to tell the baby how much force to use, how to hold it and balance it. I felt butterflies in my tummy really. This was real life natural learning happening before my eyes. I am SOLD! You can read more about the benefits of wooden toys here.
Natural parenting is about doing the best thing for your child and in the best way possible for you as a caregiver and parent. It is a back to basics approach. It is not an all or nothing approach. It is a take what you will and make the best of it approach. It is about developing together as a family and yet with respect for the individual and the larger environment.
I am very excited to see where this takes us in life. If nothing else I know we would have done something positive for our family, our home and for the Earth.