We are what is called "natural parents" which is kind of crazy cause it's, ah, natural for anyone to be a parent right? It's because we practice "natural parenting" - the crazy idea that our child is, from birth, human. We parent in response to our child and consciously. I try to stop and think "What am I thinking", even to the point of saying it out loud when I need a moment to think about how I'm going to react to something that is presented to me.
From the Natural Parent Network, there are a few goals that sum up what we're on about. We prepared for our pregnancy and birth consciously. That meant actually talking (a lot) about having a child and consciously deciding to conceive. This didn't mean that we timed it and planned it to the nth degree but we did decide to welcome a child at a given time and it was right for us. We maintained our relatively healthy and active lifestyle and were very educated about the best healthcare provider for us and the best birth and plans for feeding and having a newborn.
Exclusive breastfeeding here! After a whole lot of dramas in getting going, we have stuck it out and I plan to keep feeding until she wants to stop. If that's when she's 2, ok. If it's night feeds to sleep at 4, great. I am happy to follow her lead. Same with introducing normal food. We have followed her lead on that entirely. She gave us very clear signals about wanting to eat (open mouth, zombie noises, reaching for it) and has taken to a few things with gusto. We eat homemade mostly, organic some of the times and consciously most of the time - and this trend is increasing as we move towards more organics as well with summer approaching.
We have the "crazy" notion that our child is not trying to manipulate us but is trying to communicate. She rarely cries unless hurt. She sleeps with us because it's easier as well as safer and warmer. The need for physical contact is clear with her and she is cuddley and comforted by our presence. We try to watch our language and as parents we often talk about the parenting we see around us and how it fits with our philosophy. We discipline gently, baby wear as much as possible, demand feed, have something of a rhythm each day but nothing like a routine, are fairly laid back and try to spend much of our day enjoying life, not working or cleaning or studying.
We are trialling a calendar where everything goes on it. Work, play, commitments, gym, rent day, birthdays, pay day. Everything.
We have one car and try not to use it every day. We eat organic where we can, cook from scratch a lot, choose eco-friendly, cloth nappy, support local growers, are passioate about homebirth and avoiding plastic, practice holistic health care (minimal doctors, well researched choices about vaccination, good food and exercise, are getting more into herbs and essential oils, visit a chiropractor, get regular massages, gave birth naturally, are trying not to gender our child at this early age but give her clothes of all colours and toys of all kinds.
We both have good body images and don't smoke, drink in moderation, enjoy life and listen to music.
And this from the Natural Parent website: