Omaha Area Natural Parents recognizes these ideals to strive for as natural parents. While no two families practice natural parenting the same way, there are several principles that are widely agreed as part of this lifestyle. These are ideals that we natural parents encourage even if we don’t always live up to all of them, chose them or are able to do them! Below this list you will find links to resources for each natural parenting category.
Pregnancy & Prepare for Birth — We believe in educating oneself as much as possible before and during pregnancy in preparation for birth.
- Know your options when it comes to maternal care (OB or Midwife) and birth location (Home-birth, Birth Center or Hospital).
- Know that you as the mother have complete say in whatever goes on during your pregnancy and during your birth.
- We encourage everyone to have a doula, especially first-time mothers!
- Educate yourself on Group B Strep, Gestational Diabetes, Pre-Eclampsia and know how to avoid them.
- Educate yourself on the necessity of inductions and how they can and do lead to more interventions including C-sections.
- Research vaccines, particularly Hep B because at hospitals the vaccine is given within 24 hours of birth.
- We strongly recommend that parents research circumcision. We believe routine infant circumcision is an unnecessary cosmetic procedure that can be potentially life threatening. It also completely disregards the child’s right to bodily integrity.
- Research interventions during labor and post-birth, this includes, but is not limited to: IV usage, fetal monitoring, epidurals and other pain medication. Post-birth, research can include: the vitamin K shot, eye antibiotic ointment, and necessity of doctors test(s). Be aware that some tests can be completed with baby in arms or at your pediatricians office.
- Research PPD (Post Partum Depression) know the signs; consider Placenta Encapsulation.
- Research elective ultrasounds. The American College of Obstetricians warns, “Ultrasonography should be performed only when there is a valid medical indication.” ACOG Excerpt
- Birth Bonding — Giving mother and baby time together immediately following birth and delaying measuring and tests. This includes rooming in.
- Delaying cord clamping until cord stops pulsating. The placenta is full of iron-rich/nutrient rich blood that baby needs immediately following birth. Or longer if you want to do a Lotus Birth.
- Delayed bathing if possible, the vernix protects babies skin.
Breastfeeding — We believe that breastfeeding is the foundation to a good mother/baby relationship. We recognize that not all moms are able to breastfeed and encourage bottle-feeding in a similar manner of breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding immediately following birth.
- Breastfeeding on demand; following baby’s cues, no rigid schedules.
- Exclusive Breastfeeding until 6 months+.
- Waiting to introduce solids until 6-8 months.
- Extended Breastfeeding post 1 year until mother and baby agree to stop.
- Breastfeeding in public is every mother’s right and we fully support that right.
- If you cannot breastfeed for any reason consider donor milk from a local group or milkbank. If you aren’t comfortable with donor milk, make sure the formula you are giving is the most nutritional.
- If bottle feeding, we encourage bottle-nursing (mimicking breastfeeding): The same person each time, baby held close to the body, ideally skin-to-skin in the beginning.
Seek Support from La Leche League, Lactation Consultants or breastfeeding counselors if you suspect a problem or are having trouble.
Night-Time Parenting — We believe that parenting does not end when the sun goes down and that children need us during the night as much as they do during the day.
- We encourage room sharing/co-sleeping or bed-sharing, not only does this make breastfeeding easier, but it also protects against SIDS and helps bonding. Note: We encourage bed sharing only when breastfeeding because of known risks, but encourage room sharing/separate surface co-sleeping for everyone!
- We encourage following baby’s natural sleep rhythms and patterns, not a schedule.
- We strongly discourage CIO/controlled crying/sleep training and instead encourage gentler sleep methods.
Note: Beware of Baby Trainers! Natural parenting advocates that you be discerning of advice, especially advice that promotes rigid and strict parenting styles. The ones that teach you to watch a clock or a schedule instead of your baby. This “convenience” parenting is a short-term gain, but a long-term loss, and is not a wise investment. These more restrained styles of parenting create a distance between you and your baby and keep you from becoming an expert in your child. Plus, these training styles have can detrimentally effect breast milk production and baby’s physical, emotional and mental health.
Bonding — We believe touch to be the most important bonding tool a parent has. Including, but not limited to the following:
- Baby-wearing until mobile and then whenever parent/child agree.
- Responding to cries in a prompt manner.
- Using nurturing touch such as baby massage and physical play for older children.
Gentle Discipline – We believe in teaching our children in a gentle and respectful manner. Discipline meaning “to teach” not “to punish”.
- Make empathy and respect a high priority. “A person is a person no matter how small.” ~Dr. Seuss
- Stay on top of basic needs — sleep, hunger, comfort.
- Fit discipline methods to suit your child.
- Prevent instead of react.
- Look for the win-win scenarios.
- Match the consequence with the unwanted behavior.
- Take care of yourself — make sure you are getting adequate sleep, food, and comfort/support.
- Emulate the behavior you want to see.
- Allow your child to feel, explain the emotion behind their feelings to help them identify easier.
- Protect and respect their sleep and eating routines to avoid tantrums.
Health and Safety – We believe in seeking out alternative methods when it comes to health and safety along with main stream methods.
- Seeking out alternative health options — Chiropractic, Herbal, Homeopathic, Aromatherapy, Yoga, Acupuncture, Massage and others.
- Car seat safety, specifically following the maximums for the car seats.
- Extended Rear-facing post 2 years.
- Monitoring exposure to advertising and marketing.
Holistic/Green-Living — We believe in protecting and respecting the world around us.
- Cloth Diapering and/or practicing Elimination Communication. If you must use disposables use earth-friendly, low-chemical options.
- Using Eco-friendly chemicals in the home (cleaners, soaps, toiletries)
- Recycling, reducing consumption and making Earth-friendly choices
- Reducing our dependence on plastics, opting for greener, renewable alternatives
- Choose to find toys and clothing made of natural fibers and materials (when/if possible)
- Spending time outdoors enjoying nature
Nutrition – We believe in offering the best when it comes to feeding our families. Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food ~Hippocrates
- Eating organic and/or supporting local farms (when/if possible).
- Research healthier food choices (no artificial colors/flavors/preservatives, HFCS, etc.)
- Grow your own food and homesteading as your situation allows.
- Healthy Kitchen — using no Teflon and limiting plastics.
- Learning about basic nutrition to prevent illness.
Balance – Although listed last, we feel family balance to be of the utmost important to a healthy and happy home. Stress the importance of the following:
- Taking time for yourself to recharge your energy levels.
- Spending time with your significant other one on one.
- Family fun nights — boardgames, movie, etc
- Utilizing strategies to keep stress down — Yoga, Meditation, Exercise, Therapy, etc.
We are not professionals, just passionate parents. We encourage you to do your own research on all the above topics.
Great places to start researching!
Kellymom — Comprehensive Breastfeeding Support.
La Leche League — Comprehensive Breastfeeding Support.
Mothering.com — All-inclusive AP and more parenting organization.
Dr Momma/Peaceful Parenting — CIO research, Circumcision info, and Gentle Discipline tips and more.
The Natural Child Project — Gentle Discipline and more.
The Whole Network — Circumcision research and information.
Saving Our Sons — Circumcision research and information.
Attachment Parenting International — All things Attachment Parenting, Gentle Discipline, Balance and more.
Cosleeping Research Lab at Notre Dame University — Extensive Co-sleeping research.
Play At Home Mom — Huge resource of ideas on how to inspire creative play for all ages.