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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
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A Little Bit of All of It: A Natural Parenting Blog
October Unprocessed 2012
Freedom of Cloth Carnival

Archive for the ‘Attachment Parenting’ Category

Does Your Diet Affect Breast Milk?

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

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Under Pressure

Under Pressure (Photo credit: Forty Two.)

There is a lot of pressure on us as women and as mothers in particular. High expectations of looking a certain way, eating a certain way, being on top of everything while being pillars of support are placed on us every single day.

I think this is part of why it’s so easy to get both defensive and judgmental when it comes to parenting.

Particularly as new mothers, we are barraged with information and criticism from every corner, all while trying to figure out this totally new role of parenting on less sleep than we’ve ever gotten in our lives. Not. Easy.

Among the topics that come up for the most controversy, you could hardly pick a more prevalent one than breastfeeding. And the pressure here is multiplied tenfold – you’re constantly told it’s best for your baby while at the same time stumbling through minefields of ‘booby traps’ or obstacles to breastfeeding.

I traveled through that minefield and crashed and burned. Lack of support, misinformation, pain and agony and more – the reasons I gave up on breastfeeding were many – and sneaking in right along with them were feelings of inadequacy. I wasn’t healthy enough. I didn’t eat well enough. I was too fat.

I wasn’t a good enough mother to do the best for my baby. Read the rest of this entry »

Father’s Day…It Just Doesn’t Make Sense To Me

Bean w/Daddy & Grandpa

Today is Father’s Day, a day when we honour the men who raised us.  From my perspective as a son, I can fully understand this.

My father worked 16 hours a day for 25 years, only taking a handful of days off (he even worked a half day on Christmas every year).

It was through his sacrifices that I was able to go to college. He provided for our family and taught me what a real work ethic was.

To this day, he still tries to make sacrifices by telling me I shouldn’t have bought him anything for Father’s Day, and that I should have saved the money.

As a son, this Father’s Day thing makes perfect sense. It’s the official day to recognize and give back to our dads for the countless things they do for us.

As a father myself, and looking at it from a father’s perspective, this day makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

Let me start from the beginning. Read the rest of this entry »

DIY – A Natural Parents Network Volunteer Blog BLITZ!

It’s that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer’s most popular or favorite posts from the year. Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on Do It Yourself projects, How To’s, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to.

I consider it such an honour to be part of this awesome group of volunteers and benefit from their wisdom all the time. There are so many wonderful posts here and I hope that this serves as an excellent resource that you can pass on to your friends! Enjoy!

Jorje of Momma Jorje.com shares her Family Cloth Tutorial in pictures. She includes step by step photos with some tips for making very neat family cloth. You can find Momma Jorje on Facebook, too!

Lani at Boobie Time Blog shares “How to Help a New Breastfeeding Mom.” This post provides some tips on helping a new mom while she is learning to Breastfeed. You can also find Boobie Time Blog on Facebook and Twitter.Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy momma

Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares “How I Make Cloth Wipes.” This post details how Amanda made all of her cloth wipes. You can also find Let’s Take the Metro on Facebook.

Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares “Lessons in a Picture Book.” A Lesson plan for pancakes and how to make your own butter! You can also find True Confessions of a Real Mommy on Facebook and Twitter.

Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares “Tips for Road Tripping with a Toddler.” A long car trip with a young child can be a great way to make some wonderful memories if you are prepared to meet the challenges. You can also find Monkey Butt Junction on Facebook and Twitter. 

Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares “Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread.” This recipe tutorial shows you how to make a sweet whole wheat bread with beautiful cinnamon swirls in each slice. You can also find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares “How To Consume Coconut Oil Plus Coconut Oil Candy Recipes.” This post provides some tips on how to get your daily dose of coconut oil down the hatch. It also provides some very tasty recipes for coconut oil candy! You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Alicia at Lactation Narration gives some ideas for how to accomplish Partial Weaning for moms who would like to cut down on nursing without completely weaning. You can also find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares “A Learning-Rich Environment.” This post provides a number of suggestions for creating a learning-rich environment and incorporating learning into everyday life, with a particular focus on the preschool age. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +.

BecomingCrunchyKelly at Becoming Crunchy shares “Kale Chips = Awesome! This post shares a super easy recipe for making a super easy (and surprisingly tasty) snack from one of the most healthful greens around. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares “How to Move to California.” A silly how-to she wrote while she and her then fiance were driving to their new home. You can also find Shannon on Pinterest, Flickr, and Google +.

Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen shares a recipe for “Homemade Fruit Leather.” It’s easier than you ever thought and the perfect snack for you and your family. You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares “How I Cloth Diaper (Part 1).” This post details the way Julia has cloth diapered her daughter along with the products she uses. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Joella at Fine and Fair shares “Our First Sensory Bins.” In this post, she shares how she made a “Scoop, Measure, and Pour” themed sensory bin, as well as an “In the Garden” themed bin. She also shares some tips for making your own sensory bins! Fine and Fair can be found on Facebook and Twitter. 

Visit Code Name: MamaFor all of you breastfeeding mamas, Dionna at Code Name: Mama has the ultimate DIY experience with the main ingredient being your breastmilk! 58 Medical, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk includes a cradle cap remedy, an anti-itch salve, weaning jewelry, lotion, and more. You can also find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings offers several ideas for “Keeping a Toddler Happily Busy on a Long Flight.” The list includes handmade felt activities, among many other things. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Shannon at The Artful Mama shares “Preparing Toddlers for Birth.” This post features MamAmor dolls and shows some alternative ways to talk to toddlers about pregnancy and birth. You can also find The Artful Mama on Facebook and Twitter.

Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her “Family Binder DIY.” This post shows how to put together a family binder, to help organize cleaning, meal planning, shopping and budgeting all in one convenient location!

I Thought I Knew Mama: A window into the adventures of stay at home mamahood, natural parenting, & green and healthy livingCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares “5 Green Living, Spring Cleaning Tips.” This post provides easy ways to keep the toxins out of your home and to freshen up your home for spring. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares “Daily Bread: My Favorite Whole Grain Bread Machine Recipe.” This recipe is easy, highly adaptable, and a great starting point for creating your own daily (or almost daily!) homemade bread. You can also find Intrepid Murmurings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares “10 Tips for Toddler Carseat Woes.” Check out these ideas of dealing with toddler carseat issues without resorting to punishments. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares “DIY Mom’s Night In.” A somewhat humorous solution, this post provides exhausted Mamas the recipe for the perfect way to recharge!

Stacy at Sweet Sky shares “Ways to Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Days.” This post provides tips and tricks to bring yourself back to the present moment, so you can be the parent you want to be. You can also find Stacy on Facebook.

AnktangleAmy at Anktangle shows us how to make your own popsicle stick puzzles, a fun and simple “busy bag” activity for toddlers and preschool aged children. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shares “How to sew a mei tai baby carrier.” The mei tai is Lauren and Sam’s favorite carrier for baby Alrik: as comfortable and simple as it is beautiful. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Visit African Babies Don't CryChristine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares “How to Make Rainbow Coloured Rice (Without Alcohol) for a Toddler Sensory Bin.” This post provides a step by step tutorial for making vibrantly coloured rainbow rice for sensory play, includes a printable PDF. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares “How To Send A Hug In An Envelope.” This post is a creative way to send more than just the standard card to love ones. It literally is a hug in an envelope! You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

Tips for Parenting a Child With Special Medical Needs

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


It is a huge honour to have Jorje from Momma Jorje guest posting here for this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting. Please make sure to stop by and check out her blog and Facebook page if you’re not a fan already!

We were very lucky in that we got advanced notice that we would be having a child with special needs. We received Spencer’s Down syndrome diagnosis about mid-pregnancy. I kind of saw this as having a new hobby thrust upon me.

Spencer's TherapySpencer’s first therapy started with something
as simple as putting a toy in his hands.

I don’t mean to make light of the situation, trust me. However, I now had a new passion to research. Isn’t that what you do with a new hobby? Then I came up with a plan to manage his care. I put together a notebook with tabs for all the different types of problems he might have, so we could avoid overlooking anything. I added paper to each section and jotted down which tests he needed to have and when.

I’d been told that babies with Down syndrome don’t really require much special assistance for the first 6 months. That isn’t entirely true. Aside from low muscle tone (which is very common, but Spencer does not have), babies with Down syndrome tend to have small mouths. The reason this is a problem is that their tongues are not so small. They tend to thrust them forward and out. So far, Spencer doesn’t do this too much, but he did need to work with a Speech Therapist when we were in the hospital. What? Speech? Yes, because they work with the mouth, not just speaking. It is hard to eat if you continuously push the food out of your mouth, ya know?

Spencer's Hearing Test in NICUSpencer had his hearing tested in the hospital and again shortly after leaving. He’ll be tested again at 6 months old and then annually throughout childhood.

Spencer has required several extra medical appointments by comparison to “typical” children. (At 2 months old, he has already seen a pediatrician several times, a cardiologist, an audiologist, and has had 2 x-rays done, soon to be another. He also has blood-work to be drawn soon.) I had originally thought I’d purchase a Day Timer or other such calendar book, though I really love my Google Calendar. As a minimalist and being broke, I put off the purchase and never did get to it. Instead, I now print a month or two ahead (from my Google calendar!) and keep it in his notebook. This makes it easier to book follow-up appointments while I’m on site without the risk of double booking. You do, however, have to make sure to keep all calendars synced. I have to come home and immediately add appointments to my online calendar.

My quick tips, from my minimal experience parenting a child with special medical needs: Read the rest of this entry »

In Her Own Bed

Sleeping Angels

Since the day our little Bean was born, we’ve been practicing a form of co-sleeping known as bedsharing, something that has been a sweet, sweet bonding experience – especially since I’ve returned to work full-time.

We hadn’t set any expectations for this practice to end, but simply waited on a time that seemed right.

This bittersweet time has now (sort of) come for us.

It started a few weeks back as Bean approached the 18-month mark. She sleeps between my husband and I on our queen size bed, which has generally provided enough space for all involved, until she decided to start taking a little more than her fair share!

How could a tiny toddler take up so much space??

And yet one or both of us (my husband and I) would all too frequently find ourselves hanging on to the side of the bed by a hair, curled up in a bottom corner, or simply relegated to the couch or guest bed when we couldn’t take it any longer.

This grew progressively worse, to the point where for several nights in a row I was being pushed, kicked and prodded by a little Bean who was no longer seeming to get the concept of bed ‘sharing’ and seemed all too consumed with the idea of bed ‘hogging’.

I don’t mind admitting – I lost my patience with this idea pretty darn quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

The Thing You Don’t Know

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.

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At the Baby Loves Disco party Sunday afternoon.

“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don’t know.”

This quote is one of the central ideas of the book The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver; it is a statement made by artist Frida Kahlo to fictional protagonist Harrison Shepherd, following a mutual revelation of previously undisclosed tragedy to one another together with the realization that both had judged the other wrongly.

The idea continues as a theme throughout the book and is one of the meanings of the word “lacuna” - a gap or missing piece of the story.

Shepherd ultimately becomes a famous author during the infamous McCarthy era in the US - first judged wrongly by most everyone who fawns over him, and finally judged even more harshly when the tide of public opinion turns against him.

Having recently read this book (twice – it is a really good one), this idea of ‘the thing you don’t know’ was one of the first that jumped out at me when I thought about the concept of respectful interactions with other parents that is the subject of this month’s carnival.

As most of us know, parenting is a pretty darn personal subject for a whole lot of people. Essentially, criticizing (or even gently communicating) a ‘lack’ in someone’s parenting skills amounts to criticizing or calling out who that parent is as a person – probably because when you become a parent, it becomes a major part of how you define yourself as a person. If someone has a problem with your parenting style, they have a problem with who you are. Read the rest of this entry »

Best of 2011 ~ A Natural Parenting Blog BLITZ!

I am proud and honored to be volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

The volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to make NPN the outstanding resource it is also spend countless hours informing and inspiring others on their personal blogs. To close out 2011, the NPN volunteers have come together to provide you with some valuable reading material.

Each volunteer has selected either their most viewed post of 2011 or their favorite post and shared the link here. Please take a few moments to visit each post. Our intention is to expand our reach as bloggers and informed parents and parents-to-be who are still growing as we move through our own journeys. Each volunteer has provided links to other social media sites where you can follow them as well.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way! Read the rest of this entry »

Co-Sleeping Barriers – What’s Stopping You?

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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English: A sleeping male baby with his arm ext...

Image via Wikipedia

Bean is sleeping upstairs right now in the middle of our queen size bed. It’s fairly chilly in our room so she’s got a few layers on, along with a halo sleep sack we found awhile back on Babysteals that helps keep her toesies warm.

In a few hours we’ll be joining her, as we have for the past 15 months, sharing a family bed.

I never imagined what a meaningful effect bedsharing would have on our family before Bean came along. I gain so much peace of mind from having her right there next to me where I know she is OK and can respond immediately if she is not.

I know I get a lot more sleep – she’s always been one to wake relatively often during the night to eat – and I literally can hardly imagine actually getting out of bed and going to another room to feed her. Having her right there makes that part of parenting much easier!

The husband gains a lot from it – he had to return to work basically right away after she was born, while I had her most days every day for her entire first year. Sharing a bed was a way for him to maintain a very strong bond with her for more hours of the day than he might normally get. Now that I’ve returned to work, I feel the strength of that bond as well.

In many ways for me, bedsharing has become a cornerstone of the trust my daughter has for me. She knows that I will always be there for her – no matter what time of the day – especially when she is at her most vulnerable. The dark doesn’t matter because mommy and daddy are always right there next to her. There are many ways to gift one’s child with that trust – and it is a powerful and much to be desired gift for them to have. I am thankful that we have found such a way of giving it to her.

I could go on and on about the benefits we’ve found in our co-sleeping arrangement, along with the other benefits that studies have shown will last throughout her lifetime.

But what I want to touch on here is the fact that I came very close to missing out on all of this, for two reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming Crunchy – Inspired By Cloth

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

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Disana

When I think back on how the whole ‘Becoming Crunchy’ phase of our lives began, the phrase “Inspired By Cloth” is simply an understatement.

Here’s how it went down…

Back when I was first expecting and had almost no conception of what it meant to be ‘crunchy’, AP, natural, etc., I realized towards the end of my pregnancy that I had been reading all kinds of books and resources about pregnancy, but very little about actually being a parent.

Along with that, I had this irrational fear of postpartum bleeding – for some reason, I had built it up in my head as this terrible thing (I was imagining my worst period times 10) and I was quietly searching around the web for some sort of mega-pad type solution to save me from becoming a Lady Macbeth covered in blood type figure directly after delivering.

(I know – but I was pregnant).

Anyway, my search led me first to mama cloth (cloth menstrual pads) – it was my first introduction to the idea that cloth could be used in place of something I would normally just assume to be disposable, like a pad.

And in the end, while I did find the idea intriguing, I rejected it – I didn’t really see it as worth the investment or believe that it would work.

But in that search that exposed me to mama cloth users, I came across bloggers who were talking about using cloth diapers. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Sunday Sunday… Surf

Candlelit dinner  Le 313 - Hotel du Louvre 2

Image by Earth Hour Global via Flickr

What a weekend it has been…

The husband and I had our first date in over 9 months yesterday – we went to see X-Men in the afternoon while Bean had a visit with her grandparents.

It was a great movie and a lot of fun, though I do still think it’s going to be awhile before both of us will be OK to leave her at night, I have my eye on a fancy Mexican restaurant for when the next date does come around!

I actually did leave Bean overnight with her daddy last night - the first night I’ve ever spent away from her. I went downtown to celebrate a friend’s birthday – as both of us can’t go to such things at this point, we’ve decided to start some sort of alternating schedule and I guess you could say it was ‘my turn’.

I knew it would be a late night and I driving downtown isn’t easy for me at the best of times, so I decided to crash at my friend’s and come home early.

I must say, it’s possible that I’m just lucky and I’m certainly not taking a huge amount of credit here (especially because I know how easily it could all turn on me) but I really do think the fact that I rarely left the Bean during her first months of life has helped make her into such a secure little one - we have experienced no kind of separation anxiety thus far that I have seen.

Leaving her is certainly not something I’m going to make a regular habit of just yet, but as I will be returning to work sooner than later it’s something I feel a need for both of us to start getting used to, slowly and steadily. So far I’m happy to say it seems to be working out well!

Now I’m just hoping I won’t be eating those words lol.

With that, here’s some of my very favorite posts I’ve been reading over the past couple weeks… Read the rest of this entry »

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