Choosing Your Natural Parenting Style

Posted by on in Parenting

iStock 000012800617XSmallWhen you become a new mother, whether it is your first baby or your seventh, you are prompted with many choices. Who will be the primary caregiver? What kind of diapers will you use? Will you breastfeed? Where will your baby sleep? Each decision you make for your baby is important and unique to you and your family, and these days, there are seemingly endless approaches to raising a baby, this makes a discerning mother's job even more complex. Read about these natural parenting techniques and feel confident that you will choose what is  best for your precious new addition. 

Natural Parenting Practices Demystified

Baby Wearing: A technique practiced by women around the world, baby wearing emphasizes the importance of maintaining a close bond between mother and baby. Held close to their mother, a baby is comforted by the sound of her heartbeat, the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her voice and the warmth of her body. All of these things promote a healthy, confident, calm baby. Studies show that “sling babies” cry less, perhaps because mothers are better able to stay attuned to their newborn's needs. There are hundreds of slings and baby carriers on the market that range in size and functionality, from a newborn all the way up to a toddler. 

Elimination Communication: This is a technique that makes many parents scoff in disbelief but it is one that is practiced in many countries around the world with much success. The practice of teaching your newborn to associate the toilet with elimination is founded in the belief that babies brains are most pliable, or “trainable,”  in the first six months of life. Before they are six months old, your baby is likely communicating his or her signs of elimination, making it easier for mom and dad to respond by hovering them over the toilet to do their “business.” Proponents of this practice suggest that it is more accessible to first time parents than it sounds, because even visiting the toilet once a day can build a great foundation for potty training your baby. Some parents claim that elimination communication has led their baby out of diapers before they were even walking. 

Baby Led Weaning: This practice has less to do with weaning your baby from breastfeeding, and more to do with phasing them into solid foods in what is considered a more “natural” way. By letting your baby give you the cues that he or she is interested in eating solid foods instead of introducing them to mushy purees and rice cereal, the theory behind baby led weaning suggests that you will be helping them to establish a healthy relationship with food from the get go. By letting them feed themselves with finger foods from the age of six months on, they learn to chew before they swallow, instead of the other way around. 

Co-Sleeping: The method of co-sleeping is one of the more controversial natural parenting techniques, though it has been around for centuries. Those who choose to practice it feel strongly about its benefits. Of course, it is universally agreed that efforts should be made to ensure the infant's safety.By sharing your bed with your newborn supports the bond between baby and breastfeeding mother, so that both will become synched to the other. It is also argued that making your newborn sleep in a crib away from their parents is somewhat cruel and quite unnatural. Some parents that choose to co-sleep do so because they believe that it is harmful for the emotional development and the strength of the baby and mother bond to require them to brave the cold, dark night alone. 

Cloth Diapering: Cloth diapering is a natural parenting practice that is on the rise. In line with the eco-friendly trends of today, like eliminating waste and trash and choosing organic products over synthetic ones, opting out of disposable diapers and upgrading to reusable ones has never been more practical or easy. Manufacturers of cloth diapers have created options for every budget and have created products that fit every size child so there is no need to ever buy another diaper again. Visit: for a plethora of information about how you can make the switch, whether you choose to just dip your feet in or to take the plunge. 

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Dayna Schaef is a writer, a mother and a wife in Denver, Colorado. She hikes, cooks, gardens and plays guitar and enjoys a strong cup of coffee and a good glass of wine. She has a 10 month old son, named Jack and a Golden Retriever named Stella. She is passionate about natural parenting and is always trying to achieve a more sustainable household.