Bringing families back to real food.
Baby-wearing -- practiced daily until our little one turned into a little BIG one! www.MamaToto.org was my inspiration for wrap-making and tying. I made several wraps from long pieces of fabric and they proved highly flexible and convenient for both Hugo and me when "wearing" Oliver.
Breastfeeding -- still breastfeeding every few hours on cue (at age 1.5 years), though it seems to be mainly for comfort and closeness.
Circumcision (or rather, no circumcision!)-- after reading about what this does to the infant physiology I became more convinced than ever that circumcision is unnatural and inhumane. It basically creates a response of shock which causes the baby to fall into a very deep sleep. And the claims that it cuts down on risk of contracting HIV have been debunked as the myths they are. Misconceptions about cleanliness are likewise completely unfounded. Little boys are born perfect in every way, just as girls are, and there is no need to tamper with that.
Cloth diapering -- I highly recommend, but we had to abandon this because of diaper rash issues. We do not have a washer or dryer and it became imperative to wash diapers daily in very hot water with vinegar to prevent all rash problems. I hope to use a mixture of cloth diapering and EC with our next child.
Composting -- although we have no outdoor ground space for a compost pile we do store all table scraps in bags in the freezer and haul them into Manhattan to the drop-off at the Union Square Greenmarket, courtesy of the Lower East Side Ecology Center. All composted material is sold back to NYC people with window boxes, house plants, and gardens. Drop-off bins are available at the Greenmarket every day it's open (M,W,F,Sa).
Co-sleeping --practiced exclusively with Oliver until he was about 8 months old; then a mixture of co-sleeping and crib-sleeping; now entirely in the crib (with average of 1 nightly episode of breastfeeding in our bed). I highly recommend co-sleeping to restore a measure of peace to any household with a new baby, and also to delay the mother's return to fertility. Plus it's just plain cozy and sweet for everyone involved!
Fertility Awareness Method -- I chart daily and am an enthusiastic advocate of this method both for preventing and achieving pregnancy. This has been one of the biggest and best discoveries of my adult life which unfortunately only occurred after damaging my body with birth control pills for years. Read The Garden of Fertility or Taking Charge of Your Fertility for details. Read it now! Then email Ilene Richman for a phone consultation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Natural birth control -- If you are in a committed relationship and practicing FAM, using the withdrawal method during your fertile period can be a great alternative to barrier methods or abstinence. See this article for more information on the efficacy of withdrawal (remember, it must be practiced correctly to be effective!). You may also want to explore wild carrot tincture as an effective and completely natural method of birth control, in conjunction with FAM and withdrawal, or on its own. *Please keep in mind that FAM, withdrawal, and wild carrot will not protect against sexually transmitted infections. As with all methods of contraception there is some degree of method failure.
Home birthing -- introduced to me by a friend, the option of birthing at home opened up a whole new world of health care and parenting alternatives that I had never known existed. Our prenatal care (by Marcy Tardio, RN and home-birth midwife) was awesome, and done in the convenience of our home. We planned for a home birth, and even had a birthing pool all set up, but due to some issues we wound up in the hospital. I hope to avoid this next time, and have adopted my new way of eating and living partly as a response to the events surrounding the birth; we will plan for a home birth or similar setting for the next child (some day down the road!). Home birthing is safe and comfortable, and I highly recommend exploring this option if you are at all interested. See www.nyhomebirth.com for information.
Infant potty practice (elimination communication or EC) -- we dabbled in this a bit when Oliver was only a few months old, and he showed great promise! But I had too many other things on my plate to devote the time that was needed. I hope to go into this further with our next child. See www.DiaperFreeBaby.org for info and support, and www.ECwear.com for cute and conscientious baby clothes for practicing EC.
Raw dairy -- the other giant and wonderful discovery of my adult life (besides FAM). Raw dairy (especially butter and cultured milk products) have been undeniably crucial in my own health recovery and a main reason for Oliver's excellent health as well. I did not eat properly during pregnancy AT ALL (not nearly enough healthy fats or protein, and way too much soy and processed food), and later after I learned what I know now I was concerned that Oliver would have health problems. When I started drinking raw milk and eating more nutrient-dense food when he was around 3 months old I noticed a difference in his level of happiness. He now consumes raw cultured milk daily (generally homemade yogurt and yogurt cheese), and eats plenty of raw butter and cream. We will never go back to pasteurized or homogenized milk. This is how much of the non-industrialized world lives, and it makes sense in a very real way. See this article by William Rubel on the present-day milk culture of northern rural Europe -- it's fascinating and a wake-up call to the part of the world that wants to sterilize the life out of everything we put into our bodies. In all things (food in particular) seek to find the purest, least-processed, most unadulterated versions you can find -- of course, with the exception of foods prepared and preserved in traditional methods which enhance the nutritional value and life-giving properties, as in lactofermented vegetables and sourdough bread, to give two examples. Contact me if you need help obtaining grass-fed raw dairy.
Sewing -- well, this is not a controversial thing, but definitely it is a lost art. If you can learn to pick up a needle and do some mending and creative work for yourself, it will truly be a savings and bring great joy to boot! We had each member of our family and all close friends decorate a quilt block for Oliver, then put the blocks together into a very special quilt. Get your kids some "sewing" (a.k.a. lacing) cards at an early age, and then let them begin practicing stitches with plastic canvas and yarn, then with cotton fabric and thread. At 15 months old Oliver began sewing on embroidery cloth using a dull needle, and really liked it! Expose your kids to activities like this so they get a sense of their own potential at doing useful things. Likewise with the other lost arts: wood-working, gardening, cooking, fermenting, knitting, budgeting, etc. or even just maintaining a household. These are things the next generation will be totally incapable of doing if we don't pass along what skills we have left!
Vaccinations -- after reading about what vaccinations and shots actually contain and how little they are tested, not to mention what they do to the immune system, we decided this was not the way to go for Oliver. Instead we are focusing on ensuring a healthy immune system for him through an excellent nutrient-dense diet and daily high-vitamin cod liver oil. At age 2.5, he has had two colds to date and no other health issues. We know it will be a little bit of an adventure when it comes time for school, but who knows? Maybe I'll add another section in here titled "homeschooling" or "unschooling", and we'll skip all the vaccination and school lunch battles. :)
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We are not medical doctors; therefore we cannot give medical advice. The information presented herein is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or treating any disease or condition. This information is for educational purposes only. No responsibility is assumed by the author nor anyone connected with this website for the use of this information and no guarantees of any kind are made for the performance or effectiveness of the recommendations provided.