More and more we see parents refer to their parenting style as natural. They take great pride in having natural family values, perhaps even calling themselves hippie, crunchy, or granola in the next breath. What exactly does this mean though? What is important to a natural family?
Since all families are comprised of unique and different individuals with different values sets and motivations there is no standard definition that will fit for every natural family. In general though, natural families are concerned with one or more of the following things:
Natural Childbirth – Natural moms feel that giving birth is a natural and beautiful process that is not meant to be an illness or medical condition. They trust in their bodies to be able to birth children as nature intended without medical interventions or drugs that create a “slippery slope”, increasing risk and the chances for unwanted c-sections, infection, and an inability to be present emotionally when their child is born.
Breastfeeding – Natural parents believe that breast milk is the perfect source of food and nourishment for their baby. It is a waste free, economical, and easy access solution. Breast milk is also the perfect temperature for baby and it contains vital antibodies that will help babies to develop strong immune systems and avoid illness. Perhaps one of the best benefits of breastfeeding is its ability to help mom and baby bond with each other skin to skin.
Cloth Diapers – Many natural parents want natural, chemical free fibers next to their baby’s skin. Disposable diapers are filled with chemicals and other unsavory ingredients like petroleum. Cloth diapers on the other hand are usually much more natural, gentle, and comfortable. If wearing paper and plastic underwear is not an option for them then it is not an option for their babies.
Babywearing – Natural families often practice some method of attachment parenting and wearing your baby close to you in a sling, wrap or other baby carrier is often a big part of that. In ancient days women wore their babies to keep them close and safe while they traveled, hunted, or gardened. Natural moms of today also carry their babies close to them while they work and play. Even breastfeeding is made easier when your baby is cuddled against you in a sling or wrap.
Natural Health – Just as most natural parents want to avoid drugs and chemicals in childbirth they also like to keep these to a minimum in later years. Vaccines are often viewed as chemical cocktails with dangerous ingredients like Mercury and MSG and since they are not proven to be safe even within mainstream society, natural parents often avoid them or adopt an alternative vaccination schedule. Alternative medicine is also widely accepted in natural families with homeopathic and natural remedies being turned to before conventional treatments and pharmaceutical drugs.
Green Living – Natural families generally feel that what nature provides is better in the long run so they seek to protect their environment and their connection to the natural world. They often seek to reduce the amount of needless stuff in their lives, reuse whenever they can, and recycle things they can’t reuse. Taking care of our planet is important to them.
There are many more ideals and practices held my society’s more natural minded parents but these are a few of the common ones.