1. “Wean your baby…” This was the title of a “Daily Parenting Tip” email I got today, from Parents magazine. I felt so angry, I was about to impulsively unsubscribe, but then I thought, “Let’s see what other crazy things these alleged parenting experts recommend, or I’ll run out of blog fodder.” Even my OWN MOTHER said to me yesterday, “You’re still breast-feeding at 8 months? Are you insane?” Holistic Mamas believe that children should be allowed to wean naturally, when THEY’RE ready. We all know they’re not going to be breastfeeding at 18. At least, not on their Moms’ breasts anyway. So what’s the hurry?
2. “You’re co-sleeping? That’s crazy!” or “You’ll never get her out of your bed” or “Aren’t you afraid of SIDS?” Holistic Moms tend to want to establish strong bonds with their babies, and co-sleeping is a great way to do that. I am away from my baby all day because I choose to work (I choose not to be homeless) , and when I get home at night, I just want to cuddle up and spend more quality time with her. Contrary to popular belief, SAFE co-sleeping is associated with a lower risk of SIDS.
3. “No shots, no school” or “You can’t be part of my practice if you don’t vaccinate according to the schedule of the American Academy of Pediatrics.” Holistic mothers HATE the pressure to vaccinate their kids. We feel that vaccinations are too new and too little understood. We want the freedom to do our own research and decide for ourselves. We want the freedom NOT to vaccinate, and we want the support of our pediatricians if that is the choice we make. In my case, because I do send my baby to daycare, I have chosen to vaccinate, albeit on a spaced-out schedule.
4. “They’re just exercising their lungs” or “Let them cry it out.” Ugh, the thought of leaving my baby to cry on her own makes me physically sick. The baby is new in the world. The baby can’t even walk or talk yet. Holistic Mamas feel that babies need love, attention, comfort, and security in order to thrive, and if our babies don’t sleep through the night until they’re much older than 6 months, then so be it. I’m a haggard Holistic Mom who hasn’t slept through the night since my baby was born (8 months and counting), so I’m walking my talk.
5. “What’s that strange stuff you’re giving her?” or “Are you sure we shouldn’t just give her what the doctor prescribed?” Unfortunately, these two questions come from my OWN HUSBAND. Sigh. Holistic Moms tend to believe in giving their children the least invasive remedies possible to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. We like solutions without side effects – homeopathy, aromatherapy, herbs, flower essences – all given at the right doses, of course. We like to try these first, before resorting to powerful medications like Zantac for babies (Ranitidine) or antibiotics. If what we try doesn’t work, of course we’re going to follow the doctor’s orders and use a stronger intervention. Frequently, however, we’re able to solve our baby’s problems with gentler methods, and we don’t want you husbands doubting us the whole way. (Sorry honey, had to say it).
In conclusion, I don’t pretend to speak for every Holistic Mom, but these are the common themes I have found in my conversations with like-minded mothers. The next time you go to say one of the above things to us, think twice – you will probably get something bitten off that you might need.