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We have included some short descriptions of practices we have come across over the years which we would have been fascinated to read about in one place....!
Elimination Communication – also known as infant potty training or natural infant hygiene, elimination communication (EC) is a method of listening and watching for your baby’s body language when weeing and pooing. A cueing noise is often provided by the carer (such as a ssssh sound) when the baby wees to help the child associate the action with the cue. The child may spend some or all the time nappy free with the carer carefully paying attention to the baby and offering potty opportunities. It can be highly rewarding, fun and cost effective! It also requires diligence by the carer when the baby is nappy-free full time. Part time nappy-free has incremental benefit too in helping the child become aware of their own bodily functions.
Babywearing – wearing your child in a sling, wrap, pouch or carrier. The name gives a good indication of how your sling effectively becomes another piece of clothing which your baby will happily spend many hours in either asleep or alert and very much a part of your world. It's like wearing a hug!
Baby-Led Weaning – the practice of offering a child bit sized pieces of food once they start to express a keen interest in food. The child is given opportunity to explore varied taste, texture and shape as well as develop an effective gag reflex. Purees and baby rice are not on the menu - instead the child eats what it wants and needs. Some children will thrive on this approach more than others.
Bottle Nursing – also known as 'baby-led bottle feeding', bottle nursing replicates the body behaviours of a breastfeeding mother by providing close eye contact and physical cradling - it demonstrates the ability of all mothers to feed with love and respect.
Kangeroo Care – the well researched method of proving skin-to-skin care for an infant. The skin contact between the child and carer in a heart-to-heart position has been proven to greatly benefit the infant’s ability to regulate breathing, temperature and heart rate. Used as an alternative to incubators in developing or under-developed countries, kangaroo care has had wonderful success in nurturing infants and increasing their survival rate, weight gain and general well being. Skin-to-skin care can be used at any age and is especially beneficial when a child needs soothing.
Dr Sears - often known as the grandfather of attachment parenting, Sears is an American paediatrician who has raised a large family in an attachment style and advocates safe sleeping practices, full-term breastfeeding, babywearing, good nutrition and much more. His website offers diverse, evidence-based resources on all aspects of child well-being and he is highly respected within his field. He has also co-authored many books with his wife, Martha Sears, including the international bestseller 'The Baby Book'.
Nonviolent Communication - sometimes known as compassionate communication, this is a method of empathetic, emotionally honest communication for use with children and in all relationships. Devised by Marshall B. Rosenberg it is used globally in conflict situations but can be employed within the family as a way of expressing needs and nurturing autonomy without casting blame or judgement.
Positive Discipline – widely advocated by Dr. Jane Nelsen, an American educator who has based her work on the findings of Dr. Alfred Adler and Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, positive discipline is a non-punitive approach which avoids the use of rewards, punishments, threat, bribery or coercion. Instead, it is a mutually respectful, solution-driven approach that seeks to encourage a child to have a keen sense of their own capabilities, a clear sense of belonging and internal motivation. The over-riding premise is that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child purely seeking to establish their place in the world.
Steiner Waldorf – popular among those seeking an alternative educational approach, Rudolph Steiner schools are located worldwide and school life focuses on nurturing the mind, spirit and body of the child. Hand-on skills are fundamental to developing a creative brain, learning through play and a respect for natural rhythm to each day. Teachers remain with a class throughout the school years and model a peaceful and inclusive approach. Steiner schools in the UK are fee paying with the exception of the Steiner Academy in Hereford which is state run.
Lotus Birth – after the delivery of the placenta, the cord remains attached to both baby and the placenta without any clamping or intervention. The placenta is usually wrapped or placed in a dish where it is then carried by the mother until detaching from the baby naturally at two to three days after the birth. Sometimes essential oils or salts are applied to the placenta to assist with the drying process and any odor.
Breast Crawling – when a newborn baby is placed on the mother’s lower abdomen it will crawl upwards to the breast and seek out the nipple of its own accord. The philosophy behind this practice is that the infant’s first breastfeed occurs in an intuitive and instinctive way.
Placenta Encapsulation – placenta is often consumed by mammals after birth and is iron and nutrient rich. After delivery a placenta specialist can collect the placenta after the midwife approves it, and it is usually washed, drained, dehydrated at low temperature, ground and encapsulated. The mother takes these capsules in the early weeks or months and studies have shown a positive benefit in the reduction of post-natal depression. Some placenta practitioners can also make a homeopathic remedy from the placenta, make raw placenta and fruit smoothies or placenta essences.
The Continuum Concept – one of the most influential parenting books of the last century written by American, Jean Leidloff. Her observations of life among a Venezuelan Amazonian tribe including observations of child birth, child raising and tribal behaviour are highly engaging. There has been much debate about the differences between TCC and attachment parenting. Some consider TCC to advocate a parent-centred approach while attachment parenting is sometimes viewed as being child-centred. At the heart, they share a similar loving approach to raising children consciously.
Full-Term Breastfeeding - also known as extended breastfeeding or natural weaning, full-term breastfeeding indicates that the child will breastfeed until they self-wean - this usually occurs between the ages of 4 and 7 years.
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