The theme for this months’ carnival of natural parenting is â€œI cannot image parenting without…â€ At first I thought it was an easy answer, but a bit of investigating brought me to a totally different conclusion.
Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I thought that perhaps it was my Ella Roo sling. It was the best thing I ever acquired in the first months of parenting. It made my life so much simpler, without a pushchair up and down the stairs into our house, and never having to leave it outside at Rhyme Time. Of course, there’s also how lovely it was to be able to keep Ameli close to me, soothe her, lull her to sleep, and get on with the housework while she’s asleep on my back.
Then I thought, maybe it was my breastpump. I’ve learned since that Medela isn’t actually WHO compliant and a lot of people have trouble with the pumps, but for me, my Medela Mini Electric was incredible. I expressed a lot, even in between two hourly feeds to try to make sure my milk supply was strong. I expressed in the evenings so that my husband could take the 11 o’clock feed and I could have four to six unbroken hours of sleep.
I wanted to donate milk to a UK milk bank once my daughter turned six months old, but they didn’t want my milk. They said it wasn’t nutritious anymore. At twelve months I went to South Africa and the milk bank there jumped on the chance for more milk. I’ve been expressing for them ever since. They use the milk for the AIDS babies â€“ they told me it’s better than formula, not matter how old your own baby is.
Then I thought about all the clothes, burp cloths, toys, grooming ‘essentials’ and everything else that we were given at our babyshower and since and I realised that actually, the truth of the matter is this: there’s no thing I couldn’t imagine parenting without. If the need had arisen, I wouldn’t have been the first mother to have her baby sleep in the top drawer of a chest of drawers.
I wouldn’t be the first mother to tie a baby around her waist with a towel. Or the first to use only hand me down clothes or an old pillowcase for a blanket. I wouldn’t have been the first.
But the one thing, which isn’t a thing at all, that I cannot imagine parenting without, is my husband.
He was the most supportive person in my life during my horrible battle with Hyperemesis Gravidarum during my pregnancy. He supported every labour and birth decision I made. He had his reservationss and questions, but was content and supportive with well researched answers. He didn’t leave my side for around 20 hours of my 48-hour labour, whispering the affirmations I’d repeated for six month in my ears. He was my go-between with our midwife. He ‘fought’ for the birth we wanted.
He has been a hands-on father. He never refused to change nappies (hey, he’s no saint. He’ll get out of it any way he can!). He waited on me for the first six weeks when I needed support to establish breastfeeding. He has an actual, active, real relationship with our almost 16-month old.
He lost his job just before she was born, and has forged a successful freelance career working 15 hour days sometimes, so that he can be a part of her day to day life. So that he can come down the stairs and lift her into the air. So that he can sit on the floor, wide legged, and she can run squeeling into his arms before he returns to his desk.
He has supported my every parenting wish, when I’ve combined it with reason. He has and continues to support our family. I could not imagine my parenting without him.