I believe that to be the best parent I can be to both my kids, I simply do what feels right.
I follow my heart and my gut.
I do not let other opinions, or other ways of parenting dictate the way I parent.
I am earth friendly and health conscious. When making a decision, I always take into consideration my family.
I am not this way because of any reason, other than it feels natural.
When my 11 year old son was born, I was not near as knowledgeable on a lot of subjects as I am now.
Looking back, I feel I still parented with my instincts.
I was 21 years old at the time, and single..Young yes, but ready to be a Mom. Something I had always wanted to be every since I was a little girl.
My Mom was a very good role model. She loved and parented just the way I wanted to. She had all 5 of her kids at home, unassisted, and my Dad delivered us all.
We were told how much we were loved, and it showed.
The seed had been planted, and I didn't even know it.
When it came time for me to deliver my first born son, I had no idea what I was doing.
I had not watched any birthing videos or talked to any of my friends about their experiences (that I can remember).
My parents were not the happiest about my pregnancy at the time, so I didn't ask alot of questions of them.
I had no plans on breast feeding, or not breast feeding.
My labor and delivery all went well, considering the circumstances.
Hospital birth, epidural, and a healthy baby boy!!
When my beautiful son was born, I immediately felt the need to hold him.
I didn't want the nurses to take him from me right away, as they usually do. My instinct told me to hold him, and try to nurse him.
No one had told me the benefits of breast feeding, I just knew in my heart it was the natural, right thing to do.
So, for the first year of his life, I breast fed him.
I remember friends of mine asking when he was only 5 months old, "when are you going to stop doing that"? My answer was "I don't know, but its working out so well, I'm not going to stop anytime soon"..
It was free, and very convenient.
Looking back, I'm glad I stuck with what I felt was right.
After the birth of my son, I remember making subtle changes in my life.
I stopped drinking pop (actually during pregnancy), and started wearing my seat belt.
I did not want to leave him with anyone else, so I went out and got a job at a gym daycare, where I could take him with me.
I found myself eating healthier, and working out. I was no longer interested in "hanging out" with the same crowd.
Again, these were not things I sat around and thought about, they just kind of happened. I was doing what I thought was best for my little boy. He was the light of my life, and gave me a totally different perspective on what was important.
He made me care more about myself, others around me, and the world.
With my second child, little Sugar Bear, I feel I am even more of an "instinctual mama".
After trying to conceive for 2 years, my husband and I felt that adoption was what we were meant to do.. (see entry titled "Our adoption story")
As soon as we got on the adoption list, I started thinking about trying to breast feed our baby.
I went to a local LLL breast feeding group meeting, and met lots of like minded women there. I then went to my OB and got on the proper medication to induce lactation. (see blog entry titled "Adoptive breast feeding)
After not hearing anything for a few months from the adoption agency, I felt this tug in my soul, to change our profile from gender specific (wanting a girl only), to non-gender specific.
Just 4 months into our wait, we got the call that we had been selected by a birth mom in New York. They told us she was pregnant with a little boy.
We were over the moon with excitement that we would soon be parents again!
We went out and bought a few boy baby items, and prepared for our trip to NYC.
When the baby was born, to every one's surprise, it was a GIRL!!
Thank God I followed my gut feeling, changing our profile to non-gender specific, or we would not have the baby we do now, considering they thought she was a boy..
Her birth mother breast fed her for 3 days, and then as soon as she became ours, I took over.
She knew exactly what to do, and it felt so normal and natural.
I knew in the back of my mind that there were people in my life who wouldn't agree, or who might think it is weird to breast feed my adopted baby, but all that mattered was, I knew it is the best thing for her.
Both for the nutrition and the bond.
She is now 7 months old, and has never had a drop of formula.
Unfortunately, after about 2 1/2 months of the breast and bottle, she took to the bottle and wouldn't nurse off me anymore.
I now pump twice a day and get around 6-8 oz each time, and she is also supplemented with donor breast milk, which our freezer is full of.
Milk sharing is another thing some people have no knowledge of, so of course they are going to judge. (see entry titled "Milk Sharing")
I don't care. I know in my heart I am doing what is best for my baby.
She is so happy and healthy, has never been sick and never spits up.
She doesn't have tummy aches either.
We believe this is attributed to my husband and I's belief, that breast milk is the very best thing for her.
Most people in our society, and most Dr's recommend vaccinations.
We do not vaccinate.
We feel in our heart and gut, that we should not put that crap in our child's body. Not to mention we have done tons of research, which only confirms our intuition.
It doesn't matter if the Dr says so, our family says so, or anyone for that matter.
We are not going to do it, because we don't feel it is the right thing to do.
Our kids are told "I love you" numerous times a day, as it is our belief that you cannot tell them enough. They will never have a doubt in their minds that they are loved, and have 2 people who will always support them in any dream they may have.
We also feel strongly about little Sugar Bear sleeping with us. She feels safer, we feel its safer, and she sleeps better.
We are there for her as soon as she awakes, and we would never leave her to cry. Ever. Not even for 5 minutes.
Don't get me wrong, there are times she is inconsolable, and I might lay her down, and pat her back while she cries, but I will never leave her side.
It just doesn't seem right to leave a little baby to "cry it out", or fall asleep all alone.
I mean, a baby spends 9+ months inside the mother's body, and as soon as it comes out, we are supposed to put her in a crib, by herself, to sleep? That just doesn't seem natural.
Babies want to feel loved and secure at all times. That is next to Mommy and Daddy.
No matter how many people tell us its wrong to co-sleep, or that she needs to learn to self soothe, we will not change how we do it.
My gut instincts and my heart tell me I'm doing all the right things, and I will continue to honor those feelings.
Being a parent is the most important task in the world. It can be very challenging at times, and there is not one "right" answer.
To me, one of the most important things is to follow my heart. Do what I feel is best. Do what feels right.
I will not listen to the opinions of society, I will only listen to my inner voice and the voice of my husband.
That's what being an "INSTINCTUAL PARENT" means.....
I wish more parent's would follow their own gut feeling when raising their kiddos. I truely believe that the world would be a better place.