As a new mom, many thoughts and worries I had during pregnancy are still fresh in my memory. Being a vegan, holistic type of mom is another added challenge when pregnant in a world that survives on making life cheaper, easier and painless. My firstborn came into this world in February 2015. Before becoming pregnant I had an idea of how I wanted to raise my child, knowing that it is new, different and somewhat frowned upon. My family had no “holistic” answers for me. The only way my family knew how to raise children was the conventional way in which you have the baby in the hospital, the doctors make most of your decisions, and you go home with your formula-fed, Pamper-wearing vaccinated newborn baby. I wanted to change this cycle not only for my personal beliefs but because I wanted to see if how I raised my child made a difference in who he became.
My husband and I chose to have a home birth with no medications, no doctors, and certainly no vaccinations or any type of medications administered to newborns. Our decision was to have our child with the least amount of assistance as possible. Our plan was to have a home water birth with a midwife to assist if things got tough. We opted for a lotus birth (leaving the umbilical cord and placenta attached until naturally detaching), strictly breastfeeding and planned to use cloth diapers and homemade reusable wipes. My research on these topics led me in many directions as there are numerous opinions on each. Above all, I wanted this experience to be positive and peaceful not only for my husband and me, but for this new human being who was coming into this big world so soon. I did not want stress to affect him right from the start of his life outside the womb.
I was on my own with only the research my husband and I had conducted! No one around me breastfed, cloth diapered, or had a home birth; and certainly no one I knew gave birth without any medications. The first step of my plan was to stay on a vegan diet. I have lived an organic unadulterated vegan lifestyle for over 5 years now. During my pregnancy, I had little to no signs of discomfort or morning sickness. I drank water constantly, consumed as many vegetable juices as I could and ate plenty of calories. I stayed away from all caffeine and limited my amount of sugar.
After I gave birth to an 8 lb 2o z 22.5 inch healthy baby boy, I realized many of the misconceptions were false, or at least specific to certain situations. He was not just healthy, but he had great size! He has been strictly breastfed since day one and has been an excellent eater from the beginning. I was blessed with having a baby who latched right away and didn’t require much assistance. My little angel gained several pounds a month, and by 3 months, he reached 20 pounds. This little man has been in the top 90 percentile of progress most of his life.
As for the lotus birth, our baby received every last bit of nutrient-rich blood from his placenta. The umbilical cord dried off within a few days and everything looked great! We used herbs and sea salt to keep the smell at bay and golden seal to help dry and prevent infection near the belly button area. We were pleased with the results and would recommend this to anyone who is willing to put in the extra care alongside normal newborn care.
Choosing cloth diapers is another choice I would recommend. Although it might seem old-fashioned, the cloth diaper has come a long way. There are so many brands, styles, and patterns to choose from, and so many ways to care for them. I had attempted to make a stash in hopes that they would work, but did not realize how large my baby would be, so needless to say he was only able to wear them for a short period of time. We chose to purchase diapers with organic cotton lining and a PUL (polyurethane laminate) outer layer and an adjustable style which makes them easy to expand in size with the growing child. We also purchased organic hemp and organic bamboo inserts which go inside our chosen style of diaper. They are the second line of defense to prevent leaking. We wash diapers every 2-3 days with a special washing cycle routine and line dry them in the sun to kill any bacteria and also “bleach” stains out of them naturally. Compared to the hefty price tag of $26 for 60 disposable diapers with a decent quality brand, the cloth diapers are a great deal. The only item we pay for is the detergent which is purchased every few months.
We also chose to use cloth wipes. I made these wipes from the extra organic cotton material I had and made my own solution of water, Dr. Bronner’s soap, coconut oil, and a drop of tea tree oil. We make these about once or twice a week depending on how much he has filled up his diapers that week. These are cared for just like the diapers. It saves us $4 for every pack of 60 we don’t buy.
Yes there are easier, less painful, cheaper ways of having and caring for a baby, but I want the best for my child and this is how I personally provide that. There are many areas I have no control over in my child’s life, but what I can control, I give my best possible effort in hopes that what I do for him now pays off in the future. At this point, my son is a thriving, happy baby.
Do you have any questions? Please let me know!
More vegan parenting tips: How I Stayed Vegan Through My Pregnancy
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Photo: Amber Arevalos; Davide Ragusa via Barn Images