Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parenting Essentials

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.


What one thing could I not live without when it comes to parenting? When I first read this prompt, the product that immediately sprung to mind was my Boppy Cushion! It was the very first thing I got when I found out I was pregnant (thanks Mom!) and I was still in my first trimester! That is how much we knew I'd have to have it. My mother loaned me a Boppy with my last child 12 years ago.

Newborn Sasha on BoppyNewborn Sasha on Boppy Cushion
Note: Boppy says NOT to leave your baby sleeping on a Boppy!
We were, however, always hovering.

Toddler Sasha on Boppy CushionToddler Sasha on Boppy Cushion
She still loves to sleep on it!

Nevermind that I still use the Boppy for nursing ALL the time! I also let her sit on the Boppy on my lap when we share meals. She likes to sit on it like a bench, too. It is a very versatile tool to have in the parenting toolbox. That said, I don't think it is the one thing I have to have.

With some more thought, I realized how much I access the online Mommy Community. It takes a village, right? Well not many of us live in village settings anymore, but we still appreciate the knowledge we gain from other mothers. (Yes, occasionally a father helps, too.) I have read a few parenting books, but I much prefer to read online. It seems more real if you're getting tidbits (plus easier to read a little at a time) from a real person rather than the author of an entire book.

So the one thing I really need? You! I need other natural parenting mothers on the internet telling their stories and sharing their strategies and experiences. This really goes for all of my interests. When I got into Bento, I got books from the library. Mostly, though, I read website after website on the topic. The same goes for tarantulas. I learned about Elimination Communication online, too. I don't think I would have ever even heard of it if it hadn't been for Hobo Mama and other moms that shared info on it. Only then was I able to dig for books at the local library. Come to think of it, I even use the internet to request those books. So while a pillow wouldn't quite replace an actual Boppy, I am a more equipped NP Momma thanks to the internet!

Do you have a natural parenting product that you can’t live without? Is there a book, family secret, or song that has been crucial to your transition into the role of parent? Is it a friend who makes all the difference for you? What is your must-have?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.
  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.
  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


  1. Your essential is the very reason Lauren and I started this carnival, and ultimately Natural Parents Network. We wanted more parents to have the community of natural-minded parents at their fingertips. And we're so glad you are a part of it!

  2. I don't have a 'Boppy' but a nursing pillow which of late I have come to love.

    And yes, you are so right. Without all the lovely mummies and their amazing posts, comments, photos, craft projects etc I'd not be where I am today.


  3. LOVED my boppy! That is a great invention. I agree with you about needing our village. It's so nice to have a great support system whether it be online, in person or on the phone.

  4. I agree! I'm lucky to have found a supportive local mom's group, but I LOVE having an online NP community. It really helps to know you're not alone.

  5. So funny, I should get my boppy back out! I stowed it away when my son outgrew it for nursing (he was too big and my boobs were too low!)

    And I agree, this community is pretty great!

  6. Oh, yeah! The boppy! I have two of those around here somewhere, but haven't used them in ages. I bet Jack and Gus would love to play with them now that they're older.

    It does take a virtual village nowadays, doesn't it? I'm so glad you're part of mine!

  7. I'd never heard of a boppy - thanks for the heads up and see, you've proved your point beautifully - we DO all need one another for our parenting journeys! Great post - thank you!

  8. I agree with both! I love my Boppy AND our little AP village! I wouldn't know ANYTHING about natural/attachment parenting without the internet. I joined a breastfeeding forum right after my son was born and all the women were into "crazy" things I'd never heard of like amber teething necklaces, bento, family bed, etc. I did a little research and I was hooked! I couldn't be the mama I want to be without all my hippie mama brethren!

  9. It's funny how most of us have mentioned that "village" in one way or another this month! I agree about the internet, but I never had or missed a Boppy. Perhaps it's worth a try with a next baby? My son has the same name as your daughter, by the way!

  10. Your Boppy photos are just lovely!

    And I agree that the online community has been so, so helpful! Real people, in the thick of it all ...

  11. I agree. Without the other mamas that I have met online, the support and information would be seriously missing.

  12. I totally knew I needed a Boppy as soon as I got pregnant the first time around. It really helped me out in those floppy newborn days when baby wrangling while breastfeeding seemed totally undoable. I'm getting my nursing pillow stash out again for this next babe!

    I love the internet! I do the same thing, where a search of opinions from like-minded people will let me know what books I need to check out. Otherwise, you're just kind of stabbing in the dark at the library.

    I just wanted you to know your link to my EC category on Hobo Mama prompted me to spend awhile adding "more" tags to all the posts with that label so it would be easier to scan. As a fellow html geek, I thought you'd appreciate that! :) I just figured out you can do that in Blogger and it makes searches for categories like that so much more concise!

  13. Oh hey! I don't know if you've ever been a belly-sleeper, but I have been! I found that I could sleep on my belly while pregnant if I just stuck my belly in the middle of my Boppy (with the opening of the pillow on one side).

    I also love the internet for when I find a book one of the older kids likes or I find a book on a topic for Girl Scouts - I can use the internet to find similar books.

    And that is awesome on the updated category! I am such an HTML geek. lol

  14. OH! THOSE "read more" tags! I gotcha now! I thought you were finding more EC posts and tagging them at first. lol

    I've been noticing the "Read more" lately. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I will SO be working on that! LiveJournal has a similar feature, but that is just my personal journal.

    I'm also noticing SO many people using those footnotes lately. I could figure those out, but then the return link I'm not as sure about. So... tutorial upcoming??


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