5 Natural Parenting Methods That Should Be Resurrected
The practices of natural health for children have gone by the wayside in favor of more conventional methods, but it is questionable if these methods are serving children well. Are our children healthier today than generations ago, or should parents resurrect some of the natural methods used by their grandparents and great grandparents?
Breastfeeding is Best Feeding
Ideally, all babies should be fed human milk. If that can’t happen for any number of reasons, then the practice of having wet nurses should be resurrected. There’s no question that the right start in life begins with a newborn being fed a species specific diet instead of a scientific concoction called “formula”.
Generations ago more children were breast fed than today and as a result had a greater chance at optimal health, while today children are predicted to have shorter lifespans than their parents. There is no question that as long as Mom is in good health, a breast fed baby is the best-fed baby. Research shows breast fed babies have stronger bones, less weight problems, grow up to have less chronic disease, food intolerances and allergies, and are more intelligent than their formula-fed counterparts. Mom gets benefits too, since she gets multiple daily releases of oxytocin and burns some extra calories throughout the day.
Statistics show that only 49% of children are breast fed in America each year. Today we see the trickle-down effects of this result. For many Americans parents, our processed food habit has begun before birth. No longer are we born to parents who were breast fed or raised on chemical and preservative-free, whole foods, like our great-grandparents were. As a result, today’s children are born to parents fed formula, then raised on processed foods that are loaded with additives, pesticides, hidden MSG, herbicides and GMOs, and they’re exposed to these harmful agents through the very food their parents eat. The unnatural cycle of this type of feeding, if not broken, can lower the vitality of both mother and child and be inherited by the next generation.
Today’s child enters the world with a low vitality and a weakened constitution of health. This low vitality unfortunately, is exacerbated by a fast food and processed convenience diet and follows your children throughout their life. This is in part why statistics are against our younger generations for longevity.
Children born in American are:
- Exposed to toxic pesticides in utero, via the diet of their mother.
- Fed a synthetic sweetened ‘formula’ at birth (likely produced with GMO soy and added sugar.)
- Fed rice, barley, and oat cereal as a second-stage food prematurely.
- Graduated to processed/jarred foods and meats, often before their digestive systems can handle it.
- Fed processed foods and snacks throughout their childhood. These foods are loaded with sugar and salt, causing excessive thirst, weight gain and enforcing a processed food habit that will carry over into adulthood and, if not corrected, into the next generation.
- Allergic to their food.
Our habit of convenience eating has gotten so out of hand that our children are predicted to suffer with poor nutrition, low Vitamin D levels from lack of sun exposure, chronic illness, digestive issues, and blood disorders. What is more, they are burdened with both inherited and accumulated heavy metal toxicity that causes ADHD, ADD, autism, and spectrum disorders, and they are the youngest candidates for heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, fatty liver, and cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a whopping 32% of babies born in the U.S. enter the world unnaturally. Gut issues leading to poor health are predominant in our culture for this very reason. Children born vaginally get a gut health benefit that C-section babies do not get.
Research shows that during a natural birth and rapidly thereafter, bacteria from the mother and the surrounding environment colonize the infant's gut. It is obvious that exposure at birth would differ by C-section delivery. While it is said that the long-term impact this difference in exposure has on a child has yet to be determined, the increase in infant probiotic over-use speaks for itself.
Allow A Fever To Run Its Course
Herbert Shelton MD, the father of Natural Hygiene and author of The Hygienic Care of Children, said "Health and disease are the same thing—vital action intended to preserve, maintain, and protect the body" While there are two camps on this the issue of allowing fever or suppressing it https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4703655/ according to research, there’s no denying that fever is vital action – it is a body fighting an invader such as bacteria or a virus. A fever is also an indication of the body’s vitality, which is why, when a baby has fever, their fever is higher than that of an adult. Babies are naturally more vital than adults at fighting illness. This is mostly due to their immune systems being untaxed and new.
Stopping a fever from running its course stops a very important healing process in the body. In fact, many who ride out a fever naturally often come out with improved health afterward.
Allowing Daily (and Limited) Sun Exposure
When a baby is born with jaundice, the recommendation is to put the child near a sunny window and expose them to sunlight. Do you know what that is? Because when sunlight hits the baby’s dermis, or the skin, it engages the liver and the kidneys to produce a hormone known as Vitamin D. Vitamin D is commonly known as essential to immune and bone health.
Two studies highlight the essential benefits of sunlight and hence natural Vitamin D in children. “In both studies, critically ill children deficient in the vitamin were more likely than those with adequate blood levels of vitamin D to be sicker and have longer hospital stays.”
It is a little known fact that Sun exposure enhances other vitamins and minerals in the body.
According to research wearing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%. When we take our children outdoors and slather them in sunscreen we essentially block their health. As a plant grows in the sunshine, so do children. Allowing your child safe amounts of sun exposure on a daily basis is essential to their growth, bone health, vitamin absorption and enhance men and their overall well being. Exposure to sunshine helps them to remain vibrant and healthy.
The human digestive system is a very sensitive function. Because digestion uses up much of the bodies energy, when there is stress to deal with of any kind, the digestive process simply stops. Blood stops going to the stomach and relocates to where it is needed during stressful periods. And so, when a body is in distress or stressed in anyway, it is safe to say that digestion is not occurring.
It is safe to say that when a baby is crying, he is not digesting but many new mothers mistakenly take this as a sign that the baby wants to be fed, and so these days, when a baby cries, he gets fed. If the child fusses, he gets fed again. If the child spits up, he gets fed yet again. In the process, parents are creating an overfeeding habit in their babies that is contributing to digestive issues such as, gas, constipation, bloating, discomfort, reflux, projectile vomiting and even diarrhea.
http://www.entnet.org/content/pediatric-gerd-gastro-esophageal-reflux-disease Statistics show that approximately 50 percent of infants between birth and three months old have at least one episode of spitting-up per day. What is more, infant reflux is seen as normal, instead of being a common symptom of indigestion like hiccuping, burping, teeth grinding and clenching, and disruption of sleep.
The way to alleviate the digestive burden on a baby’s delicate digestive tract is to be mindful of the importance of the digestive process. Bringing back scheduled feedings of 3-4 times per day will not only result in a more comfortable child, it will result in a better nourished child. Smaller less frequent feedings give baby time to fully digest meals with out digestive discomfort or stress. Additionally, scheduled feedings discourage overeating and over-taxing of baby’s delicate digestive system.
A more natural form of parenting has gone by the wayside, and instead has been replaced with diet and eating habits that cause our children's allergies, special needs and poor health. Perhaps resurrecting some old parenting habits can help to avoid further maladies and in many ways, enhance their health and wellbeing.