Diving Deeper into Holistic Parenting - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Diving Deeper into Holistic Parenting

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
HARRINGTON, Del. (WBOC) – There are plenty of handbooks out there on parenting, but there's no right or wrong way to do it. Some parents are choosing to go back to basics and take a more holistic approach.

The “Holistic Mom's Network” says holistic parenting is seven simple things: making informed and educated parenting decisions around pivotal issues like childbirth, breastfeeding and wellness, seeking respectful and nurturing relationships with others, using minimally invasive healthcare, using principles of “wholeness,” teaching children to respect the natural world, limiting their exposure to materialism and living simply.

Cindy Collins of Harrington is mom to three boys. She didn't choose the lifestyle; it instead chose her.

“After my second birth, I just saw many people who weren't very satisfied their births and outcomes so I wanted to be part of the solution,” said Collins.

She decided to become a Doula, a birth coach. “My goal for the longest time was actually to open a coffee house and a bakery, that was what I loved to do and I went to school to become a chef,” said Collins.

Instead of whipping up pastries, she's an herbalist, and spends her days in her workshop making herbal blends, salves, teas and syrups for her business, “Euphoric Herbals.”

Collins also does placenta encapsulation to help reduce postpartum problems for moms and help with milk supply. There are two different methods she uses to prepare it for moms who wish to take the capsules. “With my first child if you mentioned it to me I would have looked at you like you had three heads. Like what are you talking about?,” said Collins.

What some people see as different from the norm, Collins says is the way to go.

“With pharmaceutical medication there's a lot of side effects that people aren't really aware of. I know that herbal medicine is generally safe,” said Collins.

It's not just herbal medicine, organic foods and breastfeeding. Holistic parenting is also about keeping baby close. Whether you have a newborn or a toddler, many parents agree there's not much time when you are hands-free. Babywearing experts say not only is it good for baby, it also helps parents adjust.

Healther Felker of Milford has eight children and two grandchildren. She owns “Sling With Me,” a store that focuses on babywearing and cloth diapers.

“I kind of joke, my number one demographics here is the mom that comes in with her second child in the car seat and she always says, ‘I never did this with my first child, now I need help,” said Felker.

Felker says the lifestyle is all about baby.

“Babywearing I honestly feel is a biological imperative. Babies that are kept close to the body behave normally, their hormones are balanced, they cry less and they feed better,” said Felker.

Felker is also a breastfeeding educator, working with the non-profit peer-support group “La Leche League.” She also teaches parents how to cloth diaper.

“For parents who are choosing to cloth diaper because of cost, you can cloth diaper birth to potty training for around or maybe just under 100 dollars,” said Felker. That's compared to about $2,500 for regular diapers, according to the website Diaper Decisions.
Overall, holistic moms say the lifestyle is just about going back to basics and taking a more natural approach to parenting.

“It's a thing that we all have to accept,” said Dr. Sayed Abdelsalam of Bright Future Pediatrics in Camden. “Even the American Academy of Pediatrics realizes that there's a lot of people involved in the trend of holistic medicine or the natural ways. If we don't accept it, they're going to use it anyway.”

Dr. Abdelsalam says he supports parents taking the natural approach if it is done under doctor supervision.

“In some cases it will not work. If there's an infection in the blood, it can't be treated with herbs. Sometimes we're talking about life and death, and sometimes there's no guarantee it is going to work,” said Dr. Abdelsalam.

Moms like Collins and Felker encourage other women to give their lifestyle a try.

“I think they should just consider alternative medicine as an option, like going to a chiropractor or having a doula for their birth,” said Collins. “Herbal medicine doesn't just treat the symptom. It's not a patch, it's healing from the inside out.”

“It's just an important part of parenting,” said Felker.

Babywearing and herbal medicine is just scratching the surface when it comes to a holistic parenting lifestyle. For parents who want to learn more, there are many support networks available on Delmarva. For those interested in babywearing, you can learn more about the Delmarva chapter of Babywearing international by visiting http://delmarvababywearers.wordpress.com/.


 
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