Seeing as you’re here it’s pretty likely you’re already clued up on all those tricky technical terms like “co-sleeping”, “sleep regression” and “leaky boobs”. But if you’re here as a total newb mama, you may want to know more about this whole “gentle parenting” thing. And while we hate restrictive labels, this one kinda covers our vibe.
Firstly, it’s different to mainstream Western parenting. These days, society and parenting “experts” want you to control your baby’s behaviour with strict schedules and boundaries.
Not us, nah-ah.
Gentle parenting is more about unlocking your empathy supplies — ya know, putting yourself in their bite-sized Converse — and respecting the fact a baby isn’t going to be able to undo millions of years of evolution so you can get enough sleep to work 9 hours in an office.
And secondly, it’s not exactly attachment parenting either. While it follows a lot of the same patterns — longer-term breastfeeding, babywearing, bed-sharing, fainting at the mention of CIO (“cry it out” for the newbs) — it doesn’t stick to a strict check-list like the old attachment parenting principles, awesome though they are.
It’s a lot more about going with the flow, doing what feels right for you, and unleashing the stinkin’ hippie you really are.
Seriously though, if giving my baby everything she needs errryday (basically love/hugs/milk repeat) so she will grow up confident, secure, healthy, happy and with greater empathy for humankind makes me a hippie, then I’m a hippie, man.
Not bothered about that? Then get this. Not only is avoiding sleep training, using a sling, breastfeeding and sharing a bed extra fire for the cognitive and social development of your baby, it’s also WAY EASIER than all the other ways of travelling, feeding and sleeping.
Here are a few of the things you don’t have to do, when you’re a gentle parent with a capital G (for gangster):
- sterilise bottles in the middle of the night
- remember to pack formula in your overflowing backpack
- navigate stairs and tiny cafes with a pram
- worry about your baby being overweight
- get up every hour or so to sit in a cold room rocking a baby
- deal with the guilt and stress of hearing your baby cry it out — and then the problems it will cause later
- go to the gym.
While it may seem more hassle to carry a 2-stone baby to the park, put up with getting kicked in the face at night, or not drink alcohol so you can breastfeed, all these things are making your baby feel so secure and loved that they will soon be confident enough to leave you and explore the world. Sniff.
No need to be clingy when you trust the mothership for reals. They know you’re always there for them if they need you. I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye.
So call it what you like. Respectful parenting, natural parenting, off-grid parenting, sensitive parenting, soulful parenting, freestyle parenting, no routine parenting, cool parenting, lazy parenting, laid-back parenting, super chill parenting or goddamn stinkin’ hippie parenting, but whatever the fuck you call it, throw away the rule book someone said omg you had to read and just do it.
Do it your — and your baby’s — own special unique weird way. Do it like nobody’s watching.
We would love to hear about the way you do it. Contact us or tag #Wokemamas on Instagram. But no dick pics, please.
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