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5 December, 2019

Instinctive Parenting: Empowering Yourself To Bravely Follow Your Instincts

by One Fine Baby Team

Parenthood can become incredibly overwhelming at times, it can feel as though a part of our being has been lost. Our mental load becomes intense as we navigate the daily to dos, the small people demands and keeping our family healthy and balanced.  We have advice coming from family, friends, mid wives, medical professionals and of course Dr Google on how it should all be done.

We end up ignoring a part of our selves which has guided us through our lives so far. With the staggering amount of information from outside influences, it simply forces us to doubt our better judgement and to turn off our innate ability to listen to our own instincts.

When I gave birth to my son five years ago, it was a whirlwind of a birth, a beautiful and natural free birth at home; yet this home birth was definitely not planned. True to my son’s nature, he was doing things his way and I fully accepted and embraced the process with zero intervention, and it turned out to be perfect in every way.  

He arrived in his daddy’s arms and we had a moment of serene calm with just the three of us, until the ambulance and the midwife arrived. But it was in that moment where instincts no longer seemed to be required, the midwife took over from my husband and almost made him feel like he wasn’t needed, if only to collect clean towels. We were taken to the hospital where I was instructed how to feed my baby and where my baby was supposed to sleep, I was also advised how long my new son was supposed to sleep for and what to do if my baby woke up.  

After a series of midwife visits over the coming weeks, I was left feeling as if I needed instruction on most of our daily tasks.  Once the midwife stopped visiting I would reach out to family, friends and support groups for advice on his development, I was even gifted a guide book to help with our ‘routine’ to help me know what to expect.

But after just a few short months I felt I was drowning. Drowning because I thought I was failing as a mother – my son did not sleep for the suggested hours between feeds, nor did he feed for the specified amount of time. He didn’t sleep in his Moses basket, he didn’t sleep in his cot, he didn’t really sleep full stop. That is unless he was in his mamas arms.  

I began sinking further as I became overwhelmed with the daily to dos which I couldn’t do as I was always trying to settle my baby. I felt I had lost a part of me and feelings of frustration and loneliness started to creep in.  

After several months of following the society ‘guidelines’ of becoming a new mother, I knew something needed to change.  

Whilst watching again my birth video (filmed on a precariously placed Go Pro in the corner of our bedroom!) it was then that I had a moment of clarity. I truly saw how instinctively I had birthed this beautiful baby, I realised then that I had been paying too much attention to everyone around us, and not enough attention to the most important people. This was our journey, how my son slept or fed didn’t affect anyone but us, so why was I so consumed by their opinion?

I began to look within once again, listening to my inner voice, the voice that had been trying to guide me all along. Once I finally made this shift, I felt my whole world become clearer, my son become calmer and I finally could wholeheartedly embrace and enjoy my motherhood journey.

By following my own mother instincts it allowed me to simply parent my son in a way that worked for my family and that felt natural to me. Natural Parenting practices are at the core of being an instinctive parent, it is centred around meeting your babies needs and following your maternal instincts. How you implement these practices is like creating a piece of art, it is unique to your family. Instinctive Parenting is how mother nature designed us to parent. It is the rawest form of being a mother.

Baby wearing was a core part of my parenting shift, it truly changed the way I parented. It gave me back my identity and the freedom I thought I had lost. I could connect once again in nature to enjoy bush hikes or beach walks. Being outdoors was a place where I go to reset any conflicting energy. A place where I can disconnect from responsibility and be totally present. 

Wearing my son in the Baby Carrier allowed me to take control over the things in my life and my home which were causing me anxiety, the everyday things like washing, cooking and cleaning which I could now do with my son sleeping soundly with my hands free. We no longer felt trapped in the prescribed sleep/eat/repeat routine, we had the freedom to enjoy and embrace our life as we pleased. The list of ‘baby essentials’ became much less which meant getting out and about was hassle free.

It brought peace to me and peace to my son, he could trust that his needs would be met and he finally settled knowing he could sleep at ease when he wanted, or feed when he was ready all within the baby carrier. It also brought about a sense of confidence in my own ability to parent.

I have since birthed three beautiful koala babies into this world, all three of these souls unique in their own way; and although most days can get a little crazy as we try to balance emotions of a 1, 3 & 5 year old, manage the to dos and chores, run and operate a business and try to practise the all important self-care – we all thrive in our crazy instinctive rhythm.

I would encourage anyone who is about to begin their parenthood journey, or even those who are right in throes of babies and toddlers, to simply trust yourself. Know that you hold the key to your own journey and that other opinions should not shape your path.   

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