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Ecoparenting

Ecoparents

Ecoparents are parents who raise their children while fully aware of the use of environmental resources. Sometimes the wish to ecoparent comes from a wish or need to use the monetary resources in the family in an economic way. Depending on the parents background, the common ways to parent ecological or economical are the results of a cultural or religious background. An example of this is Dutch Calvinism. In fact, most Dutch people are somewhat Calvinists in their behavior and this is reflected in everyday choices regarding food and drinks, transportation, clothing, housing etc. If you are able to sell something to a Dutchman, you know that your price compared to the product must be really low.

The owner of Ecoparents discovered during her years as a student how easy it is to save money by making wise choices while choosing products and food. The lack of abundant money further urged her and her husband to find ways to save on cost for electricity and gas, as well as transportation. Out of habit, and also out of awareness of our responsability for the environment, this way of housekeeping is never fully abandoned. During the years that children came along, new ideas and experiences were added to the range of ecological and economical housekeeping and parenting tips.

Conception

Choices towards ecoparenting start as soon as a couple decides to conceive. In modern society, couples tend to delay the moment that they want to start a family. Once the moment is there that they decide to get pregnant, most couples want to see the pregnancy test turn positive right away. The pharmaceutical companies help couples by providing ovulation tests. The idea is, that you test when a mature egg is about to be released and ready to be fertilized. Depending on your cycle, this may take several tests. If your cycle has the same length each time, you know more or less when you are fertile. If the length of your cycle varies, the moment of ovulation is harder to predict. The test manufacturer may suggest the use of ovulation tests for each cycle. A more natural way and certainly a more economic way of testing when you ovulate, is by using the fertility signals of your body. Around ovulation, a woman produces lots of fertile mucous in the cervix. You can test this by taking some of the mucus between thumb and index finger and try to stretch the mucus. The more stretchy, the more fertile you are. This method can be supported by measuring your basal body temperature rectally each morning before getting out of your bed. If you chart the results, you will find a marked rise in temperature right after the moment you ovulated. The temperature reading is most correct when done each morning at the same time. Going to bed later than normally, drinking alcohol, a cold or other illness can all influence the reading. It may take a couple of months before you recognize when ovulation takes place. If you know when you ovulate and you continue to measure your temperature, you are able to confirm pregnancy when twenty days after a rise in temperature your period did not start and the temperature is still high (be sure you do not have the flu). If you like, you can still use a chemical pregnancy test. You may have saved some bugs by not testing too early and being disappointed (although that does not depend on the way of testing). If its takes too long before you get pregnant, the charts may be helpful if you seek the help of your physician or fertility specialist (and safe time in your treatment).

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, you have a lot of choices to make regarding testing. All tests cost money. Depending on what you want or need to do with the test results, you may want to decline some of the tests. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. If you know in advance that your choices regarding the pregnancy or childbirth will not change no matter what the outcome of the test will be, why would you like to do a test? Even if your healthcare during pregnancy is covered by insurance, it will safe you money in the end (the cheaper we are for insurances, the cheaper the insurances will be for us.)

Childbirth

A mother can prepare herself for a natural childbirth by reading, going to classes and talking to other mothers who opted for a natural birth. Depending on where you live, you may even opt for a home birth. In some geographical areas homebirth is the preferred choice, while in other areas a hospital birth is almost the only option. But even when this is the case, you can prepare yourself to get a satisfying childbirth experience by educating yourself and make your wishes clear to your birth attendant. It may be helpful to have a special trained labor support person with you, who will stay with you during your whole labor and who will help you cope with your situation in a non-medical way.

Breastfeeding

After birth, the natural way of feeding the baby is by breastfeeding. Even if a baby or mother needs medical attention it is in most cases possible to breastfeed or to pump breastmilk and feed this to the baby. The mother may need help from a lactation consultant to get the baby back to the breast. In some hospitals there are lactation consultants on staff, others do not have such a service. You may want to check this before you chose a hospital (if you have a choice). Prepare yourself by reading, going to breastfeeding classes and a breastfeeding support group and visit a breastfeeding forum. If you have special needs regarding medications or a medical condition in you or the baby, you can consult a lactation consultant before the baby's birth.

Diapers

Today, many choices in diapering are available. Disposable diapers, diasposable gelfree diapers, chlorine free diapers, and, of course, cloth diapers. The resources on the web are so extensive on cloth diapers, that it is better to refer to a cloth diaper website and search from there. It may seem scary and messy to use cloth diapers, but once you know the how-to's you will find cloth diapers not really more messy than disposable ones. In some regions, diaper services will take over the chore of washing diapers.
For some people, making your own cloth diapers is a possibility. In this way, you can combine patterns of diapers, liners, covers and fabrics just the way you like to diaper your baby.

Cloth menstrual pads

Once you are using cloth diapers, the step to using cloth menstrual pads is small. After all, you know how to work with a diaper pail, how to clean difficult laundry (did I mention sunlight as a natural harmless form of bleach?) and maybe you even envie your little one a little bit on the soft, pliable fabrics you are using to cover a delicate bottom. Well, here's the good news: you can start using cloth menstrual pads
yourself. If you are handy enough, you can make them yourself, or at least make the extra liners, for instance from left-over cloth diapers once your baby is potty trained. Also old towels and the like can be used for this purpose. And don't worry about the colors: nobody will notice!

Carrying your baby

See this link for information about carrying your baby in sling.

Links:

Childbirth Educators
Doulas
Natural family Planning
Cloth diapers
Breastfeeding information
Labor Support in Orange County
Lactation Consultant in Orange County
Resolve Orange County

Ecoparenting blog
Wearing your baby
Ecoparents Products and Services
Lunapads cloth menstrual pads


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