Jennifer Andersen, Creator and Author of Our Muddy Boots
The world changed when my first child was born.
My husband and I planned on having our baby sleep in his beautifully appointed nursery (through the night- whether he cried or not) from his first night home. I tried breastfeeding because my husband wanted me too, but was reminded by friends that most women were not capable of nursing.
The moment I met Owen though, I knew I would give him whatever he needed. He was so helpless, but so alert. He was so content and happy as long as he was being held-around the clock. With every part of myself I understood that my role was keep my baby comfortable.
I struggled though because mainstream parenting publications spoke only of the dangers of my choices. Fortunately, my instincts stayed strong and I listened to Owen.
Now I have two nursing children and 1 bed in a 4 bedroom house.
As I began to learn and understand the importance of listening to our babies I kept thinking “somebody should tell this to parents”. Through my own blog, I connected with many wonderful like-minded parents, bloggers, researchers, and storytellers. This effort is the culmination of these things.
Jennifer McGrail, Creator and Author of The Path Less Taken
I very vividly remember the first parenting article I ever read. I was in the waiting room of my OB’s office, newly pregnant with my first child, and I’d picked up a copy of Parents magazine. The article was by Dr William Sears, the man who coined the term “attachment parenting.” I was skeptical at the beginning, but grew even more incredulous as I read. Sleep with your baby? Wear your baby? Respond to your baby’s every cry? “Ridiculous”, I scoffed, and tossed it back into the pile. It sounded exhausting. Besides, weren’t you supposed to deliberately avoid picking up your baby every time he cried? Wouldn’t that ensure you’d have a spoiled, clingy child?
And then he was born.
I saw that face and I suddenly got it. I knew that he was a tiny person with big needs. I was sure, more sure than I’d ever been of anything in my life, that he needed me. He needed me to keep him close, both day and night. He needed me to feed him when he was hungry, not when the clock said it was “time.” He needed me to respond to his cries. Most of all, he needed me to listen.
I followed my heart that day, and now – 15 years and 3 more children later – I still do. I believe in treating children with kindness, compassion and respect; and I believe that it’s our job as parents to never stop learning about how we can better do it.
Amy Brown, Creator and Author of Zen Parenting
I come from a long line of spankers, formula feeders, crib sleepers, vaccinators, circumcisers…all your basic main stream parenting stuff. My son is the one who broke that cycle and made me into a lactivist, genital integrity advocate, full-term breastfeeder, cosleeper, vaccine researcher, home birth advocate…all your basic anti-main stream parenting stuff.
We went through IVF to get our son and were just spent on doctors after that, so we went the home birth route and everything natural followed after that. Here I am today – a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom who advocates for other babes and parents both like and unlike her and her babe.
The cycle can be broken. I am proof. Our children are the ones who teach us how.
Abby Theuring, Creator and Author of The Badass Breastfeeder
I am a Social Worker taking a break from my career to stay home with my son. I worked with abused and neglected adolescents for 14 years before my son was born. I have seen the detrimental effects on these children of not being parented in a gentle and connected way.
Since my son has been born I have become a passionate advocate for breastfeeding and gentle parenting. It is vital that we as parents build a strong bond with our babies. It is the foundation for the rest of their lives. This bond is built by listening to, responding to and meeting the needs of our babies.The most patriotic thing we can do for this nation is to raise healthy, empathetic and connected adults.
L.R.Knost, Creator and Author of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources
I am a passionate gentle parenting advocate, writer, and speaker, and founder of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. I’m also a babywearing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, homeschooling mama of six children and a children’s book author.
Having practiced gentle parenting for over twenty-five years now, I can testify to its effectiveness not only in the early years, but also in raising kind, successful, responsible adults. My children are a 25 year old Pastor and happily married father of two; a 23 year old happily married Family Therapist working on an advanced degree; an 18 year old 4th year pre-med student on scholarship; 13 and 6 year old adorable, funny, messy, socially active homeschooled girls; and a sweet little 25 month old nursling who is the delight of all of our lives!
It is my hope and prayer that sharing gentle parenting tips, techniques, and resources with parents, teachers, and caregivers will have a positive and far-reaching impact not only in the lives of children, but on the future of our world, as well. You can find L.R. on her own blog; Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources and on Facebook.