I thoroughly enjoy hearing from readers, even if my expediency in returning emailed questions leaves a lot (a lot a lot a lot) to be desired. Here's a round-up of answers to the most frequently asked questions I receive in comments and email:
I want to cloth diaper my new baby. What brands did you use/do you recommend?
Our youngest daughter learned the potty in Summer 2009, and it's amazing how out of the loop I feel when it comes to cloth diapering. The cloth diaper market is constantly changing and evolving, so my recommendations may not be the most up-to-date that you'll find. When my girls were in diapers, I could always count on the Diaper Chatter forum at DiaperSwappers to keep me in the loop on popular brands and trends.
That being said, the two brands we used the most consistently were Fuzzi Bunz and bum genius. I love the extra-small Fuzzi Bunz for brand new babies. I think I started using bumGenius on AJ when she was about two or three months old, and those held up wonderfully for the rapid growth of infancy. I have a large stash of medium Fuzzi Bunz that she wore quite a bit from about ten months all the way until potty learning (20 months).
I understand how overwhelming cloth diaper research can be! Additionally, not all diapering systems work wonderfully for every child. My best advice is to shop used when possible (Craigslist, local natural parenting groups, DiaperSwappers) to try out different styles of diapers before investing in brand new ones.
*** It is my hope to be able to cloth diaper the twins after their birth in early 2013, so stay tuned for more current posts on cloth diapering!
Breastfeeding didn't work out for me with my first baby. I would really like to try it again with my next little one. What advice can you give me?
My #1 Most Important piece of breastfeeding advice is this - build your community of support as soon as you can. Share with the people who will be caring for you and baby in the first few weeks what your breastfeeding goals are. Talk to them about what caused problems for you in your first try and how you need their support to overcome those hurdles this time. Connect with a LLL chapter or talk to a lactation consultant before baby is born.
As far as practical advice goes, I couldn't have breastfed my children as long as I did without the help of Kellymom. It is absolutely my favorite practical resource.
I'm shopping for a baby carrier for my new baby. What do you recommend?
If a new owlet ever joins our nest, I will definitely get a Moby Wrap or some other brand of soft, stretchy wrap for the new baby phase. I have heard so many people, even those who don't babywear beyond the first few months, rave and rave about these.
I am a big fan of soft-structured carriers, and my favorite was our good-lovin' Ergo. It has held up to MUCH use and abuse through both girls, and it still has lots of life in it. Soft-structured carriers are more of an investment, but I have gotten so much use out of ours. Worth every penny!What are your thoughts on spanking?
My thoughts are that spanking and other forms of punishment are all-too-often ineffective responses to misbehavior. The problem with punishment is that it teaches children (and adults, too, really) to avoid the pain of the punishment and often neglects teaching what the internal discipline a child needs to stop engaging in that behavior.
Do we sometimes use punishment with our own children? Yes. Sometimes. But it's not our go-to response.
When I talk about spanking with Christian parents, I make sure to clarify that I feel that spanking is an area of Biblical freedom. Spanking, as it is practiced in our culture, simply is not addressed in the Bible. My thoughts on parenting always, always go back to individual parents praying and seeking God's wisdom for how to discipline and teach their own children.
For more on why I don't believe spanking is a Biblical mandate, see this series on "the rod verses" from Dare to Disciple.
What are your thoughts on infant circumcision? Will you circumcise your sons?
My thoughts are that this is an incredibly controversial, incendiary topic that often leads to division rather than discussion in a public forum.
Within the realm of family blogging, it can be difficult to know when and where to draw the line around what is open for discussion and what is best kept private. When we found out we were having two boys, I decided in that moment that I would not be discussing their genitals with anyone outside of our immediate family just as I never have and never will discuss my daughters' genitals in any kind of public or written forum.
As an advocate type, I fully respect the advocacy work of intactivists and other anti-circumcision voices in the discussion. I would ask that others respect the privacy of my children by understanding that I am not going to engage this conversation.
Most parents who practice natural family living choose not to circumcise. Dr. Momma at Peaceful Parenting has put together a thorough resource list for anyone looking to consider the matter from a Christian perspective.
What are your favorite gentle Christian parenting resources?
The articles and forums at Gentle Christian Mothers are super helpful. I especially find lots of practical help in the Gentle Discipline forum which is open for public viewing. I'll add more to this list as I come across other great resources!
I just started blogging, and I'm wondering if you could check out my blog and give me some feedback? AND/OR How can I get more people to read my blog?I would be happy to share what I know! I will tell you, though, that every single thing I've ever told someone about blogging has been neatly summed up by my long-time blogging friend Missy at It's Almost Naptime: Getting Readers to Your Blog
What are some non-crunchy aspects of your life?
Hmmmm. Well, both of my girls are Cesarean births. That's a long story that's pretty non-crunchy.
Both of our girls are in public schools. Most crunchy-types are of the homeschool or unschool variety. As for us, we feel called to public schools.
I sometimes am a negligent recycler.
My kids are quite familiar with Happy Meals.
I love an ice cold Diet Coke.
If you really poke and pry, you'll find lots of ways I stray from the crunchy path. I really do lean hard on sorta. But sometimes not. I can be pretty hard core. So, yeah. (Gemini here.)
What other questions do you have? Leave them in the comments and I'll see what I can serve up in the way of answers!