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5 Infant Procedures We Skip

Written by contributor Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

I probably drive my OB nuts with the number of times I say “no.” As I detailed a few months back, there are quite a few prenatal norms to which I say “no thanks.” Tomorrow, in fact, at 39 1/2 weeks, I’m going to tell the good doctor “nah, no need” when he says it’s time for the standard 39 week internal exam. I just don’t want to know (and I don’t think my due date is right anyway).

Once the baby is born, not much will change. There are still many medical norms that I don’t see to be necessary.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this post is not advice, it’s simply a list of things my husband and I choose to do or not do. Discuss any medical choices with your own doctor and do more research than just trusting me, okay?


1. Early Vaccines, especially the Hepatitis B vaccine given immediately after birth

The Hep B vaccine falls into the “eye goop” category for us (see previous post). There is zero chance of an STD, so why bother? That started with my first.

I read Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book before my second was born and learned to space out vaccinations and selectively decline some as well. Particularly, the goals were (1) baby not too tiny and (2) not too many at once.

2. All artificial nipples, including pacifiers and bottles for the first month

We choose to ecologically breastfeed, and in order to give the baby the best chance at a good latch and avoiding “nipple confusion,” we don’t do pacifiers or bottles right away. At least, that’s the intention. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but I definitely won’t allow a nurse at the hospital to pacify my tiny infant who needs to learn to nurse for comfort and for nourishment. Besides that, navigating the waters of “which material is safe for baby?” was tricky enough!

And definitely no bottles of water, which only fill the baby up with nothing instead of wholesome colostrum! (That practice is a bit outdated, but I bet some hospitals still provide them to nursing moms.)

3. Schedules

Clocks and babies strike me as an artificial relationship, so I always nursed on demand, at least at first. Babies will get straightened out eventually, and you’ll survive those first few weeks when they think night is day and vice versa! Besides that, I can barely get anywhere on time myself, so I didn’t need one more chart or timetable to stress me out.

4. “Cry it out” for 6 months

I strongly believe that in the first six months, baby’s wants are equal to their needs. I won’t risk harming my attachment with my child by forcing crying and sleep before six month old. After that, don’t ask me about sleep. It’s not one of this family’s strong points. 😉

5. Formula samples

I was coerced/forced/pushed into using formula at nine days old with my first, who was slow to gain weight. I hated every second of it and still look back with regrets, wondering what that early introduction to soy and other unnatural foods and minerals may have done to his immune system. I know some babies and families aren’t able to breastfeed, but I really encourage you to try with all your might before turning to formula.

For this pregnancy, I’m adding a new one to the list: Standard baby wash filled with chemicals. I’ll be bringing my own natural soap to the hospital and asking the nurse to use it during baby’s first bath.

What’s your infant-raising philosophy? To what do you say “no” before the terrible twos arrive?

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65 Comments

  1. se7en

    Oh how trying and exciting those last days are!!! We had the same mid-wife for se7en out of our eight babies: She was well-trained by the time we were finished with her!!! We have our babies at home and we like them just as they are… no shots, no pokes, no soaps, no prods… of me or the baby. She felt she had to ask us every time so that we couldn’t hold her liable… and we said that was fine as long as she understood we were saying no to everything!!! I think she learnt a lot about just relaxing into things and not managing every single detail… She was already brilliant and relaxed that’s why we chose her… we just took her to a new level!!!

  2. Christina P

    Wow, now that I think of it, I didn’t say “no” to much for my most recent one (she’s 4 months now). What I did give an emphatic “no” to was staying an extra night at the hospital. When I had packed up, the nurse tried convincing me to stay longer so I could rest more. She meant well, but leaving my toddler for so long was stressful, and they wouldn’t let me cosleep at the hospital, so I really wasn’t getting much rest, anyway. Not that I cosleep or anything….;)

    • Sarah G

      Haha, I remember one time at the hospital, I had C in bed with me (we were both asleep) and two nurses came in. One was clearly horrified and told me I needed to make sure to keep the baby in the bassinet. The other one said, “She was just resting her eyes”. I could have kissed her!

      • thursday

        I was chastised, too, for having my newborn sleep on me! I’m sorry, lady, but that child would NOT sleep one second in the darn bassinet. :p

        • tatiana

          my children hated and didnt fit in the basssant being almost 11lbs at birth so he slept in my arms at night and durning the day i never had any problems and never fell deep enough asleep to not know where my child was

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’m at a new hospital, so I hope the nurses on duty are lenient with the co-sleeping thing! Hadn’t thought of that…but I definitely know the value of getting my sleep AND letting baby nurse and cuddle over following conventions. 😉 Katie

      • Nicole

        Wow, I hadn’t even thought of that! Thankfully, I birthed at a pretty “granola” hospital (as quoted by a nurse who works there!) and they didn’t give me any problems with snuggling/sleeping with my baby. I don’t generally cosleep but sometimes nursing just makes you both so sleepy! 🙂

  3. Heather

    I tried to say no to vitamin K, but they said they had to do it, as well as the eye stuff. With both of my babes I had to have a c-section (due to previous injury), and so was not as able to refuse some of those things that happen right after birth since I was in recovery. And my poor hubs gets flustered when in the thick of it. But, definitely no to Hep B, and no to the nurses taking the baby from the room. And no to having someone watch big sister while mama was in the hospital having number two 🙂 Luckily, the hospital we were at was fine with us all staying together, and they had a large “family bed” room with a queen size bed…then I was just dealing with family questions 🙂

    • Nicole

      I got a lot of crap about refusing the vitamin K shot at the pediatrician’s office!

  4. Sarah G

    We say no to many of the same things you do. I feel blessed to give birth in a breastfeeding friendly hospital that never takes the baby away unless absolutely necessary and doesn’t hand out pacis at all.

    I will say on the sleep issue, that cosleeping only worked for the first 2 months for us. After that, our son began night waking every 45 mins. After 2.5 months of that I gave in and let him fall asleep with me sitting next to his crib. After one rough night of that he became a much better sleeper. I never night weaned him He nursed between 1-3 x’s/night until he self night-weaned at 11 months. All that to say, I felt a lot of guilt that first night, but really, every baby is different.

    Oh and whenever a friend asks me about getting their baby on a schedule, I just laugh. We have a routine (order that we do things in), but I can’t imagine trying to make him do things by-the-clock!

    Great post : )

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Ditto on the schedule, Sarah! Co-sleeping only makes sense when it works for everyone in the family, in my opinion. If hubby isn’t sleeping b/c baby is there, if baby is kicking mommy too much for her to sleep (happens to me at about 9 mos. which is when I send babes to their crib for good) or in your situation, it makes more sense to make sure all are getting healthy sleep, period. You made a great decision!
      🙂 Katie

  5. Pam M.

    My son just turned 11 a couple of weeks ago. I knew absolutely nothing in those days. After a hard pregnancy and life threatening delivery my dreams of breast feeding were dashed to pieces when my milk never came in. Bummer. He had so many stomach issues and we tried so many formulas. Knowing what I do now, it’s no wonder we had issues with formula. I wish I had known about goat’s milk at that time. I definitely would have went that route, seeing as how breastfeeding wasn’t an option. I’m sure that would have made a huge difference for us.

  6. Kirsten Dehmlow

    Great post. I am a labor doula and educator. I want to extend two of your ideas. The first is how about skip the bath all together. Your baby is not dirty, in fact the amniotic fluid has antibacterial qualities. You can just wipe off any blood and save the bath for when you are at home. The second is about allowing your baby to “cry it out.” Research actually tells us that we should not allow a baby to “cry it out” until they have developed object permanence and that does not happen until a baby is between 9-12 months. So, six months may still be too early.
    Congrats on all of you having a new baby and cherish their babyhood!

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kristin,
      perfect – thank you so much! Another doula at a different post this week also said “why bath?” and I never even thought of that!

      I’m also glad to hear about the 9-12 months, because that’s certainly what we did with the first two, and I hate to hurt new little guy by pushing too hard…since sleep is such a tough issue with our family anyway! Nobody sleeps until they’re well over a year! 😉 Katie

  7. thursday

    I can’t do crying it out at any age. It’s just awful to listen to crying for even 3-5 minutes. I tried it when my son was 17 months and he wouldn’t let me get any sleep. Eventually gave up and started bringing him to my bed to sleep when he woke up after 1 hour.

    As far as nursing goes, I did use a “schedule” of sorts (not for napping, though). Why? Because I could never ever tell when my son was hungry. Rooting? Not much. Crying? Not much. I even threw out the stupid “baby whisperer” book because I was so irritated at not being able to “read” my baby. Even after 18 months.

    I, too, was told to use formula for my first because they worried about jaundice. He didn’t like it at all, so he really didn’t get more than an ounce or two. And my mother was NOT pleased with that suggestion (being a former counselor for Nursing Mothers, a group like LLL). I did let him have a pacifier. He still has the stupid thing. He’s just turned 3. Working on it! Not thrilled about the possibility of #2 having one until she’s 3… (due in 3 weeks, myself). BUT – we didn’t have any problems nursing besides my not being able to “read” his needs.

    • Julia

      Perhaps one of the few benefits of being disorganized and losing things is that when we lost all of the pacifiers, one by one, we just didn’t buy any more. As toddlers they had to learn to accept that they were “all gone.”

  8. Karla

    I love this site and hope for the best for you, but I have to say that this article seems less about making great choices for your baby (which I think you are) and more about hating the evil hospitals and nurses. You would probably find that most of them would agree with you if you went in with a better attitude!

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Karla,
      My ultimate goal is open communication, and sometimes writing things down is the only way to make sure nurses (who may only meet me in heavy labor or not at all when they have my babe in arms) know a little about me. I posted my Bradley Method birth plan at another site for which I write this week, along with how I discuss things with the doc and that it needs to “birth wishes” not a steamrolling “plan” from which no one may deviate.

      I even have such a great relationship with our pediatrician that I have her home number to help me make any newborn decisions, since she doesn’t have permissions at our new hospital. Hopefully there won’t be any evil nurses there…but if there are, I’ll see them coming! 😉 Just kidding…I’m really quite a nice person. 😉 Katie

  9. Vicki B

    Vitamin K shot. There’s a can of worms. It’s anything but a simple vitamin. There are non toxic drops but they are hard to find; Canada has them. If the mom green loads in the weeks before birth with loads of vitamin k foods like broccoli, there’s really no need, according to the hospital mid wife. But my gosh the hospital goes whacko when it’s refused. In the not so old days, a test was given to see if the baby had a clotting problem but someone figured out it was cheaper to give the shot. My oldest grandchild had it, the two younger didn’t after reading what was in it. She, as do loads of kids these days, had texture sensitivity. I seriously think it’s a by product of that shot. She didn’t do vaccines.

  10. Sarah

    We go as far as bringing our own cloth diapers, and all of our own blankets. I told the nurses they were to clean the baby with my blankets directly after birth. They sere upset because they wanted blankets from a warmer but I told then I did not want any chemicals from their hospital blankets on my new baby. They obliged. We also for go vitamin k, which raised quite the stink. I held on strong tho.

  11. Sandra

    Great advice! When our second son was diagnosed with autism earlier this year they asked us questions about my pregnancy, his immunizations (including the Hep B), and how long I breast-fed. Then they assured me all that had nothing to do with his autism. It’s hard to look back and think “If I knew then what I know now…” I’m thankful you are sharing your tips to help others think before they are told “everyone does it, no one questions it.”

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Sandra,
      What a challenge, but one I’m sure you’ll meet head on! What were the docs thinking, asking you those questions and then saying point blank “no relationship to your case.” Um. Right. That sounds like a kid with an ice cream mustache claiming he couldn’t possibly have raided the freezer!

      We live in a manipulated world that is nothing close to “natural”, and it never ceases to amaze me the medical decisions we normal moms have to make!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story…
      🙂 Katie

  12. Michelle, Muffin Tin Mom

    I completely disagree with all the points in this post (except for #1), but respect your choices and conviction.

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thanks for such respect – and I respect your choices, too. It’s good that we have the option to say “yes” or “no” for our own children in this country. 🙂 Katie

      • Michelle, Muffin Tin Mom

        I reread this post again and found I agree with more. LOL. like the bottled water. Water is worse than formula, IMHO. Give a baby water and they wont be hungry for anything else!

  13. Alissa

    I am discovering how lucky we are that our local hospital is so supportive of many things that fall in the “natural parenting” category:
    Emphasis on movement and doing things mom’s way during labor;
    There’s no nursery, so baby HAS to stay with you;
    No pacifiers available;
    No formula samples given;
    Water baths only;
    The diaper wipes are just cloth that you wet with water;
    The videos they make new parents watch emphasize breastfeeding and the lactation consultant meets with every mother… plus they do a 3 day follow-up to address any challenges you may be having.

    My SIL even delivered at a hospital that uses cloth diapers!

    All that being said, they do encourage all the vaccines, but ask the parents directly about their preferences both with the pre-admit paperwork and again before administering at the hospital.

    • Honey

      Holy COW! Are you sure she wasn’t in some kind of hospital Mootrix? 😉 A hospital that cd’s, cloth wipes, no samples, no artificial nipples?! AND! They actually ask about giving vax’s?!?!

      …are you tellin’ stories?! 😉

      As a mom and doula…that really gives me hope.

      Honey

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Alissa,
      I’m as amazed as the other commenter here! That is awesome!!!

      A crunchy company I work with is in the last stages of getting their natural baby wash approved for use in a huge hospital, which is so cool, but from what I’ve been reading this week, a little water is probably even better. The pendulum is finally starting to swing the other way from “medical progress” and chemicals, yippee!
      🙂 Katie

  14. momstarr

    home birth, demand feed for first few weeks, schedule later, enjoy baby!

  15. courtney

    i love this blog and get so much great advice from it. and with our first two kiddos, i would have agreed with a lot of the info you posted.

    however, we just had our third baby. i learned a lot about flexibility and being more open minded. i think there are lots of things that happen in hospitals that may not be the best for a baby. but there are lots of things that are done there that are done for a good reason.

    our son was born at 27 weeks and is an absolute miracle! when he got to 33 weeks gestation, i was allowed to start to try to nurse him. we knew success may not come until he was closer to term, but i spent hours every day having skin to skin contact and trying to get him to learn to nurse. however, a preemie’s mouth often is not strong enough to draw milk from the breast and after weeks and weeks of very little success, i started trying a bottle in between nursing him. the bottom line was that it was more important for him to learn to eat than to be fed via a central line or NG tube. we had so much more success with a bottle and i was able to give him exclusively expressed milk. i always offered the breast, but gave him a bottle when he didn’t have the strength to nurse. the NICU nurses were so encouraging that there really isn’t a magic age that you need to wait to use a bottle or that nipple confusion really exists.

    after 10 weeks in the NICU, he was discharged and he is now 5 months old and nursing like a champ! he had a bottle for weeks and weeks but with perseverance, he is a pro at nursing now.

    so, to all the moms who so desperately want to breast feed, don’t be discouraged if you have to introduce a bottle before a certain time or in a window that you’ve been told will induce “nipple confusion.” our little man had a bottle for weeks before he was even due and for several weeks after and now prefers to nurse without a doubt. perseverance and a lot of love will go a long way!

    in a perfect delivery and with a perfectly healthy baby, i think it is amazing to have as little medical intervention as possible.
    but, after having just lived through a crisis, i am SO very thankful for modern medicine. my sweet babe and i would not have made it without amazing doctors and nurses.

    • Nicole

      Wow! What a blessing your little one is and thanks for the encouraging breastfeeding story! I too have never had a problem with nipple confusion. I love letting my babies use pacies and my breastfed babies haven’t seemed confused at all. 🙂

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Courtney,
      You did such good things pumping your milk to get your little preemie A-1 nutrition! And what a joy that he went back to breastfeeding – I would do anything to try to make that work, too.

      You’re so right, “the best laid plans” only work if all is going well, and we certainly need to remember that. 🙂 Katie

  16. Stephanie Pease

    I’m with you on a lot of that stuff, but not on the HepB shot. Sure, there’s no possibility that my child will get a sexually transmitted disease from me, but the shot protects him/her for the REST OF HIS/HER LIFE. What if my child is raped someday… wouldn’t I want to protect my child from as many consequences as I can of other peoples sinful actions? I suppose one thing you could do would be to have the HepB shot given later… maybe when the child is older along with some of the other vaccinations. I sympathize with parents who worry about autism, though I believe that there is no good evidence to support vaccinations contributing to autism, and feel that a lot of misinformation has been fed to parents about that issue. Consider getting your child the HepB vaccine later, even if it feels too much to do it immediately after birth!

    • nopinkhere

      That’s actually what we have done with our kids. I felt their immune system has enough to do without adding an extra vaccine that was unnecessary at that time. We then included it later in our schedule.

      • Nicole

        We do it later, too. I figured as few interventions as were necessary was better for a newborn.

    • CrunchyIGuess

      Actually HepB only lasts about 20 years, And the likelihood of my child becoming an IV drug user or having sex with someone who is HepB positive in the first 20 years of his life is very low, so he doesn’t get that vax.

  17. Jennifer

    My daughter turned one yesterday. My first visit at the hospital was a disaster in which I ended up in tears. I asked many questions trying to get an idea of what I could say no to…the doc stopped looking at me and was non-responsive in general. This started our search for an alternative.

    G was born healthy and happy with no ultrasounds, no shots, no eye goop, no bath and me at home in my bed three hours later. Most of my friends can’t believe what I “got away with”. We said no, we stood our ground and our midwife applauded us.

    We have never given a pacifier or a bottle, although I did have to supplement a little at the beginning through a tube on the tip of my finger. I can’t imagine any other way.

  18. Jennifer Lavender @ Becoming That Family

    I am so glad to have found a midwife that is not only very educated on the physiology of birth, but has been through the hospital birth and unnecessary c-section herself and so she understands exactly what many moms go through. I have loved talking to her and getting good, logical reasons for doing things with as little intervention as possible. We are planning a home-birth with her, so we already know we won’t have to decline anything unless we are transferred in the case of an emergency. There are two things that I would add to your list though, should I have the need for a hospital birth:

    1) Clamp/cut the umbilical cord before the placenta is delivered.
    2) Bathe the baby in the first few days.

    I would also like to add that no matter the mode of delivery, at home with the midwife, in the hospital with a doctor, or by c-section, I would request that baby be given directly to mom and left there as long as possible. No warmers, no baths, no rough rub-down by nurses. Just baby on mom’s chest until after they have the chance to attempt nursing for the first time at the very least.

  19. Charissa

    I find it surprising that your hospital gives the babies baths while you’re staying there. I didn’t think they did that anymore while they still have the umbilical cord attached, and the infant care class I took at our hospital even told us that any soap at all was totally unnecessary for a while.

    I do have to kindly chuckle at your refusal to do cry-it-out or schedules. In one of your last posts, you asked prayer that your child would be sleeping through the night before turning 1. I honestly believe that unless you get one of those rare angel babies (and I will pray that you do), it takes some sort of routine (not schedule, just routine that is very willing to flex according to the baby’s cues) to get them sleeping through the night early on. I also believe that cry-it-out can be the most effective way of helping them learn to sleep, but I was only willing to do it after reading some research on babies and sleep and realizing how important it was for my baby’s brain development if he could sleep through the night–not just me. We did both a loose routine and CIO pretty much from day one, and ours was STTN by 8-9 weeks. Ours also at some point refused to fall asleep by being rocked or nursed, so we really had no option other than CIO. But I really don’t think it effects them emotionally in the long-run–at least not as much as chronic sleep deprivation can affect them.

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Charissa, Yeah, that’s what prayer is for, I guess! 😉 Even if it’s 9 months with some crying out…that would be great. 😉 Katie

  20. Amanda

    My favorite sentence while in the hospital “I’ll be happy to sign a waiver” Yep, wanna turn down those eye goop drops and the HepB shots? Get your pen ready, no problem I had mine in hand just after arriving.

    I think the hardest part about say “no” was the push from nurses and how dr/staff made you feel like an idiot for saying no. I wanted to scream! 1st, don’t argue with me, I’m 42 weeks preg! Yes, I was 42(nearly 43) weeks preg. I’ve had PLENTY of time to think this over.

    I really like being made to feel like the worst mother EVER for refusing something. Yes, my baby who was born via c-section needs drops in his eyes. You know, because he might catch something? Blech!

  21. Leigh

    Great post. I love reading aout what other people do when it comes to pregnancy and newborns and it always gives me something to think about and something to be greatful for. I was lucky with all my children to find a midwife practice that says no for me (although the do tell me the option is available) to many of the standard medical practices. They were fine with no ultrasounds; no internal exam; going 2 weeks past due; no eye ointment or vitamin shot. The hosiptal had a strict in room boarding policy for newborns so my babies were with me the whole time. We also found a doctor who told us to say no to any vaccines at birth because she works on an expanded length vaccine.

    One thing we said no to and got funny looks for was the babies first bath. Our Bradley birthing coach told us that the gunk on the baby is very good for their skin and also that the stuff they use to clean the baby is very harsh chemicals. So we ask the midwife to towel our babies off (but until we had had about 30 minutes to bond as a family in the delivery room) Then we used only olive oil to clean them for the first month or so. I did not do this with my first but with the other two I did and I have to say the skin was smooth and clean and soft and much less red and dry.

  22. Kamela

    Does anyone have any thoughts on flu shots?

    I’ve just recently begun truly thinking about vaccines versus “going with the flow” just because and I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject.

    Any good resources out there to assist in a concerned mom’s decision?

    Thanks!

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kamela,
      Smart thing to think about! My basic thinking on flu shots is:
      1. They don’t protect against everything anyway.
      2. Some kinds can end up giving you the flu.
      3. Some of them have chemicals like aluminum that I’d rather not have in my system.
      4. Many are cultured in animals’ cells or even human embryos.

      I think KellytheKitchenKop.com has some info on them, better than that – try a search at her site. For us, it’s been much easier to simply decline, live a healthy lifestyle, and realize that most likely, the flu won’t kill us. ???

      good luck on your decisions and information search!
      🙂 Katie

  23. Honey

    During the last few weeks of pregnancy you can take alfalfa tablets. It’ll help you AND babe. My back up OB/GYN was AMAZED at the lack of blood at the birth. (Ohio attacked homebirth midwives 2 weeks before my birth…so we felt HB wasn’t a safe option since they were JAILING a midwife already.) We also had a full Lotus Birth. The placenta and umbilical cord stay attached to the baby until it naturally falls off at 3ish days. TONS of medical benefits come from allowing the placenta to do it’s thing….even AFTER it “stops pulsating” too. My OBGYN now trys to talk every woman that births with him into doing it as there were so many tests ran with my babe as a nurse called CPS on us because of it. It was ridiculous but OBGYN literally stood in the way of them as they burst into my room. It was a beautiful shining light moment.

    Also, colostrum is a healthy and wonderful alternative to the “eye goop”. It does everything without the blurry vision or eye irritation.

    ALSO! While we salted, added oils and herbs (that are safe for consumption) to the placenta I also dried it and encapsulated it. Placenta encapsulation is wonderfully healing and healthy for preventing ppd, helps with sleep, milk production, energy,….TONS.

    Holler if you have any questions and I’d be happy to share.

    Honey
    @Mondorfment

    • Nicole

      I just learned about drying the placenta (alas, a month after my baby was born!). I wish I would have known about it before!

  24. Sarah

    I hate cry it out as well, but I have discovered that my 4 month old will go to sleep beautifully if I swaddle him and let him fuss for 5 minutes. The first 3 months, I walked and walked with him until he slept because he didn’t want to be nursed or rocked to sleep. If I had not been willing to try this way, I’d still be walking him up and down the hallway!

  25. Archer

    Like, like, LOVE!

  26. Catie

    We said “no” to all of these, too. Had we had a boy, we would’ve said no to circumcision as well. (Was that TMI?) There’s just NO medical reason for it. We also said no to Vitamin K and the eye goop.

    Another interesting fact about the Hep B shot–it’s only good for about 7 years! Isn’t that just silly?!

    Great article!

  27. Kat

    What baby soap do you use, and what soaps do you use for yourself/family?

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kat,
      This is my first baby after getting deeper into being earth-friendly, so I’m just navigating these waters as well. In fact, Baby John was just born Saturday night and until his first bath I was up in the air about a. skipping it completely b. not using any soap and c. using the natural soap I packed. Some of the comments on this post are really helpful —

      I ended up offering a baby soap from Earth Mama Angel Baby, and I’m also going to use some goat’s milk soap from MadeOn Hard Lotion for the whole fam when we get home. I’m thinking for the first month at least, I’ll use very little soap on John, period. In general, any soap made with all recognizable ingredients, usually by a small business like MadeOn or Graham’s Gardens, is a great alternative to SLS and harsher ingredients. NaturOli soap nuts are also a neat alternative, and they have a shampoo, too. Hope that helps!

      🙂 Katie

  28. Tracy

    Our midwife advised against any soap at all for the first few days. Our son bathed with me and for the first 6 weeks I was adding salt and a few drops of lavender oil to my water to assist with the healing of a 3rd degree tear. My husband would take baby from me and dress him while I finished bathing myself so he wasn’t exposed to soap in the water.

    I kept looking and smelling for signs that he needed soap to help clean him. There weren’t any. I decided to not use soap on our boy until it became necessary.

    Well, he is almost 9 months old and I used soap (natural goats milk soap) for the first time on him last week! Now that he is crawling and eating more solids, he’s starting to need a little help getting clean.

    Throughout his little life people have marveled at how beautiful and soft and smooth his skin is and I couldn’t help but compare his to other babies skins, and people were right – his skin is amazing.

  29. Lindsay

    Very similar in our family, as well…

    Except for the cry-it-out situation… With our first we were totally going to be the bestest attachment parents that ever existed and co-sleep, baby-wear, exclusively breastfeed, no crying, etc, etc…. We never let him cry…and now at 4 he still won’t sleep through the night.

    With our second we were still committed to no CIO (and co-sleeping still) and finally at about 9 months we had to give-up. He was NEVER sleeping…naps or nighttime. He probably got about 7-8 hours total for the whole 24-hrs. He was exhausted and miserable ALL THE TIME…falling behind on milestones. Finally we decided we had to do CIO and once he got the hang of sleeping he did a complete 180. He NEEDED sleep…we ALL needed sleep. It wasn’t something that we could GIVE him. He had to learn to do it himself. CIO did lead to him suffering…it lead to him thriving.

    I still think that letting babies much younger than 3-4 months CIO probably isn’t the best as they’re still getting their bearings.

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lindsay,
      Sounds like you made the perfect choice! Every sleep situation has to work for the whole family, and I can totally see trying CIO after baby is a bit more ready. We did it w/ no. 1 but too late- he was already standing up in his crib, and after a few nights of 45 minutes (w/visits from a parent to say “lay down, rest your head, we love you” every 5-10), we just figured we waited too darn long! We’ll see what life brings for baby John, born Saturday! 😉 Katie

  30. Becky @ Our Peaceful Home

    Katie,

    I do agree with many of your decisions. We forgo the Hep B vaccine too. I have been reading even more recently that confirms our decision for an alternative vaccine schedule this includes strongly feeling like the Hep B vac is not necessary for us. I do see why it may be for some, but for us we don’t need it.

    And, I do love being on a schedule myself and even having my children in a consistent routine. But, especially during the first few weeks that a little one is in the world it takes time for them to get to eating on a consistent schedule. Feeding on demand is always great for baby and great for mama during the first weeks of life. It encourages lactation and helps the little one get nutrition that is absolutely necessary during the first few weeks of life.

    And, we leave the formulas at the door too. No need for the temptation to have someone else get baby a bottle during those first sleepy weeks with a newborn. I love it that you are also bringing your own soap. I think if there is a Lord willing, next time around for us, than I will also do that. That is if I don’t decided to try a go at a home birth. I’m not sure if we will do that or not. We’ve always had our little ones in the hospital, but sometimes it’d be so nice just to be at home. We’ll see.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  31. Heather T.

    The vaccination schedule in Canada doesn’t even do the Hep B vaccination at birth (unless, of course, the mother is a carrier). The earliest is at the 2 month visit.

    I also feel pretty fortunate that our regular hospital was very breastfeeding-friendly. Plus, the nurses even told me I should sleep with my baby if she wasn’t sleeping well. I had prepared for the worst, but I received really great care. I feel so lucky, especially after reading some of the stories here. Super impressive for sticking to your ideals as much as possible!

  32. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy

    My list is very much the same! So thankful to have a pediatrician who refuses to do the Hep B at the hospital (he tells the hospital he’ll do it at his office, which is of course up to the parents. We choose to forego it all together.).

  33. Sarah

    I like your list! We did those things as well. Also, no CIO, ever. That is our opinion and definitely no infant circumcisions!

  34. Catherine

    Katie, you offer some great ideas for moms-to-be out there. It’s wonderful that everything you’ve hoped for has worked well. I’d like to offer a comment for those moms who’ve either struggled in one of these areas, particularly breastfeeding, or who have found themselves disappointed by something not going according to their plan. I have two sons, both delivered after induced labor with epidurals. I really didn’t want the induction or epidural the 1st time, but it became necessary due to uncontrollable factors. The second time, I was all for it. I’ve also strenuously attempted to breastfeed both of them, but with very little luck. It’s a combination of them being big, and thus, really hungry, and my body not producing enough milk. Despite lots of help from lactation consultants, supplemental herbs, and other supply-increasing methods, I wasn’t able to breastfeed them exclusively. My husband and I tend to be more “traditional” in our choices as parents (our sons have had all their shots as scheduled by the pediatrician, for instance), so we decided with both boys to breastfeed as much as possible, and then supplement with formula to ensure their health and proper growth. I suppose the main reason I wanted to comment on your post is that I was a mom-to-be with certain ideals for child-bearing and -rearing (many very similar to what you have written about) and have had to learn that sometimes the ideal isn’t actually ideal for the parent or the child. I want other moms to realize that if everything doesn’t go according to the “ideal,” it’s still okay and nothing to be disappointed about. After all, our main objective as parents is to have happy, healthy children, right?

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Catherine,
      You bet! & you’re certainly rt about “the best laid plans…”

      🙂 Katie

  35. Heidi

    I am so with you on all of the points. I think the only thing that varies for me is that we don’t do any vaccinations…and oh yeah, we certainly got crap for that but I’m sure we’ll be getting it for the rest of our lives. I know I did the research and am so firm in my belief that it doesn’t matter what any doctor tells me. We’re using a different hospital this time around (I’m due in March!) so I can attempt a vbac (my first baby was breach) so it’s a whole new situation once again. New hospital, new doctors, new procedures. But, on the other hand, I know a lot more about what I want for me and my baby this time and am surprisingly more relaxed already. Good luck with the end of your pregnancy/delivery! I hope everything goes smoothly! 🙂
    Btw, I found your blog through my sister and I’m excited to check it all out!

  36. Aisha

    We say “no” to alot of things!
    NO cutting of the cord until after 10-15 minutes
    NO formula, breastfeeding all the way
    NO vaccines what so ever! They are all unnecessary and have too many harmful chemicals…ugh!
    NO nurses bathing my bub, I bathe him with my products
    NO hospital disposables, I bring my cloth diapers
    NO taking my bub away
    NO pacifiers
    NO schedules as well, that is demand feeding and I co-sleep.

    Dh and I try our best to live a natural lifestyle and we choose natural parenting as well 🙂

  37. Mary Elizabeth

    Hey this is written great! I agree with everything you said. (Well, truth be told, I might start letting baby “cry it out” once in a while at about 5.5 months. But Still.)

    I have to tell you that I opened a bottle of (cows) milk (my youngest is 18 months) that had been under the couch for a while and it smelled like formula. Kinda gross that formula smells like metal + rotted milk. Ewww.

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