Natural Parenting

Natural pregnancy, birth, and parenting: healthy, happy and ecological ideas from a mother's personal experience.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Vaccinations - IT IS YOUR CHOICE

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR BABY VACCINATIONS, it is your choice, vaccinations are not compulsory! (I feel that I have to write this in capitals as most parents are whisked so quickly after birth into the doctor's surgery before they have time to think about it)

I was just going to take my son Oscar down to the doctors with all the other babies at 8 weeks to have his multiple jabs. But then I thought, hang on a minute, why am I about to allow this to happen to this pure little body, just accepting the doctors little piece of paper I got through the post, without even researching the pros and cons. Then I started researching and bought lots of books about vaccinating children. After reading and researching on the internet and talking to homeopaths I do not want to vaccinate Oscar at all, and I would not even consider it until he was 2 years old when he has established his own immune system. I did not take this decision lightly and agonised over it for months and still think about it.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE, you do not have to take your baby for jabs in the UK at the recommended 8 weeks old or at all if you do not want to. There is no rush, take your time, you can have them when ever you want or some are available separately via private GP's. You can do whatever you want, it is such an important decision that I cannot believe parents are not more readily encouraged to take their time to make informed decisions about injecting their babies with a cocktail of substances. We are worrying about whether our baby is eating an organic banana but we should be worrying about the antibiotics and other substances that are carried in the vaccines.

THERE ARE HOMEOPATHIC ALTERNATIVES. Which involve your child just taking drops which don't have all the carrier substances included in the conventional injections. Our homeopath recommended to give Oscar Tetnus (because we live in a rural area) and Polio (because some children of a certain age still carry the live vaccine which could potentially be passed on in a swimming pool) when he is older.

You can make up your own mind and work out which vaccines you may want for your child at the age you decide is best. As far as I can work out the doctors just offer all in one jabs, but seem to be flexible with the age you have them. They will try and push you into having them at the 8 week stage though for their own convenience and financial benefit.

FURTHER READING, I found the following references useful, some are more balanced than others:

Vaccinations, a thoughtful parent's guide by Aviva Jill Romm

The Vaccination Bible, The Real Risks They Don't Tell You About All The Major Vaccines edited by Lynne McTaggart (A What Doctors Don't Tell You publication)

Vaccinations Yes or No?, Helping you decide by Will and Lara Sussman

Homeopathic Alternatives to Immunisation, a guide for travellers and parents looking for an alternative to being immunised by Susan Curtis.
This is a really useful guide with homeopathic alternatives that you could have handy and administer yourself.

Informed Parent website
Provides information for parents who are looking into the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations.


Home birth is definitely recommended by me, I'm so glad I managed to give birth to my first son at home without any stress or interventions, it meant I could go at my own pace. I didn't have to worry about time at all or car journeys to hospital or negotiating with hospital staff about the status of the birth. I'm positive that this along with yoga and caulophyllum tablets meant that I had a very short and straight forward labour of 5 hours. Luckily I had the support of family and friends around me which made a real difference to my confidence and in resisting the pressure to go hospital, especially as my mum and sister both had all their children at home.

The Vitamin K injection offered after birth, you can get hold of Vitamin K in vitamin pill form from Health Food Shops if you do not want to have the injection, you do not have to have it.

The Homeopathic Birthing Kit is invaluable pre/during/post birth for you, your baby and your partner. Available from some Health Stores and, about £30.

I wouldn't be without the following remedies in birth:

Caulophyllum 200:
A homeopathic remedy used by many women giving birth to help speed up labour
Everyone I know who has used this has had a speedy birth.
Available from homeopaths, health food shops, or who sell homeopathic 'birthing kits' for all birthing issues and problems

Arnica 200:
This is widely used homeopathic remedy for shock and repair, much needed during and after birth

Rescue remedy:
Always useful for the mother and birthing partners at any time during the birth

Caulophyllum 200 - homeopathic remedy that lots of pregnant women use to bring on/speed up labour, most have reported just that after taking it, building up from one pill a day to one an hour!
Clary Sage oil - couple of drops in the bath, this is meant to be very powerful!
Raspberry leaf tea prepares the womb for labour, making labour easier
And the more common methods: eat pineapple, drink champagne, have sex, eat curry, bumpy car journey, long walks etc


Taking acidopholis pills seem to prevent colic in babies, again take it yourself and they get it via your milk, have worked with everyone I know who has done this

Drinking fennel tea promotes flow of breast milk


If I became pregnant again, I wouldn't be without the following tips and potions (all available from health food stores/quality supermarkets/internet):

Solgar multi vitamin for pregnancy, they are huge and expensive but jam packed full of high level high quality vitamins including folic acid.
Camomile tea to keep calm.
Fish oils in capsule form, eat oily fish.
Rescue remedy for times of stress.
Lots of water, figs and prunes for constipation.
Lecithin granules are meant to be good for the hormones, can be eaten with your cereal.

The following contain high levels of iron which really helps in pregnancy for you and the baby:
Nettle tea (loose is better, very high in iron, tastes a bit like and earthy green tea)
Floradix liquid (much superior to iron tablets which cause constipation, couldn't have done without it)
Apricots (very high in iron)
Porridge oats

High in calcium (you don't necessarily need to drink lots of milk):
Nettle tea
Sesame seeds

Raspberry leaf tea is a popular potion to take during the last 4 months of pregnancy to prepare the muscles for birth, I think it definitely makes a difference.

Morning sickness: Camomile tea, ginger

Conventional tea and coffee limit your absorption of iron.

Creams, so much is absorbed through your skin, I avoided using any commercial cream including ones that appeared to be chemical free as they still had things in them that I didn't trust, read the labels, I just oiled my skin with almond oil, you can also use olive oil or other oils, but any oil that I associated with cooking just make me feel sick!

Yoga, made all the difference to my strength/flexibility and ability to concentrate and keep calm in pregnancy and birth.

NCT, join the National Childbirth Trust and go to their antenatal classes to be really informed and feel totally ready for birth and the hospital environment if that is where you are giving birth, and you make friends! They also support home-birth and breastfeeding.

Recommended reading (all can be found on
Amazon books website cheaply) and websites:

Baby Centre website
Great online guide for looking up any questions you have about anything at all

The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
This a great manual to pregnancy which leaves you feeling really informed and strong about the birth, or any book by the NCT [National Childbirth Trust] too

Natural Baby by Janet Balaskas
A brilliant guide that I used every day for tips on newborns health

Holistic Herbal for Mother and Baby by Kitty Campion
Some good remedies that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, might find yourself mixing up strange potions

New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
Brilliant advice on preparation and positions for birth which is very important

The Family Guide to Homeopathy by Dr Andrew Lockie
Detailed guide to homeopathic remedies for every problem

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Thomas Bartram
I would never be without this herbal reference guide to everything, very detailed

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


(article published in Green Parent magazine Winter 2006)

It's cheaper, it's healthier, it's better for the environment.

It saves time, money and energy and with concern growing about climate change and landfill, it's helping to make a contribution. I hope that early potty training - or the 'No Nappies' technique - will replace the disposable nappy soon.

Since my son Oscar was 4 months old, I have been experimenting with the 'No Nappies' technique - also known variously as 'Elimination Communication', 'Natural Infant Hygiene' and 'Infant Potty Training' - and sitting him on the potty when I thought he needed to poo. Slowly we got into a routine and now, at 10 months old, he is almost always pooing in the potty. OK, I do still use nappies, but they just don't have any poo in them which makes my life a lot easier and cleaner!

I want to share my experience in the hopes that other parents may give it a go or be prompted to share their experiences too.


When Oscar was born, I started off using biodegradable disposable nappies, but I soon became disgusted by the amount of waste I was producing. I then began using 'Cotton Bottoms' cloth nappies which involved slightly more effort - but really all I wanted to do was dispense with all nappies as soon as I could!


I started to do some research and found out about mothers in Uganda who seem to know instinctively when their babies want to go to the toilet and just nip behind a bush with them. In addition, some grandmothers in my village mentioned that they used to hold their babies over the toilet or potty as a normal part of their daily routine. I'm sure it was more common in pre-disposable nappy days, as parents didn't want to wash any more nappies than necessary.

Through my research I discovered that many countries start using the potty when their babies are around 3-6 months old. This is a technique that is becoming more fashionable in the United States where it is known as 'Elimination Communication', but here in the UK we don't tend to potty train until our babies are 2 years old - and that's a hell of a lot more nappies to wash, or buy and dispose of.

I couldn't find a lot of information about how to do it but I decided to experiment for myself and see how it went.


It took me a messy couple of weeks to get to know Oscar's toilet routine. I started by simply taking his nappies off to let him air and to get to know what he was up to underneath. In the beginning, it took a LOT of patience and rushing around to catch wees and droppings that went all over the floor. I kept giving up thinking it was not working while the time I spent cleaning up meant I couldn't get on with any work or chores.

But my main obstacle was the lack of literature about the 'No Nappies' technique. I found I was trying to follow a theory which had few pre-existing guidelines.

I resorted to trial and error, and eventually discovered a method. At first Oscar seemed to poo directly after his breast feeds and then gradually it changed to every morning and evening after feeds, around the same time each day. His regularity made it a lot easier for me. I simply put him on the pot after each feed. I don't know how it would work with less clockwork babies but some babies, like Oscar, make a little moaning noise or have a far away look before poo-ing which gives parents a bit of warning.

Some parents also suggest making a consistent noise when your baby eliminates so that they associate it each time they go.

Commentators have raised concerns about the pressure this technique can put upon the baby and the parents but for my family, the whole experience has felt quite relaxed and natural. Sometimes I have trouble getting Oscar to sit on his pot but this problem usually passes, I always give him some toys to play with to distract and relax him. For me, the key is to be relaxed about it too. I never try to force it so if nothing has happened within 10 minutes then I don't push it - I just give up and wait until the evening or next morning.

I began putting Oscar on the pot at around 4 months old, backwards at first to support him while he was learning to sit up properly. He is now 10 months and crawling, and still using his potty twice a day. I am aware that as he becomes more mobile, this could all change but so far it has worked for us.


I do still use cloth nappies in between poos, as his wees don't seem to have the same regularity, but using the pot for pooing and the cloth nappies the rest of the time has so many benefits both for Oscar and me and for the environment.

It means I don't need to use wipes and creams and Oscar suffers less from nappy rash. He is less exposed to the chemicals in disposable nappies and I do not have to suffer with a crying baby sitting in wet poo. My weekly shop is also a lot cheaper as there are no nappies in the trolley!

In terms of the environment, I am not adding to landfill and because his cloth nappies only have wee in them I don't need strong washing powder or bleach. I can also use cooler washes in the washing machine and there is less tumble drying. I even flush his waste down with mine to help conserve water.

Of course this isn't a perfect technique and we do get the odd accident, especially when he is ill, but most of the time it seems to work. Oscar using the potty has not caused any inconvenience to our lives and he comes everywhere with us and does everything we do - I just bring the potty with me.

I'm sure most people could work out their own version of the 'No Nappies' technique to fit in with their lifestyle.


I'd be very interested in hearing from anyone who has experimented with or succeeded in this or any similar 'No Nappies' technique. I'm hoping to set up a website and spread the word as I'm sure it could benefit lots of people.

Weblinks for eco nappies and No Nappy techniques: Suffolk Real Nappy Network, Beaming Baby natural products, Potty article 1, Potty article 2, Potty article 3