Apparently there is a new movement in parenting (like we needed another reason to judge each other) called Natural Parenting. I guess the idea is going back to the roots of raising babies before commercialism and consumerism took over. I’m not going to debate the merits of this style of parenting (barring the semantics of the word “natural” that suggests any other kind of parenting is “unnatural”), but rather I’d like to discuss this graphic I saw on their blog and how we all really need to read between lines before we buy into anything.
Well excuse me while I
laugh my ass off chuckle politely at the litany of fallacies, oversimplifications and outright lies on this handy little chart.
Let’s start at the top.
Where the hell are these people buying their crib for $1000? Sure, you can spend $1000 and plenty more if you want to, but you can also easily keep it under $200 and probably even less if you went used or borrowed from someone else. In fact, I’d argue this cost could easily be $0. But just to be generous, I’ll throw in $10 for a new crib sheet used in a hand-me-down crib.
Contrast with your bed for $0. Okay, that sounds good in principle, until you start sleeping with baby and realize your once-cozy queen isn’t as spacious with a baby, large dog, you and your husband squished in there. You begin to immediately fantasize about a luxurious king bed, particularly when you realize one day you might be fitting a kicking toddler and a newborn in there one day, as well. New beds are expensive. Let’s be generous again and say you’re looking at a minimum of $1500 for king-sized frame, mattress and new sheets.
Ha ha ha ha ha. Sixty dollars for a carrier? I know I’m not in the minority of babywearers who become obsessed with buying new carriers. First off, none but the most basic pouch carrier costs $60 and once you get hooked on babywearing, one carrier will never do. To date (and I hope my husband isn’t reading this), I’ve bought an Ergo ($120) with infant insert ($30), Moby wrap ($65), ring sling ($100) and Mei Tei ($110). That’s a total of $425.
And then there are your arms for $0. Are you seriously never supposed to put your baby down? I don’t know a single person who is a regular babywearer who doesn’t also own a bouncy seat or two and a stroller. Like c’mon.
Okay, I admit that I used to go in for the whole “breastfeeding is free” thing, but you know what? It’s not.
My breastfeeding supplies to-date:
-breast pump $200
-nipple shields (cause Alice wouldn’t latch properly for the first few weeks) $50
-reusable nipple pads $10
-disposable nipple pads (after the reusable ones gave me thrush) $30
-thrush medication $50
-bottles (because at the beginning, I didn’t feel comfortable nursing away from home and Alice was born around Christmas and we were out a lot, plus now I’d like to leave the house once in a while and let Matthew take some of the feeding duties) $50
-nursing bras $200
-nursing tank tops $60
-nursing cover $60
-various other nursing-friendly clothing so I can actually leave the house not looking like I just got out of bed once in a while $300 (and counting)
-oh hell, and while we’re at it, let’s add all the gas used and parking paid when I had to make a zillion trips to various lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups around the city because I was having such a hard time getting it right $50
Total $1060 (compare that with the chart’s $1300 for bottles and formula and we don’t have much of a disparity here)
ETA: And how demoralizing is this for someone who can’t breastfeed? Sometimes these choices aren’t actually a choice.
And then it lists $720 for baby food. Uh, don’t babies eat in Natural Parenting? Eventually you gotta buy food for them even if you are doing baby-led weaning. And besides, jarred baby food is actually very inexpensive (even the fancy organic stuff) and I believe making your own puree falls under the whole $120 for “your food”. So let’s call than one a wash.
Baby potty with reusable wipes? Uh, did we miss something here? That pesky period of infancy where you baby poops, oh, eleventy billion times a day? And I know I said I wasn’t discussing the merits of this method, but apparently we’re supposed to train our babies not to need diapers. Like ever. So I’m fairly certain that on top of your potty and reusable wipes, you’re going to be paying a buttload for dry-cleaning every item of clothing you own, plus professional cleaning of your carpets, sofas and mattress. Not to mention the water and energy used to wash those reusable wipes. So let’s assume $500.
I didn’t even know bathing was an issue of good versus bad, but apparently it is. Again I ask where these people are buying their supplies that a baby bath costs $120? I borrowed mine from my sister-in-law. Cost=free. And soap and lotion is needed no matter what. Plus, I take short showers which use less water than filling a big bathtub. A tiny baby tub uses very little water. So again, I’ve got to consider the cost of water consumption here, so let’s assume $250* over a year just for fun.
So let’s put together my grand total:
Natural Parenting: $4350
Un-Natural Parenting: $3085
You see how it’s all in the interpretation? How a graphic like the one depicted above is completely misleading and self-serving?
Oh, and I forgot to add $12.99 to buy the Natural Parenting Book you’re going to need.
So let’s make that $4362.99 for the natural parent.
Sorry Natural Parenting. You might have some great information to share, but putting out propaganda to further your cause is not the way to do it.
*Does it seem like I’m pulling these numbers out of my ass? Oh, I kind of am. Kind of like the people who made up this graphic in the first place.