Natural choices for new moms and mothers to be
By Karen Caffarini For Sun-Times Media
Smart shopping: Anita Michaelis, a regular customer at Mothering by Nature in Valparaiso, looks over the merchandise that includes a variety of cotton diapers, which can be a great savings over disposables. | Supplied photo
You won’t find any baby products made with toxic chemicals or toys containing lead at Mothering by Nature in Valparaiso.
Nor will you be able to pop in and buy a box of disposable diapers that will still be sitting in a landfill long after your newborn goes off to college.
Not only does owner Robin Joyce offer products for babies that you can’t find anywhere else in Northwest Indiana, she said they are environment-friendly, reusable and chemical-free, too.
“I’m not interested in products made in China. I want to know where they come from, how they are made, if they are reusable and not creating waste,” Joyce said.
The store, located near downtown Valparaiso at 255 W. Indiana Ave., Suite 1, carries cloth diapers that are unlike the ones your grandparents, and perhaps even your parents, used, Joyce said. They are pre-folded, waterproof, use snaps or Velcro to close and come in a variety of cute patterns and prints, Joyce said.
And, unlike the old cloth diapers, they won’t need to be turned into dust rags after a few washings.
Joyce said they’ll be around for the next baby, and perhaps for another one, too.
“With cloth diapers, moms can save up to $2,000 and they don’t end up in landfills. They’re better for baby and the planet and they put money in your pocket,” Joyce said.
Baby on board
Mothering by Nature also carries water-proof training pants, chemical-free laundry detergents, shampoos and ointments and toys made of rubber and wood. It offers wraps and slings and other “baby-wearing” products to tote around a young child.
“You can come in, try them on, go for a walk with baby in it. It should feel like a pair of shoes when you wear it,” Joyce said of her baby-wearing products. She said babies can either be placed in the front or on your back, whichever mother and child prefer.
“Babies grow better and cry less when held. They want to be held,” Joyce said. “Putting them in a crib and letting them cry doesn’t work.”
While these boutique products may bring new moms, and moms-to-be, into her shop, Joyce, who has been a doula for 17 years, said her main purpose is for Mothering by Nature to be a resource center on the birth process.
The store offers literature, seminars and classes, many of which are free or low cost, to help moms-to-be.
She said she started with C.H.O.I.C.E.S. of Northwest Indiana, a nonprofit natural birth organization, doing free monthly seminars on how to have a better birth experience.
Today, ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) meetings, for those wanting to avoid having a cesarean birth, are held at her store, as are post-partum support groups and free Meet the Doula events. Joyce described the latter as similar to speed dating, but with people interviewing potential doulas instead of dates.
Doulas are trained and experienced professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.
“You get 10 minutes to interview each doula, then you change to the next one. We usually have four or five doulas each time,” Joyce said.
Mothering by Nature also has a free lending library with 8-foot shelves filled with pregnancy and birth books, all of which were donated by a midwife.
“The more information a woman has, the better,” Joyce said.
More information about Mothering by Nature is at (219) 299-2039 or visit its website at www.motheringbynaturecenter.com.