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The Crunchy Me

I joined a network called “Mormon Mommy Blogs” a few months ago, not long after I started this blog. I was browsing different categories when I noticed one called “Crunchy moms.” I had no idea what that meant but I just kept going on my way.

I fell in love with a blog by my Alaskan blog friend Mommy Bee, “Musings of Mommy Bee.” After reading a lot of her posts I noticed a unique trend… She uses cloth diapers, makes cloth pads, co-sleeps with her kids. I thought it was some Alaskan thing or something but it all clicked when I saw her blog in the “crunchy mom” list and asked her what it meant.

This is the explanation she left me in a comment once:

“Are you familiar with the term ‘granola mom‘ when referring to someone who follows a more natural/hippie lifestyle? Well, granola is crunchy… I think a lot of us disliked the moniker ‘granola’ because, truthfully, granola isn’t that good for you (I know, shocking, huh?!), so we chose our own term I guess…
Anyway, I consider myself a crunchy mama because I birth without medication, militantly breastfeed, co-sleep, babywear, cloth diaper, recycle, grow a garden, wear my hair long, almost never wear make-up, use standard medicine sparingly, don’t spank, don’t circumcise, do try to eat healthy/organic/traditional foods, and very possibly will homeschool at least some of my kids or some of the time.
There are a lot of versions of crunchy…but that’s mine. I never take the status quo for granted, and do my own research on pretty much everything. “

I’m always so intrigued when I see a new post on her blog about “home/ unassisted birth” or “breastfeeding” or “immunizations” (or lack there of) stuff like that, cause it’s all stuff I’m curious about and looking into now. So now I’m asking myself “Could I be crunchy?”

At first I thought “no way, that’s not me,” but now I’m thinking I want to learn more. I like the idea of crunchy because to me it seems empowering as a woman (especially when it comes to labor)… I also like the idea of saving money on some things. Mommy Bee left a comment on my blog the other day responding to another commenter saying babies are expensive. She brought up some good points I never even though about… Cloth diapers, homemade baby food, breastfeeding over formula, co-sleeping, less toys (heaven forbid!) or cribs of Craigslist.

I brought the topic up to my husband, told him some of the examples of being crunchy and he liked some of them. We’re both not too keen on the idea of cloth diapers right now, but just for kicks I looked on Craigslist and found stuff like this for sale for dirt cheap! Nice stuff!

Ok, I’m not sure if buying stuff off Craigslist is considered a “crunchy” attribute, but the idea came from a crunchy mom so for now I’ll say “yea.” It seems like crunchyness can save some money, and I’m all about that!

Anyway, I’m also interested in things like co-sleep (although I’m afraid I’ll roll over and kill my baby), breastfeeding, homemade baby food, growing a garden, figuring out what the heck stuff is organic and maybe trying to use that stuff.

I’m a big researcher myself, so I’m thinking the more I look into stuff the more I may develop some crunchy ways.

I actually like the idea of homebirth… However, not if I can’t take an epidural. I know I don’t like pain and that is one of the biggest things scaring me out of having a kid right now. I do like the idea of having a nice birth in a cozy bed or something… But what if something goes wrong? Oh jeez… I’m not sure how crunchy I’ll really be when it comes down to it, but so far, I’m thinking some of it sounds pretty cool. Perhaps I’ll be a chewy mom… Not quite crunchy, but not soggy, somewhere in the middle.

Any crunchy moms our there? Soggy moms? Chewy moms? What do you like and not like? Oh and everyone, look out for Mommy Bee, I’m sure she’ll be leaving a nice informative comment! Or just check out her blog to see more of that I’m seeing.

Over the next little while I’m going to be tacking topics on crunchy, so we don’t have to delve into all of them now, but if there’s some others I’m leaving off the list as of now let me know.


Alisa says:

I absolutely would not be considered a crunchy mom, hello processed food, but there are some crunchy things that I have done. I was a baby wearer and loved it. Two of my kids needed, and I mean needed, constant touch to feel comfortable so I bought a sling and we lived happily ever after. One of my kids was good on his own so I let him be on his own.
I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding but I don’t think an occasional bottle is a crime either.
I’ve had three babies, two in the hospital with an epidural and one in my car all by myself and you know what, I would do that over again in a heartbeat. Don’t rule out natural birth because of pain. There are great doulas and midwifes out there who can help you through it.
I think it’s great to be a little crunchy but I’m not sure you need to change your whole life just to have a kid.

Larsen's says:

Ok, great post!! I think that I am a chewy mom! I do the diaper thing, I like them! I have breastfed all of my children until they were 1 years old…it saves a lot on formula, and it is always there. Just don’t feel bad if for some reason you have to bottle feed. Some women just don’t make enough milk or their babies just don’t latch on right. My good friend’s baby had a hole in the roof of her mouth and couldn’t breastfeed, but if you can, it is wonderful!! You just have to get through the first few weeks…and it is… a little difficult, but after that it is simple.
I have my children in my bed with me. It is great to nurse them in the middle of the night, because you do not have to get up! I have never rolled on them. I think that if people are drinkers or take heavy sleeping meds I would be concerned of rolling on them but really you don’t. Plus, cuddling with your children in the morning is wonderful!! I can never get those times back…they grow way too fast. My oldest is 6, then I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and a 2 month old. My 6 and 4 year old stay in their own beds now at night and my 2 year old starts out in her own bed but ends up with us by the end of the night. I love it!! My 4 year old liked to be on his own a little more. I would feed him at night when he was little and then I had a toddler bed beside my bed and he would roll onto it when he was done.
I do not do the homemade baby food, my kids liked whatever we were eating. They did not like the bottled baby food.
I don’t wear much make-up and have most of the time had longer hair, but I don’t think that makes a crunchy mom.
My advice for you, when you have your child you will see what works for you. Everyone is different and It will all work out. And for buying on Craig’s List, go for it…I have always loved good deals and don’t forget you can get amazing things at Garage Sales too. You can save a lot of money!! Good luck to you!! Cindy

I am kinda crunchy myself. Let’s see – I had completely natural childbirth (in a birthing center but that was just for piece of mind), I breastfeed, we use cloth diapers (which, by the way, I was leery of but now I LOVE) and we (sort of) co-sleep. I think being crunchy is all about your comfort level.

Janna Bee says:

I have the second changing table shown and I love it! very stable sturdy and the kids have never even come close to rolling out.

Mommy Bee says:

IT’S ME!
Oh boy, I feel all famous now! 😀
Ironically I just got here from writing a post (scheduled for next week) about why vitamin supplements are no good and we should all just eat broccoli and beets instead. 😀

I find that 85% of my crunchiness comes from a desire to just not mess with the way God made things. I figure we lactate so we can feed our children; I figure it’s better to eat foods in their natural forms than in processed ones; I don’t see a reason to cut off body parts that God put there (ie circumcise); I don’t think it’s normal to expect an infant to be away from its mother… I believe that our bodies are designed to give birth and that we don’t generally need to mess with how they do it.

Another 10% of my crunchiness comes from a desire to save the world, or because some ‘crunchy’ things are easier or more comfortable. The cloth diapers and pads come in on that one (cotton beats plastic on ones tender parts!), and actually breastfeeding and co-sleeping overlap in the ‘easy’ part too. If you’ve never grown your own garden then you may not realize how much better homegrown veggies taste.

The last 5% is that sometimes ‘crunchy’ is just plain cheaper, and hey, we live a pretty frugal life. Growing a garden, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, recycling, buying secondhand, etc…

A lot of parents do some ‘crunchy’ things but not others. For example they may be hardcore about recycling and organic foods but still adore their epidurals. Or they may practice attachment parenting and gentle discipline but still live on oreos and coke. By the way, I never made homemade baby food–I just feed them what I’m eating. I don’t typically buy organic clothes and you know what, I have a minivan.
It’s not a checklist and it’s not a contest. What it is about is about finding what works for you…and crunchy is what works for me. 🙂

(consider the floor open to questions if you’ve got them, since apparently I started this all I might as well see it through! LOL!!!)

By the way, they say that birthing in water aka waterbirth is ‘nature’s epidural’ and I hear they’re very spiffy. That’s what I want this time. 🙂 (Although my unmedicated non-water birth was just fine and I’d do it that way again without hesitation.)

Lolly says:

I am totally soggy. I will be delivering at a hospital with drugs (I don’t deal with pain at all). I will be breastfeeding until she and I are both ready to stop but I will suppliment it with other baby food once she’s old enough to digest it. I am very anti-cosleeping. She will sleep in HER crib in our room for convenience and we’ll move her to her own room after a month or so. I don’t know much about baby wearing but I plan on holding my newborn as much as possible. However, after a couple of months I’m not going to go running to her if she starts to get fussy. That, in my opinion, just teaches the baby that all she has to do is cry to get her way. I like the idea of cloth diapers but my semi-crunchy BFF tried it with her newborn and after three weeks of cloth diapering she gave up. I think that parenting all comes down to common sense.

Mommy Bee says:

Lolly–just a thought on the notion of letting babies cry vs getting them right off. Age is a big deal. If you study psychological development, a child younger than 6m does not have object permanence–that means that if they can’t see you then they don’t know you still exist. I would NEVER wait to get a child that young because their cries are not a matter of trying to get their way, they are genuinely scared and alone.
Personally I think there are peaceful (minimal-crying) ways to teach children to go to sleep, but I agree that an older child can learn to wait a little bit, and in the case of my 2yo if he gets to crying I know it’s frustration, not terror. There’s a huge difference. 🙂

by the way, babywearing rocks–carrying them in your arms all the time gets very tiring, and the right soft carrier makes a huge difference. Just make sure you get someone to teach you how to use it properly, because worn right they are awesome; worn wrong they are more trouble than you can imagine. 🙂

Tracey says:

Since Samuel is adopted we use formula, I will make my own babyfood, no cloth diapers here, CO-SLEEPING…VERY BAD…don’t get me started! Anyway…just my opinion….enjoy your granola.

Jen says:

Okay..let me weigh in..I’ve had 3 kids. I’m a “chewy” mom in terms of your definitions! 🙂

I breastfed until my kids stopped wanting it. Unfortunately, for me, it was way earlier than I had planned on, but you know what, it was OKAY!

My youngest NEVER ate baby food(store-bought organic). She went from boob to formula, turned away any mushy foods and then after 13 months of a straight “liquid diet”, started eating what we ate. Cut up into small pieces, and that, too, was OKAY, because it was what her little body needed. I was concerned that she opted against baby food but my pediatrician assured me she would not starve to death..and by the size of her booty..she definitely did not! (She’s only 18 months old now!)

I use regular diapers, but I saw on another mom’s website there are diapers made from recyclable materials. They are brown in color, but otherwise good, according to her. If you want me to, I can get you the name of them. I could not cloth diaper.

My family does eat organic foods. But only SOME of our foods are organic. You can search online (or really read about any parenting magazine) and you can find what fruits and veggies are actually worth buying the organic versions. Some are just plain pointless.

Organic milk, is definitely something to seriously consider. Especially for your child, once you have him or her, and they are the age to take regular cow milk.

And as far as child birth goes. I unfortunately had to have c-sections with all of my kids. My oldest, I went for many, MANY hours without pain meds. I wanted to try a natural birth, in the hospital, with my OB. But, after said many hours…I was not progressing. I have something weird going on with my body that will not allow me to dilate past about 3cm. So a c-section was necessary for me. I was told I was lucky to not have been born in a much earlier time in our history, otherwise, birth could have been a very sad experience for me. Scary, I know..but that is REASON NUMBER ONE why I am fully in support of women having their child in a hospital environment. OR at least with a certified midwife in a birthing center that can send you to a close-by hospital if necessary!

Have I told you how much I am LOVING YOUR BLOG!?

Jen says:

OH! I forgot to add..we co-slept w/ my son for 3 weeks. He was already about 1 1/2 months at this point and was REFUSING to sleep through the night. It was a very tiring experience..you get VERY LITTLE GOOD SLEEP because you’re worried to death you are going to crush the baby! My back is still reminding me of those days and it’s been over 5 years.

They do now make co-sleeping “cradle” type things that you can put your baby in with dividers on the sides to keep you from rolling over on top of the baby..I wish they had them then..or if they did I wish someone would have told me!

Mommy Bee says:

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mommy Bee says:

Jen, I’m totally with you, there is a time and a place for interventions such as c-sections. I have a friend who is uber-crunchy but has delivered both of her children via medically-required c-section. My older son was fed formula for most of his infancy because his bio mom walked out when he was tiny and he was left with just daddy…I am SO GLAD that things like c-sections and formula exist for the times that they are needed. With that said, I do feel that those times are still in the minority, and that the interventions are overused.

Tracy, if you’re still here–I’d really like to hear why you believe that co-sleeping is bad? I know that there are some people who do it carelessly (parents who are overweight, on medication, etc) and that that can be very dangerous…but if it’s done safely (which it can be) then there are major benefits to co-sleeping. Lower rates of SIDS, for starters. As someone who lost a sister to SIDS, I take that one pretty seriously. I find that when I co-sleep I am much more aware of my baby–for example if he’s breathing irregularly (which he does when his nose is stuffy) I notice it and can wake up and attend to him.
Co-sleeping doesn’t work for everyone–my sister is a really light sleeper and that heightened awareness of the baby made her wake up every 15 min all night, so she put him in a cradle next to her bed instead. I’m not saying it’s a perfect thing, but I would disagree with the statement that it’s “bad.”

Jenna says:

About co-sleeping, all of the studies I have read have shown co-sleeping to increase the risk of SIDS. I’ve already explained why we co-slept exactly once and never did it again. Too scary.

I think society pushes moms to be either completely crunchy or completely soggy. To often, you hear “If you don’t breastfeed, your baby won’t be smart!” or “If you don’t get an epidural, you’re absolutely stupid.” I don’t understand the need for extremes! I think every mom needs to find a happy medium, and it sounds like most of the above moms have done just that. Don’t be worried about labels like “crunchy” or whatever. Just do what works for you.

About the cribs…DO make sure someone isn’t trying to sell a recalled crib or furniture piece on Craigslist. We bought our crib brand new and it was recalled within the first year. It was in great condition and we could have easily sold it if we didn’t care about others’ safety. You can search for all recalled items here:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html

Goldibug says:

I like the ‘chewy’ take on all this. Let’s start being Chewy Mamas! Maybe I’ll use that as my new name. Hmmm… I love the idea of keeping things as God intended but some modern ideas I like better whether it’s because of convience or something else. I eat organic when I can but find myself resorting to pesticide filled foods because they’re cheaper. I’d love to have my own garden but unfortunatly Vegas doesn’t give very large yards and mine is mostly shaded for most of the day 🙁 I don’t buy organic clothes because they aren’t very cute and what can I say?…I’m a girl! I like modest fashion. My point is that I’ll help the environment and keep my family healthier by going chewy ;o). I’m just not 100% on the band wagon for crunchy.

Mommy Bee says:

On the safety of co-sleeping:
Here are 19 pages from the University of Notre Dame about why babies should never sleep alone http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/sleep/mckenna-cosleeping.pdf
🙂

If you pull out the actual numbers, only 1.5% of SIDS deaths occurred in co-sleeping situations. http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t102200.asp This article is very helpful because it addresses the flaws in many of the studies that you’ve probably seen. When it comes to studies, we have to remember to look at all the facts, not just the message that the article writer wants us to get from it. As the quote says “There are lies, there are d**n lies, and there are statistics.” If you twist the facts you can make them say whatever you want them to say, and there are a lot of people who will pay to ‘prove’ that co-sleeping is dangerous–crib makers for one. *shrug*

Anonymous says:

I’m definately a soggy mom. Although I had two natural childbirths and Loved it! But I hated breastfeeding. It just didn’t work for me. My babies were always fussy cause they couldn’t get enough milk. I was sleep deprived, and nobody was happy. I swithed to formula and never looked back. I get so mad when people say you can’t bond with your baby if you don’t nurse. It’s so not true. I enjoy every minute of holding & loving my baby while feeding a bottle. Plus daddy gets that special bonding time too. As far as cloth diapers, organic food, etc.. I just think I would go crazy trying to do all that stuff. I’m very anti co-sleeping. Why? Because the baby gets used to it. Then you have a child in your bed until they are two years old! I personally think when you have children time with your spouse is already very limited, having chilren in the bed makes it worse. I wan’t to keep my chemistry with my hubby and I don’t think having kids in my bed really sets the mood!

Rixa says:

I think I will say that other people looking at me might label me crunchy but I really don’t like these silly labels…and each decision, although somewhat interlinked, needs its own research. Just keep thinking about everything, look into it, and you might be surprised about what you change your mind about. For example, I thought home birth was kind of crazy/scary and why would you not want an epidural? That is, until I started looking into it more and learning more about birth, and seeing births as a doula and midwife’s assistant. Then I really changed my mind and go figure, my first was born at home unassisted!

Mallory says:

LOL!!!!! I was about to pee my pants at you calling yourself chewy! Mommy Bee and I are pretty darn similar in the crunchy aspect. Although, I think she is more crunchy when it comes to food. And I’m more crunchy when it comes to birth. Most of my evidently crunchy posts are under my “please research” tag on my blog, because I think people should really research their options. I think that once people really know and understand what being crunchy is, they like it and live it! It IS easier, and cheaper. And, for me at least, it just FEELS better!

Blacktating says:

Another crunchy mom here! I co-slept with my son until he was 10 months old and started sleeping through the night. We now co-sleep for naps on the weekends. I exclusively breastfed him until 6 months and I am nursing him now that he is a toddler. We use cloth diapers, made our own baby food and I had an unmedicated birth. I really believe that the natural way is much better in most situations.
I will say that cloth diapers are actually not as bad as you probably think they are now. Today’s cloth diapers are easy to use and if you buy the “all-in-one” diapers they are absolutely no different from disposables. I personally did circumcise my son but I can see why people choose not to.
And PLEASE do your research into co-sleeping. You will not crush your baby. There are safe ways to co-sleep that are spelled out on the Dr. Sears website. If you follow the safety tips you will be fine. Like I said, we co-slept basically from day one and it made breastfeeding and parenting a million times easier, especially once I returned to work.

Brittanie says:

LOVE breastfeeding- DEFINITELY the way to go. I actually wrote a post on a few of these things a while ago.

HATE cloth diapers – did ’em, can’t stand ’em, so we pay for diapers and LOVE Huggies.

Co-sleeping: not really sure I want to comment. Every child is different and the studies (there are TONS of them) are all contradicting. You have to pick your style, but take it all into consideration first.

I LOVED the idea of a water birth or an at-home birth before I had my baby, but then my daughter had a bunch of unforeseen complications that made us SO glad we were in the hospital because she was in the intensive care unit for a while (also wrote a post about this). I still think natural birth is awesome and will try it with the next one too, but epidurals can be great too. Again, this is a personal pain/style thing.

Baby food- cheapness and quality depend on where you go. This is also a convenience thing. Here’s what I’ve found. It can SOMETIMES be cheaper to make it yourself. For sure it is a peace of mind thing, aka you know what’s in it and therefore are not weary of the processing. There are a LOT of organic baby foods out there though if you want to do the organic thing. However, if you’re going 100 percent organic, then it is cheaper to do it yourself. But you also have to look at the time it takes. If you’ve got it- great! My daughter has loved the foods I’ve made her.

However, it’s also VERY convenient to use the canned stuff every once and awhile. You can take it with you places and it’s in portion sizes and it’s just easier sometimes.

So, with the food, I am a fan of both.

Gardens = Wonderfulness. DEFINITELY recommend doing a garden. The food tastes 5 million times better fresh from the garden.

TOTALLY recommend buying things second-hand. Saves A LOT of money. There is a store called Kid to Kid (don’t know if they have one close to where you are, but they are across the country I think) and they have excellent, clean, nice second-hand things. Also, you’d be surprised with how many people have things to share. People are very generous with babies/weddings.

Brittanie says:

Oh, and I totally agree with the minimal medicine approach. But I also wrote a post about how my body and foreign contaminants are BAD!!! Most people I know do better without a whole lot of excess crap in their bodies and there are lots of studies to support it (I should prob. send you links to all these “studies” I keep referring to … will work on that).

Immunizations, in my opinion, are a must. The shot is way better than the disease. Plus, if your kids serve LDS missions, it is MANDATORY that they be up-to-date on all their immunizations. So, sometimes this delays their applications/going out.

Joy says:

I’m lovin’ it! Crunchy, soggy, chewy!!! LMAO!!!! I would say I’m rather chewy with crunchy intentions. Living in the same town as you, you know we live in a VERY crunchy city so there will be a lot of options that direction which in itself is empowering and wonderful. And yet, also very confusing. Before I go into what I felt were the right choices for me make sure you understand that what ever you decide, IT IS THE RIGHT THING FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY. The only thing you could do wrong is not love your child enough and that’s impossible. Everything you do with your first child is learning. By taking advice from experienced moms you can learn so much but you will never learn more than you do with your own child. You won’t hurt your child by trying out cloth diapers or by trying out disposables. And your child won’t love you any less for it. I could go on and on but the best bit of first time mom advice I can give is trust yourself. Read and learn all you can. I did. But there is no piece of literature or word of mouth advice that can replace your own instincts about your child.

OK, on to chewy. I chose breast feeding from the start. Made it one month and then had a medical issue, common non-painful one I promise, that caused my milk to go away. I tried extra pumping and all the teas and crunchy things you can do to make more milk come and nothing worked. At that point my doctor prescribed a drug that is really an anti-nausea drug that has a side effect of extra secretions such as breast milk. But it also had a whole butt load of other side effect like drowsiness and addiction that I just wasn’t willing to get into. I had to make the choice then. Stop beating my head against the wall, never sleeping so I could feed or pump to try to make milk happen, take drugs that I felt were other wise unhealthy for my body, or switch to formula. So I swallowed my guilt and made the leap. My daughter never even noticed the difference. She didn’t care less as long as her belly was full. And frankly we were both much happier. Sometimes its better to just go soggy.

As for cloth VS. disposable. I’ll share with you what I learned, just in case you didn’t find the same research info. I learned that it is more of a personal choice but in no way does one do the environment any better good than the other. (OK, all crunchy moms can hang me now but I got this from a research study that I read when I was pregnant and trying to make the same decisions. This is not my own opinion but a study that was done.) The study showed that while cloth diapers aid the environment in less waste, the energy and water used to clean the cloth diapers had the same size carbon foot print as disposables in a land fill. Like I said, it’s just what I read and it made sense to me. I’ve always kept the option of cloth diapers open but after learning how much work a baby is I was just to selfish to take more time away from raising her to clean diapers. If you can afford a diaper service than I would say whole heartedly try it out. I have heard that some baby’s bums do like the cloth better in cases of diaper rash, however my daughter has never had a diaper rash issue therefore no problems with disposables.

YES, YES, YES, to baby wearing! Who doesn’t want there little one as close to their hearts as possible? I chose a Bjorn, or get a sling but either way YES.

Making your own food. I did that to some extent. It can really save tons of money but it can also start getting difficult in the time it takes to process it all and get it into the ice cube trays to freeze. And once they start wanting the foods that have a little more chunk to it but not necessarily “solid not mashed” food it can get more difficult to judge how much or how little to process. But if you feel like going there by all means… I support it. My daughter’s favorite first food was pears that I made. She wouldn’t eat any fruits that came from the jars for a long time. The citrus acid they use to preserve it tasted funny to her I guess. She’ll eat it now however. Another issue I found with making my own food is variety. It’s easy to keep a few things around that you make. I always had pears, sweet potato, mango, green beans, and banana but if you want variety in your child’s diet than that’s one more thing you have to make and freeze. And more time away from you kiddo because unless they are riding shot gun in your sling they won’t want you to spend that much time in the kitchen.

Natural child birth VS. Epidural. Again, a very personal decision. And either way, you end up with your beautiful baby in your arms. I chose epidural. Matter of fact, I had the labor and delivery nurses laughing their butts off because when I handed them my birth wishes list #1 said in all capital letters “EPIDURAL….YES PLEASE!!!!” But what ever you chose make sure you have plenty of support around you. I also chose to have several other moms in the room with me along with my husband. I wanted the support of the other woman since birth, with or without pain help I won’t kid you, is hard and no one else will ever know what your going through except other moms.

Well, that’s my book for now. Sorry it’s long but I’ve been where you are and I would have been happy to have someone tell me these things. If I think of something else I’ll let you know.

jen says:

You are so sweet and cute! I love this post. I’m probably semi-crunchy. I breastfed my 2nd son (had many probs with first so it didn’t happen), cloth-diapered (even had a cloth diaper business at one point), we eat organic when we can, i stopped vaccinating after I did research and took classes and learned what REALLY goes into those things, and I practice homeopathy instead of traditional medicine. My kids are extremely healthy and rarely go to the doctor, while all my friends’ kids are there every other week. It’s all about educating yourself.

Anyway…I could go on and on but I’ll spare you. 🙂 Oh – one more thing – you can’t have an epidural at home, BUT check out HYPNOBIRTHING! It’s amazing – I did Bradley method natural childbirth classes with my first, and labor (21 hours/hospital) hurt so bad I was afraid to have another child, but I was really against drugs during labor. I heard about hypnobirthing, took a class, practiced at home, and to be perfectly honest and truthful, felt almost zero pain through my entire labor with my second (about 10 hours/birth center). It was incredible! See hypnobirthing.com – and I love talking about it so feel free to ask me questions!

I’m amused by this conversation. I’m a veteran mom of five kids. I’ve had three of them in the hospital and two at home. One was in water. I breastfed all of them at least four months, some as long as 8 months. This much I can tell you. None of this stuff matters in the long run, generally speaking. You can’t convince me that the way you give birth (epidural, or at home with no meds.) is going to effect the relationship between you and your child (obviously medical complications notwithstanding). The best thing you can to for your babies and children is to just relax. Mothering comes natural for us (rare exceptions notwithstanding) and the more we worry about the small stuff the less energy we have to devote to the more important things. No matter what you choose–crunchy, soggy, or in between–it really doesn’t matter. You’re going to be a great mom because you obviously will love your child and already have what it takes within you to be the best mom possible. Women struggle enough with guilt the way it is. We don’t need to be heaping on more stuff to feel guilty about. Are we organic enough? Have we done our part to save the planet? Should they have slept with me or in their crib instead? Another great book for your library: “Toss the Guilt and Catch the Joy” by Merrillee Von Boyack (she also has another fab parenting book called “The Parenting Breakthrough”) Good luck on your journey. You’ll do fine!

Most definately, without a doubt crunchy! I don’t know if I can blame it on being born and raised in California or if I can blame it on my parents, but I am crunchy all the way. Would have loved to have all our kids at home, but uterine apnea prevented this, so birthing centers were great. Breast feeding was the best, but when we adopted our youngest daughter, pretty darn thankful for formula! Cloth diapers were the only way to go, until I did not have a drier then guess what, paper were just fine. Homeschooling worked great for some of my kids, others loved school and did great there. I think the biggest part of being a parent is being flexible enough to go with the flow and worry more about being a good parent for your child than what kind of mom you are, or if you are fitting into a particular mold. Maybe that whole theory is pretty crunchy though too:)Oh yeah and raising our first six children vegetarian with no T.V. and our number seven is the biggest carnivore you have ever seen, like I think she would die if you took her meat away! They are all sure different, as well as Moms are all different, makes life interesting for sure.

Mommy Bee says:

FYI, the cloth diaper study (that said that cloth diapers are no better environmentally than disposables) was flawed. I have known multiple moms who have done the math on their own, and cloth is not only much cheaper, it is also much easier on the environment. I have done at MOST 3 extra loads of laundry a week, but usually just 1-2. Most new moms I know do that many loads of clothes and blankets that got dirty from poo blowouts–I get no blowouts with cloth, and the mess stays contained so cleanup is easier. Sure, I’m choosing to wash something different, but I’d be washing *something* regardless.

For what it’s worth, I was raised with the pins and plastic pants etc (with all my younger siblings) and I swore I never wanted to do it. I had every intention of using disposables until I learned about pocket diapers. Modern cloth diapers are pretty fancy, and I love them. I absolutely use disposables for road trips, and for a while I used them for nights as well. I’m not anti-disposable…but for my family I just like cloth a lot better.

I think a lot of us are agreeing on one real point–it’s not about being ‘crunchy’ or ‘soggy’ or even chewy (I’m totally chewy to tell the truth). It’s about learning your options so that you can make choices, and so that you can choose what is best for you. I LOVE teaching people about their options, and then regardless of what they choose, at least I know they were able to make an educated choice. 😀

alisaterry says:

I am a crunchy mom after working in the environmental health department at the University of Washington. It got me thinking about evidence based medicine and even evience based parenting. A lot of moms do things because that is how they are raised, or they want convenience, ro they read this book or that book, but I wanted to know, where is the evidence?

If you visit my blog and look under the SCIENCE label, you’ll see lots of evidence, but here’s the general idea:

Attachment parenting is about seeing your baby as a sentient human being with valid feelings instead of a problem that needs solving or a pet that needs training. And Natural Family Living is about seeking those things that are healthy, simple, and peaceful.

I had to have 2 c-sections, but I am still against them unless necessary because death rates for both mom and baby are higher during c-sections. Also, my first c-section was because of a bad reaction to an epidural. Respiratory distress and complete respiratory arrest are side effects listed on the package for epidural medication. I chose a spinal for my second c-section and avoided the respiration problems, but then had mind-boggling head and neck pain as a side effect for two weeks. So, I’m glad the c-sections were available, but I would have never chosen them without serious reason.

Breastfeeding is a no brainer if you are able to. I know mamas who can’t, but if you can, it’s much nicer to latch a baby on a breast than mix formula, warm up formula or breastmilk, feed the now crying baby, and then sterilize everything. I use a small diaper bag instead of a big one and don’t have to “wake up” to breastfeed. I just roll over and then roll back.

Babyscheduling. Don’t do it. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that it can lead to low weight gain, dehydration, and low milk supply in mom. Besides that, it is cruel. I drink something every hour, especially in the summer. Why would I insist that my tiny baby go without something to drink for 3 or 4 hours? Babies have tiny, walnut sized tummies that need constant refilling. It’s just part of the package.

Pick up a crying baby. Pick up a crying toddler. Pick up a crying child. I would hate it if my husband came to me and said “sorry you need a hug, but I’m worried that if I keep hugging you whenever you are sad, you’re going to come to expect it.” That doesn’t make any sense.

In addition, Harvard has reviewed studies and done of study of their own that shows that extended crying can do psychological damage in infants.

Dr. Sears (www.askdrsears.com) reviews lots of research that shows that babies who learn to sleep on their own after a few nights of crying it out actually are going into “shut down” mode, or survival mode. They go into a deep sleep similar to shock for self-preservation. Parents may deny this, but the evidence is there.

An infant does not need to “soothe itself” or “fall asleep on its own.” A small child is ready for that. A baby can’t even speak.

Co-sleeping. Only the US, Canada, and some European countries have any hang-ups about this. You are no more likely to roll over on your baby than you are to fall off the bed. You know the edge is there, even in your sleep. That’s how it is for your baby. Even our toddler has his bed next to ours, because when he’s with us, bedtime takes ten minutes, instead of a long drawn out bedtime ritual.

As for independence, if co-sleeping led to development issues, there’d be a lot of Asian, African and South American adults still sleeping with their mamas.

Cloth diapering isn’t just about saving the environment. I’ve spent less $200 diapering two children over 3-1/2 years. There is also a concern about chemical used in diapers, which still contain a chemical that was banned from tampons over 20 years ago. Something to consider.

Babywearing is just common sense. I could spend 30 minutes trying to get my baby to take a nap so I could get something done, or I could put her in a sling and let her fall asleep to my movements while I got something done a lot sooner. I don’t have to put my life on hold – baby goes in a carrier, and we go shopping, to restaurants, to book stores, to the fabric store. We garden and do laundry. I don’t have to store a stroller in my car or try to maneuver it around clothing racks or book shelves.

Vaccines are a non-issue because our son is allergic to dairy so he couldn’t have half of them if we wanted to. And I don’t need science to tell me alluminum and ethanol are bad to inject into your body. This one is tougher though. If you are going to vaccinate, wait until they are at least 4 months old and do them more spread out.

Circumcision is not only medically unnecessary, it is a violation of the United Nation’s Rights of the Child and fails all ethics tests. Let the boy decide if he wants a useful body part removed. Don’t take that decision away from him.

Even if you were to ignore all the advice in the world, though, and just listen to that voice inside your head – I am willing to bet that your mommy voice will tell you to keep your baby close and respond when she cries. Period. That’s the mommy instinct, and it has nothing to do with independence ot getting a baby to become independent before they are ready.

Babies are designed to imprint and connect, and if you go out of your way to make sure it isn’t you, then it WILL BE something or someone else.

alisaterry says:

PS – hi! Mommy Bee is a friend of mine and mentioned i might like to chime in on thie thread.

Lisa says:

I would describe myself as a chewy mom. Early on, I was much crunchier, but found some of it a bit overwhelming to maintain (trying to eat organic, for example). Right now I do what I can and try to see myself as a mom-in-process, adding more things in as I can manage them. Being crunchy really is my ideal, but I also try not to run faster than I have strength.

Breastfeeding: my children are both adopted, but I’ve induced lactation and nursed each of them for varying lengths of time. They still got a lot of formula. I believe breast is best when possible, that it’s the way nature intended babies to be fed.

Birth: as I said, my kids are adopted, so I haven’t had to make those choices. But I definitely lean toward the natural birth side of things.

Cloth-diapering: I used cloth with my first. With my second, I did disposables because I felt I needed to choose between either inducing lactation or using cloth diapers, and breastfeeding won hands down. I found cloth diapers to be a bit more work, and I needed to devote my time to nursing, which was also a lot of work because of my unique situation. I’ve actually been thinking of using cloth again for #3.

Babywearing: Yes! I love it!

Co-sleeping: Love it! I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a most important factor in my children’s bonding, IMO. There are many myths out there. I believe it is safe, the studies that I’ve seen against it are both flawed and biased (one prominent study was sponsored in part by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, the guys who make cribs, the guys who stand to lose a lot of business as co-sleeping is gaining in popularity.). The James McKenna website referenced in the comments above has fabulous, scientific information!

Also, transitioning our kids to their own beds and rooms has been a very smooth process. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my children as I’ve learned to read their cues and get to know their personalities a bit better in order to figure out how to make these transitions gentle. My son went to bed in his own bed and room at 20 months, literally overnight. He was welcomed back into our bed if he woke up during the night, which he often did, and it was not a big deal at all. My daughter is 2.5 and also goes down in her own bed and room, we made this transition over the course of about six months. It is baloney that co-sleeping means the child will never sleep in their own bed, or that getting them there will be hard. It’s all about timing.

Homeschooling: I am not currently homeschooling and have no immediate plans to, but it is something I’ve always been interested in, and I’m open to the idea if it were ever the right time and the right child.

Vaccinating: We do vaccinate, but on a delayed schedule (except for at the beginning, we have to follow the adoption agency’s rules, but I still try to space them out). There are a few we refuse or delay for a long time.

Hmmm, let’s see. Our eating habits are not so crunchy. Meal planning/grocery shopping, etc is really overwhelming to me. I have done better at former times in my life, but right now it is baby steps. I can’t do it all at once, and I don’t try to.

Mommy Bee says:

Oh yeah, I invited some of my crunchy-leaning friends to come here and share what they do and why they do it, with the thought that seeing more examples would help show the diversity that is encompassed by ‘crunchy’ 🙂

Carolyn says:

I’m another crunchy mom here. I’ll weigh in on some of the topics I think are most important to me as a crunchy mom.

Birth– I choose natural birth not just because it is better for most women and babies, but also because it is so much easier on your body. Right after delivering my 9 1/2 pound posterior baby, I was able to get up independently, hop in the shower, and relax. It was so nice to be able to clean myself off after all that hard work I did. Yes, childbirth can hurt, especially when things don’t go smoothly (as was the case in this birth), but being able to feel makes it easier to get into ideal childbirth positions, which makes it physically easier to push a baby out. It is also so nice not to have to recover from medications and deal with the side effects– my sister had a reaction to her epidural with her last baby and ended up on some major medications for a week and was told she had to pump and dump during that entire time, which is a lot harder than just nursing or just bottle feeding! She was miserable and didn’t fully recover from that reaction until many months later.

Elimination– I use cloth diapers to deal with life’s messes. Not just because they’re cheaper, but because I’m lazy. Seriously. I hate taking out the trash, so disposable diapers would mean overflowing garbage can very quickly. Also extra trips to the store because my ADD self can never remember what we’re low on when I actually get to the store. So it’s just easier for me to wash diapers. Half the time I would use them straight out of the dryer rather than actually fold them or even shove them in a corner somewhere. I also used elimination communication with my second child. This is what people would use before any kind of diaper was available. Basically, you listen to your baby’s cues, and you are quickly able to figure out when they need to go pee or poop, and you take them to the bathroom. You start associating sounds and other signals with going potty, and eventually they will go potty on cue. It is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I enjoyed it. It was especially beneficial to have a 19 month old completely potty trained, and now she’s almost 3 and rarely pees at night (maybe once a week). Compared to her traditionally potty trained sister, who just stopped wetting the bed a few months ago (she’s 4 1/2).

Breastfeeding– another cheap and easy solution for my family that is the biological norm and therefore what the infant’s body is expecting. Breastfeeding for me was the only choice on the table. I was terrified of failure so I had all sorts of ammo on the ready to ensure a successful breastfeeding relationship. Fortunately my kids latched on beautifully and my milk was ample, so I nursed for more than three years with my first and we’re coming up on three years with my second (though I’d like to wean soon). I’m not a child lead wean-er, but I do wean a lot later than is standard, because I know it is the healthiest thing for their bodies. I enjoy it, they enjoy it, and it requires no clean up or brain cells to remember to bring stuff with you every time you go out. And if you’re out longer than expected, lunch is still ready when they are.

Sleep– I like to sleep. Therefore, I cosleep. This way I get all the sleep I need. I love being able to roll over, latch on my hungry baby, and sleep through the feed. I never once worried about rolling over my baby. As alisaterry pointed out, adults rarely fall out of bed because they know where the edge of the bed is. Likewise, with a baby in bed, you know where that baby is and do not roll over on him/her. I would sleep pressed up against my baby and would not roll over my baby. There seems to be a big campaign against cosleeping lately and it is really disheartening. The Consumer Product Safety Commission study that found cosleeping to be unsafe was funded by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, so the results are suspect to me since the JPMA has cribs to sell. In fact, sleeping close to mom helps regulate breathing heart rates and actually lowers the incidences of SIDS. The dramatic cosleeping deaths that make the news usually involve unsafe sleep situations– too much bedding, entrapment between the bed and the headboard, drugs/alcohol, sleeping on a couch or other surface, etc. A large number of those deaths resulted from unintentional cosleeping. Perhaps instead of educating parents to only use a crib and have baby sleep on its back, they also educated parents about safe cosleeping situations, those types of deaths would decrease.

Vaccines/Healthcare– I delay giving vaccinations and am actually considering not vaccinating my next child altogether. Many of the normal childhood diseases that were once common are actually not very severe– measles, rubella, chicken pox, for example (rubella is only dangerous if a pregnant woman contracts the disease as it results in birth defects). Other diseases we vaccinate for are very severe and scary. Some diseases we vaccinate for are very scary, but the vaccine doesn’t work very well. The question is knowing which vaccines do what they’re supposed to do, which vaccines are worthless, and which vaccines are effective but the vaccine reactions are scarier than the vaccine itself. I really enjoyed reading Dr Sear’s “The Vaccine Book” as a more neutral authority on vaccines– he is not anti vaccine, but he understands parent’s hesitations with vaccinating. While I don’t always agree with what he says, it is a nice starting point that is more neutral.

Gardening– I just played in the dirt today, planting a whole box full of peas. I love gardening, and I’m lucky to live in an area where gardens thrive, and I have lots of land to work with (for a neighborhood, that is). It is so nice to get out in the dirt and work for your food, and it’s good for kids to see where their food comes from. They develop a sense of ownership over the food they grow. Eating the healthy, natural food from your own garden saves money, saves time at the grocery store, adds variety to your diet, and uses less fuel. It is important to lower the mileage on your foods and eat foods in season, close to where they were grown. Too often we fall into the trap of eating foods out of season, which really have no taste compared to local, fresh foods. I started out with an herb garden on my front porch and have gone from there– now I grow potatoes, beans (dry and green), peas, tomatoes, beets, carrots and everything that is possible to grow in my area! I love it!

Carolyn says:

One more thing– people often say that a cosleeping baby will never get out of mom and dad’s bed. I have found that to be false. The key is knowing when to jump on getting your child into their own bed. My older child is now in her own bed in her own room, and that transition was so easy that I hardly noticed it. I’m in the process of transitioning my younger child to her own bed, and that’s going quite well, too. Most often when you hear about someone’s trouble with getting their child in their own bed, it is because they’re doing it on their own schedule instead of working with the child’s natural patterns.

Joy says:

I think everyone here has had some very valuable advice and have shared some great ideas. I agree that there is a lot of diversity whether it be Crunchy, chewy or soggy. I came back to reiterate what I said at the beginning of my book earlier. Please read all the information you want. Please make your own choices. Please don’t feel like if you don’t do something crunchy you’re doing something wrong or vice versa and feel that if you do go crunchy your over killing things. You have to decide what is right for you and remember that all of our stories and beliefs are OUR own beliefs. They don’t have to be yours and in no way should you feel guilty for sticking to what you believe and how you want to raise your child. Take all that you hear as simply that. If you want more than that go read the scientific studies yourself. We all did and I’m sure many of us can recommend the places to look for those.

There is WAY too much guilt dropped on women’s shoulders for not agreeing to someone else’s way of raising kids these days. Here’s an example that happened to me recently. I was at the library for a book reading and another mother came over to where I was chatting. She stood there for a minute, and without even asking me my name first, asked me if I was breast feeding or bottle feeding. Not that it was any of her business but I told her I was bottle feeding, and instead of just digesting this, she gave me a look like I just hung my up baby by her toe nails and completely snubbed me and walked away. HUH? I was shocked at first but I refuse to let idiots like that make me feel guilty for something that was not really my choice. I wanted to share that with you to show how some people are just over the top when it comes to their opinions. Not most but some. Someone’s always going to disagree with you or try to persuade you to do something different. Maybe not in so rude of a manner but it will happen. Just stick to your instincts. If you want to try their ideas great, if not that’s OK too.

And it is still OK to change your mind once you start doing something. If you want to start making your own baby food and decide it’s too much than quit. No one is going to be critical about that or maybe someone will but screw em’. We all know how hard it is on a day to day basis to raise kids. Just remember that as long as you love your baby and do everything YOU feel are the right things then he/she will be healthy and happy. And for all the cloth diapers, bottle, and breasts in the world THAT is the MOST important thing!

Carole says:

hmmmm, I get crunchier as I get older. We eat mostly fresh foods, don’t have TV, recycle, garden, get plenty of outdoor exercise, LOVE bargain hunting – resale shops, antique stores, sales, you name it – the thrill of the hunt! We use the library to get books and movies. I guess we do a lot. We try.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad you liked the recipes!

Wow, 34 comments already, people love this “crunchy mom thing. My sister up in Seattle is pretty crunchy, minus the sleep with kids thing. She gave birth at home in their bath tub!!! That’s a tough girl!

Thanks for coming to visit me!

I am an accidentally crunchy mom – we use cloth diapers and breastfeed exclusively…and due to being cheap, use a lot of “recycled” baby items. But it’s fabulous!

thecooks says:

Hi Jenny, im not a mom but i have sisters when it comes to vaccination, i dont think a agree with most of the moms that are anti because in Africa you need these vaccines lots of these diseases are still very well existant. i think parents need to think about it very carefully. especially if you have children going to communal schools because these choices they make could be consequential and they have to live with it.

Anonymous says:

Here’s a question for all you co-sleepers. When do you have sex?

Joy says:

Love Anon’s last question about co-sleeping. I’ll hold my piece of mind on that issue. It is a personal decision between you, your hubby, and your baby. But… to all the crunchy ladies…. can you please answer that one? When do you have sex? I’m not asking to be rude. I really have wondered about this one and I think it’s a valid question. And that’s one thing they don’t cover in the books.

Tamara says:

I am a future crunchy mom (im not preggers or anything tho). I will be doing no medically unnecessary ultrasounds (so i could go without doing ANY ultrasounds, if possible), homebirthing (waterbirthing to be exact hopefully and yes I want to consume my placenta to help prevent PPH and PPD), breastfeeding for at least 2 years, cloth diapering/elimination communication, cosleeping, no circumcision, no ear piercing, i havent decided about vaccination, so right now we’d do the selective and delayed schedule, we already eat 95% all organic foods and will practice baby-led feeding (no feeding them pureed stuff with a plastic spoon starting before 6 months old basically), babywearing and hubby and I have pretty much decided on homeschooling.

Im pretty crunchy, but there are FAR more WAY crunchier people than me (read: unassisted birth, lotus birth (waiting for placenta to detach from the baby), child-led weaning, mama cloth (cloth instead of tampons, menstrual cups, disposable pads), family cloth (cloth instead of toilet paper), vegan/vegetarian diet [tho i dont really consider this extra crunchy, many people do] etc lol).

To me, birthing and parenting this way makes sense. Do what millions of others have done before you. Much of the mainstream doodads and ways of parenting didn’t even come about until around 50 years ago. Humans managed to survive years and years and years without epidurals and ultrasounds and formula and many millions still do today. Thank God for high technology for when it is TRULY needed, but most of the time, imo, it isn’t.

Different strokes for different folks 🙂

I would suggest you read up on all of things “crunchy moms” do to see if it would be a good fit for you. A good place to start is to look at the http://www.mothering.com forums and read through the recommended books there.

Destiny says:

I think most moms fall into the “chewy” category. Personally, I have given birth both with and without an epidural–I prefer natural only because it makes pushing and recovery much, much better, but neither one diminishes your ability to bond with your baby. I would definately look into hypnobirthing if you plan on doing it naturally. I had a friend who used it and said she experienced little pain. I use disposable diapers, but if you’re looking for something inbetween cloth and disposable, you might try G diapers. They are a cloth diaper with a disposable insert that can be flushed, thrown away or used for compost. I immunize my children. Last year we had a huge measles outbreak–nine of the cases were children. I would have been quite upset if my baby, who wasn’t old enought to be vaccinated, had gotten sick because of someone else refusing to vaccinate. We ended up vaccinating her for measles ahead of schedule. I would definately reccommend breastfeeding if you can, but would say not to feel guilty if you don’t. I have nursed two of mine past a year and completely love it, but you need to take your happiness as well as the babies into account when nursing. If one of you isn’t happy, then it’s time to move on. I’ve semi-coslept with all of mine. When they are little and nursing a lot it is the only sleep I get. I have never rolled over on my baby. Subconsiously, you know they are there. However, my husband is very uncomfortable with it, because he is not as aware of the baby. So I sleep with the baby cradled in my arms. As for sex, since it was mentioned, we still found time for each other. We usually put the baby to sleep in the crib first and then brought her to bed with us when she woke for her first night time feed around 11p. I would never put my baby in my bed to sleep if I was not in it and we do not go to bed at 7 or 8p, so there were several hours there that were just us. And I don’t know about you, but if I’m already exhausted from lack of sleep, I’m not waking up at 2a to be with my husband, I’m sleeping, so it really doesn’t matter then that there is a baby with us. Overall, research your options, pick what works best for you and don’t let anyone make you feel like less of a mom for choosing different than them.

LOL there are labels for all of this hahahha well let’s see I went in the hospital all tough to go trough natural childbirth, there were some complications (21 hours of labor) and I had epidural and ugh…it really only worked on one side the left one. But I managed to give birth at the last minute as they were all getting ready for the c-section.

On the co-sleeping. When my daughter was borne we lived in 1 bedroom apartment and she was in our room, but in a crib not with us in the bed (ok maybe only when I would nurse her at night, but as soon as done I would put her back in her crib)

I like your choices for the nursery, I never used changing table 🙂 LOL don’t know why!

Marci says:

I couldn’t help but comment here! I have gone from being a completely soggy mom (think last bite of cereal in the bowl…) to mostly crunchy. It has definitely been a journey, one that has changed not only my life, but my family and my testimony. Just to give you an idea of where I have been and where I am at now, my first birth was at the hospital and the first thing I did was ask for an epidural, my fourth birth was at home with only me and my husband with zero prenatal care. My first three were 100% vaccinated my last two 100% vaccine free, in fact my two year old hasn’t seen an MD since his 2 week check up! We practice homeopathy, eat as much organic as we can, I have a huge desire to make as much homemade as we can, but I am not going to lie you may find me in a fast food drive thru at times cause life happens. At this point I don’t consider myself soggy, chewy or crunchy I am simply me. This is the most important thing I have learned is that as long as me, my husband and the Lord feel good about what we are doing it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to read about my homebirth and what made me decide to do it, or the other things I have learned on my journey I have a blog dedicated to it: http://freeinfofriday.blogspot.com My sister made a good point to me one day about our change in lifestyle she said to me different isn’t wrong it is just different. So to the people who have commented here that this or that is a MUST or BAD or RIGHT or GOOD for you I am sure that is the case, for me I will make me own decision.

Marci says:

By the way I don’t care what the studies or the research says I care what my heart, and my mothers intuition says!

This is an absolutely fabulous post! As my husband and I are planning for children, we’ve discussed various methods of raising and caring for the baby, but never thought to put it in terms of crunchiness.

Personally, I am looking forward to breastfeeding and making babyfood ourselves. We’d definitely would try cloth diapering, and based on how it works for us, we’ll determine whether to continue it or not. I definitely want to use inexpensive recycled baby products such as furniture and would appreciate inexpensive baby clothes that are in good condition.

I’m all for natural childbirth and have been considering either a home birth or birth at a birthing center. A friend of mines had a very successful home birth.

Not sure how I feel about co-sleeping. I think we’d do a little of both co-sleeping and having the baby sleep on its own.

I really want to be a work at home mom and try homeschooling. My husband is not comfortable with homeschooling, so we’d have to work the schooling situation out.

Anyways, great post. It’s got me thinking about our crunchiness level.

alisaterry says:

I never understand why people think co-sleeps have a hard time with sex. the other side of the bed, the floor, the bathroom sink, the shower, the couch, the floor again – who says the bed is the only place to have fun? And since I breastfeed my babies down, they usually go to bed pretty quickly.

I understand that vaccinating is a personal issue, but really, you must read package inserts from the manufacturers themselves and look at real numbers instead of just listening to the news. here in Utah, the majority of kids who get the measles have the vaccine. That polio outbreak among the Amish was caused by a tourist who had take the live virus polio vaccine – they can tell because during tests the virus was not wild, it was the kind specific to the vaccine.

It is a false idea that unvaccinated children are all harbingers of disease. And the side effects listed by the makers themselves include paralysis, encephalitis, deafness, and asthma, to name a few. And since many of those diseases are hygeine related, they were on the decline once we understood germs and long before the vaccines were introduced.

As a fellow Mormon mama, just PRAY. You will know what to do. My sister prayed and she felt that delayed vaccination was right for her son. We prayed and we were told in no uncertain terms to never do it.

But don’t make any decisions out of fear, and certainly don’t listen to me or anyone else. Do your own research, and you will find an answer that works, and don’t let the “you have to live with your decisions” influence you. I have no guilt about not vaccinating my children. Make your decision out of learning and understanding, and with the Spirit.

alisaterry says:

PS – a thought on health. Organic isn’t always better. Organic sugar is still sugar. Vegan soda is still soda. Dairy free ice cream is still ice cream.

Crunchy health incorprates natural, organic things but that’s not the most important part. the important part is going for as much fresh and unprocessed as your budget will allow for. It’s about getting fruits and veggies every day, and doing what you can to get your food sustainably.

I always tell people the French aren’t skinny because they smoke. They eat meat and dairy and sugar and chocolate, but it’s all from scratch. When I was there ten years ago it was really hard to find prepackaged foods. Even cereal was at a premium. There were no artifical colors or preservatives, just good food cooked slow together.

We can’t always go organic, but we go for bread with the fewest ingredients, pay $1.50 more for Omega filled eggs, use sucanat instead of sugar, and try to get lots of “fresh” in. I do also have a veggie garden that I grow organically, and I have found that organic fertilizers and pest solutions don’t cost much more.

alisaterry says:

One last thing – you might enjoy this article I wrote about what baby essentials for natural moms.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/409878/baby_essentials_for_natural_families.html?cat=25

Mama Seoul says:

I cloth diaper, co-sleep, babywear and breastfeed. Cloth diapers are so much easier now: http://www.angelbunz.com
I started cloth diapering my son at 7 months old and used the same diapers until he was 2. He is 2.5 now and I can still use some of the same diapers. I bought small diapers for my newborn daughter, but they are a little big. I would recommend for a first time mom to get breastfeeding established before you start cloth diapers. Once you get going with them, they are not hard, but no sense in adding one more thing to deal with in the first 1-3 months as you are finding your way as a parent.

As for co-sleeping, unless you have a seizure disorder or diabetes or something else where you lose consciousness or a drug/alcohol problem, you won’t roll over on your child. If you breastfeed and co-sleep, you will get a lot more sleep than those who don’t because you won’t need to wake up to feed.

You can’t have an epidural at a homebirth. Read the Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer to find out the problems with epidurals. The people with the worst labor stories had epidurals. Epidurals lead to pitocin which causes very painful contractions and can lead to fetal distress.

I just had a great drug-free birth two weeks ago.

Sharon says:

I couldn’t resist commenting after seeing you mentioning this post on Twitter. 🙂

I never set out to be crunchy. I actually prepared to go the other route, until my son was actually born. Due to his colic, I breastfed longer than planned, co-slept, etc. The only deliberate choice we followed thru on was no following the standard vaccination schedule.

Then it started to feel right & natural to me.
I never knew I was being crunchy or anything, I just knew I was following my instincts and doing what felt right for my baby.

I do not cloth diaper, and I’ve had epidurals.
I DO practice extended breastfeeding, co-sleep, vax differently (or not at all), and I made some baby food.

I don’t think one way is right or wrong. I think moms are blessed with strong gut feelings and instincts, and THAT leads them to know what’s best for THEM, THEIR baby, and their situation. 🙂

Sharon says:

Joy-
I don’t mind offering my answer on the sex & co-sleeping question.

My oldest co-slept w/ us until he was 3. Our 2nd also was in our room until this past January, when we finally got a 3 bdrm house.

When did we have sex? When we were in the mood. Die to awake, interrupting kids, it’s usually at night. That was more practical for us, anyway, with my dh working during the day.

Where? I am not a fan of having sex w/ baby in bed or even the same room. But thankfully there are many rooms to a home. Family room, living room, kitchen, bathroom…creativity can be fun. Besides, I know most people go to “christen” each room, anyway, so why stop after the firs time?

I admit the couch would get old, but there is always a new way to try something.

Our schedule (jobs), NOT co-sleeping, has always been the biggest hurdle for sex.

What a great conversation. I am definitely a chewy mom. I would love to be more crunchy but my urban lifestyle (and mindset) just doesn’t allow it.

Riddlez says:

So, I think, like with so many things you totally play this one like this: whatever works for you and your family.

I have two kids. Both were in the NICU, have severe allergies, refulx, dysphagia, and feeding aversions. That changed some of our sleeping habits in the beginning. I had to formula feed elemental formula for 2 reasons: 1. I have a hormonal issue that prevents me from producing breast milk and 2. my kids are allergic to soy/milk products so anything I might ingest would affect them so I’d have to be on a TED (total elimination diet) if I could breastfeed. So, on some of the really hard nights, I pulled those kids onto my chest and got a few sound hours of good sleep. They slept in bouncers and swings, too, while we crashed on the couch. When we were ready, I got them into their own beds and they did fantastic (around 3 or 4 months for both) – but our dog still sleeps between us – how ironic. One of my dearest friends said: don’t let breastfeeding hurt your relationship with your baby. Meaning: if you can awesome, but if for whatever reason you struggle, don’t let it ruin the first few months. If you have to be on the bottle, learn to be ok with it and love your baby!

I have an idea of what I think I’ll be like as a parent, and have boundaries that will not be broken for some of the big things, but most of the time, I take into account the event, the child, the time of day, etc. etc. when it comes to discipline.

I immunize my kids because to me, the risk of not doing so if far greater than doing so. Plus, I will send my kids to public school and they need to be vaccinated to go. Why public school? I firmly believe I can’t teach my kids everything they need to know in this lifetime. They need to have influences from others, see how others live, and give others the chance to see how we live. Plus, we’re instructed to get out there, be a positive influence, etc. Now, some kids don’t thrive in the public school system, just like some don’t thrive being home schooled. Again, you gotta look at what you want for your family and what your kids (and your) needs are at the time.

The great thing about being where you are is: you can get great advice and try those things out for yourself. If you do the co-sleeping thing and it isn’t working, put your baby in the crib. Hate cloth diapers, change to disposable. Kid always got a rash, get on the cloth.

Also, you have the gift of the HG. Pray about your family, go with the answer, and don’t worry about what others may tell you to do. You will put your family’s needs first – as you should.

And lastly, do what will help your marriage become stronger with your children. All of this won’t mean a thing if your marriage falls apart. If hubby hates the idea of public school but you’re dead set against home school, then figure out what you can do to make a compromise. HF will equip you with the promptings and peace you need to do what is best for your eternal family.

Good luck in your journey. You are so brave to invite so many to witness it!

FrogleyMom says:

Mommy Bee directed me to this thread and I couldn’t not post. 🙂 I began my journey to crunchyness when about a month before my second was born. My first was weaned at 4 1/2 months because I got pregnant again and the doctor told me I couldn’t nurse while pregnant. While there is some truth to losing a milk supply while pregnant, there is no reason I couldn’t have continued to nurse for comfort for my daughter… since then, I nursed my second through my pregnancy with my third, tandem nursed for 13 months, and am currently nursing my 3rd, through my pregnancy with my 4th.

Basically most of my crunchiness comes from two areas…
50% financial. I’m an extremely practical person and formula/disposable diapers etc, are just way too expensive. I did have 3 kids in cloth diapers for 9 months, and it generated an extra 7 loads of laundry per week (one load every night)… BUT I didn’t have to buy (or make) new diapers for my second or third, and I didn’t have to spend over $100/month on disposables for three kids.

The other 50% of my crunchy decisions are mostly based on what MommyBee said in the quote in your original post: I never take the status quo for granted, and do my own research on pretty much everything. I don’t believe “experts” can truly know what is best in my specific situation and for each of my specific children, since they cannot possibly know them as well as I do. Therefore, I do my own research and figure out (with the help of the Spirit) what is best for our family. I did extensive research on vaccines before making my decision (and everything was discussed with my husband). I’ve done tons of research on birth options as well, and have tried most of them. I had two drug-free hospital births, one birthcenter waterbirth, and am currently planning my first homebirth.

As for co-sleeping: I co-sleep because it works for us. I can understand that some people don’t sleep as well with a baby right next to them, but my entire family sleeps much better when we co-sleep. Currently, my older two girls are in their own room (and awesome sleepers) and my baby is in a side-carred crib in our room (the crib converted to a toddlerbed, and squished between our bed and the wall).

I had to comment on the other question posed here: Here’s a question for all you co-sleepers. When do you have sex?

This actually makes me laugh quite a bit… obviously we’ve never had a problem with this one. 🙂 I have never made it to my baby’s first birthday without getting pregnant again. 🙂 As AlisaTerry (whom I know personally) mentioned, there are many places other than the bedroom… and you can also put kids to sleep in other areas of the house first if you prefer the bedroom. There are also other times… we do occasionally use the TV as a babysitter so the kids will leave us alone on a Saturday morning, and we’re planning a nice night away for our anniversary this year (which I won’t do with an exclusively breastfeeding baby… so we won’t get the chance again for another two years).

I have more about me on my blog (which I don’t update very often), and more specifically on my crunchiness in this post: http://frogley.name/emily/2008/10/wanted-bosom-friend.html

Marly says:

ok, I was directed here by Jenni 🙂
I’m a semi crunchy mom. Someone mentioned that epidurals, in the long run, don’t affect your relationship with your baby. I personally can say that for it would have for me. I’ve never had one but I know if I would have had those drugs in my system, things would have been worse for me than they were. I have huge bonding issues. My first was born in a hospital in a squatting position. I didn’t bond with him until he was 6 months old. I hate to think what it would have been like if I wouldn’t have had all that adrenaline and hormones going in my body. My second was born in a birth center. Again, I didn’t bond with him until he was 18 months old. I had horrible post pardum depression. I think a lot of the policy’s hospitals have didn’t help either. My third I had at home in a tub. I spent the week after with her in bed. She never left my side. I took the time to get to know her. Can I also say I get gas when I get cavities filled? I am no champ or love pain but birth is like a marathon. you work hard and you get the prize in the end. If you’re nervous or scared, things are mostly liked going to be harder.

I breastfeed because my boobs were made to feed babies. I don’t make my own food because I don’t start my kids on solids until about 9 months and they just eat what we’re having. I babywear. I don’t do cloth diapers because my husband refuses to change diapers if I did, so I’d rather he help. We co sleep. Differently with each child because each child has different needs. We like to side car their crib next to our bed and they either sleep with my husband, because I don’t like being touched, or they sleep in the crib next to us.

I really think you just need to do the research. The thing that got me on this trail was the fact that I HATE needles! I figured there had to be a way to have a baby without getting a huge needle in my back or using an IV. I used the Bradley method, and for me it worked. It helped my husband a lot too because it explained the process of labor and how he could help me.

Good luck when it comes time. Just make sure you research each side and pick things that work for you. That’s really the most important part is learning all you can and then remember these babies come hard wired with their own personality and just because one thing works for one doesn’t mean it will work for the others.

Hey there!
Thanks for stopping by my blog,it’s great to meet you. I have just skimmed over a few of your blogs because I am short on time this morning,but I will be back soon. Your blog is great and I love to chat about anything that has to do with pregnancy,babies,birth,and beyond!

As far as the Crunchy stuff goes…I would consider myself half & half. I had my baby in the hospital w/ a midwife & doula but had no drugs at all and I plan to go all natural with my next baby too. I cloth diaper at home but use chlorine free disposable diapers when we go out. We have not vaccinated yet,but will probably do a few in the future but no where near as many as they want us to do-way too many toxins for my little ones body. We try to recycle as much as we can,and I try to buy organic when I can,but that doesn’t always happen. I have made a lot of my own baby food,but I have also fed him store bought organic food from a jar also. I wear my hair long sometimes and short sometimes,I usually wear makeup when I am going out,I love my heels and girlie things,but someday I just feel more natural and that is how we do it 🙂

I look forward to chatting with you more!!!

P.S. I’m adding you to my blog list so I can see updates and also you might want to check out my new blog at http://doula4tytus.blogspot.com/

While I am not all the way crunchy, I do consider myself on the crunchier side than not (I have a category on my blog called “Capt’n Crunchy”): my first birth was un-medicated and my second birth was a home birth, I used cloth diapers with my 1st baby (until a move to temporary corporate housing stopped that), I co-slept with both of my children, a “wore” my kids in a baby sling 24/7, I had a very delayed vaccination schedule and I eat organic food and recycle. Oh, and breastfed my kids for over 2 years and 3 years and do believe it is the best thing to do. I do, however, believe in make-up 🙂

suzannah says:

sorry it took me so long to visit here after the UBP!

midwives are so great, and birthing at home without medication is only one choice on a spectrum of birth choices. i delivered my baby with a midwife at a hospital birth center, and that was a great fit for us.

cloth diapering was my husband’s idea, and even though i’ve always been very careful to reduce/reuse/recycle, that seemed a step too far! but i researched it a lot online, and we ended up doing it and loving it (for real!)

we don’t co-sleep, but i’m still breastfeeding my 16 month old, and my baby sling is my #1 favorite baby gear product. (i almost never need or use my stroller, even now.)

i married young, too (22), and we waited 5 years to have our daughter. waiting wasn’t really about finances (we’re in ministry and i stay home, so we still don’t have much $), but it was definitely good for us to strengthen our relationship just the two of us–which sounds like what you guys are doing. enjoy the journey:)

suzannah says:

ooh, something else i forgot–having my baby made me consider all the chemicals i’d been exposing myself to, in home cleaners and personal care products, and since then i’ve been replacing things with natural alternatives and things i made myself.

some marketed “green” products can be more expensive (like shampoo), but cleaning with baking soda is dirt cheap, and all in all, i’m spending way less and limiting my family’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

I found your blog on fb. Perhaps the topic of my comment has been discussed on your blog before.

Having a bottle and pacifier as your blog icon is NOT crunchy. It may not make sense to you now, but once you are breastfeeding and realize how little support there is for breastfeeding and how pervasive bottles and teats are in our society, which serve to discourage women from providing their baby with superior nutrition that can’t be matched with artificial milk, it will make sense.

I think its great you are blogging about your thoughts and learning NOW before you are holding your little one.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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