“Crunchy” or “granola” has become a term used for those mothers that have decided to embrace an all-natural parenting style. There are many different levels of crunchiness, (semi-crunchy, earth mama crunchy, etc.). The more a parent embraces a natural way of parenting, the more she is apparently “crunchy”. Or a mother can choose to embrace it the way that I do; in my own way and not worrying about any certain level of crunchiness. As I mother and caregiver, I just do what I feel is right. Below is a list of 10 ways that I embrace my crunchiness during motherhood.
- Give cloth diapering a try! From pre-folds to all-in-ones, to pockets, cloth diapers have come a long way over the past decade. Search online some or even visit a cloth diapering store, (like Diaper Junction in Virginia Beach, VA). You can actually search online for stores and see if one pops up nearby. You’ll be surprised how much cloth diapering information you can find! It might be a turn off to some to have to wash them, but I can assure you, it’s really not that bad. On average, a parent can also save a boat load of money as well, (new parents can use up to $2,500 on disposable diapers before the baby is potty training), and be more friendly to the planet. I only had to spend around $300-400 on cloth diapers and then I was done buying them. I can also reuse these diapers for children to come.
- When your baby seems ready for solids, (over 6 months old at least), you can give baby led weaning a shot! At first, I was scared to try this method of feeding. Baby led weaning is when you give your baby solids as you would eat, (of course they need to be soft solids, such as avocados, baked apples, bananas, really steamed carrots, etc.). Pretty much, food that your baby can smash with his or her hands before putting into his or her mouth would be the most ideal choices. The softer, the better. Choosing this feeding style might even help them learn to chew their food better, as opposed to being fed just baby food that they swallow. As a mom, I worry a lot about the choking hazards that are out there, so parents definitely want to be cautious and never want to leave their child unattended. Personally, I practice both methods of feeding; regular baby food and baby led weaning.
- Coconut oil is my best friend, (both mine and my baby’s)! It is rather inexpensive compared to other baby moisturizers and diaper creams, and besides, and then you don’t have to buy two different products! It not only saves money in the long run, but it is pretty much the most natural baby product a mom could use.
- Breastfeed as long as you can. Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food for baby. Whether you nurse, pump your milk, or have to use donated breastmilk, giving your baby this breastmilk is extremely important, (especially early on in life).
- Extend breastfeeding into toddlerhood and beyond! I planned to do this, (but my breastfeeding experience hasn’t really gone the route that I wanted it too). I planned to breastfeed as long as possible, but my son became uninterested in the nipple at around 6 months, (when teething began). I was forced to pump and wasn’t producing enough. After ritual Le Leche League meetings, supplements and more, I ended up using donated milk when I could. It became difficult to find the donated milk because it had to be from someone that didn’t consume dairy, (my little one was allergic to dairy and would get diarrhea if he drank milk from someone who consumed dairy products). I was unfortunately forced to get him on soy formula.
- Try for a natural birth! I researched and educated myself on birthing options kind of late in my pregnancy. However, I did take the classes necessary to have a natural birth the first time around, but due to medical circumstances, I had to have an emergency cesarean with my son. Shooting for a natural birth, (or even a home birth!), are natural options for mothers expecting their first or even their fifth baby!
- Make your own baby food! There are convenient baby and toddler meals that are cutely prepackaged and easily accessible for mothers and children on the go, but they are usually filled with GMOs and other ingredients that most people have no clue what they really are, (and are hard to pronounce). Try buying organic and making your own baby food. If you have a green thumb, grow your own and then make the food.
- Wear your baby instead of putting him or her in the stroller. I absolutely love babywearing. Once you get the hang of wrapping the baby in whichever baby carrier you choose, it is so much more convenient, especially if you are going somewhere where your hands are going to be full and you’re doing a lot of walking. Besides, it has been said that babies that are worn are less likely to cry a lot, (score!).
- Practice safe co-sleeping with your child. This method isn’t for everyone, but it is something that I have practiced off and on as a mother with my son, (who is now 9 months old). For information on safe co-sleeping, (it also has a great “do and don’t” list), please visit http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/cosleeping-safely.
- Become an attachment parent! This is something that I strongly believe in as a parent. People always have different opinions on the way he or she parents, and end up doing what works best for them. For me right now, (and other crunchy moms out there, but not saying all do), practicing attachment parenting has really got me in tune with my sons needs and wants, as well as made us closer. Attachment parenting is when the parents provides consistent loving support and care, as well as provides a nurturing and loving environment to explore and grow with positive discipline. Attachment parenting’s goal is to form and nurture strong connections between the parent(s) and their children. You can find out more information about attachment parenting at http://www.attachmentparenting.org/.
**Check it out! This article was also featured on MomQuery.com!