First off maybe you don't know what I mean by my title. I'm not sure where this term ever came from, or really how to "define" the term but basically a crunchy mom is someone who; baby wears, co-sleeps, cloth diapers, extended breast feeds, cross feeds (or is not opposed to cross feeding) home schools, home births... and the list could go on. Now this isn't to say that all "crunchy" moms practice all of these things.
Realising that I have become a "Crunchy Mom"
Last night I was at a baby shower of a friend who recently had her baby (almost 2 weeks ago now) being that we are at a baby shower with a new baby a lot of discussions about babies are bound to come up. I'll explain what happened with a few of the topics.
First off we were discussing how long she was in labour, 35.5 hrs. That is a long labour! Somehow in this conversation epidurals came up. For some reason here the minute you are pregnant it seems to be assumed that you are going to get an epidural. Right now due to circumstances at the one and only hospital you can birth at in the city, you are unable to get an epidural after 12am. So people turn to me and say "what are you going to do?!" When tell them that I wasn't planning to get one anyway so its not a big deal, they look at me like my hair is on fire! Everyone has the right to their OWN choices, espeically when it comes to the birth that they want. If you chose to get an epidural than by all means, get one. My experience with having an epidural did not go over well (as I have posted about before) so this time I'm choosing not to get one. Does this mean I am crazy? Maybe to some, but to me it really doesn't.
Eventually the topic of diapers came up. My friend had sent her husband out to get diapers. I mentioned to her that if she is going to use disposables that Costco is a good place to get them based on their cost, as well as the diaper genie refills there are cheaper. (I just spent the last 27 months using disposable diapers so I have some knowledge of these things.) She mentions that she doesn't have a diaper genie but that she wants one. So I tell her that mine is for sale, with one full refill and one started fill. Again, I am given a funny look and asked "aren't you going to be using it for this baby?" By this point I almost want to stop talking but I go on and tell them since everyone seems to be waiting for an answer. "No," I respond, "I'm going to be using cloth diapers with this baby." Her mom says, "Well jeeze! We were all so excited when Pampers came out and here these women are going back to using cloth." So, then I felt the need to explain a little bit and in very nice terms. "Cloth diapers are going to save me $1100 in the next year and a half alone." Suddenly her mother shoots a look over at her like "YOU should do that!" My friend replies that she couldn't be bothered to do the cleaning and would rather spend the money, again, nothing wrong with that. Had you asked me about cloth diapers when my daughter was born I would have said the same thing, but you live and learn.
Three of the women at this party are nurses. When the baby needed to be nursed breastfeeding became the topic. These are all things that I enjoy talking about, with the right people of course. One of the nurses ends up discussing how before they said formula was better and now they are back to saying that breast milk is the best solution, and how they should just make up their minds. Thankfully she went on to say that is because of antibodies in the breast milk that aren't found in formula. So I pipe up, "right, which is just why many hospitals, including Saskatoon, are starting to promote cross nursing." One of the nurses scrunches up her face and everyone else wants to know what I mean, which then leads me to having to explain that cross nursing is when one woman nurses another's baby, or the baby is fed breast milk from a donor through use of syringe or bottle. It seemed everyone turned their nose up to this and I just didn't say anything more.
I'll be flat out honest, when I first heard of that a year or so ago, I thought probably the same thing that they all thought. I mean, I supplemented my daughter with formula. You do what you have to as a parent. I had a heck of a time trying to nurse her and by the time I decided that this was enough she was 7.5 months old and mostly on formula. But I fought as hard as I knew how at that point. I know more now than I did then about how to keep going with it, which is all a part of parenting. Parenting is never just about your child learning something its always going to be about all parties learning new things and learning about themselves. Have I now come around to the idea of cross nursing? Absolutely. I think I might feel a bit off if I was just babysitting someone else's baby for an afternoon and popped them on my breast to feed, but when it comes to babies in hospitals, adoption, or nursing children in a third world country, I am all for cross nursing and thankful that there are women out there willing to nurse or donate breast milk to other babies.
It was just at this point that I realized that I had become the crunchy granola mom. I guess my way of life and thinking had just been changing over time and I never really realized that the way I now think of things had become so green and liberal. This isn't something that happened to me over night; it is something that has happened within my own self learning and plenty of reading, over the last 2.5 years. And I am sure something that will continue to happen. I am never going to say to anyone that the way that I think is better than what they think. I might offer useful information, especially if it involves carseat or baby wearing safety. I mean lets face it, I am a mother and someone who loves ALL children, I'd hate to know that someone's child was hurt because I didn't offer the education, or repost an awesome video about being safe with your child on my facebook page.
I'm proud of all that I have learned, proud that I have become a crunchy momma. Last week I told Matt that I have really come to love this "world of mommy-hood/parenting" as I called it. Then I really had no idea that there was another term. So please don't scrutinize me like I have alien antae growing from my head, because I really love what I have learned and the person that I have become in this "world of mom!"
Post written November 4 2010 moved from previous blog