Ever wonder what it’s like to be inside the world of a crunchy mom? Hold on tight. We’re about to find out. What is a crunchy momma? What do they do? Truthfully, it’s more about what they don’t do.
Natural-minded mommies are busy researching the latest studies on just how safe that HPV vaccine is and what the best age is to introduce solids. They’re rarely concerned with what their parents did or their friends who had a baby last year. After all, they can’t be sure that the decisions even their own parents made were informed ones.
That’s what being crunchy is really about. It’s not actually a desire to be au naturale. It’s not a compulsion to go against the mainstream mommies of society and bash them for using chemical household cleaners. It’s simply about doing their due diligence with research and following what it has to say. It just so happens that what it usually says leads them away from the mainstream norms.
So, for those who think they have what it takes to be a crunchy momma, listen up! This is the crash course in crunchiness 101 that will take women from being mainstream moms to crunchy caregivers in a matter of minutes. Caution: approach with an open mind ready to be informed.
12 Circumcision Is Cosmetic Surgery
Let’s be clear first that being crunchy isn’t all-inclusive. To be a crunchy mom doesn’t mean that mom needs to harvest her own food in the jungle, never eat fast food, and only use homeopathic medicine. Anyone who says that is being sanctimonious, not crunchy.
However, there are a few things out there that crunchy moms just don’t do, and circumcision is one of them. One cannot call themselves natural in any way, shape or form if they intend to remove part of their child’s natural anatomy for appearance’s sake.
Yes, I said for appearance’s sake. It’s official now. It’ not just an opinion. Circumcision is a cosmetic procedure. Even the insurance companies — many of which now refuse to pay for the procedure — now refer to it as such. So, moms who are having baby boys, research! This outdated procedure was started as a means of curbing masturbation; it’s never had medical roots. It is not cleaner, or safer. In fact, 117 babies die each year from circumcision. How many die from remaining intact? Zero.
11 Natural Birth Isn’t Required, But It Is Awesome
No, you don’t have to endure 24 hours of killer labor pains and contractions to hang out your shingle as a crunchy mom. We won’t judge you for getting that epidural, but we will call into question how much research you did beforehand on natural birth and the consequences of epidurals.
That being said, we know there’s a lot of murky research out there that aims to not only glorify the epidural as a perfect way to birth, but even decorate it as a protective factor for your child. It’s total nonsense! How can injecting opioids into yourself and passing them onto your baby be a good thing?
Back here in reality, crunchy moms know that epidurals are linked to postpartum depression, trouble breastfeeding, lethargic babies, and much more. We know that many mothers suffer for years from permanent nerve damage in their backs and debilitating migraines as a result of getting an epidural. They’d gladly trade that 24 hours of pain over chronic pain for the rest of their lives. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, natural birth rocks!
10 Leave The Infant Cereals On The Shelf
Every year, or really every nine months, there is a new crop of new moms. So, it stands to reason that we will keep having to repeat certain messages for the foreseeable future until the time comes that we can breathe a sigh of relief that no one is feeding their babies infant cereals anymore.
The reason behind this choice often gets lost in translation, and a lot of moms are left wondering why — if they’re so awful — are they still being sold? Isn’t Coke still on the market? Aren’t cigarettes? Where there is profit and free choice, there are products. ‘Nuff said.
You might have heard that rice cereal contains arsenic, but that’s not the only reason to ditch them all. Babies cannot properly digest grains. In fact, they don’t have the enzyme they need to do so. That enzyme —amylase — is not present in large enough amounts in a baby to digest grains. Feeding them grains anyway can lead to leaky gut, which contributes to a host of learning and behavior disorders and mental health conditions.
9 Breast Really Is Best, But…
But, there are other options if you can’t breastfeed. Not so fast. If you’re thinking formula, you’re not thinking like a crunchy mom. Donor milk! Yes, the crunchy mom would suggest that you get over your fear of trusting another woman and the insecurity you feel that you couldn’t provide that milk yourself and choose to give your baby the best of what there is even if you cannot do it physically.
There are lots of women out there offering up their excess breastmilk. Sometimes, they exclusively pump and ended up with an oversupply. Sometimes, they had a stash leftover when their baby decided to wean. Sometimes, they just wanted to help. Heck, I even know mommies who have continued pumping after their kids have weaned just to keep their periods away. They donate the milk.
That’s the key with breastmilk sharing. There’s no need for the other momma to nurse your child, but by all means, we won’t judge. In fact, you can get an SNS and still nurse your baby while you supplement with the other mom’s milk. The point is, your little one is still benefitting from all that breastmilk has to offer. You’ll feel quite proud of yourself for it.
8 Vitamin K Is Not Just A Vitamin
At the time of birth, everything can be pretty hurried along. New moms might feel rushed to make decisions, and sometimes there are choices to be made they weren’t aware of ahead of time. The crunchy mom is prepared going into labor. She knows what forms she will be asked to sign.
She knows which ones aren’t really necessary, too. Such as the waiver to decline vitamin K. That form protects the hospital and in some instances, has been used against parents. It’s not actually required at all. Neither is vitamin K.
Speaking of vitamin K, what is it exactly? It’s a synthetic vitamin that is poorly absorbed by the body. There’s also a mixture of things like benzoyl alcohol, polysorbate 80 (a carcinogen) and aluminum (a neurotoxin) in it. Its primary purpose was to decrease the number of babies who were bleeding out after circumcision, not to decrease spontaneous brain bleeds.
Oral vitamin K or supplementing the breastfeeding mother’s diet are other options. It is sometimes more necessary for babies who endure very traumatic births. Otherwise, the crunchy mom sees it as another unnecessary intervention to bill her for. No thanks!
7 Food Before One Is Just For Fun
This is a hot topic in mom’s groups online. You know that if you belong to any. Why? Because some people take it literally. It’s a curse of the age of society, I suppose. Food before one is indeed just for fun. In other words, babies do not need food before they turn one. My 30-pound 17-month-old who didn’t start really eating until about 13 months can probably attest to that, but no, I’m not relying on anecdotal facts here.
Babies get all of the nutrients they need from breastmilk during the first year of life. It’s that simple. Food can indeed be offered before they are one, and some of them might enjoy it, but the point is that it should never take the place of nutrition. Breastmilk is still the primary source for that. Always offer food after nursing, never before. And of course, never start solids before six months or before the signs of readiness are apparent.
6 Attachment Parenting Is Not Just For Hippies
Let’s preface with an explanation of what attachment parenting employs. It’s not just about being readily available for your child and carrying them all the time, though that is part of it. While continuous touch is an important part of bonding for babies, attachment parenting is also about supporting the emotional needs of the infant.
In other words, all that nonsense you’ve heard about letting them cry it out or spoiling a baby by picking it up is just that — nonsense. There is no research that supports it at all. In fact, the research urges parents to discontinue those outdated methods of parenting and cater to more in-tune parenting methods that bond the parents with the child. Sounds, um, normal? Crunchy is the new normal!
5 Home Birth Is Safe
We have to wonder just how long this debate is going to keep going. For every author with the courage to stand up and attest to the safety of home birth, there is a medical organization trying to silence their claims. How about we just stick to what the evidence says? Why don’t we just encourage moms and dads to rely on research about home birth instead of tales about the horrors they’ve heard of it passed down from one mom to another who first saw it on You Tube?
The research confirms that home birth is just as safe a hospital birth for low-risk mothers. These are mommas who are not expected to need any kind of extreme intervention during labor. Why do crunchy moms choose home birth? It’s a more peaceful experience and they harness more control over the desired outcome: a low to no intervention birth.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal did a study comparing outcomes between home births, midwife-assisted hospital births, and physician-assisted hospital births. Perinatal death rates were 0.35 per 1,000 home births, while they jumped to 0.57 among midwife-hospital births and 0.64 among physician-hospital births. The need for interventions and adverse maternal and newborn outcomes were the lowest among home births, as well. Surprise!
4 Mom Doesn't Need A Stream Of Interventions
Speaking of interventions, why are crunchy moms so against them? Do they just want to have this beautiful birth experience that is better than anything you’ve ever heard of? Of course not, but that would still be reason enough in our book. They want a birth experience that is the healthiest and safest for themselves and their babies.
Interventions are sometimes necessary. When they are, we are grateful for them. But often they are employed when they aren’t really needed. Doctors will instruct nurses to turn up the Pitocin to hurry a mom along in labor so they can make it home in time for dinner. They will push moms to induce on their schedule because they’re going on vacation. This is not birth! It’s medical monopoly!
The kind of care being rendered by these physicians is not aligned with doing no harm. These doctors have been practicing this way for so long that they’ve convinced themselves it’s okay. Pushed to induce at 41 weeks because she’s overdue, the crunchy mom fires her doctor and switches to someone who understands that babies come when they are developmentally ready. Again, do your research!
3 Vaccine Research Should Be Paramount
There’s that word again. Research. What does it mean? Are all these crunchy moms just Googling things and cherry-picking the information they like while tossing out the credible evidence? It might seem that way if you’ve never taken the time to look into the evidence on vaccines yourself. Consider yourself warned, you are now entering the rabbit hole.
To be blatantly honest, almost all of the crunchy parents I know are college-educated. In fact, one study done in California showed that the majority of parents denying vaccines are wealthy, college grads.
They know enough about the scientific method and what constitutes a scholarly study to have made it through a four-year university curriculum. They know that controls are important. They know that replicating a study is important. They know that to research means to read those complex, long, daunting studies on their own rather than just trusting what a doctor says. Remember, they completed their training at a school where pharmaceutical companies wrote their textbooks.
Yes, the pharmaceutical companies. That’s where it gets murky. That’s what the crunchy moms don’t like. If you’re going to use Google, make sure it’s Google Scholar. When those studies come up that claim aluminum is safe in vaccines, or that thimerosal isn’t a concern, check to see who the authors are affiliated with and who funded the study.
Crunchy moms don’t trust the CDC, who is under investigation by Congress currently for falsifying data in vaccine studies. They don’t trust studies claiming a drug is safe when the study was funded by and/or performed by the very pharmaceutical company who stands to profit from it. It’s pretty simple. They like independent research — and all of that says vaccines aren’t safe.
2 FFS, Eat Your Placenta!
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I will confess that I have never eaten raw placenta. So, to me, it seems like maybe it tastes like liver? For all I know, it could be chicken. Even alligator tastes like chicken, right? Organ meat isn’t a favorite of many mommies today, but placenta is the exception, not the rule.
This is the one topic that seems to take precedence over its lack of evidence time and time again. Albeit anecdotal, crunchy moms don’t care that the evidence isn’t here yet to support eating the placenta to balance postpartum hormones, ward off PPD and increase the milk supply. They are too busy breastfeeding and feeling great to worry about that.
In truth, women have been eating their placenta for centuries all over the world after birth. It is tradition. It has been long touted as having multiple health benefits. Until solid research — that again, is not performed and funded by someone who would profit off of those antidepressants they’d give you instead — comes forward that shows it’s harmful, they’ll keep doing it. Encapsulate it. Eat it raw. Put a sliver in your cheek to prevent hemorrhage after birth. It’s a beautiful thing!
1 Question Everything You’ve Been Told
This is what it all boils down to. Are vaccines safe? Is circumcision medically necessary? Does it matter if the baby food is organic? Are GMO’s and glyphosate a real concern? Are low supply or tongue ties a reason to give up on breastfeeding? Can relactation happen? What about nursing while pregnant, or tandem nursing?
Is co-sleeping safe? What are the real reasons for induction that research supports, and which are just reasons doctors use to scare women into inducing? Can ultrasounds really predict a baby’s size? Speaking of those sonograms, are they safe? What about their link to autism?
Can the doctor tell a woman’s pelvis is too small? Will a body even grow a baby that is too big? What is shoulder dystocia anyway? Is that eye ointment necessary if mom doesn’t have an STD? How long should delayed cord clamping occur? Why should you rub that vernix in and delay bathing? These questions pave the path to being a natural mom. A crunchy mom knows the answers. Research! Question everything!