Coming Out…of the Crunchy Closet

When I (Machelle) worked at a local pediatrician’s office as an MA, I could spot the “crunchy” moms when they walked in the door.  I didn’t have anything against them but I didn’t always understand them.  My only experience with pediatrics was what I had learned on the job. 

They were easy to spot.  They’d walk in “wearing” their babies.  What did they have against just bringing in the car seat?

I’d bring them back to a room and ask them to undress the baby while I started asking the routine questions.  How often is she nursing?  How often does she have wet diapers?  Where does the baby sleep?  Daycare?  What questions or concerns do you have for the doctor?

I left that job over a year ago and could still rattle off the age-based questions from memory, grade a developmental questionnaire in my sleep and try as I might, I still can’t forget the vaccine schedule.

The crunchy moms had babies in cloth diapers.  They were cute, I agreed, but I didn’t get why they “made it harder on themselves”.  Their babies nursed on demand instead of on a set schedule, they co slept, they wanted to discuss the vaccine schedule.

I respected their decisions, but “Why don’t they just make it easy?” I thought… Feed your baby every 3 hours, sleep train, use disposable diapers, and put that kid in a crib.  Why are you crying over your breastfeeding struggles?

Yeah.  Okay, I think we know where this is going.  Then I became pregnant.

Look, I’m in grad school- I finish the MBA in May, but in the meantime I need to pinch pennies.  Textbooks each semester sometimes cost $200 EACH.  How can I save houndreds of dollars so I can get the books I need and finish the program before she starts walking?  Cloth diapers.

Plus, they’re kind of fun.  Need more?  No need to run to the store- just do a load of laundry.

I became committed to breastfeeding success.  Went to several classes while I was still pregnant and take advantage of every breastfeeding support group in the Wilmington area.  We go to at least 2 a week.  I don’t always have questions, but sometimes I just need to be around other people who know what its like to nurse a baby 24/7.  So far, so good.  (Plus, its cheap- also making textbooks more affordable…)  The the lactation support groups get me out of the house and prevent post partum depression…double win!

Baby wearing?  Well hell, that’s just convenient.  I love having two hands available while out and about with her.  And if you’re getting up every 2-3 hours to nurse a baby why in the hell would you put it in another room?  Might as well make it easy on yourself and keep her within arm’s distance so you can nurse and go back to sleep as soon as possible.

So, for a long time, I was denial about my “crunchiness”.  I mean, I just want to save money, not get depressed, get more sleep and have two hands available at Target.  I’m not crunchy…

That’s the thing.  Crunchy sneaks up on you.  And before I knew it- Any ailment anyone in the house had I’m convinced can be fixed by squirting breastmilk on it. Diaper rash, baby acne and eczema can be magically cured by breastmilk- I’ve seen it happen with my very eyes.   “Why don’t we just bathe in this stuff?” I thought.

And then, a lady told me about this woman who will take your breastmilk and turn it into bar soap.  Wow!  This will help her baby acne and my eczema!

And when I forked over $25 to have my breastmilk turn into soap it hit me.  Shit.  When you get to the point of turning breastmilk into soap- you’re crunchy…no doubt about it.

So here we are.  We wear cloth diapers.  I love our Ergobaby carrier.  We exclusively breastfeed on demand.  The baby sleeps with us.  And apparently, we are going bathing in my breastmilk.

I’d write more…but we have a busy day today.  “Boob Club” (Lactation Support group) starts at 11 🙂

Oh yeah- one other sort of “crunchy” thing I did this week- made her first Halloween costume…She’s a “Very Hungry Caterpillar”.  I did the cocoon and the antennae and a friend made the red cap, eyes and nose.

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9 thoughts on “Coming Out…of the Crunchy Closet

  1. We (a lesbian couple) had dinner the other night with a (straight) couple. The woman went to Smith in the 1970s. She said that straight students’ generic term for lesbian students was “crunchy granola” or just “crunchy”.

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