I Failed at Being a Crunchy Mom


I Failed at being a crunchy mom

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How I failed at being a crunchy mom. Tales in breastfeeding, postpartum, baby bullets, and more from the first eight months of baby life.

Are you a crunchy mom??

It’s okay if you are. I’m just saying, I admit defeat right here and now. After 8 months I can no longer put up a good fight. At every turn, I have faced adversity, and to be honest – I’ve lost almost every battle. Try as I might – I give up at being crunchy. Let’s talk about my downhill battle…

Now, my history in being ‘crunchy’ didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I wouldn’t consider my parents to be crunchy. Let’s say we were at half-crunch. We grew up in a small town, and both of my parents worked. We were breast feed, and born in hospitals. My family had a garden with fresh veggies, and we were all vaccinated. Our parents canned food, and we had a freezer full of beef from our grandma’s cattle farm. And my mom made us homemade toys, but we were also spoiled with gifts at Christmas.

We were all avid readers, and had a television in almost every room of the house. We hated wearing shoes, and were the only ones in town with a swimming pool. My dad made our family build our own fences, decks, basement, & fix our own cars, but we all attended public school. I went to a chicken pox party in 2nd grade (I think I was actually the one with chicken pox and was allowed to share it with my friends), but always slept in my own room. My father now drive a ford focus….

So why did I feel this need to be crunchy, when I was raised as a half-crunch? Could I not have been ‘silky’? And I’ll be honest, I never thought about it. In our social media world, it just seemed like the thing to be doing. You hear of all of these moms who home school their kids, and don’t vaccinate, and breast feed until the kid says no more, and they all seem to love the paleo diet. Pinterest had led me to believe this was now the way to raise my child. And I totally went along with it. Until I realized, we are just not that kind of family. (And really, not all of these ideas sounded as good as sliced “Homemade” bread).

We begin my battle at T minus 2 days from birth. Let’s be truthful, there was no home birth plan. In fact, I had been asking for a c-section from the day I found out I was pregnant. But, that was not a practice our hospital participated in, so my only hope was to suck it up and go with natural child-birth (or pretty darn close, I still wanted the drugs- no way I was going to do this without pain meds).

First fail at being crunchy - I used an epidural and had a c-section

Well, lets just say I made it WAAAY to comfortable for my darling baby girl. We went in on a Saturday morning, and after 3 doses of Cytotec, breaking my water, Pitocin induced contractions, two failed epidural attempts ( the 3rd one finally went in without a ‘zinger’) and two days later, we finally had our daughter via c-section. I may not win often, but when I do, I make sure it counts!. I will mention that at one point during the pain of a contraction, I had thought about asking for a water birth. That is pretty crunchy right? So crunchy mom score=0.

Life was good in the hospital. We hung out in our room with our new bundle of joy, we began breastfeeding in between visits from family and friends. The placenta had been discarded (seriously, you truly crunchy moms can keep that one – I would not have even imagined touching it, YUCK!). We cuddled, we bonded, we were in heaven. The second night we even had her sleep in our room to get use to her being with us.

I must have missed the crunchy memo about kids sleeping in bed with parents, or even in the same room, because when we came home, she went straight into her crib. And she loved it (after about 1-2 days). My husband and I are all about sleeping. We have possibly been known to skip out on plans to go to bed early. And our dog sleeps in bed with us. Or really, we sleep with her as she takes up 1/2 of the bed by herself, and she is not a big dog. There was no chance that our tiny peanut would have lasted in bed with us, so it was the crib for her.

How I failed at being a crunchy mom. From the start of labor, to child lead weaning not all moms can be crunchy. But I'm not silky either, so I call myself scrunchy.

I like all moms (I assume) am deathly afraid of SIDS. In the beginning, I would check on her about every 1/2 hour. We had our monitor on full blast, and a heart beat sound machine to mimic the womb. She was my precious sleeping angel in her own crib and room….until week 3. We were lucky enough to be blessed with a grunting baby. That’s right – all night long, she grunted. I was sure it was acid reflux, or worse GERD. Nope, sometimes you get one that grunts, and she was the master at it! After taking her to the doctor and getting some motherly advice from some workers, we finally turned the monitor down to silent (It would beep at us if she started crying) and got *some* sleep.

At six weeks we had her sleep trained through the night, as a few days before Christmas was the first night she slept till morning. We were on regular feedings, and regular naps, and did not participate in co-sleeping, or letting her create her own sleep schedule. For that right there, you might think I’m totally a ‘silky’ mom, but I don’t feel that way. So what’s the score again? Crunchy Mom=0 (Failed Crunchy Attempt #2).

Since then, we have had some tries at ‘co-sleeping’ with our little girl. We recently took a trip to Florida to see my Grandparents, and two of the three hotels we stayed at said they had cribs. Life lesson learned: actually call the hotel and ask. Don’t assume because it is listed on their website, its true (just like microwaves, apparently its okay to lie about things like that). We had invested in a ‘pea-pod’ which is like a sleeping tent for kids, and brought it along just in case. She loved it at home. Down in Florida, 1 hour was all we lasted in it before we screamed bloody murder. So, into the bed she went.

The first night, I didn’t sleep a wink. I was so scared I was going to roll over on her. Cozily, she slept in the crook of my arm, listening to the soft snore of my husband, and I lied awake wondering if I was going to sleep at all during the trip. The second night went much better. After she fell asleep, I laid her in the middle of bed, and we all rested peacefully. Until 6am; when the little girl started cooing, and playing with my hair and face. So seven days of co-sleeping down, and when we got back home, into her crib she went. This ‘crunchy’ habit was not going to be one for us. And let me just say, if you do plan on co-sleeping with a child, might I suggest a king size bed.

Now back to my race down the hill in my attempt to be the crunchy mom of the year. At three weeks, my ‘baby blues’ had turned into full-blown postpartum depression. I did not enjoy being a mom in my head. I would cry for no reason at all, and sometimes for the dumbest reasons.

I’ve always had an active imagination, and if my husband was gone for more than an hour, my head could convince my heart that he was cheating on me, or had left home and I was stuck alone with a baby that I wasn’t sure if I wanted. I would sometimes think about hurting her, knowing I wouldn’t but the thought was still there. And if I ever did get to go somewhere by myself, there was a very meek, but powerful voice saying, ‘run away, run far far away. They will never catch you’. It was hard to make that voice go away.

The head and the heart are two very different things, and in my heart I knew I loved my child, and my husband, and they loved me. But, my brain on the other hand, could not handle my hormones, and decided to take a one way trip to crazyville and set up shop as the local nut job. A small dose of citalopram helped push me back to normal, as I still feel there was no ‘natural’ substance that would have been strong enough to help me through. For anyone counting, we are still at Crunchy Mom=0 (Failed crunchy attempt #3).

So where else could we go wrong? At 5 weeks in, we lose at breastfeeding. Possibly it is because I am wound just a little tight, and the stress of feeding someone from your body was unbearable for me. I could not produce more than 1 or 2 ounces of milk at a time with a pump, and when she would breastfeed, the force of the milk would cause her to gag and sputter. Apparently Kellymom calls its forceful letdown. It was a miserable time. I tried to lean back when feeding, or be on my side, and I took fenugreek and ate oatmeal to increase my supply. At the end of a really hard week, I thought – let’s just try some formula.

Well, it was like a Pringles can in that ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop’. We had moved onto the formula band wagon and never looked back. She started gaining more weight, and turned into a happy, smiley little girl. So crunch or not, this was the best option for both her and I. The new tally is still Crunchy Mom=0 (failed crunchy attempt #4).

You would think possibly at this stage in the game, I would have admitted defeat and gone on my merry, silky way. Oh, but you do not know the determination that is a mother on a mission. Because in every turn, we want the best for our babies.

And it seemed the case with baby food. I was bound & determined to make my own food for our little girl. I had numerous pins, articles, and webpages devoted to making baby food. How to steam, boil, cook, mash, preserve, freeze, thaw, etc was all accounted for. We had bought a few packs of Gerber food as a starter, so we would know how much she would eat, and what she liked. After about a month, I set in on the baby food making experience.

How I failed at being a crunchy mom. Tales in breastfeeding, postpartum, baby bullets, and more from the first eight months of baby life.

My first attempt was cantaloupe. Sweet, flavorful, and colorful fruit that she should have loved, right? 16 ounces down the drain. Maybe it was too runny, maybe it was the texture. Maybe she was like my husband, and just didn’t care for it. Whatever it was, this was one try that didn’t work. Persistent little ‘ol me said try, try again. And then we went with bananas. A staple in her diet. She loved them, and even ate little pieces of them, or would try to gnaw on a whole one.

But baby bullet bananas? There was no way on this green earth she would eat them. And lastly peas, another tried and true veggie that she loved. Would she consider eating the homemade version? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Three strikes, you’re out! So in total, we had managed to suck down some plums, and one serving of sweet potato before we retired the baby bullet to the box. It is currently listed on eBay. We are now at 5 failed attempts to be the definition of a ‘crunchy mom’.

You might be asking now, why not just throw in the towel, and head to the silky sideline of the mom kingdom? Because even though I failed at being a crunchy mom by some definitions, I still don’t think I am truly silky. I still garden (although I hear watering the garden helps it grow better). I like to can the vegetables from the garden. In case you are wondering I make a killer jalapeno jelly. I even have a composter to help the garden, and if I could ever convince my husband, I would turn our shed into a chicken coop.

Another reason is that right now, we are working on baby led weaning. She has a fantastic pincher grasp, and you can see the pride in her eyes when she gets a piece of food in her mouth. We let her hold the spoon by herself, and give her pieces of our dinner for her to try.

Crunchy or not, but I saw an article about teaching your kids how to survive if they get into water that is too deep for them. They train babies how to float until help comes, and older kids learn how to roll over, swim a few feet, and then flip onto their backs and float, until they can reach safety.

We also love baby wearing. I still think that this was best invention they have ever come up with for babies. While it might take me twice the time to get something done as before, my child gets her quality snuggle time, and I get my two hands free. Hopefully my cleaning skills will rub off on her and she can eventually help me take care of our loving, but surprisingly messy house.

I think I will always have this need to be crunchy, and even though I might fail at some (okay, most) of my attempts, I’m still trying. Because that’s what I do. And I find that to be one of my most enduring qualities.

As for all of you crunchy mom’s out there – good for you! Keep it up, I’m proud of you. But, just in case you are looking for me, I’m over here with all the non-crunchy moms, embracing being “Scrunchy”.

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