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As far as crunchy (or natural) parenting choices go, I would say I am pretty “middle of the road,” but I do tend toward the crunchy with some of my choices.
In my parents’ day, I don’t think I would have been called a hippy, but some of the natural-minded choices I make are pretty different from the mainstream choices that many mothers make. To be clear, I absolutely do not think that someone is making the wrong choice if they choose to do things differently than I do. Different does not equal wrong. That said, here are some of the choices I’ve made and why.
1. Natural childbirth (meaning no drugs)
Ok, this one is a biggy, and it’s not something I thought I would do when I first got pregnant. This choice evolved throughout my pregnancy, and was not ever an absolute. There were so many reasons that I wanted a natural birth for Beckett and for me. I wanted to decrease the risk of c-section, heal faster, and allow Beckett to get some of my naturally produced oxytocin (natural pain killer/”love hormone”). Read Beckett’s birth story here, and more about why I chose natural childbirth here.
2. Cloth diapers
Long before I even met my husband, I worked in a toddler classroom in a child care center and also did my fair share of babysitting. I worked with quite a few families who used cloth diapers, so I already had some experience with them. When I considered how much money we would save on diapers and how much better it is for the environment, it was really a no-brainer for me.
We only bought cloth diapers for babies 8 to 30 pounds, so when Beckett was born, we did use disposables for a few weeks. During those few weeks I grew to hate disposable diapers. We tried numerous brands, and with each one, Beckett had terrible diaper rash. Even when we used Desitin for every diaper change (and tried other diaper creams), we could not get rid of his rash.
Within a week of switching to cloth diapers, his rash cleared up and he has not had one since. Once in a while I have to use disposables, and when I do, he always starts to develop a rash. I think cloth diapers are probably the best decision I have made thus far (in my short time as a parent).
In case you are wondering what kind of cloth diapers I use, I have 20 Thirsties All in One (AIO) diapers. 15 have snaps and 5 have hook and loop. I definitely prefer the hook and loop right now and wish we had more of those. More on types of diapers later 😉
3. Cloth wipes (ok, that’s pretty crunchy)
I know what you are thinking. This girl is a quack. But really, the decision to use cloth wipes came as a shock to me too. When my cousin, who has a baby a few months older than Beckett, told me that she was going to be using cloth wipes, I thought she was crazy too; and then I saw how easy it was for her. She was already doing laundry to wash the diapers, so she just threw them in the same load. No big deal.
Once I started seeing how much money we were spending on wipes, I started to consider it. I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought a yard of microfleece (that was 50% off) for $6.50. If you do not have access to Jo-Ann’s, you can also find microfleece here. I took it home and cut it into about 75 wipes (I’m estimating here, I didn’t count them and honestly have no idea how many there are. Lots.), and now I’m done spending money on wipes. I leave a small container of water next to the changing pad, and dip a wipe in the water right before wiping his bum. Once it’s dirty, I throw it in the laundry bag with the diapers. Cloth wipes work just as well, and if you are doing laundry anyway, it’s not that much harder!
4. Coconut oil (it has so many uses!)
I have completely fallen in love with coconut oil. My pediatrician laughs at me because I really do use it for everything. I don’t like the idea of using lotions or diaper cream on Beckett’s skin, partially because he is so sensitive (just like his Mama), and partially because of all the chemicals in them. I use unfractionated coconut oil as diaper cream, to create a barrier between the moisture in the diaper and his skin; and I also use it instead of lotion for dry skin and cradle cap. I use fractionated coconut oil in his bath water, to help keep his skin from drying out.
5. Aluminum free deodorant
I started using aluminum free deodorant when I was pregnant to reduce how many chemicals I was putting in my body that could be getting to him. It took forever to find a brand that even remotely works. Right now I am using Native Deodorant in the Lavender and Rose scent. I have to say, it takes some getting used to when you switch from antiperspirant to just deodorant, and I do apply twice a day; but overall, it is the best brand of natural aluminum free deodorant I have found.
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What crunchy choices have you made on your parenting journey? I would love suggestions on how I could up my crunchy game!