I never expected to want to be a Crunchy Granola Mama. (Well, I never quite met the full CGM classification, I never had any intention of co-sleeping or having a home-birth or delaying/refusing vaccinations.) But as my pregnancy progressed, the things I found I cared about and the ways I intended to care for my son fell pretty well in line with the Crunchy Granola way. Some folks thought I was nuts for the things I wanted to do, but it feels right for us. So, here’s how it’s going:
1) Exclusive Breastfeeding: yeah. Um, kind of a non-starter there. I’ve made as much peace with this as I can, but it still is a cold dagger in my heart that I couldn’t breastfeed Kieran. That was *the* thing I wanted most of all in this whole pregnancy/birth/parenting experience for myriad reasons. (Aside from a healthy baby, of course.) Fortunately, Kieran is thriving on his formula – that makes this bitter pill a little easier to swallow.
2) Cloth Diapering: GOING GREAT. Kieran has been in his cloth diapers full time since about 6 weeks. (Prior to that, he was in cloth & paper diapers because he was just too tiny to use our regular stash of cloth.)
We had Kieran in paper diapers at the Pumpkin Patch so that he could fit into his size 6 overalls last weekend, and neither Paul or I were happy about it. They smell funny to us now. They don’t fit *nearly* as well as Kieran’s cloth. Kieran himself doesn’t seem to like them. Their only perk for us seems to be a less-fluffy butt. We have a stash of paper diapers from friends around for emergencies, but we’ll be offloading those onto Paul’s sister when she’s here for the holidays with her little man.
Our decision to use Prefold diapers and covers has been a great one for us. Our wash routine is set: a cold double rinse-only cycle and then a warm/warm wash cycle with a soak and an extra rinse using half the customary amount of dye & perfume free laundry detergent followed by a whirl in the dryer on high. Diaper laundry happens every other day or so, but we never go more than 2 days. Our diaper pail is a lidded step-on stainless steel trashcan that we use a large moisture-proof bag in to facilitate easy removal of the diapers. Smells are not an issue. Really. The lid on the diaper pail keeps the smell down so that it’s only noticeable when you open the lid to insert another dirty diaper. Yes, the short walk to the laundry room isn’t exactly pleasant, but there’s no need to hold your nose.
Leaks don’t happen. (OK, there’s been maybe 5 leaks in nearly 4 months.) Diaper rash hasn’t happened. We LOVE our cloth diapers, and the cost savings they bring versus paying for disposables. (Our power and water bills are comparable to this time last year, so the increase in laundry overall hasn’t been a thing either.)
3) Baby-Wearing: Going much better now that Kieran is a little older. Kieran hasn’t ever been a fan of the chest-to-chest “cuddle hold”, in or out of a carrier. He always wants to face out, or be held sitting up sideways in your arms. This made using our carriers a non-starter until he could hold himself up better and take advantage of non-cuddle-hold options.
In the last 3-4 weeks though, I’ve brought out the carriers again, with good results. The MeiTai style carrier and the SleepyWrap have been the best options. (I have fears that I never will get to use my RingSling, as Kieran freaks every time we try with that one. Boo.) The only limiting factor seems to be that Kieran is a little furnace and gets too warm eventually – which can be as quickly as 30 minutes sometimes. I try to have him in just a onesie or diaper when I put him in the carrier, but that’s not always feasible. Regardless, the carriers have helped us get naps in, get chores done, comforted Mr. Crankypants when nothing else will, and allowed Mama to have some needed cuddle-time with her little man. I’m happy that carriers are working better for us now, because as he gets heavier, my arthritic elbows are really starting to complain. I hope to be able to carry Kieran even more as his ability to sit up on his own increases. I still haven’t convinced Paul to strap one on during the day – but I think he’s almost there after seeing how Kieran has been calmed by flying on Air Mama this weekend. (Although they might have even more heat issues, since Kieran gets his furnace-like talents from his Daddy.)
Paul and I are making our own way with our son, and while it’s never what I’d call easy – it’s a life we honestly never expected to live. And we’re loving the opportunity.