Sunday, December 23, 2012

Labels and Choices


Apparently I'm officially a Hippie Naturalist Mom. Or whatever the appropriate pejorative expression is. We're a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and (planning on) homemade organic baby food-making family. We're chemical-lite, though not chemical-free. Heck, even though I'm opposed, my husband is advocating home schooling. Geez, from that description we might as well live in California, recycle every scrap of trash, and have loud bumper stickers proclaiming our proclivities all over our car. But darn it, we're really not extremists. Nor are we particularly unusual. We're simply attempting to do the best for our baby that we can.

My baby has been exclusively breastfed for all but one day of his 5 months of life, but I don't do it for the health benefits or to bond with my child. Rather, it's simply much more convenient not to have to mix bottles of formula in the middle of the night or spend hundreds of dollars on powder when breast milk is free. Moreover, the gas and poop smell a lot better than formula fed babies. Finally, I have an irrational fear of what's in formula stemming from the Chinese formula scandal of not too long ago. I'll buy the current hype that breast milk is healthier for the baby, but I'd probably breast feed even if it weren't en vogue. I have the luxury of staying home with the Blueberry and don't mind waking up in the middle of the night if need be.

I'm planning on making all of the Blueberry's food because I prepare practically all of our food--it simply doesn't make sense for my baby to eat out of a processed jar when we're eating fresh food. Why organic? That's simply to compensate for what benefits good jarred baby food does have and to avoid excess nitrate.

I cloth diaper during the day but the Blueberry wears disposables at night and when we're out and about for longer than a couple of hours. I buy cloth diapers based on fit, features, and looks--not based upon where the cotton is grown or where the diapers are made.

A more dedicated "natural mom" would call my efforts half-assed. On the other hand, if you haven't raised a child in 30 years, are childless, or just never considered doing anything more than the ordinary, I'm extreme. Or plain nuts. All of that may be true, but it's what works for us for now.


  1. You're hardly extreme... child-rearing science has changed dramatically in the last 30 years (30 years ago, formula was supposed to be better health-wise, before they realized the significant benefits of breastfeeding health-wise and found out some of the issues with allergies and excess sugar).

    Frankly it's so much cheaper, anyway - I don't understand why everyone doesn't breastfeed (though I guess it is a little bit of work, but compared to the rest of the work you're doing)... and making your own baby food, the same - it's way tastier, cheaper, and only a little bit of work. I challenge anyone who thinks you should buy jars to go buy a half dozen Gerber jars and eat them, and tell me it's better than home cooked...

    Either way I don't see the point in criticizing, it's not like you're doing something horrible to your son :) Everyone raises their kids differently, and there's not one right way to do it. I think people are crazy not to breastfeed or cook their own baby food, but I'm not going to tell anyone they're doing it wrong if they don't - they have their own reasons, undoubtedly, that are different from mine.

    1. I must admit that I judge. Not aloud to them, but in my own mind. If someone can breastfeed, particularly if they're stay at home moms and not hampered by a minimum/hourly wage job, I judge them for not breastfeeding. Oh, I also judge the MTV 16 and Pregnant moms who don't breastfeed because of what they think it will do to their breasts.

    2. Since becoming a parent I've really relaxed my judgements... I think there's a lot of ways to tackle any given parenting situation, and as long as what is being done works for the parents, baby and siblings, then I think it is totally okay even if it is drastically different from what works for my family.

      The exception is, for me, vaccination refusing, since then what works for an individual family has larger societal reprecussions to consider... and also when people are making decisions totally without thought or without correct information, then I might be a wee bit judgy in my head as well.

      That said, we live in Crunchier Hippier Most Naturalist Island off the coast of Crunchy Hippie Nature-loving City, so we are in a very very different comparison, where the judginess tends to reflect babies who are being fed from a bottle, babies who are being diapered in cloth diapers, babies who are being diapered at all (in favor of "elimination communication"). So, for example, I have balked at friends encouraging their child to pee on my deck or defecate in my bushes. You could tell your inlaws about that, and it might make them realize that it could be much, much worse. :)

      We make our own baby food and I think you'll really enjoy it when you introduce solids! It's definitely one of the most fun parts of having a baby, sharing new foods with them! Assuming you are cooking food for yourself, it's easy to blenderize some of what you make for your baby, and then you end up with much more exciting flavors and types of food than what you get in a jar. (All of the veggie jarred foods I tasted were truly vile, and I'm someone who really enjoys vegetables.) Then when your child is interested in feeding themselves, they're already used to eating whatever everyone else in the family is having for dinner. I think you'll have a good time with it.

  2. Lol. Move out to California with us! I will admit growing up with you I never expected you to be such the homemaker. I wish I had the motivation and skill. Can you please come cook for us? :) I have to say I was shocked at how easy it was to make baby food at home.

    I really would love to homeschool particularly after reading some interesting articles and text about the way kids are schooled, what they are thought, the effects it has on other behaviors, etc but I doubt my own skills to teach them the way I envision in my mind. Oh and the fact we couldn't pay the bills if I didn't work. Lol.

    I've also come to judge others less about their choices since its hard to know their circumstances

    1. It's rather scary just how judgmental the mom world on Youtube, the blogsphere, and message boards. I just read a message string yesterday which started with a mom asking for advice on how to cure a yeast diaper rash--half the response were criticisms that she didn't change her baby's diaper frequently enough.

      I don't know enough about homeschooling but beyond elementary school, I'd want a more credentialed teacher than myself, particularly for non-liberal arts subjects. I remember being interested in where my teachers had gone to college, whether they had higher degrees, etc. It didn't necessarily cause me to have greater respect for them, but did help me consider my own higher education. I also can't understand homeschool programs that only require a couple of hours of work per day.

    2. I would definitely want someone more qualified for the more academic type things but I also want to teach them more of the practical life sort of things. Money management, cooking, gardening, camping, survivalish sort of things. I also don't want to stifle their creative side as well which I think structured schooling does. There are so many things I wish I learned when I was younger and other things that I still haven't figured out why we had to spend so much time learning in school. lol.