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What is Crunchy?

jekandsuch asks a valid question – what the heck am I talking about when I say “crunchy?”  I think the term comes from the texture of granola, the stereotypical food of hippie types.  When I use it, I’m referring to people who might describe themselves as “crunchy” or “granola,” or who may say they embrace “natural family living.”  There’s no official checklist, but here are some practices common in the crunchy parenting world:

  • Natural childbirth and/or home birth
  • No infant circumcision
  • Breastfeeding according to WHO recommendations and using baby-led weaning
  • Baby-led solids
  • Cloth diapering
  • Reusable menstrual products
  • Fertility Awareness Method for birth control and conception
  • Co-sleeping (bed sharing)
  • Baby wearing (slings etc.)
  • Buying organic and local foods
  • Vegetarianism/Veganism
  • Rejection of “Western medicine” in favor of homeopathy, herbs, naturopathy, chiropractic, etc.
  • Not vaccinating or using an alternative vaccination schedule
  • Homeschooling
  • Gentle Discipline

I consider myself “semi-crunchy.”  Some of my crunchy choices were evidence-driven, some are matters of personal preference.  Some were the result of believing misinformation or getting psyched up about a great philosophy, before finding that applying it in the real world didn’t work for me.  But yes, I gave birth naturally in a free-standing birth center, I’m against infant circumcision, I breastfed exclusively to 6 months and for several years thereafter, cloth diapered, used FAM, wore my babies, and vaccinated my second child on a modified schedule for a while.  I’m currently exploring various discipline and parenting styles, some of which are very “Gentle Discipline” style and some of which are not terribly favored in those circles.

As you can see, many crunchies include both personal-preference or evidence-based practices as well as woo-driven and “alt-med” choices.  It’s frustrating to be a skeptic in these circles, because people tend to assume if you’ve breastfed a 4 year old, you’re on board with homeopathy and chiropractic.  And that frustration is a big driving force behind this blog!