By Serenity Kids Co-Founder Joe Carr
Before having a baby, I had grandiose ideas about how crunchy of parents we were going to be (and unconscious judgements of parents who weren’t). Homebirth, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, cloth diapers, the works! And then, we had a baby.
Our homebirth with a midwife turned into an emergency C-Section when our baby Della was breech and wouldn't turn. Because we’d planned for a homebirth, we didn’t have care set up with a hospital, so we had to deal with whoever was on duty at 4 a.m. We still got most of what we wanted, but they wouldn’t let our doula or birth photographer be in the room with us, so we don’t have the quintessential delivery shot I’d planned to make my home screen photo! But we had a super healthy baby, so that’s all that really mattered.
We tried to co-sleep (using a Snuggle Me to be safe) but Della was a very physical, loud sleeper. She moved around a lot, talked, laughed, and yelled in her sleep, making it hard for us to sleep while that close to her. We tried having her sleep in her crib in the room with us, but we discovered she slept a lot better when we weren't in the room.
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Breastfeeding was always a challenge. Della had a lip tie which made her latch painful, and Serenity struggled with supply issues. We got a lot of donated breast milk from amazing women in our lives, but it still wasn’t quite enough. The first time we started supplementing with formula I almost had a panic attack. It was Sammy’s super high-quality goat milk formula but still, FORMULA!!?? NOOOOOOO!!!! But she needed good sustenance and; man, has that formula helped her grow big fast.
Then at 9-months-old, she stopped wanting to breastfeed entirely. I had planned for Serenity to feed her until she was like 3! But, Della wants what Della wants, and there’s no changing that.
Baby-led weaning sounded awesome. Let her play with food, gnaw on a whole piece of broccoli, and always feed herself. But she stopped breastfeeding, we have tons of super nutritious purees always on hand, and we’re super busy running a baby food startup, so it was just too convenient to let her eat the pouches. I know we tell everyone that fresh made food is best, and only use our pouches while on the go, but dammit, life happens.
The last thing to go, was cloth diapers. Our washing machine makes cloth diapers require four different cycles. Pre-wash, wash, dry, then dry again. Plus, there was a lot of time spent snapping the pads into the covers, spraying the poop off, and beyond. Serenity and I disagreed about this, because she hates poop and was only willing to do cloth diapers if I made it easy, and frankly, it’s just never easy. Then as she grew, they started leaking worse and worse. We tried a variety of things, but in the end, I had to just accept that Andy Pandy bamboo diapers are really the best option for us.
I am terribly passionate about changing the world by fighting for the environment, improving the health of children, and furthering human spiritual development. We have built Serenity Kids to further these missions and we’re making a big impact every day, but it takes A LOT of time and energy. Plus we are raising a one-year-old! So in the end, I had to accept that I am making change with the work I’m doing, and don’t need to be obligated to do every other little thing perfectly.
When I dug into it deeper, I was embarrassed to discover that one of my primary motivations to be a crunchy dad, was to be seen as a crunchy dad. I was spending way too much energy trying to avoid being judged (because I had been unconsciously judging others), instead of just accepting that I am a good dad, doing good in the world, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
I just wanted to share this message with all you attempting-to-be-crunchy parents out there. Parenting is hard already, so it’s amazing if you can work in some natural crunchy methods. But, if you find yourself stressing out or judging yourself harshly, just remember that raising a healthy, loving, conscious human will make powerful change in the world. And that’s good enough.