If you’re new to the parenting game, it’s possible that you’ve been far too preoccupied with getting to know your baby to have heard the term ‘granola mom’.
So what is a granola mom? And how about a Silky Mom? What if you fall somewhere in between?
Granola moms, also known as crunchy moms, practice natural parenting- this starts with natural birth, but also includes other parenting practices such as breastfeeding, cosleeping and using cloth diapers. The term “granola mom” is a reference to granola; slang for neo hippie.
Silky moms are at the opposite end of the spectrum- birthing in hospital, using disposable diapers, having baby sleep in their own bed etc.
And in between the two, we have the scrunchy mom- a mix of the two!
Read on to discover What is a granola mom- and should you try to be one?
Are You a Granola Mom?
The biggest fixtures of the granola-crunchy mom culture are natural parenting and informed choices.
The movement encourages crunchy mamas to go back to basics and follow their parenting instincts, if you take a look online you will find Facebook group after Facebook group promoting crunchy life.
Some of the parenting practices associated with crunchy moms include breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, baby-led weaning, plastic-free lifestyle and cloth diapering.
Are Crunchy Moms the Best Moms?
Here’s the thing about parenting: there’s no right way. Each family is different, with their own set of values and other commitments.
It’s certainly true that many of the features of granola parenting have developmental benefits for babies, but it’s also true that it seems to be a very labour-intensive way to parent.
Let’s look at some of the key factors that sort the crunchy moms from the silky moms.
Crunchy moms are known for giving birth at home or even free birthing, while the silky mom will feel safer birthing in a hospital environment.
There are of course benefits to birthing at home; some research suggests a lower chance of intervention for moms who birth at home. Many women look forward to labouring in the comfort of their own homes and sleeping in their own beds.
Of course, a home birth isn’t suitable for everyone- but the true crunchy mom will at very least opt for a natural birth, preferring to avoid pain medication too.
Ever heard someone joke “Just put coconut oil on it?”
That one is the motto of the crunchy mom, who chooses essential oils for their antibacterial properties, amber for teething pain relief and breast milk to clean cuts and scrapes.
Babies and children have incredibly immature little bodies, so it’s not a surprise that the crunchy mom wants to steer clear of harsh medicines when it comes to a cure for minor ailments.
The likes of coconut oil can be used for diaper rash, a naturally antibacterial balm for chapped lips or scratched knees. So even if you don’t agree with an embargo on pain killers, some natural solutions, such as breast milk and coconut oil can effectively cure minor ailments.
Granola parents favour natural birth, tending to favour home birth too. They also tend to opt for homeopathy and other natural treatments for minor ailments.
Most crunchy moms will aim to breastfeed exclusively, with a strong belief that breast milk is the very best food for a new baby. The natural mama will breastfeed on demand.
There is, of course, no doubt that breast milk has amazing benefits both for mothers and babies, protecting moms from post-natal depression and some cancers. Breast milk is every changing to meet the different needs of baby, offering amazing nutritional value and immune protection.
The scrunchy mom- the in-betweener- might combination feed.
This one can be tricky- we’re all for natural parenting but sometimes, breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally. New motherhood can be overwhelming at the best of times, and nursing can be a real drain on the mental health of mom.
Granola Moms tend to breastfeed exclusively and on demand
Ditching the Stroller in Favour of Babywearing
The true crunchy mom will want to hold the baby close at all times- and that includes when she is out and about with her baby.
The benefits of babywearing and skin-to-skin contact are well known- this helps regulate baby’s temperature, promotes good milk supply in nursing moms and also helps mom keep a close eye on baby.
Some babywearing moms get a lot of judgement over babywearing, with some people considering that it’s not a safe way to transport baby. However, following the safe babywearing guidelines makes babywearing a good safe option.
Cosleeping and the Family Bed
Cosleeping is a topic that divides parents everywhere, in terms of safety and whether it’s a good idea for the long-term sleep opportunities for the whole family.
The crunchy mama will co sleep from birth, which can make breastfeeding and night feeds much easier.
The downside? A bit less personal space for mom and dad! The silky mom will have her child sleep in a cot from birth, and is more likely to use sleep training techniques.
Co sleeping and babywearing are key in keeping baby close and to facilitate breastfeeding
Cloth Diapers and Family Cloth
Crunchy moms are all about cloth diapers! The idea is to keep harsh chemicals away from your kids skin, as well as reducing plastic waste for the sake of the environment.
Many parents find that their babies experience a lot less diaper rash using a cloth diaper.
Families can also save tonnes of money by using cloth diapers, particularly when the same nappy kit is used on more than one baby.
Silky moms won’t be keen to cloth diaper, preferring to use disposable diapers for their kids.
Family cloth is an even more divisive top, saved only for the biggest hippie families! Family cloth is a washable replacement for toilet paper . Only the crunchiest of crunchy moms will opt for washable toilet paper!
Gentle parenting is a pretty broad term, but crunchy moms will practice respectful parenting and avoid harsh methods of discipline.
The idea is that children will grow to treat their friends and family the way that they themselves have been treated- so spanking and yelling would be very much off the cards for the mom who practices natural parenting.
You won’t find a naughty step or indeed a star chart in a crunchy household either.
Gentle Parenting is an evidence based approach to raising happy, autonomous children.
The natural mama is less likely than her silky mom peers to accept vaccines for their baby.
There’s no doubt that babies do get a huge number of vaccinations in the first year of life, and some moms worry that vaccines might be behind the growing rates of developmental and learning disabilities.
Some crunchy moms do take the vaccines, but delay them or space them farther apart.
Baby Led Weaning and Homemade Organic Baby Foods
The crunchy mama wants nothing but home made for her precious child!
Furthermore, there will be a preference for organic produce, with some crunchy moms even favouring raw milk (which is unpasteurized).
The crunchy mom will wait til their babies are six months old before weaning, and will introduce delicious whole foods free of sugar and salt, rather than having babies eat purees. Baby led weaning involves handing food to a baby
Zero Waste Living
Zero waste is the ultimate goal in the crunchy world, which can be seen in many of the preferences, for example, cloth diapers, homemade food, wooden toys etc.
Scrunchy mom will perhaps take an interest in a reusable water bottle, but the crunchy mom will take it to a whole other level, replacing plastic as far as possible. There’s also less focus on having material “stuff”, with a preference for bringing children up to avoid consumerism.
The crunchy mother will choose to home school rather than send her children to public school- not only does this allow parents to spend more time with their kids, but also parents have more control over the education of their child.
That said, not every mama has the option to stay at home full time with her child, so this one isn’t a deal breaker- some crunchy parents have no other choice but to send their kids to public schools.
Crunchy Mom, Silky Mom or Neither? In the Era of Mom Shaming, Does it Matter? 💭
Parenting is hard- we think it’s hard enough without pressuring yourself to parent in any specific way.
One aspect of crunchy mom life does catch our eye, and that is instinctive parenting- where you follow your instincts and parent in a way that is best for your and your family. It’s entirely ok to use cloth nappies but not breastfeed, to babywear your child but not wish to co-sleep.
What matters most your family are safe, happy and loved.
Setting aside who created this video, the message is pretty simple and very true: Forget labels, do your best and parent your way!