This past week was World Breastfeeding Week. Cool. There were events around the country (world?) on Saturday where women nursed at 10:30am. The Big Latch On was having an event in NYC, so husband and I decided to make the trek and check it out.
My husband is a good guy. When I told him about the Big Latch On, he was dubious. “So you’re gonna go 30 minutes uptown to feed the baby and then come home?”
“We, Sweetie, we.”
“What’s the point?”
I had to explain that we were supporting breastfeeding and could meet other parents. He doesn’t have any Dad friends, so I was mainly doing this for him. (You’re welcome, Husband.)
While we’re on the train, I ask him if he thinks these people are going to be all granola and natural.
He replies he was just thinking that. Sometimes breastfeeding women can be a little granola and crunchy and natural. There’s nothing wrong with this; nature is awesome. Me myself, I like getting hair shaved off of certain places and wearing deodorant. So we started brainstorming how crunchy people there were going to be. “I bet they’ll cloth diaper,” I began
“We do that,” he reminded me.
“Yeah, but I bet they’ll be all sanctimommy about it. We don’t care if other people do it.”
“I bet they do baby led weaning,” he started.
“That doesn’t mean they’re crunchy, baby led weaning is just easier and cheaper than buying pureed baby food. Cave babies did it.”
Husband began to laugh and say, “so what you’re saying is if we do it, it’s not crunchy?”
“Exactly. Black moms aren’t crunchy.”
“Wait. None of you? In all the world, there’s not a single crunchy, tree-hugging Black mom?” (This is asked with an incredulous, dopey look.) Thanks for calling me out and demanding I support statement with evidence, Husband. (Jerk.)
We began to break it down as we passed stop after stop and heard the subway grind to a screeching stop each time. We cloth diaper, but only because we each had sensitive skin as babies. And we don’t wash the diapers ourselves, so we’re not super crunchy. We do love our Bummis though. (These are the covers that prevent leakage from the cloth diapers. They come is super cute designs.)
We breastfeed because it’s good for the baby; and it’s easier to travel with boobs than with a bottle. Yeah, sure we wear the baby, but a stroller is too heavy to take up and down subway stairs. And sure, maybe we did baby led weaning, but that’s just cause the baby didn’t much care for purees, and snatched food off of our plates anyway.
So what does this all mean? It means that some practices that used to just be considered ‘old-fashioned’ are now known as granola. My grandma uses vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, but would I call her crunchy? She’s been doing her cleaning that way for over 50 years. I don’t think Blacks are crunchy, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m sure a variety of ‘crunchy’ habits are used by lots of Black families. I’ve seen many breastfeeding Black mamas. What’s old is new again and all that.
It also means I am crunchier than I thought. I don’t think of myself as a hippie, but I will do what I think is best for my baby and makes our family happy and productive. He’s happy when I hold him and I like having my arms free, so we have a Boba carrier. That’s what parenting breaks down to for me. The toddler is happy and safe and Husband and I are happy and safe. Now if research backs it up and it turns out to be fantastic parenting, all the better. Parenting is full of failure as it is. I recognize that I make mistakes. What I don’t need, and would venture that no one really needs or wants, is someone judging my parenting choices.
So here’s a crunchy quiz
- Do you know what Bummis or Fuzzibunz are?
- Did you go back and forth when deciding between a Boba, an Ergo and/or Maya Sling?
- Did you give birth at home or in a birthing center?
- Do you co-sleep? Have a family bed?
- Is this you?
- Did you have a doula?
- Do you make your own baby food?
- Do you buy organic food?
- Do you make your own cleaning supplies? (vinegar and baking soda count)
If you answer yes to 2 questions: Crunchy like cooked spaghetti.
If you answer yes to 4 or more questions: Crunchy like semi-moist pretzels.
If you answer yes to 7 or more questions: Crunchy like dried corn flakes.
So how crunchy are you? Do you know any crunchy Black moms? Do you disagree with crunchy moms and think they should just get it together?