The internet has coined parents who practice natural parenting crunchy, and we say embrace it. Being kind to people and planet while raising children is a challenging path to walk, and well, none of us would survive it if we didn’t learn to laugh at ourselves along the way.
You Fly Past the Character Fruit Snacks in the Store
You’re determined your kid isn’t going to know anything but fruit dyed gummy snacks, and curse whoever decided to put those artificially colored atrocities right next to your favorite granola bars.
You Smell Your Kid to See If They Need a Bath
Crunchy parents know too much of a good thing can be bad, so they bathe on an as-needed basis. If they don’t stink, let them be free!
You Keep Coconut Oil In the Kitchen. And the Bathroom. And the Baby’s Room.
Deep conditioner? Coconut oil. Diaper rash? Coconut oil. Best brownies you’ve ever had? COCONUT OIL.
You Hate Running out of Cleaner (Because It Means You Have to Make More)
Crunchy parents know Clorox has nothing on vinegar and baking soda. They also know he who leaves the bottle with one spray left should have the decency to make the next batch.
You Have More Essential Oils Than You Have Room For
Crunchy parents take their family to the doctor when necessary. Otherwise, they’re consulting their local naturopath, because honey — there’s an essential oil for that.
Losing the Amber Teething Necklace Is the Equivalent of Armageddon
Skeptics can say what they want — at this point, you’d do a rain dance if you thought it would help get your baby through teething. Must. Have. Backups.
You Measure Time You Have to Do Something in Time Between Nursing Sessions
New moms especially know, if it takes more than two hours, they’ll have to ask their tiny baby boss.
You Do Shots...of Apple Cider Vinegar
Who said your partying days were over when you had kids? Shooting apple cider vinegar is way more hardcore than tequila. And it’s great for your gut health.
You Collect Cloth Diapers Like Pokemon Cards
Crunchy moms know, it doesn’t matter how many cloth diapers you have — if there’s a Harry Potter fitted for sale anywhere at any time, it has your name on it.
You Boil Beets at Easter
You don’t feed your kids artificial colors the rest of the year, why should you do it for the holidays? Sure it’s messy, sure your fingers are pink for days, but just look at those eggs!
You’ve (Uncomfortably) Made Wishlists for Kids’ Birthdays
It’s never fun to tell people who are already buying things for your kids that you have a preference as to what they buy. Unless you want another heap of plastic and noise at the holidays though, you’ve learned to power through.
You’re More Scared to Admit to Feeding Your Kids McDonald’s Than You Are to Eating Your Placenta
Sure, we’ve all been there — desperate days that call for quick and easy sustenance and a little sanity for mom. But you’d still rather talk about your placenta capsules than the fossilized remains of a Happy Meal on the floor of your car.
What crunchy parent thing do you do that cracks your family up? Tell us in the comments below!
Allergy season — is there any other season?
As parents striving to use natural solutions, it can be so challenging to find the balance between avoiding over-medicating and keeping our little ones sniffle-free. Prescriptions aren’t many parents’ favorite way to manage, but you can’t watch your kids suffer and do nothing, so we do what we have to do to help them.
Symptoms of allergies can be wide and varied and really range in intensity from day to day, depending on your child’s immune system strength and level of exposure to allergens. Here are a few common symptoms:
- Puffy, watery eyes
- Sniffling and nasal congestion
- Coughing, sneezing, and wheezing
- Skin irritation in the form of red patches or hives
Identifying the cause of allergies, rather than just treating the symptoms, can provide you with some middle ground. A lot of times, there are more than just seasonal causes of allergies at work like pollinators and grass, and changing something in your child’s environment can make a huge impact on the severity of their symptoms.
Here are a few surprisingly common causes of allergies that, coupled with allergies to seasonal pollinators and the natural world, could be making your child’s allergies seem so much worse.
#1 — Personal Care Products
So many kids have allergies to common personal care products, many of which they don’t even wear themselves. The perfumes and preservatives in your makeup, lotions, and deodorant in such close proximity to your kids could be causing a myriad of symptoms like skin irritation, puffy, watery eyes, and chronic sniffles.
Try to use products that use natural fragrances (or better yet, no fragrances at all), and look for ingredient lists that are hopelessly simple.
For summertime sun protection, we like Raw Elements sunscreen for kids — an incredibly simple formula with zinc oxide (and not much of anything else) that’ll protect their skin without creating problems for allergy-prone kids.
#2 — Laundry Detergents and Cleaning Products
Cleaning products and laundry detergent can be equally to blame in the allergies category. So many artificial fragrances abound in these products that it can overwhelm olfactory systems and send kids into major respiratory distress. Air fresheners, ironically, are a major culprit, but surface cleaners are seldom better.
Additionally, using cleaners too heavily can have a negative impact on your and your child’s immune systems. Overuse can destroy healthy amounts of bacteria and lead to a domino effect, creating what’s known as autoimmune dysfunction. This can make your child more sensitive to fragrances (and just about anything else), in addition to weakening their immune system.
#3 — Bedding and Clothing
The younger the child, generally speaking, the more time they spend in bed. If what they’re sleeping against is contributing to their allergies, a simple change here can make a BIG difference.
In addition to the laundry products you use on your bedding, the materials themselves can have a huge impact on your child’s allergy symptoms. Many mattresses offgas because they’re made of petroleum-based products that require high levels of flame retardant chemicals to be safe to sleep in. The same goes for so much of our beddings — sheets, pillows, pillowcases.
Opt instead for natural mattresses and bedding that are free from flame retardant chemicals, and wherever possible, buy your kids organic clothes. As one of our own here at White Lotus Home discovered, changing what your child sleeps on can have a profound impact on their overall health. Read Elizabeth’s story here.
Shop Natural Mattresses and Bedding
#4 — Food Allergies
Food allergies are crazy common and don’t always manifest themselves in the form of anaphylactic shock or other extreme reactions, but rather, continuous and relentless allergy symptoms. As many as six million kids in the United States suffer from food allergies, with the most common culprits being peanuts and milk. Other food allergies can include:
- Tree nuts
#5 — Indoor Air Pollutants
Perhaps one of the most common culprits of chronic allergy symptoms, yet one of the hardest to pinpoint and diagnose, indoor air pollution is pervasive and not talked about nearly enough.
The problem is most homes are built with materials that continuously offgas in some degree or another. Compound that problem with a house coated in synthetic paints, carpeted in polyester fibers soaked with flame retardant chemicals, and filled with petroleum-based products that offgas into a space circulating the same air over and over again, and you have a box full of indoor air pollutants you’re spending at least a third of your life inside.
The best solution to indoor air pollution is to use materials that will minimize off-gassing wherever possible, whether it’s your mattress or a zero VOC paint. More than anything though, opening your windows frequently is going to help to flush all of those allergens out and give your child’s immune system a break.
As you circulate that old air out of your home, bring in some air purifiers to keep what you let in cleaner. Air filters and purifiers are wonderful, but houseplants can make a tremendous difference as well and are a great way to naturally clean the air in your home.
Start With the Cause
There are some causes of allergies you can’t do much to avoid — grass, pollen, and dander are going to be present in some amount no matter where you go or what you do. We say focus on what you can change.
Stop the endless cycle of inhalers and antihistamines, and do whatever you can to help reduce the severity of your child’s allergy symptoms.
Does your child have allergies? What natural solutions have you found to help them cope?