Apr 15, 2010  •  In Personal, Pregnancy

Crunchy vs. Silky

I have found that pregnancy and mothering boards can be some of the most heated on the web.

Everyone has different parenting styles, and they all seem to think that their way is the best. They fight tooth and nail to prove their point, and soon the debates become nothing short of nasty catfights.

There are, of course, topics that repeated garner much dissension among new/expectant mothers and we are labeled as one of two categories depending on what we choose:

Crunchy Silky
– gives birth at home – gives birth at hospital
– plans for a natural birth (no meds) – is pro-medication (epidural, labor-inducing drugs, etc.)
– prefers midwives – prefers doctors
– eats placenta – is grossed out by the idea of eating placenta
– breastfeeds (often for prolonged periods of time) – formula-feeds
– is against circumcision – is pro-circumcision
– does not vaccinate – vaccinates
– co-sleeps (and later, family bedding) – crib-sleeps
– uses cloth diapers & wipes – uses disposable diapers & wipes
– believes that children can’t be over-nurtured or over-coddled – uses the CIO (cry it out) method, is pro-spanking
– homeschools (or sends children to selective private schools) – sends children to public schools
– additional lifestyle choices include recycling and eating/using organic food and products  

Obviously it is only in rare cases that a woman falls perfectly under one category; it is far more common to be somewhere in the middle, or to only lean to one side.

Based on the chart above, would you consider yourself to be Crunchy or Silky?

I have found myself to be more on the Silky side:

  • I plan on giving birth in a hospital with an epidural. I will try my best not to get a c-section, but I will not consider myself a failure if I do.
  • I fully trust in modern medicine. I like my OB practice and hospital, and have faith that they will do what is best for my baby. The idea of giving birth at home freaks me out — not because I don’t believe birth is a natural process and that my body will know what to do (I do believe those things), but because I constantly worry about the “what if”s of every situation and like to be over-prepared.
  • I plan on breastfeeding for as long as I can for the first year. But if it doesn’t work out, I won’t beat myself over it and will have no problem using formula.
  • If our baby is a boy, I want to circumcise but J is against it. And since he is the one with a penis, I will go along with him on this one.
  • We will definitely vaccinate, but perhaps on a slightly delayed schedule (just so the baby won’t get a million shots at once).
  • I will not baby-wear and do my best to raise my kids to be as independent as possible. I believe in the CIO method and do not believe in over-coddling or over-protecting children (except for the first three months, when you can’t “spoil” a baby). I will co-sleep for perhaps the first couple of months, but will make the baby sleep in the nursery, in the crib, as soon as possible.
  • J and I try to recycle as much as we can, but we don’t actively go out of our way or inconvenience ourselves over it. We plan on using disposable diapers and disposable wipes and have no guilt about that.
  • The same goes for organic food and organic products. We are fully aware of the benefits of organics and prefer them, but many times they are too expensive compared to regular products and too inconvenient as there aren’t too many organic/locally-grown stores in our area.

All this being said…

My personal belief is that parenting involves very personal choices (and many times, no one but the parent knows the full story) and so I do not feel it is my right to judge, or even try to sway anyone my way unless they ask for my opinion.

23 Responses to “Crunchy vs. Silky”

  1. Girl, you go ahead and do what you like. I’m on the silky side too, with the exceptions of cloth diapers, circumcision, and breastfeeding (only not doing it because I can’t). Don’t even get me started on people who think they know better than the entire medical profession and its thousand years of experience.

  2. lilyxwong:

    I definitely found myself on the Silky side, and agreeing with everything you said! Although I’m more on the fence about schooling–I’d prefer either public or homeschooling, while my boyfriend is dead set on private schools, K-12. And about breastfeeding, I would like to, but my mom said that I refused to be breastfed, so I guess we all just have to roll with the punches.

  3. I’m mostly on the silky side as well….and never knew someone would consider eating placenta until reading this.

  4. I’m mostly on the silky side as well….and never knew someone would consider eating placenta until reading this.

  5. Emily:

    omg people eat the placenta?……i’ve never heard that.

    What if you’re half and half?! If you’re crunchy and silky….are you like crunchy peanut buttery? haha. I can be somewhat of an organic hippie about stuff (i’d like to go no meds, i like organic foods, etc), I also know that doctors went to school for many more years than myself and I refuse to believe I’m smarter than them because I spent 20 hours on the internet lookin’ stuff up.

  6. I loved this post! I am definitely SILKY all the way. I think I agreed with EVERYTHING you said, except that I don’t have any real opinion on circumcision. I figure we’ll do whatever my husband wants us to do. I also try to recycle and stuff, but like you, won’t go out of my way. And as much as I like organics, I’m not going to spend an arm and a leg just to get it. Thanks for posting this!

  7. Geek in Heels:

    @Chelsey & @Emily — Placenta-eating is has actually been around for a long time in certain cultures and is said to have many benefits including welding off post-partum depression and increasing milk supply. There are people who will prepare the placenta into capsules for you so you can take it like a medicine. You can read more about it here.

    I’ve also read about a placenta teddy bear

    While I fully respect women who choose to do this (and admit that I’m intrigued by the benefits of eating placenta), I myself could never do this…I can’t even eat certain types of meat and refuse to eat organs so obviously I wouldn’t be able to eat the placenta!

  8. Kate:

    I disagree with your dichotomy (or, if not yours, the person who dreamed it up).

    I know a LOT of mothers who chose to go with a midwife or homebirth, as opposed to a hospital birth. Of those mothers, only one (to my knowledge) tried eating any placenta. None of them intend to home school. None of them even considered refusing vaccinations. They’re not anti-circumcision, nor or they children-spoilers; their infants all have cribs in their own rooms. I do think that they all recycle, which doesn’t strike me as radical behavior in this day and age.

    I think there must be three categories (if we must categorize at all). I know that no one I know falls into the first.

    Plus – really? Silky and crunchy? What kind of biased-connotation system is that? Either you’re a lovely, luxurious fabric or you’re peanut butter? Good grief! I think that this dichotomy inaccurately paints mothers who want to avoid hospitals as dreadlock-wearing hippies who breastfeed until their kids go to kindergarten at the local shaman’s house, and that’s just ridiculous.

    As for me – my future baby plan tentatively includes giving birth without major painkillers at a birthing center with licensed midwives, breastfeeding if it works out (hello, MUCH less expensive, and healthier, and makes it easier to lose weight!), vaccinating, public schooling, minimal daycaring, its own crib, etc. I’d love to think that I could save money and landfill space by using cloth diapers, but I don’t know if I could hack it. I don’t know enough about circumcism pros/cons to make that choice yet, but will cross that bridge if I get to it.

  9. Geek in Heels:

    @Kate — As I stated in the post, it is rare that a woman perfectly falls under one category, and while I lean more to the "silky" side I don’t agree with everything under that category. And as for the choice of words used in labels? These are the actual words used in pregnancy boards. And I’ve never met a "crunchy" mom who took offense at the word…many actually proudly proclaim it in their signatures!

  10. I’m mostly crunchy for sure, but here in Seattle it’s less crunchy and more "au natural." Although I’m definitely vehemently against not vaccinating and I just don’t care about a few things on the list. I’m so excited to be pregnant someday soon!

    – Planning for a homebirth
    – Pain meds? Bah! Bring it.
    – Probably will do something with the placenta. Maybe plant it under a tree… embarrassingly intrigued by those who do eat it, but ain’t planning on it myself.
    – Boobs. But only if they work. Ya work with what ya got.
    – No circumcision. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    – Hell yes we are vaccinating. Relying on herd immunity is irresponsible and selfish.
    – I am not a fan of co-sleeping because I need my space. Maybe for the first few weeks?
    – Diapers? Don’t care. Whatever works. Probably cloth or something biodegradeable.
    – Gotta show em love, but tough love is a part of that. Understanding + a bit of CIO
    – Public schools. I ain’t got time for that shit. I’m running a business! Hell, they’ll probably have a nanny.
    – Recycle like OMG. Organic food because it’s Seattle and it rains organics here.

  11. MrsW:

    Yeah, I’m half-and-half… never heard silky before, but I like the term. I think BOTH terms can have positive connotations, and I don’t think either side has any sort of "the one true way to parent"-thing on their side.
    My breakdown —

    -Delivered in a hospital by an OB, was induced, but no pain meds. Intrigued by midwives and birth centers, but no ill-will towards OBs and hospitals, provided they are cool with low-intervention birth.
    -Placenta = gross. Maybe next kid I’ll do something, but neither hubs nor I even wanted to see it.
    -We’re lucky enough to exclusively breastfeed, and I would have been sad to have to formula feed but not devastated.
    -We had a girl, so no circumcision yet. Hubs is pro, I’m on the fence.
    -Vaccinations are delayed due to Medicaid not having their crap together in processing our application, but she’ll be catching up as soon as we’re approved.
    -We informally co-sleep. She starts the night off in her crib, and once she’s up for the early morning feeding, she’ll come in the bed. She is getting her own dang bed, though, because Mommy and Daddy need to do little-sibling-making practice.
    -Cloth diapers, disposable wipes. We are poor poor poor and found a charity to help us out with loaning out the cloth — makes such a difference to not be buying disposable, and I think her butt is happier and healthier for it. We have our own washer & dryer, and I stay at home, so no problem washing for me. They also don’t gross me out.
    -Half and half AP/CIO. I babywear on occasion, but she’s independent and likes to be alone sometimes. We’ll responsibly and carefully spank if that’s what she responds to best, but we’re open to adjusting discipline styles for each child and their needs.
    -Homeschool. Both her dad and I were homeschooled all the way through, and we just wouldn’t even know where to begin in the public school system. We loved our upbringing and think our children will too… but again, whatever’s best for them.
    -Recycling, yes, organic foods, whenever I can be bothered. Organic food is my one "I know I should care but I just don’t want to" lifestyle choice, mostly because I live in a podunky place and am, again, poor poor poor.

    I believe that the choices I’ve made definitely lead to a better life for ME, but they wouldn’t necessarily be the best for others… if they wanna ask though, I’ll tell them how I made my decisions and what my beliefs are.

  12. I am definitely more on the "crunchy" side, but I really hate labeling parenting/mothering styles. I have a midwife, although she does deliver in a hospital it is a very liberal hospital with room in protocol and allows birthing tubs. I would love a home birth, they just are not done in my area very often. I waited till the very end to have an epidural with my daughter and delivered right after I got it. I now know that I was in transition. Nobody told me LOL I don’t vaccinate. I breastfed for 18 months and 2+ year with my kids. I co-slept with both, my son stayed in my bed till he was almost 6. I wore both my children, but had strollers as well. I extended carseat usage, both kids still have boosters at 6 & 8 yrs old.

  13. Almost all women I have met that are "crunchy" label themselves that proudly. I think the name stems from the idea that you eat granola, and granola is crunchy & healthy & hippie-like I guess? I remember reading about the origin, once.

    I’m right in the middle. I was never against circumcision until I Googled a video of the procedure. WOO BOY that was it for me.

  14. I don’t like the labels either, mothers do what they can, as best they can. Groupings like this make it seem more of an "us" and "them" perspective. When a parent loves their child and tries to do what is best for them, then that is usually all that matters. Although, it is worth it for parents to research and make an informed decision about their choices (for example, circumcision is not a necessary procedure to perform on a newborn, you wouldn’t do that to your daughters, then why your sons?)

    Having said that, under those labels, my preferences are "crunchy", but I’d be probably labelled an in-between.
    -I did have an induced-hospital birth with my DD, but I hope to have a homebirth next time around.
    -I won’t eat the placenta, but will ensure delayed cord clamping.
    – Pro-vaccination
    – Anti-circumcision
    – Anti CIO (http://www.aaimhi.org/documents/position%20papers/controlled_crying.pdf <- despite being an old factsheet, many of the ideas are still current).
    – Pro public school… but would love to homeschool if I didn’t have to work.

  15. Emily:

    Ah, the picture of the placenta ruined it for me. I, too, have issues with certain types of meats (if i shop at an asian market, i stay away from the meat aisles–too many organs and other things I won’t go near) although I can see the benefits of it after reading the article. I’ll stick to not eating things that come out of my own body, though.

  16. I think I’m with most people and would have a mixture of both crunch and silky and I actually think most of my views are aligned with yours. We do try to eat organic but I agree its difficult sometimes and just too expensive.

  17. I’m almost completely "crunchy" by that list – except for the eating placenta part, and that I’m having a specialist oversee my care and will deliver in a hospital. In Vancouver, those are all pretty common. I call it being a "yippie" – a yuppie hippie – because, unfortunately, a lot of these "green" and "organic" ways of living can be more expensive. To each their own. I was more "silky" before I started TTC-ing, but the more I read about everything (and the fact that my husband and family are educated/work in the health/nutrition/medicine/pharmaceuticals fields), and the more I learn about what is actually in all of these products and is driving those industries, the greener and more "natural" I want my pregnancy and motherhood to be.

  18. vir:

    Wow, really interesting. I never actually heard the terms "crunchy" and "silky" though, at first I thought you made it up based on peanut butter consistencies. Haha! I agree that most people are somewhere in between. I thought I was more of a silky but since actually becoming a mom, I’ve moved over to some of the things on the crunchy side without really planning to just by following my instincts. My breakdown:

    – gave birth in a hospital, but w/ a midwife (most births at the hospital I delivered at are attended by midwives.. you know who will attend until you go, though… pretty much just depends on who’s on duty when you get there, in labor)
    – was pro-medication if needed, but ended up going completely au natural with no epidural or meds
    – no preference for a midwife/doctor, my OB/GYN is a doctor but I had no objection to being delivered by a midwife when I got to the hospital
    – ate placenta? NO thank you!
    – breastfeeding almost exclusively but formula supplemented before my milk came in… def. not against the occasional formula bottle either
    – pro vaccination and using the standard schedule for them
    – was planning to completely crib-sleep, but ended up co-sleeping first as a coping mechanism shortly after birth (everyone got more sleep this way!) and now still do sometimes, simply because we honestly enjoy it. K goes down for the night in her crib and takes most of her naps there as well, so she’s still used to the crib and sleeping alone, but usually after the second time she wakes up, if she does, I will take her into bed with us.
    – will let her CIO to a certain extent when I know for certain that her cry is only due to exhaustion. I didn’t do this at all though until I knew how to recognize her cries and their meanings, and when her sleep cycles became a little more predictable.
    – use mostly cloth diapers at home/during the day and disposables at night. more of an economical decision than environmental. also, i really dislike the smell of the sposies. haha :)
    – we recycle, but don’t compost and rarely ever buy organic consciously… but our habit is to buy groceries from trader joe’s and farmer’s markets mostly anyway just because they’re convenient.

  19. Allie:

    Hmmm…
    Im more silky….

    Id love to give birth in a hospital with pain meds. but if the hospital offered water births I would. I do NOT trust midwives AT all

    eating the placenta seems GROSS

    I would have loved to breast feed but I dont know if I can,i have inverted nipples

    I’m pro circumcision for my sons only. (religion)

    pro Vaccination

    pro spanking

    I would co-sleep until they’re about 3-4.

    I would alternate between cloth and disposable diapers

    Im a FIRM believer in the CIO method smothering children makes them believe the world owes them something when they’re older.

    I don’t want my kids in a public school. private or homeschool I havent decided yet.

  20. Joyce:

    I guess I’m 65% crunchy, 35% silky/soggy. Me:

    -I had a vagina/low intervention birth at a mother-baby friendly hospital (it was the cheapest one as well). I was intending for a birthing center, but I moved to a state where the insurance didn’t cover birthing centers. I was seen by both midwives and doctors.
    -I want to breastfeed for as long as possible; no time limit in sight, and no low supply. If working, I’d pump.
    -I do not agree with CIO at all. I babywear my son when doing some housechores, but I put him in a stroller when working out or put him in a swing if I’m showering or cooking.
    -I’m not a wild animal, so no placenta for me.
    -We cosleep; bedsharing for daytime naps, roomsharing (his crib is in our bedroom) at night. For how long? I don’t know, perhaps up to three years.
    -Selective/delayed vaccination; is because of the area we live. If we were living in the countryside, no vaccines.
    -We use both types of diapers; since we travel a lot disposables are more convenient but at home is all cloth.
    -No circumcision for our little man. Plus, my hubs is uncut as well.
    -For discipline? I think a happy medium, a tough love kind of thing, is the ideal approach.
    -Most likely private school, or homeschooling.

  21. […] saw a blog post about “crunchy” vs. “silky” (you can read it here, and this blog has a great chart illustrating the differences between the two methods of parenting) and it […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *