Meet Crunch Natural Parenting: 2016 Natural Birth and Baby Expo Sponsor

Meet Gladis Rubio and Crunch Natural Parenting, Sponsor of the Tampa Bay Birth Network's 2016 Natural Birth and Baby Expo! They are a "mom and pop" natural parenting store in North Pinellas County. 

 Gladis and Robby

Gladis and Robby

Our mission is to be a local resource for parents who want to make more "natural" choices for their baby!

One way that this happens is through the high quality of the products we carry. We know that parenting is tough, and we know how holding your baby all of the time ties up your hands. By providing the best in babywearing products we feel like we are making a difference and making it easier for moms and dads to parent in they way they would really like to.

We are a tiny family business, so if you come in on any given day, it will be Robby and I helping you. 

We're the parents of four great kids and when we started the store, we were simply creating something that we saw a need for. Robby is really into "gear" and he enjoys searching out high quality products and brands in everyday life.  I am a home visiting lactation consultant and avid babywearer. It was kind of meant to be! 

 We carry wraps, ring slings, and buckle carriers that will help you to hold your baby close while you get the use of your hands back.

We carry wraps, ring slings, and buckle carriers that will help you to hold your baby close while you get the use of your hands back.

Natural parenting choices aren't just about using fun cute products. There is absolutely an aesthetic component, but we feel like these choices REALLY make a difference. Even just using cloth diapers occasionally reduces the impact that disposable diapers have in landfills. Using them on subsequent babies doubles their value and makes them even more ecologically smart. 

Babywearing is really an exciting topic for me, as a birth professional. It is in agreement with everything that the newest research tells us that babies need for optimal development. Being given the use of your hands again is great for moms and dads, of course, but the biggest benefit is for babies. The firm belly-to-belly pressure that a woven wrap provides helps a baby's nervous system to calm down, and when they are in that state, their brains (and bodies!) function better. The more I learn about this, the more excited I get!

People sometimes think that the babywearing movement is a new trend. It's not really. If you think about it, a baby wrap was probably one of the first inventions ever. Babies and toddlers have always needed carrying! People also sometimes wonder if all that holding will cause motor development delays, but as I said, what we know now about the neurology of babies explains why babies who are worn more develop even better than those who aren't.

In fact, while Robby and I were in Alaska and the Yukon Territory doing archaeological field work a handful of years ago, the First Nations women we talked to said that babies in their culture used to be carried on their mom's backs with their feet never touching the ground until after the first birthday, when they would hit the ground running. 

Babywearing is a game changer. Right now, as I am typing this, our 9 month old is napping on my back. Talk about a parenting win! I used to do lactation work at WIC and we would always keep a wrap on hand to show moms how to use one and I remember one particular new mom- as soon as we had her baby securely wrapped on her, she stood up and said, "I can go pee now!" - it's that. It's the little things. 

What is not to love about this work? It’s so fun, we get to play with tons of different baby carriers and products, and just PLAY in this fun space that we created. We made it a child proof environment to encourage play even more.
— Gladis Rubio

Moms and dads can stop by anytime to get help with babywearing or cloth diapering. We have special events like the Tampa Bay Babywearing Learn and Play when people can try on different carriers.  We also have drop in support for nursing moms on Fridays from 11 am to 1 pm, baby sign classes, music events, and more.

We also recently started carrying Clek brand car seats. It might seem like a departure from the romance of babywearing and the crunchiness of "natural parenting" choices, but their product is actually a healthier choice than other car seats. The fabrics are Greenguard Select certified and free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, for instance. Clek is absolutely the industry leader for safety and innovation. If you haven't heard of "extended rear-facing", look it up and do some research before you turn your baby forward facing. 

For more information on Crunch Natural Parenting Store, visit their website