It’s Only Natural…
Few things in life are as transformative as Baby’s arrival and that moment you become Mom or Dad. The experience can be exhilarating, frightening, worrying, elating, meant-to-be, totally-foreign – and about a million other emotions – all swaddled into one.
Meeting your baby makes you want to love stronger, care harder and step up in all the important ways. For some parents, that means doubling down on efforts to make family, life and home as healthy and chemical-free as possible.
And if you’re a new, Costa Mesa mom – determined to go natural for baby’s sake – sooner or later you’ll find your way to Granola Babies and earth-mother-turned-store-owner, Giselle Baturay.
Granola Babies is located in the heart of the South Coast Collection (SoCo) adjacent to the OC Mart Mix in northwest Costa Mesa. Part eco-boutique, part community hub, part learning center – Baturay’s establishment soothes as much as it sells. It’s the safe place nervous new parents (and parents-to-be) can go to get a handle on tricky skills like natural childbirth, baby-wearing, breastfeeding and baby-food making.
“Granola Babies is an eco-friendly store and enrichment center serving parents, grandparents, babies, toddlers and preschoolers,” said Baturay. “We have a lot of local, hard-to-find items; we’re pretty niche in the natural-parenting space. What we do here is really unique, there’s nowhere else like it in Orange County. We are the only boutique solely focusing on sustainable children’s products that also offers community and an enrichment center, too.”
Granola Babies has a wide selection of baby carriers, woven wraps, natural clothing, wooden toys, nursing tops, organic products and much more. And if topics like breastfeeeding or wrap-wrapping have you flummoxed, you can sign up for a private consultation to help get the hang of it.
“I’m a trained aromatherapist, so we also offer private, aromatherapy consultations,” said Baturay. “We carry some basics in-store, and I also do customized mixtures for people. I’ll sit with a client and we’ll talk about any issues they’re having. Then, I’ll make a personalized blend to help them.”
Not Just For Baby: The Shop Carries Natural And Organic Products For Granola Mommies, Too – Like Nursing Tops, Nail Polish, Teething Necklaces And More
photos: b. young forever photography
If anyone knows how to do “granola,” it’s Baturay. Raised by an herbalist mom in the Dominican Republic, “natural” comes, well, naturally.
“I had no idea how ‘granola’ my mom was until I became an adult,” said Baturay. “Growing up, I didn’t know we were any different – it was just how life was for us. We didn’t use traditional medications. Whatever my mom could make, that’s what we would take. Ginger was used to treat everything from stomach aches to colds.
“Before becoming more natural myself, I just thought my mom was a little weird. Like, ‘Oh mom, I’m not going to drink that.’ But then I had kids and all that has changed to: ‘Mom! You’re so smart. You know so much!’
“She’ll bring me herbs from the Dominican Republic when she comes to visit me. Our mutual interest in this stuff has brought us so much closer together. It’s nice to have a mom that – when I’m into some new discovery – she’s even more into it than I am.”
Baturay Has Also Posted Lots Of Helpful ‘How-To’ Online Videos Helping Make Sense Of The Trappings Of Natural Parenting
Baturay and her mom aren’t the only ones “into it.” Natural parenting, attachment parenting, sustainable living – it’s all becoming more popular with this generation of new parents.
“It’s mainstream now, and it happened really fast,” said Baturay. “Back when I had my first baby, this way of living was like its own, little underground. If you were cloth diapering, you definitely didn’t have a lot of choices, back then. If your baby wore an amber necklace, people had no idea what was going on. ‘Why does that baby have a necklace?’
“Now, people know the amber helps with teething pain. You’ll go to a park today and everyone’s wearing amber. The whole lifestyle is mainstream and I think that’s great for parents, kids and the world, too.”
Class Act: Granola Babies Offers Classes In Prenatal, Parenting, Breastfeeding, Birthing, Baby Signing, Yoga, Nutrition… Plus Classes For Dads And Grandparents, Too
photos: b. young forever photography
As extraordinary as the early days of parenthood are, they can make for an exhausting, confusing, lonely time. It’s easy for new moms to be hard on themselves, and to believe they’re neither doing enough nor doing it “right.” How does Baturay help allay those common fears and anxieties?
“When it comes to new motherhood, I always say that misery loves company,” said Baturay. “If you are tired and frustrated, it helps to hear from others that are going through the same thing. It’s helps you feel more human and less alone. What new moms really need is the support. Support from their family. Support from friends. They also need to get out of the house and meet other new moms. Our communities classes, story times and events are a great way for them to do that.
“The other important thing I tell overwhelmed new moms is that it’s okay to ask for help and be direct. Don’t expect your partner or your mother to psychically know what you need.
“It’s no good to think, ‘Why isn’t he helping me with the baby?’ You have to be more direct and say, ‘I need help right now. I need you to change a diaper and take the baby for a short walk while I shower.’
“He’ll do it. He wants to help. He just doesn’t know what you need until you tell him, specifically.”
So what motivated Baturay to build this community for eco-minded parents? What drives her to keep going through the common ups and downs of today’s brick-and-mortar stores?
“I think living this way is important, that what we’re doing has an impact,” said Baturay. “My wish is that this generation of kids – the ones being raised this way – will grow up to be more open-minded, more creative, more imaginative and healthier.
“A new generation of people who are more friendly towards the earth than, perhaps, our generation is or past generations have been. Kids who live more sustainably and pass it on to others, whether that’s their peers or their own children, someday. That’s my wish, the big takeaway for me.”
We asked Baturay if being based in Costa Mesa was accidental and we heart her impassioned reply:
“Are you kidding me?” said Baturay. “Totally on purpose! I absolutely love Costa Mesa. No really, I literally love it.
“When we first moved to Orange County six or so years ago, I joined a mom’s group and asked some of the moms about the best places to live. I told them I wanted diversity. I wanted urban. I wanted to be close to the beach. I didn’t want to live in cookie-cutter neighborhoods. I wanted uniqueness. And everybody I asked said the same thing, ‘Go check out Costa Mesa.’
“As my husband and I drove into this city that first time, it was literally love at first sight. I told my husband, ‘We’ve found our forever home.’ We started renting here to save up for a house and eventually we bought our home.
“Costa Mesa is everything to me; just everything. I can eat here. I can play here. I can work here. It’s unique. It’s urban. It’s fun. It feels like a beach city but I can still see the mountains, too. You know the city logo with the beach and the mountains? That’s it. We get it all.
“So, of course, Granola Babies is very proud to be a Costa Mesa store. Even though we got offers from other locations, in other cities, that wanted us to move in – we purposely chose Costa Mesa.
“We love this community and we want more Costa Mesans to know we’re here. We want to know our neighbors. We’d just love to meet you all.” ♥
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