When I was a baby, I slept with my mom until she remarried when I was four.  My stepfather didn’t approve of cosleeping, so I was moved to my own bed.  I always looked forward to my step father being out of town, because I got to share her bed again.

When I became a mother for the first time at age 21, natural parenting and attachment parenting were neither things I had ever heard of.  I naturally gravitated toward breast feeding and cloth diapering.  Also, even though I was given two cribs, my daughter slept in the bed with me.  And she continued to do so, off and on, until she was about nine and Rogan and I started living together.  Even then, having her own room and her own bed, she still climbed in with us when she was sick.

A few years later, my husband and I had our own child together.  A coworker gave me her old crib.  We set it up in our bedroom.  She may have been placed in it a half dozen times.  She slept with us.

A few more years and our third daughter was born.  She became person number four in our king sized bed.

Now, our third child is two and our middle child is four, they both still sleep with us.  The now seventeen year old will climb in the bed and snuggle with me occasionally, but she sleeps in her own room.

For me, cosleeping has always been about parental bonding.  Parenting styles differ around the world, and even from one home to another on the same street, so I have never told anyone cosleeping was the only way to go.  But, for me, it makes me a better parent.  And, with my postpartum depression, makes me feel closer to my children – they must love me and feel I am a good momma if they snuggle up so sweetly to go to sleep, right?

Anything which makes for better parenting is a good thing and should be encouraged.  I mean, we go into our pregnancies thinking we will do everything possible to raise our children with love and understanding.  It’s just that some of us have different definitions of how to accomplish this feat.  Unfortunately, attachment parents seem to be constantly bombarded with criticism for their parenting techniques.  I mean, come on!  There are so many parenting issues we have to put up with out there from the so called professionals – from how long you breastfeed to whether or not to vaccinate your children to the current hot debate regarding circumcising your child at birth.  Everyone in the world will weigh in on your choices, and most of them will be against your parenting style.

Just like in the 70s when Dr Spock told parents to not spank their child and our grandparents told our parents they would spoil us, today our parents tell us we will spoil our children for carrying them in slings and cosleeping.  Who knows what the next generation of parenting techniques will be – which we will accuse OUR children of using to spoil our precious grandbabies.  All I know is this, if what you choose to do does not harm your child and makes you both feel closer as parent and child and everything you do for them is from love, then you are doing it right.

There is no cookie cutter approach to raising children.  And there will always be someone there on the sidelines telling you what you are doing wrong.  The trick is to raise your children as lovingly as you wish and ignore the nay sayers.  I didn’t say it was an easy thing to do, my skin is still mighty thin at times, but it is something you can work on.

I could tell you stories all day about breastfeeding comments (like the pediatrician who insisted on sending a can of formula even though they knew I was breastfeeding and also insisted I give a bottle a water after nursing – to rinse her mouth out!!) or cloth diaper comments and especially cosleeping comments.  But the thing for you to remember is this is your child.  Do what is right for your family.

If you would like to learn more about attachment parenting, see Attachment Parenting International’s website.

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