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>Extreme parenting? Extremely sensible


Its taken a while to stop laughing but have you read this article in the Sunday Times?

Turns out I’m an extreme parent because I co-sleep, breastfeed and babywear.  I thought extreme parents were those who did controlled crying at 6 weeks, dressed their children in expensive designer clothing or took them up Everest!

Yes I admit that elimination communication is a bit extreme and wasn’t for us but the others surely aren’t that rare?

Co-sleeping has meant that I’ve actually managed to have some sleep these last 8 months.  Babygirl is still feeding four plus times overnight and by co-sleeping I don’t have to get out of bed (after the first time when I stumble into her room and grab her and bring her back to our bed), I just get out a boob and turn over from side to side when she’s needs more, barely waking to do so.  The author might have removed himself to a child’s bunk bed (which admittedly is a little extreme) but we manage perfectly well with all four of us in our king sized bed.  We don’t co-sleep all night, every night but when we need to we do.  And yes, Mr Muddling is still able to sleep through the wakings and the feeds, turns out he can even sleep through being kicked in the ribs by small feet!

I can’t believe that its even considered radical to breastfeed. If you can do it, breastfeeding is easy (once you’ve got through the hideous early days and got the hang of it its way easier than making up bottles), portable and the quickest, easiest way to soothe an upset baby – what’s not to love?  Is it really that unusual, that extreme to do something that makes your life easier?

Babywearing was a life saver for me – with a high needs baby that wouldn’t lie down slinging was the only thing that meant I could get on with the basic things in life, like go to the loo, for about her first four months.  I rarely use our buggy, mostly because of the hassle of getting it around town compared with the flexibility of having her slung on my front.  I also sling Toddlergirl – far easier to pack a sling in my bag for when she decides she can’t walk than to carry around a buggy just in case.  Until someone invents a handbag sized buggy this is just sensible for me.  Oh and its nice to have them close enough to kiss and you can breastfeed in a sling.  Extreme?  No yet again just a way of making my life easier.

So anyone else want to join me in being an extremely sensible parent?

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10 comments to >Extreme parenting? Extremely sensible

  • Utterly Scrummy

    >I breastfed all 3 of my children unti they were ready to stop, usually between 18mths and 2 years old. I also co-slept and it made it so much easier to get sleep. I have used slings extensively and also a sling & stroller but slings are much easier. I am definitely agreeing with you on all points 🙂

  • JulieB

    >Interesting… yours is not the first blog I have seen today that talks about this article, however, the take on it is very different (let's say Hot Cross Mum has focused more on the slightly more extreme behaviour than breastfeeding and co-sleeping, i.e. the "no nappies after 7 months", and no leaving the house for 3 years.)

    Interesting how I can agree with both of you – I think I'll actually have to read the article in question myself now!

  • cartside

    >well, I'll be extreme on those counts, but I'll leave ec to the extreme parents. I use cloth though, does that make me extreme? I bet it does. Looks like I'm a hippy dippy after all, who would've thought.

  • Emily O

    >I've not read the article but have already commented on Hot Cross Mum's take on this. I mentioned on her blog that I get a little bit tired of baby raising gurus telling us how we should bring up our children. Everyone's different. For extreme parenting I suppose I 'tick the box' for breastfeeding (not sure how it's 'extreme'?). I've always struggled with co-sleeping and I manage with baby wearing until my heavy babies quickly turn into heffalumps and make my back ache. Ultimately I think people should go with what works for them, every parent and child is different.

  • Naomi Richards

    >I only breastfed. I did not do the other two. I made that choice and know others who did all three. Extreme parenting sounds like you beat children round the head until they surrender! All the three areas you mention are lovely nurturing things to do. One of my closest friends co-slept with her children until they were 6 and 9 and it did them no harm. I could not do it because my children are wriggly worms who would keep me up all night!

  • PantsWithNames

    >I haven't read this article but it makes me so cross. Surely it is each to their own – and every baby is different. We didn't co-sleep at all with my eldest, but my youngest is in our bed at some point almost every night. Breast fed my eldest exclusively, had to top up with the younger. But I didn't sling them at all – my back can't take it, you know you won't be able to manage it when carrying around a 7lb baby leaves you immobilised. It all just depends – what works for some, doesn't for others. Why ca't they live and let live?

  • planb

    >I too haven't read the article (will comment first, and read later – why let accuracy get in the way of a good comment).

    I too am surprised though that breastfeeding is extreme – although I guess it depends on how long you do it for?! Six years? Bit much for me…

    As for baby wearing, again isn't there a line? If you're still slinging your baby when he or she should/could be crawling/walking/running marathons, then that's a bit odd, and probably not that good for him or her, but if it helps when they're little, why not? On which front, I offered our baby bjorn to a friend who looked at me in horror and said "oh, you shouldn't use one of them! the baby might fall asleep!" I looked at her in stunned amazement…. in what part of the world is that not a good thing?! Apparently it muddles with the Gina routine, but you'll have worked out by now I'm not a Gina fan.

    The co-sleeping though, I don't get. When L was tiny I read an article about co-sleeping. There were lots of responses to it, and I read them too. All of them started of "My baby wouldn't sleep, I tried everything, eventually I brought him into bed with me, and now we're fine". Until the last which started exactly the same way, and ended "and we woke up in the morning and the baby was dead".

    I had nightmares for weeks. I still do. And if I ever found myself falling asleep while breastfeeding at night I used to wake up in a cold sweat and a panic.

    Now I know that thousands of parents co-sleep and thousands of babies survive the experience perfectly happily, including lots of bloggers I respect enormously (see above), and I know that some babies do just, unbearably tragically, die. But where I can rationalise all sorts of other risks where my children are involved, for some reason, that one I couldn't.

    Probably says something weird about my psyche. But there you have it.

    But I still don't think it's extreme. Not for me. But not extreme.

    Not like not vaccinating. Which I had yet another conversation about yesterday….

  • Hot Cross Mum

    >Seems like we were both struck by the same blogging inspiration after reading this. I like your take on it – funny how we were both wanting to read about scaling mountains or something 'really' extreme!

  • Mother Hen

    >I'd like to know what his wife thought about all this. There is nothing wrong with a buggie, what would you carry the shopping in while you were out by yourself! I slinged and pushed as it is impossible to double sling when the babies are 18 months a part. I loved both.
    And long live the diaper/nappie- he's a man, what would he know about changing one anyway? Seven months? Would you realy want to wake up with pee in the bed every morning?

  • Mwa

    >I do love breastfeeding, but I don't like slings. My pram is staying.

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