AP and Grandparents

by isil on July 30, 2008

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We moved to another country when I was 6 months pregnant. Leaving all our extended families back home, they weren’t quite aware of our parenting choices.

We had decided to co-sleep with our daughter so we didn’t buy a crib/cot for her. During the early weeks, my mom was quite anxious that we might roll over her. As weeks passed she would ask me, again and again, when we would buy a bed for her. I explained her that we loved her being with us in the bed and they shouldn’t worry. Above the safety measures, they were also worried that she wouldn’t leave our bed once she got used to sleeping there.

We had the chance to go back home when our daughter was 4 months old. During this holiday, mom saw first-hand that co-sleeping was perfectly safe and it was lovely having your newborn beside you. It also made night time feeding easy for us.

Once our baby was 6 months old, she began to ask when we would start her offering solids. My daughter was not interested yet. But mom and grandma were very concerned. They’d ask me every time, as if I was depriving her of food. I’d tell them that, during the first year, solids are only for fun and tasting. As long as the baby is breastfeeding and gaining weight, there’s no need to worry.
During our visits to home, they had the chance to observe our child and our practices.

My mom loved wearing her first and only granddaughter and taking her on walks. We talked a lot about attachment parenting, about why we have to fulfill our little one’s needs during their childhood and how such children turn into well adjusted adults. We talked about extended breastfeeding and why we had the intention of co-sleeping until our daughter feels ready to move to her own bed. I’m very happy that she understands it all and has become very supportive.

Recently mom told me that my cousin and her wife decided to let their baby cry-it-out. Hearing this broke my heart, but after all, everyone has their own parenting choices and unfortunately there wasn’t much to do.

Last week, as I was speaking with my sister (she’s expecting her 1st baby, due in November), she told me that mom had told her to make a decision about the baby’s sleep arrangements. She added that deciding where the baby would be sleeping was very important, as any change to that affected the baby badly. I was glad to hear that she mentioned the family bed, and that she has normalised this in her head.

Now, if only she doesn’t ask me repeatedly when we would wean Defne now that she’s 18 months old!

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isil (8 Posts)


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama2HoneyPies August 3, 2008 at 8:06 am

I can really relate to this post and ind it so timely for us! We also live far from either family so they don’t see our day to day practices and how they affect our children even though they know that ds2 (just turned 2) still nurses and that we all still co-sleep (ds1 is 4.5).

My mom too was the same as yours….”Are you sure co-sleeping is safe?” to being fine with it, to recently adding a bit of pressure to at least move our 4.5 yo out and “then (ds2) will probably follow him and sleep in a bunk bed too.” I had to explain to her that we are happy with our arrangement and that we like having our children in bed with us still and that the answer to our outgrown bed arrangement wasn’t to move our children to their own room w/ their own beds but to buy a bigger bed. We now have a king sized bed and we are all happy and content.

Since I read something through API this year about a couple having a dd who moved out of their bed and onto a mattress on the floor in their room and I think, then moved to her own room at the age of 7, I have been thinking a lot more about co-sleeping and evaluating where we are and the possibilities of how long we may share a family bed or family room.

I mention all of this because it plays in to this post, I promise. :) So now we are getting ready to go on a trip for my SILs wedding. Dh’s fam knows that we still co-sleep and accommodations are being made but we can tell that we are posing a bit of annoyance with it because we can’t just throw our kids or one of us on the hard floor with the rest and there aren’t enough beds for each and every family member to have a bed of their own. The other night my SIL said something about how ds1 (again 4.5) “is going to have to move to his own bed sometime soon…right?” and when there was a pause on my end she kind of laughed a bit uncomfortably. I was trying to decide whether that was a moment to just laugh it off too or explain a bit more about why he’s still in our bed. I took the time for the latter and while I know that she has no plans to 1) have children or 2) sleep in the same bed w/ them at this stage in her life I was hopeful that she would at least understand why our sons are still sleeping next to us. I think she had a better understanding of ds’ need for security since we moved last year and we are even further away from our families than before. We are the only ones in their lives that they know and trust completely and hey! They are still so very small.

I love AP because it allows us the opportunity to follow our hearts. There are so many ranges of “doing” within it and while our families may not always understand why we do what we do, most of us are consciously parenting our children in a way that we usually tend to have some pretty good answers. I’m glad that the older our kids get the more “proof” we have that we really aren’t “screwing them up”. ;)

I’m glad that your mom has become a champion of your AP practices and I bet she’ll let off of the weaning once it happens. ;) Seriously, the more and more people extend their BF relationship and even do it discretely in public, the more accepted it will become and the more grandmothers will also become champions of it.

Great post, thanks for submitting it…it was really great timing for me as we head in to this vacation where I will need to remember to remain strong in my belief of the reasons we follow these two Principles with older children. :)

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Isil August 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Hi Mama2HoneyPies,I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post.Hope you have a nice vacation.Stay strong ;)

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