This may end up being a bit of a rant, for that I am terribly sorry.... but where better to get it out than here ;)
Firstly I would like to get something out there...


yes, really. I am one of those parents, you know the ones that breastfeed their toddlers, bed share with their children, wears her babies around in slings rather than the sterile old pram, would never leave their precious babies to cry, so it goes on.

Anyone who knew me in my previous (and currently on-hold) life as a medical scientist would probably never believe it, but I just don't give a toss about all the 'rules'. Western cultures seem to be preoccupied with 'training' your babies to be what you want them to be or to be 'good' babies... babies are babies. They aren't capable of being 'bad'.
I am not going to reference anything... anyone who wants to do their own research on anything I will talk about here is more than welcome, but this is about ME and MY opinions... I have researched a lot of this stuff in order to come to my own conclusions and I encourage others to do the same.

So, let me address each of my hippy traits as mentioned above.

First the breastfeeding... well what a hot topic that has been of late. Let me put it this way. Women are given the tools to make the perfect food for their children. If correctly supported there are very few physiological reasons for this system to 'fail'. Most shortened breastfeeding relationships are due to poor advice or little/no support from the wider community. For goodness' sakes, a quarter of Australians think that it is inappropriate to feed a baby in public. If that isn't going to put a whole lot of people off I don't know what is.

Let me make it VERY clear that I do not, nor would I ever put down any mother who has resorted to feeding her baby with breastmilk subsitutes. Every parent makes the best decision that they can with the tools they have available to them.

My problem is that the tools aren't being made available. For me, I don't ever remember seeing breastfeeding as a child. Maybe I can vaguely remember my sister being fed once or twice early on but that's pretty hazy. Really the first exposure I had to breastfeeding was when my niece was born in 2003. My brother and his family live interstate, however, so my exposure was limited.
When my first beautiful child was born in 2007 I assumed that breastfeeding would just work.... wrong! We were both learning! It took 5 whole weeks to get her actually gaining weight but we persevered and I went on to feed her for 14 months and 6 days... 10 long months short of my ultimate goal but still many months longer than I thought possible at the very start. The things that saved my breastfeeding relationship with G were 1. finding the ABA Forum and 2. A wonderful child health nurse who has since retired.
My story is not uncommon, especially for first time mothers who do not have a lot of breastfeeding support around them. So why is it OK for people all around them to say 'oh, just put him/her on the bottle' but if I were to give someone suggestions to help them breastfeed I am labelled all sorts of nasty things.


Well, it's not. It's just that bottle feeding has become a lot more acceptable than supporting breastfeeding mums. That to me is very sad.

Bedsharing in this house is a sleep-saver. Little boy currently wakes and feeds often. I am more than happy to meet his needs, but in order that we both get some sleep he bedshares with us after his first wake up of the night. Both Chuq and I are pretty light sleepers, don't smoke, don't take any drugs (prescription or otherwise), if Chuq has had any alcohol he sleeps in another bed, we don't use heavy bedclothes, H is kept well away from the pillows and other bedding and is put to sleep on his back. Why do I even have to justify all of those things.
Chuq was telling me that some people at his work were discussing the tragic accident in Hobart where a 6 month old baby died in a sleep accident whilst bedsharing with her mother... (who was under the influence of substances at the time). In their eyes however it was all about the bedsharing, not the substances involved. If I was getting out of bed to little boy all night I would be ridiculously tired, in fact so much so that driving would be dangerous. In my opinion that would be a far more hazardous situation for him, not to mention anyone else in my car, or anyone on the roads around me, pedestrians and other motorists alike.
SIDS and Kids actually recommend that babies share a room with their parents for the first year of life. How many people put their babies into a cot in their own room from day 1? Lots! I did with G (mind you when it all went to pot when she was 4 months old we started bedsharing).
Guess what? I don't tell the separate room Mummies and Daddies how dangerous their sleep practices are...


This is getting rather long.. sorry! I should have addressed each hippy trait as a separate entry... however I am nearly to the end now so will keep on going.

Human babies are helpless. Totally helpless. They cannot do anything for themselves... they need their parents for everything. Their only means of communication is crying. Why then are we advised to ignore that communication under the guise of 'sleep training'? Baby could be crying because they are hungry, wet, dirty, in pain, hot, cold, otherwise uncomfortable. If you are certain all these needs are met is it not possible that your baby just needs your reassurance and love?

I'm sorry, there is no way that my tiny baby is manipulating me. He is communicating his needs and I am meeting them. Do I tell someone who is letting their child CIO that they are abusing him/her? Sometimes I'd sure like to but I don't. So don't harass me for my choice. I am frequently told what a 'good' baby my 4 month old is, and often at dinners etc. people are surprised at how little he cries. To me there is no sound in the world more heart wrenching than my baby crying so I do all I can to avoid it happening, or if it does to stop it as soon as possible.

To the last of my rants... prams! Prams are a big fat pain in the butt. They don't fit in some shops, through supermarket checkouts or up/down stairs. I have an awesome pram, a Phil&Teds Vibe. It gets used when I'm walking for exercise (little girl is far too slow to walk and little boy would get far too hot being carried) and if I need to keep Miss.2 restrained as I'm out somewhere on my own. Otherwise who can be bothered dragging a huge pram in and out of the car and navigating the obstacle courses that are most shops. I love to have my babies close and they are much more able to engage with their world if they are up where they can see what's going on. G used to cry and cry if I walked her in a pram and eventually I got the message that she wanted to be carried. Again, no she was not manipulating me, she just wanted to be held close and comforted as well as being a little sticky beak needing to be involved in the 'action'.
Thankfully most feedback I get whilst wearing one of my beautiful babies (and yes I do still carry Miss 2 in a sling/carrier occasionally, she is only 11.5kg so not a big ask) is nice... a lovely warm smile from an older lady, a child pointing at the baby, a teenager saying something about how 'cute' it is. I wish that more mums carried their babies in slings though, so that I wasn't somewhat of a spectacle when I do my shopping!

I'm going to leave it there, but my point is that I've learned to ignore all the 'rules' which is funny given that my job before children was one in which you had to follow rules to the letter. However having children has changed my whole perspective on life. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore, I don't worry about things I can't change, instead focusing on things I am able to influence.

Babies are not manipulative, they are helpless and rely on you for everything.

Follow your gut, after all you are the parent, you know your baby.. the writer of your favourite parenting book does not.