This is very much what we decided to do when Anna came along 11 years ago, although what came naturally for us wasn't what came naturally for the Rudds. There was no way either Bob or I could have coped with ditching nappies, for example,although I know a few families who have done so successfully and I am so clumsy that I wouldn't have felt comfortable carrying Anna round in a sling outside cos I'm always falling over my own feet. However, she was held and carried a lot for most of her babyhood.
The decision to keep her in bed with us was an easy one, done mainly for reasons of laziness than because we were following any sort of ideology. Sleep deprivation was the thing that scared me most about parenthood because one night with one sleep is bad enough, but two and I turn into the witch queen from hell. Having Anna right next to me meant that even though she didn't sleep through the night until she was well into her third year, apart from the very early days, it didn't bother me at all. One of the best books I've ever read in my life was Deborah Jackson's Three in a Bed which has all sorts of research showing that sleeping with your baby is quite safe and actually helps both get better quality sleep, and UNICEF has produced this leaflet with FSID giving safety information to breastfeeding mums who share their bed with their babies. Like all mums, I was pretty scared about SIDS and I was utterly paranoid about making sure that there were no covers apart from her wee cellular blanket anywhere near her. It all worked really well for us.
I just think it's great to see a dad write about what is definitely a minority parenting style with enthusiasm (although admittedly he isn't crazy about the co-sleeping). In a culture that's deluged with regime orientated parenting methods, it's just great to see a man be positive about following your instincts. His and his wife's instincts are different from my instincts and any other family's instincts because we're all different. Anyone who says they can come up with a regime that suits everyone is simply wrong.
I was very proud of Nick Clegg earlier this year when he spoke about how he and his wife had decided that Gina Ford's methods were not for them.
One of the things I really appreciate is that Bob always supported my instincts as a mother and recognised and respected Anna's need to be with me. It's paid dividends for him as his understanding deepened my feelings for him and consequently our relationship and also has led to him having a really close relationship with Anna.
Matt Rudd makes this bet with himself about how the prevalent parenting regimes of today will be seen in the future:
A hundred years from now, people will look back on us the way we look back on the Victorians and many will find it astonishing that we treated children the way we do. The more extreme parenting strategies appear to deny the fact that we’re parents at all. The aim is to get back to our normal, child-free lifestyles as soon as possible.
Well said, that man.