Were your families accepting and supportive of your decisions to use attachment parenting methods? Was it difficult to get your DH/SO to accept any practices? How about extended family?
I've had an easy time with my (small) extended family...my Mother had some pretty crunchy practices except for discipline methods, so she is really supportive of my co-sleeping at their home, breastfeeding, alternative vax schedule and baby wearing.
SO has been a little bit trickier. I'm worried that discipline could spark a battle in a few years. He's not a huge fan of extended breastfeeding, but he read Dr. Newman's article about the benefits of nursing toddlers at my request and said he wouldn't bring up an early weaning again.
Laszlo Jacob, 11/9/11
I honestly have no idea what my ILs think about me and my AP ways. They've been grandparents for a long time (like 25 years now lol), so they've had a lot of practice at knowing how to be the grandparents and not the parents. They don't tell us what to do with DS or what we "should" do. My MILs has said to me, "you're the mom, so what you say we'll go with." If they don't know, they'll ask. They won't BW (but they're a bit elderly at this point), but they're amused by my BWing and haven't said anything bad about it. I've never gotten any comments from them about baby food (we did BLW), CIO (they did some CIO with DH when he was a toddler according to my SIL), gentle disciple, etc. Their form of grandparent discipline is distraction and if all else fails, grandpa pulls out his "marine voice." (he was active duty marine for 33 years lol).
My parents have a lot to say on the other hand. Well, my mom mostly. My dad is mostly amused by how "odd" I am. My sister (who's only 1 can't decide if she loves the way I do things or if I'm a crazy nut. My mom doesn't understand why I don't do CIO, but then again she did CIO with me at 6 weeks when she also introduced baby cereal with me (supposedly lol)!!! I got her to BW once and she thought it was uncomfortable (of course she kept leaning forward which was the issue lol). They were fine with me BFing, but they're not okay with me BFing in public. Pretty sure they're not too thrilled that I'm still BFing. Good thing we always live a good day's drive away from them. I know we're going to have arguments when it comes to discipline matters since they spanked me as a child and we refuse to ever do that in any form.
My husband wasn't too keen on the idea of extended BFing when DS was born, but he's gotten over that since then. He knows what he doesn't want to do discipline wise (spanking, etc), but isn't sure what to actually do. We're working on that now and I'm trying to lead by example a lot (which is helping). He loves BWing. He wasn't completely trilled by cosleeping, but he didn't hate it until DS started waking 13 times in a night (of course I wasn't so thrilled then either lol). On the whole he's really come to embrace AP ways.
~Jackie, mommy to Aiden (11/2/10) and Zoe (VBAC 11/27/12)
My family is very supportive of my decisions. They're also well aware that I'm intensely stubborn, well educated, and more than willing to throw down if someone questions my parenting style. So, even if they disapprove, they wouldn't dare say anything . DH and I are on the same page about most things. He's like your DH, Jackie. He knows what he isn't comfortable with but hasn't put much thought into how he'll handle discipline. We're working on it and learning together.
Mostly people have been supportive... it's been fairly easy since we live half a world away from pretty much everyone (we were in Africa when DD was tiny, and now we're in Asia, DH's family is in Australia and my family is in the USA). But, we have spent significant amounts of time in the States since DD was born. My mom is totally cool with pretty much everything- but, I take after her in my ways. It's been super nice to have her as a support. My dad (divorced from my mom, not surprisingly) drops comments now and then about how DD's "bad" behavior is our fault (like, when she turns to me for comfort/won't be comforted by just anyone), that we're spoiling her by letting her be a baby for so long (BFing still, co-sleeping, etc). But at the same time, he mostly says it's our choice how we do things.
My DH's parents are very traditional I would say, and though they wouldn't say anything, they do drop hints... their main gift when DD was born was a stroller- I think they were sad to learn we never used it until she was more than 4 mos old! And when we came to visit, even though I told them over and over again that she didn't even HAVE a crib and didn't use one, they set one up in our room, "just in case"- because SURELY she would at least nap in it (how do you nurse to sleep side-lying if the baby is in a crib? ). As I just posted on the baby-wearing board though, for baby #2, they are getting us a new Ergo+infant insert+suck pads, so, they are supportive of some stuff.
DH, having been raised by his parents, and having almost NO experience with babies other than being one himself, assumed we would do things the way they had been done with him. He assumed bottles, cribs, and strollers would be every day items, and never gave a thought to some other things- like carriers/slings, co-sleepers/bed rails until I brought them up. At times he has expressed that he loves co-sleeping and baby-wearing. He is insanely jealous of breastfeeding, and I think resents it to some extent. When we have run into problems- like with DD not being a great sleeper, or being stubborn or a bit wild, he has been quick to blame it on the fact that we "do things differently."
A big point of contention for us has been my lack of desire to be away from DD- which is not necessarily an AP thing- since AP does encourage balance. But I never wanted to leave her with any babysitter at all until she was about 15 mos... and since then we've had the difficulty of actually FINDING a babysitter- which means that in her whole life, we've only really had one regular night-time date (just a couple weeks ago when his parents were visiting). And now baby #2 is on the way, and we're looking at the whole process starting all over again... but I just don't want to be away from my babies (when they are tiny!)!
Discipline is coming up for us more and more as DD starts pushing the limits, tantruming, etc... but we still haven't really figured things out. We need to talk about it all, really.
Mara & Joel, 2009
I guess the second part of my query is how do you go about convincing friends/family/dh/so to accept and support your AP methods?
My SO reacts really well to articles based on evidence-based research. My Mama, not so much - but she tends to not be too vocal
Laszlo Jacob, 11/9/11
I'm not too worried about convincing grandparents other than asking them to respect our decisions. They made their own choices for parenting and we're making our own. Over time my parents have become more accepting of our choices, even if they do have weird comments along the way that make me sigh.
My husband does well with just reading small articles and snippets from books (all he has time for really) and seeing how my choices are working well for Aiden. As I said above, leading by being an example for him is doing wonders.
I made sure my mom didn't think I blamed her. I mention from time to time how my pediatrician told her to wean me at 6 months and how it's good that doctors have learned so much since then and don't push things like that. My MIL is from another country so I don't know that she had any expectations other than she was happy I was "giving them the mother's milk" I guess breastfeeding doesn't translate well from Italian?
Natalie & Dan - June 2, 2001
Samma - Nov. 5, 2004
Tommy - Oct. 19, 2007