There seems to be two main types of people out there:

“The Mainstreamers”

They trust that the systems and beliefs put in place by the general public are to be trusted. They believe that these things win the general vote because these things are correct. They trust the experts. Doing their own research is not worth their time, and may just end up misleading them anyways (since they are not “the experts”).

“The Questioners”

These people believe in doing their own research before making any significant decision. They acknowledge that society is capable of putting practices in place for the wrong reasons. Likewise, systems and beliefs followed by the general public can be outdated. “Experts” are still human with all their biases, so advice is taken with a grain of salt. Everyone is responsible for thinking for themselves.

The Lives of the Two

Mainstreamers tend to judge Questioners harshly. They do not understand why these people continue to disrupt the balance, and won’t step back in line. To a mainstreamer, it is so obvious what the right answers are, and they have all of society backing them up! Many believe Questioners should be forced to comply with the standard.

Questioners are constantly shifting and working to improve the way they live their life. As life goes on, they continue to notice more and more aspects of their lives that they have not yet questioned. Those aspects are then researched, and the research often leads to change. They are very aware of the mainstream view of them, and often fly under the radar, finding their support from other Questioners.

Funnily enough, in my experience, the conclusions of the Questioners are often very similar to each other, even though their thought process is based off of exploring all possibilities.

If you are a Questioner, you most likely relate to many of the following:

Natural focused
Eco friendly
Homeschool
Unschool
Anti-vax
Co-sleeping
Attachment parenting
Gentle parenting
Breastfeeding
Babywearing
Elimination communication
Holistic
Alternative medicine
Vegan/vegetarian
No (sham)poo
No makeup
Freebirth / Homebirth
Organic
Outdoorsy

(And probably others I haven’t thought of…)

Also worth noting, is that while many Questioners share beliefs, they still seem to be much better (in general) at being accepting of people with completely different viewpoints, then the average Mainstreamer.

This would seem logical though, given Questioners are already predisposed to the concept that the right answer is not always obvious, and that the right answer today might not be considered the right answer tomorrow. Besides, what Questioner wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to explore another concept they hadn’t considered!

Of course, these are all generalisations. I have met Questioners who judge others of a different perspective very harshly. Likewise, I have met the odd Mainstreamer who has been completely non-judgemental to alternative views. And of course, there are people who transcend the two types in various different ways. I’m only listing the trends.

Either way, we have a problem.

The world is at war at the moment between these two groups of people. The Mainstreamers, who want the Questioners to stop rocking the boat, and the Questioners, who want their personal freedoms and choices recognised.

And the biggest reason for the conflict? There’s no safe place for communication between the sides!

Time after time, I’ve seen cases where Questioners try to share their opinion out loud to the general public. And the result? 10/10 times they get beaten down – insulted, ridiculed, and labelled as a threat to the general accepted view. Then with experience, they learn not to share anymore.

How can anything be fixed, when Questioners aren’t allowed to bring their concerns to the general public? Mainstreamers will continue to make their assumptions of why Questioners act the way they do, and Questioners will continue to feel threatened and oppressed. When one side of the argument is suppressed, no joint conclusions can be reached.

We need to acknowledge each other as fellow humans just trying to make the best decisions with the information we have. And we all need to learn to listen to each other with a kind and empathetic ear, ready to compromise, while allowing for freedoms of perspective and choice.

Until that happens, we continue to live in a world filled with fear on both sides. A world where, given the right seeds of compassion, we could instead learn SO MUCH MORE from each other then we do today.

“Does your daughter sleep through the night yet?”

When Jade was just 6 weeks old I got my first night of not needing to get out of bed all night, which if you talk to pretty much any parent, is pretty phenomenal.

Even on average, I was only getting up about once per night. The reason I was able to get so much sleep? The wonders of bed sharing!

When you sleep with your baby all curled up at your side, you can basically feed them in your sleep, so that means the only reason to get up is to change them. And I don’t know about all babies, but Jade doesn’t eliminate in her sleep, so if there’s a wet nappy it’s because she has properly woken up for some reason.

That means once she got used to the day-night cycle she was happy to sleep through, because who needs to wake up when you only need to nuzzle in for a snack?

To be fair, the scenario I’ve painted here is for the breastfeeding mother, which I know isn’t everyone. I completely recommend breastfeeding if you’re able, but I’ll go into that more another day. As for now, regardless of how you feed your baby, bed sharing is a great way to connect with your little one and be there for them.

I often hear stories of parents struggling to trick their baby into sleeping without them (or giving up and letting them cry themselves to sleep), the long nights of getting up for constant feeds, and the artificial solutions like trying to feed them filling substances before bed. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why struggle so hard to find a solution to a problem that nature already solved?

We were made to sleep with our babies. Think about it. If you were out in the wilderness, like so many animal mothers, would you really want your vulnerable little sleeping baby to be sleeping separate to you while predators were about?

So why have people formed this habit? Parents have been made to be scared. As with all areas of life, there are ways for things to go horribly wrong. Bed sharing has been labelled dangerous by some, and because of that the public eye has turned away from it. That is why it is important to look up rules for safe bed sharing, just as you should for having them sleep in their cot.

If you are safe in the way you bed share, I personally feel it’s much safer than it they’re sleeping separately, because you have a better sense of if they need you. I will admit that, in the first few weeks of bed sharing with Jade, there were some times when I accidentally pulled the sheet over her head when I was trying to cover myself. She didn’t like this, so she would start wriggling and that would alert me to the issue so I would then fix it.

If she had accidentally gotten her head covered while sleeping in a cot (which can happen if you don’t put the baby towards the bottom of the mattress), I doubt her wriggling would have been enough to alert me.

By the way, if you are thinking “but I’m a heavy sleeper! I might not wake up!” know this: you’re instincts as a mother will wake you. I have always been a very heavy sleeper. In fact, I even slept through an earthquake once. However, even from day one when I was exhausted from giving birth, if my little girl started wriggling in her sleep I was instantly conscious.

That said, if you are not the birth mother of your baby I don’t know how it works, so I would recommend looking it up. Regardless, do look up bed sharing safety if you are considering it.

Some of the rules we follow include having a bed rail on our bed (mattress on the floor also works), no drugs or alcohol, making sure to get enough sleep, and arranging sheets, blankets, and pillows so that baby is not in danger of getting her head covered by any of them.

By the way, the solution we ended up with for the sheet covering issue was for me to have a separate small cellular blanket which I use just for my shoulders. This way the sheet stays well below Jade’s head as it only covers up to my waist.

To sum up, we have been bed sharing with our daughter since day one and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean really, who doesn’t love cuddling up to their sweet little sleeping baby, going to sleep, and then waking up to that curious little face looking up at you in the morning?