People read way more into my post from Wednesday than I expected, so I might as well attempt to explain myself and open another forum for more flames.
I didn't make a point of seeking out only mothers like me when Peter was born. I wanted to find any parents at all home during the day so I could have people to talk to and the more common groups weren't available to me (ECFE and MOMS club), so I eventually found API. Over the past 3.5 years, it's been really handy to have people around that I could ask about tandem nursing (I didn't, most of them did), co-sleeping (Peter's been out of our bed over two years), extended nursing (Peter weaned the day before he turned two), and the various other topics that might not be as common among most parents. I don't attend API groups because I want to avoid non-AP families. I certainly don't attempt to make friends only with people just like myself -- my religious and political views are the polar opposite of most of the playgroup moms'. If I had said that I only hung out with religious conservatives, I'd expect to hear complaints. Do other people purposely seek out playgroups of diverse parenting styles, just to make themselves better parents? I suspect that given the opportunity, most people will gravitate towards groups where they have more in common. Now that I lack physical proximity to most of my API friends, I'm looking for other parents I can get together with. I'm sure that if Peter was put in a room with a bunch of other 3.5 year olds and some co-slept, some bottle-fed, etc etc, I'd never be able to tell who did what. There are a few parenting techniques that really bother me -- crying it out and spanking are the big ones -- because I think they can (not will) negatively affect kids long-term, but as long as I don't see it (I tried going to a playgroup through my church and I wigged out when a mom dragged her kid across the park to yell and spank him in front of everyone), that's not going to affect my time with them at a park.
I am far from perfect and never claimed otherwise. I co-sleep because it means I don't have to get out of bed. I use cloth diapers because they're soft and cute and I don't mind laundry. I do think breastfeeding is the best way to feed and comfort a baby, but I know my two weeks of poor latching is a lot less trouble than many women face and formula is a darn good substitute when that's what works. I was formula-fed and I'm not an axe-murderer. Perhaps my next baby will thrash in his sleep and have a cleft-palate and I'll have to find different ways to parent. If your toddler sleeps all night with a regular nap and your older child didn't thrash his sibling at every possible chance for a year, believe me, I'm jealous and wonder if I did something wrong.
I'm just glad it'll be December in 13 minutes.