Could you be an off-grid parent?

Breastfed beyond six months? Secretly enjoy co-sleeping? Considered unschooling as an option? You might want to go off grid. By Lisa Witepski

Off-grid parenting

If you’ve thrown out the baby books and come up with your own parenting style, could be you’re ready to be welcomed to the world of off-grid parenting.

What is off-grid parenting?

“Off-grid parenting” refers to child-rearing practices that deviate from the norm, whether that’s ditching school fees in favour of home schooling or letting your one-year-old go without nappies in the name of early potty training. The concept was first introduced by UK couple Adelle and Matt Allen, who famously maintained their children’s umbilical cords until they fell off naturally and eschew all forms of modern medicine (yes, including vaccines). A set bedtime is another no-no, and although the Allens have chosen to homeschool their kids, they do so without following a curriculum.

ALSO SEE: 6 reasons why you should wait to cut baby’s umbilical cord

Not sure what to make of this unconventional parenting style? Unless you’ve followed every child-rearing manual to the letter, there are probably some areas where you’ve gone freestyle, sometimes with better results. Here’s what to consider when going off grid.

 The benefits

  • You’ll probably feel more relaxed if you’re doing things that feel instinctively right, rather than trying to follow someone else’s idea of what works. And a relaxed parent can be a better parent.
  • It’s empowering to do things your own way, so you’ll become confident about parenting more quickly.
  • Going off grid gives you a chance to understand your baby better. You might see that she responds better when you’re not trying to impose a schedule – say, feeding her whenever she is hungry rather than trying to stretch the time between feeds to a regulation three hours.

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 The negatives

  • There’s a reason many parenting books have been published and the authors’ advice widely embraced: generally, it works.
  • Being on the grid is often easier. Sure, you might enjoy implementing extended breastfeeding – but there will probably also come a time when you think, just for today you would like your body to belong to you only.
  • Be ready for social censure. People feel more comfortable around others who are doing things as like they are.




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