Alicia Silverstone co-sleeps with her 11-year-old son and doesn’t care what you think

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Parenting comes in all shapes and forms, and for Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, it’s all about getting back to nature.

The actress, 45, spoke candidly about the les-than-traditional way she raises her 11-year-old son Bear on the Ellen Fisher Podcast this week, explaining that she potty trained him at six months, only cooks vegan meals, and still shares a bed with her son.

“Bear and I still sleep together, and I’ll be in trouble for saying that but I don’t really care,” she says during the hour-long chat.

“I’m a natural mumma and I’m a loving mumma and I believe in love and I believe in nature and our society is scared of nature and scared of love.”

actress Alicia Silverstone smiling in a selfie with her 11-year-old son Bear
Alicia Silverstone is making no apologies for her unconventional parenting techniques. Photo: Instagram/aliciasilverstone

Alicia went on to explain that the Western societal norm of having a child sleep in a separate room from their parents wouldn’t work ‘in the wild’ where parents need to keep their young close to them to protect them from animals and the elements.

She began bed sharing when Bear was still being breastfed and found that it allowed her to get more sleep. Instead of getting out of bed to breastfeed multiple times through the night, she could just ‘roll over’, feed him, and fall back asleep.

Wanting to savour every moment of her son’s childhood, Alicia says she isn’t rushing to push Bear - whom she shares with her ex-husband Christopher Jarecki - out of her room now that he’s older.

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While it’s a normal practice in many places around the world, cosleeping, particularly with very young babies, has plenty of negative associations in Western culture largely due to the fact that there are a number of circumstances in which it can be unsafe.

Falling asleep in a chair or on the couch with a baby is very dangerous for example, as is sharing a bed if you are a smoker, have drunk alcohol or are on medication.

Pillows and heavy blankets also pose risks, however there are best practices guidelines that when followed, significantly reduce the dangers involved and can help sleep deprived parents (particularly breastfeeding mothers) get more rest overnight.

Alicia explains, “The things I’m doing I’m not inventing, it’s just me following nature.”

“Every choice I make is either based on instinct or deep research.”

Alicia Silverstone holding her son Bear Blu Jarecki at the premiere of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The mum-of-one follows her instincts when it comes to parenting. Photo: Getty

No nappies

Another practice she follows that many would call alternative, is ‘elimination communication’. This is when parents don’t use nappies and instead learn to identify the toileting cues of their young baby so they can hold them over a toilet when it’s time to go.

“It’s so awesome,” Alicia says of the practice, “I started at six months, [Bear] never went poop in a diaper from eight months.”

The actress explains that she was a little late to the game as most followers of the elimination communication technique start when their babies are newborns, but she found it easy to begin by holding her son over the toilet after feeds and naps until she learnt his cues.

“It’s not like they ‘go’ instantly, babies are so well designed, there’s a period of time, you have a minute [to get to the toilet],” she says.

“You think you have no time but it’s not, you have from the moment they give you the cue, you have a grace period - let’s say it’s a minute or two - as long as they know you’re on it, you can get them out and they’ll go.”

She still used cloth or environmentally friendly nappies when napping or travelling however, to avoid messy accidents.

The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik is also a fan of elimination communication and has spoken about it at length on her YouTube channel.

Alicia silverstone sitting next to her son Bear and a turkey
The Clueless actress shares her 11-year-old son Bear with her singer ex husband whom she split from in 2018. Photo: Instagram/aliciasilverstone

Vegan and respectful

Speaking to her child in a respectful manner, apologising regularly when she makes mistakes, and preparing whole food and vegan meals are other parenting techniques Alicia swears by.

She says the latter has been more challenging to maintain as Bear has gotten older, although she was very conscious of avoiding junk food and filling his diet with things like beans, vegetables and brown rice during his first three to four years of life.

She credits this ‘macrobiotic’ diet for helping to make Bear a healthy, grounded and well balanced child.

However she says, “Now that he’s 11, all bets are off, it’s harder, he has access to more junk in his life.”

Not wanting to limit his independence, Alicia doesn’t prevent him from eating junk food or from making his own choices about what he wants to eat, but she continues to prepare healthy and vegan meals at home.

Mums defend 'unconventional' parenting

Alicia’s parenting techniques have elicited plenty of comments from other mums and dads on social media, but perhaps surprisingly, many have come forward to say they relate to her bed sharing experience.

“My daughter slept on and off with me until she was 14,” one mum wrote on Facebook, “She’s grown and married with her own kids. When she and the kids come to visit, she still sleeps with me. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“My son slept in our bed until he was 10,” another said, “A friend told me he will grow up to be a serial killer. Didn't happen. He just grew up to be my best friend.”

A third parent commented, “My son (age 7) can't go to sleep unless I lay beside and I confess sometimes I fall asleep before I can make it to my own bed. It's really not a big deal. It makes your kid feel safe and they know you love them enough to help them feel safe.”

Plenty. ofmums and dads came forward to share their own experience of bed sharing with older kids. Photo: Facebook
Plenty. ofmums and dads came forward to share their own experience of bed sharing with older kids. Photo: Facebook

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