layla, s to you! i'm sorry this was your experience.
for us, i felt like we were just fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-parenting. i was struggling against trusting myself and getting bad "mainstream" advice from friends. in a conversation w/dh, he illuminated me. he said, "i look in nature and see mothers feeding their babies and sleeping w/them. it seems to me that what we're doing is natural." this finally gave me the courage, support, and wisdom i needed to find you guys!
I came across the actual idea first in all the million books I read during my pregnancy. But strangely, it came naturally to DH first. I was still so insecure and scared of what to do and things like cosleeping were just natural for him. So a little of both!
I think I found it first, but we've always pretty much been there. We co-slept from day one, breastfed all of our babies, responded to their needs, etc. The big change we made was to stop spanking our girls (we've completely AP'ed our boys). My dh is not against spanking like I am, but at the same time, he doesn't do it. He does feel like boys "need" it when they get a little older, but so far, I've won that battle.
I knew about it in the context of parenting foster/adoptive youth because I am a social worker, and knew that it is often a battle to help these parents truly deeply understand how/why to do it with kids who have very special needs (you'd think it wouldn't be, but our mainstream culture is SO strong and really works against AP especially in these circumstances where kids need to be re-parented!) I had a sense of the AP concepts in terms of parenting an infant and believed in them, but was definitely overwhelmed with all of the other stuff after I gave birth, especially when it comes from people you trust! Of course my baby is "high-needs" also, so there was LOTS of advice. I had always heard that the Ferber Method was shown to be safe and effective and even my dr advocated it but I didn't realize how AP looked at it until I started doing some researching on the web, and it was like a breath of fresh air! In terms of co-sleeping and being responsive to your infant's cries, it was the 1st thing I had heard that felt right in my gut and was so validating also. In terms of my husband, he is generally of the same mindset, although occasionally I have to remind him about why we're making the decisions we're making! He has been very helpful with my in-laws who I feel I am constantly trying to educate and defend my parenting beliefs and practices. I've basically given up printing things out for people to read, it doesn't sink in, or people don't trust the information. It's hard though as my baby has a cousin who is 3 wks younger and is being raised differently, I have to bite my tongue a lot!