Skip to main content

A lesson from the Cave Mothers

When I first had Maya, I thought constantly about what early human mothers did to raise their children. I think experiencing birth (however your birth story turns out) and then raising your young nursling is the most instinctual, primal experience we still have as humans. In a world that relies so heavily on industrialization and technology, caring for a tiny human has transported me back about a million years to the very beginning of our existence. 

Early human mamas did not have sound machines, wipe warmers, mamaroo baby bouncers, or disposable diapers. And yet humanity exists today because they nursed on demand, coslept, and probably did babywearing constantly. While our modern-day innovations may have made motherhood easier and somewhat less messy, I wonder what other ramifications it has had.

There are so many fads that have come and gone or remain, catchphrases that influence our every decision as mothers. 

Breast is best
Fed is best
Back to sleep
Sleep training 
Attachment parenting

Baby-led weaning
The list goes on...

Honestly, it’s easy as a new mother to be overwhelmed with all the options. But I think this image sums it up best. “We would have not survived as a species if cave mothers had put their offspring in another part of the cave at night, or left them for long periods of time during the day.”

This resonates with me so deeply, a mama who hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in just about four years. 

Sleep trainers say we should not nurse our babies to sleep, or rock them into dreamland. Instead we should fight our instincts and lay them in bed sleepy, but not asleep. Unfortunately my babies have not fallen asleep on their own since those first blissful newborn months. Mateo went through the four-month-sleep-regression and never actually progressed to falling asleep himself again! And although that means more work for me, it also means more sleepy snuggles. And my response is, why should we not hold our babies until they fall asleep, when it feels so right and so good for them to drift off in our arms? They are only babies for such a short time of their existence. Soon, they’ll be begging for their own bed and their own space and their own privacy. I feel like I need to soak up all of these precious moments while I have the chance. 

This is why I babywear. This is why I nurse my babies to sleep. This is why they sleep in a crib next to my bed, or most often in my arms if they wake up in the middle of the night. 

All around the world mamas bedshare, baby wear, and extended breastfeed, it’s only here in the US that those things are socially unacceptable. 

So many mothers are forced to return to work after a mere two- or three-month maternity leave. I am so grateful that I've been able to spend this entire year with my little ones, watching Mateo and Maya grow and not having to return to work until we are all ready. 

I’d like to encourage all mamas to follow their instincts and always do what they feel is right in terms of raising their children because in this case, mama does know best. 


Popular posts from this blog

Why We Don't Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, either

El Dia de los Muertos, (The Day of the Dead) is often considered the Latin-American equivalent to Halloween, as it is a celebration that takes place every year on November 1st and 2nd throughout Latin America. But it actually has nothing to do with Halloween, and even pre-dates the Celtic Samhain, which is where our modern-day Halloween traditions come from.  The ancient indigenous Aztec people of Mexico celebrated the lives of past ancestors 3,000 years ago, and that month-long ritual was condensed into just a few days around the 20th century and is now known as the Day of the Dead. Today,  El Dia doe los Muertos is a time for Latinos to remember their dead loved ones and celebrate them, for it is believed that the souls of all people that have passed away return to Earth to check up on their families during this day.  But up until last night, I didn't believe El Dia de los Muertos was celebrated in Guatemala. Growing up in California with many Mexican-American friends, I was fami

Is 5 Little Monkeys Racist?

I’ve seen a lot of Tik Toks debunking children’s nursery rhymes lately. I have two toddlers, so now whenever I hear one of those rhymes, I think about their unsavory origins. But my son loves, loves Five Little Monkeys. He’s just learning to talk, and can almost say it by himself. I’ve thought about telling him to stop singing it since I learned in the original lyrics it’s not monkeys jumping on the bed, but he just gets so much joy from singing it as he jumps up and falls down, I thought... no harm, no foul, right? As long as he thinks the song is about monkeys, it’s ok.  Until my niece came over one day, and the three toddlers were playing on an old mattress we have on the living room floor for them to jump around on. My son asked me to sing 5 Little Monkeys. At first it was cute, because they literally were jumping on the bed, but then I took a good look at the three of them.  My kids are half-Guatemalan but very fair, like I am. Whereas my niece is half-black, and her skin happens

Why my Children Won't Believe in Santa Claus

Tonight all across the world, children are waiting for Santa with bated breath. They've made lists of wants and perhaps written letters addressed to the North Pole, baked cookies, set out milk, and dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads. But not my children. Well, maybe the dreaming of sugar plums part, but definitely not the white beard, chubby and plump right jolly old elf part. Even before my two biological children were born, my husband and I made the decision to not deceive them with the narrative of Santa, and in fact, not give them any gifts at all on Christmas. Intrigued? Infuriated? Here's why... My husband is from Guatemala and was raised Jehovah Witness , and one of the tenants of that faith is a strict adherence to not celebrating anything here on earth. This includes not celebrating Christmas or birthdays , and not giving gifts to commemorate these days. While he isn't a practicing Witness right now (instead we attend Celebration International Church