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

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 You Should Travel with Little Kids

I took my first cross-country road trip when I was six-weeks-old. My parents loaded me up in an old Ford Wagoneer and drove me home from my dad's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, to my hometown of Ojai, CA. After that, we traveled back and forth between the East Coast and the West Coast every summer of my life. A few times we flew, but most years we loaded up the car with the suitcases, the dogs, and the children and drove 3,000 miles across the country. This early exposure to travel instilled within me a joy of seeing the world, and since that first trip I have visited 34 states and 14 countries. And I hope to share that same joy with my own little ones. Traveling with children can be hard--it disrupts their nap schedules, may involve crossing timelines, and definitely pushes everyone beyond their comfort zones. But seeing different countries and different parts of our country as children gives them a greater appreciation for cultural and regional differences, and it widens their exper

Reflections on Immigrant Life and the American Dream by a New Citizen

  Buenos días estudiantes de sexto grado. Mi nombre es Audelina Barrios, and I am a former student of Fuller Middle School. Soy de Guatemala, y viví mis primeros trece años de mi vida en mi tierra natal, pero desafortunadamente perdí a mis padres cuando tenía 12 años. Mi hermano y yo fuimos huérfanos por un año hasta que tomamos la decisión de empezar nuestro viaje hacia los United States to meet our oldest siblings.  In August of 2014 we finally arrived in the land of our dreams, the United States. During our first 4 months in the US, we lived in New Jersey with my oldest sister, Rosa, and went to a school where ESL didn't even exist. I was paired up with the only Latino in the school y sin saber una palabra en inglés. I felt like an outsider because I had no other friends and like I wasn't even part of the school system.  In January 2015 my older brother Francisco and his wife, Mae, adopted us and we moved to Framingham. My first school in Framingham was Fuller Middle School