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|Tue, 11-04-2003 - 11:10am|
i thought one idea introduced might have some fodder here. recently, i was slammed for using the argument that we should bf because "we are mammals." i've learned i really should've said "because we are mammals and bi-peds." human babies are born "more vulnerable" than most other mammals and at an earlier stage of brain development. the reason set forth is because we can walk. if human babies brains reached a similar maturity/size (to other mammals), we would not be able to give birth through the pelvic design that allows us to walk. we would need a bigger pelvis and therefore our mobility would not be the same. that said, the period until the fontenal (sp?) closes, the brain reaches some critical stages of development and in which some nurse can be termed "exogestation." in the book exogestation is evidenced by the lapse in fertility experienced by nursing mothers. in some traditional societies (where they've nursed the same way for thousands of years), babies are on average 4 years apart - in others, they are 2 years apart. nursing provides "natural family spacing" in these societies. the idea is that the baby still needs to be gestated outside the mother's body through nourishment still provided by the mother. this allows the mother to invest heavily and for long periods of time in one off-spring at a time.
anyway, most of us don't live in hunter-gatherer societies, but the fact remains that culture and society have changed while our biology has remained the same. does that make breast-feeding a birthright? i'm not sure there's a debate question here (or if i've explained the idea of exogestation well enough), but i thought it was a interesting "theory," for lack of a better word.