Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

The Savannah

For all the ‘labour saving devices’ we are surrounded by, life in general and parenting in particular has only gotten more hectic.  We live in a world surrounded by confusion and bustle and if it’s hard for us, what must it be like for the little hunter/gatherers who are trying to work out the rules as they go along.

 When I’m frustrated by my children and they just don’t seem to ‘get it,’ I have a little trick that calms me down and helps me understand where they are coming from and why they are doing whatever it is (it usually involves lack of sleep).  So sit back comfortably, relax your shoulders, close your eyes (figuratively, unless you can read with your eyes closed) and come with me, back to the savannah …

 It’s hot.  It’s dusty.  The air is desert dry.  You sit on the ground in the shade of a small clump of trees, using a sturdy stick to pry and dig at the hard earth, searching for the rich roots and their stores of food.  Around you are a few other women, mostly sisters and co-wives, in a range of ages from new, nervous teens to wise middle age.  Toddlers and children are there too, the older girls copy you and make a game of it while the younger ones explore the trees and grass. 

 One of the children flushes a lizard, whack! You get it and throw it on a small pile.  The sudden movement startles your baby, sleeping on your back, and she stirs and starts to fuss.  You swing her around and offer her your breast, it’s important to settle her quickly.  While a healthy group is fairly safe from big predators, crying is a signal that something is very wrong with a little one, they are all alone and they are attractive prey.  Besides, who wants to listen to a baby crying?

 One of the toddlers comes over to watch her feeding, patting her.  You smile and shush him, one of the other ladies offers him a breast as well and he quickly toddles over, laughing.  Your little one goes back to sleep and you take a break to cuddle her in your lap and look around.

She wakes in a few minutes and you continue digging with her sitting in your lap, quietly talking to her and showing her things.  One of the older toddlers notices and comes over to get her, lifting her and practically dragging her over to the other children.  They are sitting with one of the older women who has made a small fire, and she rescues your baby and snuggles her in her lap while showing the children how to cook some of the food that has been gathered.

 There.  Don’t you feel more relaxed now?