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There are nine components of our Evolved Nest. The below resources are for the second component: breastfeeding. If you wish to see the full list of components and access their resource pages, click on the link below.
ON-REQUEST BREASTFEEDING - occurs for several years.
What to do:
· Provide the breast whenever the baby indicates rooting and other signals of need for the breast. This is part of responsive parenting described above.
· Don’t make the baby wait or stress hormones start to flow.
· Breastfeed for at least a year if not 4 or 5 as in our species-normal societies.
Breastfeeding frequency. Mammalian milk is species specific for each of the over 4,000 mammalian species (AAP, 2005). Human milk is of the thin, rather than thick, variety, which is related to frequent ingestion or at least suckling (on average every 20 minutes for infants as recorded by anthropologists; see Hewlett & Lamb, 2005; Konner & Worthman, 1980).
Breastfeeding length. In the ancestral context, breastfeeding took place on average from 2-5 years (weaning at age 4 on average; Konner, 2005; 2010). These patterns are still evident in aboriginal populations little influenced by outside cultures. According to Dettwyler’s (1995) review (see table 3) humans should be breastfeeding much longer than they are, based on what other primates do in relation to offspring maturation schedule. The end of the range, age 6-7, is when the immune system reaches adult levels and much of the brain is completed (Parham, 2004).
Human mothers, who provided immunity through the placenta, continue to provide immunity after birth, first with colostrum immediately after birth and thereafter with breast milk. Although infants have gastric enzymes for digesting their mother’s colostrum and milk, digestive enzymes for other foods do not develop for several months. Breast milk abounds with infection fighting agents that foster immune and digestive health in the young child. Specific to the environment in which the mother and infant find themselves, mammalian milk produces antibodies for various infective agents (e.g., Slusser & Powers, 1997).
See The Evolved Nest's Resource page.
See an extensive list of Breastfeeding Resources here.
Discover the Evolved Nest articles on pregnancy and birth on Kindred Media here.
Discover Darcia Narvaez's posts on Psychology Today here.
Breastfeeding Posts from Kindred:
Breastfeeding Posts from Psychology Today
Darcia Narvaez, PhD, and Mary Tarsha present one of the Evolved Nest's nine components: breastfeeding.
NOTE: Babies are children under about age 2.5 years.NOTE: The terms motherliness, mothering, mother love, good enough mothers refer to empathic care or nurturing that mothers and other adults can provide.
The Evolved Nest is happy to launch the 28 Day Baby Care campaign in celebration of Attachment Parenting Month, in October 2020. You can find out more about support for your attachment parenting choices on our Evolved Nest Components page, and on the Attachment Parenting International website.
There is a lot of misinformation about babies and their needs, and parents are often encouraged to ignore baby’s signals. Bad idea. Babies are “half-baked” at birth and have much to learn with the help of physical and emotional support from caregivers. Taking care of baby’s needs is an investment that pays off with a happier, healthier child and adult. Here are 28 days of reminders about babies and their needs.
The full 28 day card campaign can be found on the Evolved Nest's website here under Self-Nesting Tools here.
Find the card series below and on our social media pages.
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Community practices refer to everything outside a particular family, so that means policies and practices of neighborhoods, counties, cities, states, schools, and workplaces. Institutions that govern our lives also need to be responsible to promote flourishing in children. Here are some ideas for ways for community practices to support children and families.
Evolved Nest Articles on Community and Cultural Support, and How They are Missing in America:
The Layers Of Structures That Support Individuals, Families – And How The Pandemic Changed Them
Early Partnership Childhood Care: What Should Centers Provide?
Breastfeeding Hotline. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health offer a breastfeeding help hotline. The hotline is helmed by trained breastfeeding peer counselors and provides support by phone. The phone number is 800-994-9662 (TDD 888-220-5446). The hotline is open Monday-Friday 9am-6pm. You can call after hours and leave a message. A breastfeeding peer counselor will return your call on the next business day.
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is a worldwide organization of physicians dedicated to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human lactation. Its mission is to unite into one association members of the various medical specialties with this common purpose.
Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative USA Non-profit organization implementing the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the USA.
Black Breastfeeding Week. Black Breastfeeding Week was created because for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. The fact that racial disparity in initiation and even bigger one for duration has lingered for so long is reason enough to take 7 days to focus on the issue, but here are a few more.
Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association. BMBFA is a non-profit organization. Our mission is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African Americans by building foundational networks of support, and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.
Breastfeeding and Child Custody Toolkit. The Michigan Breastfeeding Network has published the “Breastfeeding and Child Custody Toolkit” as part of their Breastfeeding Roadblock Kits series. The toolkit guides readers through the issues surrounding breastfeeding and child custody, including information on the legal landscape. It includes template letters to the court, resources for parents, and a platform for sharing stories.
CDC Breastfeeding Resources. CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and to promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving the public’s health.
College Campus Breastfeeding Policy Toolkit. A Model Policy providing best practices on pregnancy and parenting accommodations, leave, and non-discrimination, in compliance with Title IX and other federal law. The text can be adapted as a memo or included in your institution’s existing policy.
Eats on Feets. Community Breastmilk Sharing. Eats On Feets facilitates a world-wide network of parents and professionals who have made the informed choice to share or support the sharing of breastmilk.
Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Human milk is a precious resource. Even with milk banks, the availability of donor milk is very limited. Sometimes, a mother chooses not to breastfeed, or for whatever reason is unable to breastfeed. Some babies MUST receive human milk in order to survive. In these cases, doctors will prescribe human milk for the child. In a perfect world, all babies would receive breastmilk, either from their mother or from a donor, and the artificial milk industry would be very limited. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if “formula” were only available by prescription?
Human Milk 4 Human Babies, HM4HB. HM4HB is a global milksharing network, a virtual village, comprising thousands of people from over fifty countries. We are mothers, fathers, adoptive families, grandparents, childbirth and breastfeeding professionals, volunteers, supporters, donors, and recipients that have come together to support the simple idea that all babies and children have the right to receive human milk. We use social media as a platform for local families to make real-life connections and come together as sustainable milksharing communities where women graciously share their breastmilk. HM4HB is built on the principle of informed choice: we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them.
International Lactation Consultant Association Professional association for lactation consultants and breastfeeding promotion advocates
International Milk Banking Initiative. The International Milk Banking Initiative (IMBI) is a group of milk banks and health care providers interested in establishing an international association of non-profit milk banks globally through the development of better communication. The IMBI was founded at the International HMBANACongress held in Washington DC area in 2005.
La Leche League. Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
Milk Mob. The Milk Mob is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to optimize the promotion and support of breastfeeding for families in the outpatient sector. The Milk Mob is dedicated to building Breastfeeding Friendly Medical Systems and Communities, through:
National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color.Our mission is to cultivate a community of diverse professional and peer lactation supporters to transform communities of color through policy, breastfeeding, and skilled lactation care.
National Breastfeeding Awareness Initiative. On this website, you can learn more about breastfeeding. You also can find tips and suggestions to help you successfully breastfeed, whether you decide to breastfeed for two weeks, two years, or more.
Racial Equity Learning Community. The United States Breastfeeding Committee has been funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to host this community as part of an inclusive learning and transformation process for the “First Food” field. The community will build the capacity of the breastfeeding field to apply both an “equity lens” to inform and guide our external strategies and activities, but also an “equity mirror” to examine our internal structures, culture, and policies.
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, ROSE. An organization dedicated to addressing the breastfeeding disparity among people of color nationwide through education programs, advocacy and other efforts. The organization’s pioneering work was recently rewarded with a more than $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
United States Breastfeeding Coalition Directory. Find your state breastfeeding coalition.
United States Breastfeeding Committee. USBC is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 50 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations that share a common mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States.
Uzazi. Black Infant Mortality Walk. Uzazi Village’s mission is to decrease the maternal and infant health disparities found at the urban core, particularly among African-American women, but also other at-risk populations residing there.
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action Generates information on World Breastfeeding Week
World Health Organization WHO International Breastfeeding Code