The Evolved Nest has been integral to 99% of human genus history and provides a baseline for optimizing normal development. Hewlett & Lamb (2005) provide an overview:
“young children in foraging cultures are nursed frequently; held, touched, or kept near others almost constantly; frequently cared for by individuals other than their mothers (fathers and grandmothers, in particular) though seldom by older siblings; experience prompt responses to their fusses and cries; and enjoy multiage play groups in early childhood.” (p. 15)
Here are more suggestions of what to do and details about the importance of each of these
To discover each component listed below, visit this page. Resources that support each component of The Evolved Nest are listed below. The links go to each section.
Components of The Evolved Nest:
1. Soothing Perinatal Experiences - include limited stress in pregnancy, no separation of baby from mom at birth, no painful procedures.
2. On-request Breastfeeding occurs for several years.
3. Positive Moving (and no negative) Touch like carrying and
rocking promote neurobiological health.
4. Positive Social Climate is a welcoming community culture.
5. Self-Directed Social Play is free social play with multiple- aged playmates.
6. Multiple Allomothers refers to responsive caregivers other than mothers (e.g., fathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles).
7. Responsive Relationships keep baby contented while the brain rapidly develops, the foundation of healthy childhood growth.
8. Nature Connection means developing caring relationships with the natural world of plants, animals and other entities.
9. Healing Practices are made routine to mend old wounds.
Darcia's Blog Posts on Nestedness
Learn about the Evolved Nest component Soothing Perinatal Experiences - include limited stress in pregnancy, no separation of baby from mom at birth, no painful procedures.
Darcia's Blog Posts on Birth
Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. APPPAH illuminates the life-long impact of conception, pregnancy and birth on babies, families and society. APPPAH’s mission is to educate professionals and the public about, and advocate for, the life-changing discoveries made in the area of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health.
Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. It recognizes and awards birthing facilities who successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (i) and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (ii). The BFHI assists hospitals in giving all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.
Birthing the Future. The mission of Birthing The Future®, is to gather, synthesize, and disseminate the finest world wisdom about birthing and the care of mothers and babies from pre-conception to the first birthday.
Black Mamas Matter is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. We center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.
We envision a world where Black mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.
The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally.
CAPPA, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association. For over a decade, CAPPA’s mission has been to offer comprehensive, evidence-based education, certification, professional membership and training to childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, antepartum doulas and postpartum doulas worldwide. CAPPA is proud to provide new and expectant families access to these professionals here.
Cesarean Statistics for Your Local Hospital. Find C-section and VBAC, vaginal birth after Cesarean, rates for your local hospital.
Citizens for Midwifery. The goal of Citizens for Midwifery is to see that the Midwives Model of Care is available to all childbearing women and universally recognized as the best kind of care for pregnancy and birth. Citizens for Midwifery also endorses the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative™.
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services. The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.
Doulas of North America. Pardon us for bragging, but we are the oldest, largest and most respected doula association in the world. Our founders are among the foremost experts on doula care, and DONA International certification is a widely respected measure of quality and professionalism. We are an international, non-profit organization of doulas that strives to have every doula trained / educated to provide the highest quality / standards for birth and/or postpartum support to birthing women and their families.
International Cesarean Awareness Network. The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc (ICAN) was formed over 25 years ago in order to support women in their journey towards understanding the risks of cesarean section and with the purpose of helping them have healthy births and healthy lives after undergoing the surgery that changed them.
International Cesarean Awareness Network & VBAC Information. This is a collection of fact sheets and information put out by the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and other sources. Information includes how to prevent an unnecessary cesarean, Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), how to find resources in your community, information about ICAN, and how to become a part of ICAN.
International Childbirth Education Association. ICEA is an organization of over 4,000 members from throughout the United States and 42 countries who believe in freedom of choice based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care.
International Confederation of Midwives. ICM works closely with Midwives and Midwives Associations to secure women’s rights and access to midwifery care before, during and after childbirth. We work to improve maternal and newborn health and ensure that Midwives Associations have the tools necessary to be effective.
We also work in partnership with many other international organisations, to strengthen midwifery globally and achieve our objectives:
Midwives and Mothers in Action, MAMA, The MAMA campaign is a collaborative effort by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). This partnership is now at work to gain federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives so that women and families will have increased access to quality, affordable maternity care in the settings of their choice.
Midwives Alliance of North America, MANA, In 1982, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) was established as a professional organization for all midwives, recognizing the diversity of educational backgrounds and practice styles within the profession. Its goal is to unify and strengthen the profession of midwifery, thereby improving the quality of health care for women, babies, and communities.
Midwifery Today. Well-written technical articles by doctors, midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, nutritionists, herbalists and other practitioners. Birth stories that are beautifully written and have something to teach the practitioner. Stories about midwifery practices in other countries. Well-written academic articles on the subject of midwifery by experts.
Postpartum Support International, PSI. Postpartum Support International (PSI) was founded in 1987 by Jane Honikman in Santa Barbara, California. The purpose of the organization is to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Approximately 15% of all women will experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child. Up to 10% will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy. When the mental health of the mother is compromised, it affects the entire family.
The Unnecesarean is a patient advocacy Web site that pulls back the curtain on the practice of prophylactic cesarean surgery for suspected fetal macrosomia and illuminates the experiences of women who have been harmed by the aggressive practice of defensive medicine. The site provides information about preventing an unnecessary cesarean and resources for making fully-informed decisions about childbirth while offering an irreverent take on the maternity care crisis in the United States and beyond. The most recently released data from the CDC on childbirth showed that 32.9 percent of U.S. babies in 2008 were born by surgery. This is the twelfth year in a row that the rate has risen. Rates of severe maternal morbidity have increased, yet maternal and infant mortality have not seen a decline with the aggressive use of this life saving surgery.
VBAC.com. VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is a safe alternative to a routine repeat cesarean. Our aim is to provide evidence-based resources and support about VBAC from a variety of sources; scientific studies, professional guidelines, government reports, birth advocacy groups, as well as successful and established VBAC programs. Our goal is to help women make informed decisions about how they want to give birth and to encourage an honest and respectful dialogue with their caregivers.
Darcia's Blogs Posts on Breastfeeding
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.
HealthConnect One. HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing respectful, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting.
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
Darcia's Blogs on Touch
Always pay attention to your child’s reaction and don’t not impose touch when it is not wanted.
More about positive touch and some ideas for families:
If you use oil, do NOT use mineral oil or baby oil with mineral oil---it’s a carcinogen.
Teach your baby gesture language from the beginning as a way for a non-verbal baby to communicate needs more directly.
More information on health benefits
The Art of Roughhousing
Darcia's Blogs on Social Media
Darcia's Blogs on Play
About child play:
Learn to play as an adult:
Let’s Play America
What is an Allomother?
Most research has been done with animals who shape offspring raising with other members of the community (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vjRV7WZmmg)
But having other warmly responsive adults care for young children is part of humanity’s heritage even more so: Hrdy, S.B. (2009). Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press; University of Harvard Press.
Darcia's Blogs on Allomothers
Support Groups for Evolved Nest Parenting:
Darcia's Blog Posts on Responsiveness
Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children. Our mission is to champion a culture of compassionate individuals, families, and communities who have fun with, learn from, and responsively and lovingly interact with children. We accomplish this by providing guidance about consciously conceiving, birthing, and nurturing children.
Attachment Parenting International. API offers parenting information and support through API Support Groups around the world, information found on this website, and through the API Forum where you can read and post on parenting topics and connect with AP families in your community.
Center for Partnership Studies, Parenting Page. The mission of the Center for Partnership Studies is to catalyze movement towards partnership systems on all levels of society through research, education, grassroots empowerment, and policy initiatives. CPS’s programs focus on promoting human rights and nonviolence, gender and racial equity, childhood development, and new metrics that demonstrate the financial contribution of the work of caregiving.
Child Spirit Institute. ChildSpirit is not affiliated with any particular religious group but honors the spiritual development of all wisdom traditions. We create project teams and partnerships to initiate the creation of innovative programs and projects. Through research, publications, networking, trainings, camp, conferences, speaking, consulting, ChildSpirit is helping to change the way society (parents and grandparents, educators, healthcare professionals, innovative religious and spiritual leaders, and community leaders and many more…) see and work with its young people.
Fathers-To-Be. In Fathers-To-Be, Patrick Houser and Elmer Postle are offering a place for men to explore pregnancy and birth with a particular focus on the Transition to Fatherhood. F2B provides a unique opportunity for men to learn skills that will help them be truly present, and not just in the room, during this most powerful of times. When we speak of birth we generally encompass the 18 month period from conception to 9 months old. Buy theFathers-To-Be Handbook here and watch Patrick Houser’s Trail Marker Moment video on why Fathers are the Foundation to Family Wellness!
Touch the Future. This beautiful and resourceful site contains hundreds of articles, publications, interviews and research papers on child and human development.
Darcia's Blogs on Indigenous Wisdom
Darcia's Blogs on Nature
Rewilding means “to return to a more wild or self-willed state” (Urban Scout). It means finding your true self in relation to living on a living planet. Here are ideas for parents and for adults:
A list of 10 books to “rewild” your child: https://www.backcountry.com/explore/10-books-to-rewild-your-child
Darcia's Blog Posts on Parenting and Healing
Trauma Recovery Information:
Types of ceremonies people use:
Christian healing rituals:
Hunter gatherer heritage of routine healing ceremonies:
Aboriginal practices in Canada: