Ever wonder what it would look like if animals gave parenting advice? Well, I have. Surprisingly, I think it would be quite similar to the advice we receive. Sure humans are the same species, but each mom and baby are in different enough situations that we all can relate.
I do not have enough fingers to count all the times i have heard moms with bad backs be told they need to baby-wear. I LOVE baby-wearing. I really do. There can be amazing benefits. However, for some moms and babies it just really doesn’t work. Take this poor elephant duo, baby-wearing certainly is not working for them and THAT IS OKAY!
This sweet mama bird is trying her best to give her babies the optimum nutrients she can. Her dairy friendly cow, truly wants to help. Yet, what is great advice for other cows is not true for this little robin. As much as she places these babies on the breast they will not have what they need. Now, let me clarify that most moms DO produce enough milk for their babies as long as they keep nursing. There are a few exceptions of babies getting dehydrated and failing to gain weight. In these cases, supplementation or tongue tie revisions may be needed. If you are struggling to breastfeed or have questions contact your local IBCLC here. She has resources for all “species” of moms. There is help and options if you want to breastfeed and she can help you know how to tell if baby is getting enough milk. Furthermore, some parents do not have the anatomy, ability, or desire to breastfeed, but just like this robin they love their babies dearly.
We each have different sleeping arrangements and needs. This baby zebra is undoubtedly safer with parents than alone, in the dark, while big cats prowl for dinner. Maybe, you take medications and it is unsafe to have baby near while you sleep. Perchance, you just need some sleep to be able to keep going. Perhaps your baby is having health issues and needs to be in the same room. Maybe, bedsharing prevents you from falling asleep with baby in unsafe places. Whatever your situation is, follow your motherly instinct and what works for your family.
Egg laying isn’t birth? Dude have you heard of the kiwi bird? It is the size of a chicken, yet lays eggs six times larger than chicken eggs. I completely consider that birth! In fact, I consider any time a baby comes out of your body birth. No two births are the same. All births have their positives and negatives. We shoot for the healthiest birth options for you and baby. For this snake and her babies that is egg laying. While some snakes DO have live births instead of laying eggs, we will assume this one does not. Likewise, thank goodness we have Cesarean sections for those times when babies’ health are at risk. I am also grateful that our bodies work so wonderfully at growing, birthing, and feeding our children.
Back to baby-wearing. How many have had this comment? This awesome mom koala just rolls her eyes and takes it with a grain of salt. Koalas have been carrying their babies for ages and yet they still raise smart, mobile children. It truly is what is best in their circumstances. Babies learn immensely while being carried.
Many moms at 41 weeks get comments similar to this rhino. Each woman’s gestation can differ by five weeks! This rabbit has a gestation of about a month. The rhino on the other hand is pregnant for 16-18 months. If the rabbit or the rhino swapped gestation it would not be healthy. Thank goodness their bodies, in general, naturally do what is best for them and their babies.
I also want to talk about how easy it is for this rabbit to pop out babies. Through no fault of her own, she is quite the fertile myrtle. It is bound to be puzzling to her how this rhino goes through so much work for one child. Howbeit, this rhino’s feelings matter. Perhaps she only wants one child. Maybe she wanted many kids, and this rabbit asking her if she “is even trying” is like salt in a wound. Has this rhino used fertility treatments as an attempt to conceive before her species dies out? Has she been trying to conceive and her environment of captivity has shifted her hormones so that this baby was truly a miracle? She may only have one baby on the way, but that baby is worth everything to her.
Let us be kind with our words, quick to support, and leave judgement out. We all have different pasts, cultures, bodies, and circumstances. Let us lift, encourage and celebrate as we find the best way for our individual families. Thankfully, animals have intuition and know what is best for their babies. Give yourself permission to listen to your own motherly intuition. You are doing a great job! Keep it up!