What Did the Indians Do?

Over the last 8 years of child rearing, I have been bold in deviating from popular prescribed parenting ideas and doing what my instincts said was right. The question I often ask myself is this. “What did the Indians (Native Americans) do?

Did they have shelves filled with parenting books? No. Did they have Pack N Plays or government approved cribs? No. I’m sure they had their fair share of surprises and problems come up that modern inventions and doctors would have helped, but overall, they did very well for themselves. They survived severe weather, hunted and gathered their food, married, reared babies, and passed down knowledge of home remedies to future generations. Respect.

Today, our society has these rules of how to take care of babies. I tried a few out when we had our first child.

Tummy Time. Did the Indians have Tummy Time? “Ok, let me just set you down here on in this grass, try not to eat the dirt. You are staying like that for 15 minutes.”

Just saying it makes me laugh! Someone decided babies should have designated Tummy Time. My kids hated it. I think I tried it twice with my firstborn and maybe a couple times with the second and third. To each their own, but in the end, babies are incredible creatures and deserve more credit.

I never made #4 do it. Nor did she spend any time laying flat on her back playing. She screamed whenever I set her down so.. I didn’t set her down. She never rolled over before learning to crawl and never got the bald spot on the back of her head. I wore her, or carried her, or had someone else carry her. Sacagawea carried her baby across our great nation. I bet he turned out ok. My one year old is speed crawls, climbs everything she can, and is on the verge of walking.

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This one really gets me. Never let your baby sleep in bed with you. Let’s ask ourselves. What did the Indians do? Imagine the wife saying “oh honey, we are having another baby, you better put up a new Tipi on the other side of this tree so she can sleep on her own.” Nope. Highly doubtful, and yet, somehow, little native babies survived and grew to raise their own young.

Being the rebel I am, I brought every one of my babies to bed with me. Most of the time, my newborns and I fell asleep nursing. I’d wake up to the baby rooting, ready for the other side. Only when the baby decided to stay up and climb and play on mommy did she move to her own crib.  We did use a cradle next to the bed, but mostly for daytime naps. I was always fast asleep with the baby nursing at night and so did not put them back into the cradle.

Dare I mention another one? This is a big one! Breastfeeding in public! AYYYY!!! The wars that rage over something so natural. What DID the Indians do?

This is so beautiful, a mommy feeding her twin babies.
This is so beautiful, a mommy feeding her twin babies.

Why has it become taboo to nourish ones baby in public but it is acceptable to have loads of cleavage hanging out? I really don’t get it. God made boobs for feeding babies.

And why do I keep hearing “you should wean that baby!” Excuse me? For one, my baby refuses a cup or a bottle. She refused any kind of solid food until she was 11 months old. I’m not going to try to starve her out. Eye rolling in progress.

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Admiring some very old art at the Safari Museum in Chanute, KS.

I asked myself “What did the Indians do?” My answer is that they nursed their babies/young toddlers until they were drinking and eating enough that they no longer needed breast milk. They did not have Nuby cups, which my daughter also refuses for now. They did not have baby oatmeal or jarred foods. And since NA mommies were always hard at work, they most likely did not sneak off to the Nursing Mommies’ TiPi to feed their babies. *anyone who knows me knows I know it’s sometimes not possible to breastfeed, that is not what this post is about so don’t get your knickers in a bunch.

That's an Amazon woman right there! Talk about multitasking!
That’s an Amazon woman right there! Talk about multitasking!

What my baby is doing is nothing crazy or weird. My others ate pureed foods and drank sooner out of sippy cups. Great. But this child does not. She’s wants to feed herself so we cut up what we are eating into tiny bites and offer it to her. Bananas and beans are her favorites.

She will drink from a cup when she is good and ready.

Can I at least cover up when I feed her? Really? Have you ever held a strong robust, squirmy baby? Arms and legs going everywhere? No, I cannot, but for your sake, I will be as discreet as I can. A lot of people stare at me when I feed #4 in public. I smile at them. They either look away and shuffle off as quickly as they can, or they smile back. They can’t see my boob and it’s not my problem if what I’m doing makes them feel uncomfortable.

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Nursing my third child on the LV Strip while visiting a close friend.

Please, next time you wonder if you are doing something right or wrong, stop and ask yourself  “what did the Indians do?”  This question does not just apply to babies either. I just love how often that question pops into my head and logic prevails.

15 Things I’ve Done While Breastfeeding

1. Answered the front door.

2. Stood in line at the doctor’s office.

3. Cooked dinner. I think it was at that point my parents began calling me Earth Mother. I did what I had to do.

4. Bathed

5. Slept. I mean duh, who can stay awake while nursing a baby at 2am? I’ve heard of mothers who get online. I go right back to sleep.

6. Computed. Blogged. Answered emails.

7. Crocheted

8. Ordered my food at a restaurant.

9. Peed on the toilet. Yes, there have been times the nursing was going on and on and baby was almost asleep and if I was in sweats, could manage to go pee, and then wash my hands one at a time.

10. Hoisted my 2 year old onto the potty with one arm.

11. Wiped the butt of my 2 year old after she tinkled. It involved me holding the baby with my arm, hunched over, and having the 2 year old lean on my leg, which I propped up on a stool.

12. Worked out. I was finished with my cardio and had moved on to floor work. Yes, you can do various kinds of leg lifts while lying on your side nursing a baby.

13. Shopped for groceries. Made possible with a good sling, although I do not LIKE nursing in the sling, desperate times call for desperate measures.

14. Hefted my 28 pound toddler onto playground equipment while nursing my 18 pound baby. This is why I need my wonderful chiropractor!

15. I can’t list this one, it’s probably illegal. And no, it’s nothing gross!

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