“A loved baby has all the advantages, no matter where it grows up.”
–Thomas Balmes, documentary filmmaker
Several years ago I watched a documentary called Babies, about four tiny individuals from different parts of the globe who are followed during their first year of life. No narration. No subtitles. Just babies. It was poetic and engaging and I loved it. Now that I have a baby, I figured we could watch it together. Of course he loved it too. He’s recently discovered the boy in the mirror, so anyone like him is instantly entertaining. As he tried communicating to the babies on screen, I found myself watching a different documentary than my initial viewing. There are few adult scenes, but I absorbed them in a familiar way. Especially one in particular where a Himba mother breastfeeds a fussy baby repeatedly detaching and reattaching himself between cries. She seemed undisturbed and only continued to offer her milk.
This made me consider the society which I live, compared to hers. It seems as though modern women are conditioned to be concerned if feedings don’t go smoothly. A fussy baby means the mother’s diet is off, supply is too low, let down is too fast, the position is wrong or any number of things we can think of! It’s so reassuring to see a tribal woman presented with the same issue, yet what does she do? She’s unconcerned. Relaxed. And continues to offer him. Sometimes babies are just fussy. As Jonathan says, “[We should] stop reading the internet,” relax and continue to offer food, comfort and love.
Added Note: My entry is not to undermine serious breastfeeding issues. In most cases, especially from my own experience, I think we easily jump to conclusions. Watching the clip gave me encouragement and a reminder that we’re not always going to be in sync with our babies, and that’s okay.
*The photo featured is of a carefree boy I met on safari in Nambia, years ago.*