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Nesting Species vs Carrying Species

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

So what the heck are nested and carrying species and what does that have to do with your

human baby?? Let’s take a look!

Nested species include animals like deer, who leave their baby in a safe place (in shrubs, trees, or dens) while they go out and forage for food. They leave their babies for hours at a time. These babies don’t cry out for their mom when they leave- first of all predators would find them, but mainly because their milk is very high in fat and protein content. This means they stay full for an extended period of time and can go long stretches between nursing sessions.

Then you have the carrying species including animals like monkeys and apes, who are in almost constant physical contact with their babies. Their milk is lower in fat and protein and

higher in carbohydrates, so they need to nurse their babies every couple of hours. These babies remain close to their mothers for at least the first 6-12 months and oftentimes much longer. They sleep in their mother’s arms or while clinging to her back. This physical contact creates a bond between mother and baby that allows the neurologically immature baby to function and develop.

So where do human babies fall? It should be pretty clear that we are a carrying species! We are meant to be in almost constant physical contact with our little ones and nurse frequently.

In fact, our babies cannot even maintain their own temperature or regulate their emotions on their own. They need us to keep a stable temperature and co-regulate their emotions. Babies are not physically capable of calming themselves from a heightened state of stress, they rely on a calm caregiver to help them regulate their emotions and return to a calm state. Our babies suffer immensely when separated from us. They are only able to grow and thrive with contact and affection. You cannot give a baby too much contact! The more the better!

Humans are only born with 25% of their adult brain size. We are extremely neurologically immature at birth and, in a sense, born premature. We cannot cling to our mother’s back and rely on our caregiver to recognize our needs and respond to them.

This is why it is so vital to remain responsive to your little one. This doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but it is necessary. This is also where having a village to help you comes in handy. We are not meant to do this whole parenting thing alone! Never feel bad for responding to your little one. You are not spoiling them or creating bad habits. Show this post to anyone who says that you are! Our babies absolutely rely on us for survival. You’re doing an amazing job!

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