Originally published in the plant-based diets issue of Global Guardian Project.
I’ve got a challenge for you. Imagine a dream world with no wars, climate change, animal cruelty, racism, sexism and hate of any kind. I know it’s hard, but it is possible.
Next, imagine how we got there. You’ve probably thought about international conflict resolution deals, carbon emissions reduction policy and education for everyone… but what if there was a way to create people who are more socially and environmentally aware in the first place? More open to positive change? More trusting? Kinder to each other?
You probably think I’m still dreaming. But many humans like this already exist. You are probably one! We have just got to raise more of them. Urgently. And that’s where babies come in.
Babies aren’t born hating each other for the colour of their skin, or gender. Most children care about the planet, and every living thing on it — with many choosing to not eat animals.
So why do college students after the turn of the century have empathy levels that are 40% lower than those who came before them? And why are we still electing leaders who support bigotry and hate — and actually want to end the world by nuclear war or climate change (whichever gets more money or votes faster)?
There are of course lots of reasons for why society is the way it is. But maybe, just maybe, one of the contributing factors is that people today are being brought up during a time when the popular way to raise babies is not the super loving and “baby-led” way humans are designed to be raised.
Here are a few facts.
- We are designed to be breastfed for the first years of our lives.
- Babies have evolved to wake regularly at night to not only get fed this way and be comforted by mum, but be aware of outside dangers.
- They cry to tell us of the dangers. Back then it was predators, now it could be over heating or another night risk.
- Sharing a bed is the easiest way to accommodate this nutritional and safety need of babies — no mum wants to be going into another room every hour at night to feed, trust me! Sharing a bed, if done safely, is the most natural, common sense way to sleep with a baby.
- Breast milk has everything a baby needs to grow strong and fight diseases.
- And constant close, human contact is needed for social and mental development.
But people have forgotten what is normal.
These days parents are told that if their baby wakes often at night it is a “bad” baby. They are encouraged to not pick up their baby every time they cry, to teach it to cope without comfort. They choose tough sleep training where babies are also left to cry at night to help them stay quiet (but all it really does is raise their heart rate and make them lose trust in their parents). They are told their baby must learn to sleep in its own room as early as possible. Many mums are encouraged to give up breastfeeding early, or not even try.
And that is all fine, because everyone can parent however they like.
But we at Woke Mamas are the opposite of this. We choose to raise babies the way humans are designed to raise babies. To be a “gentle” parent. Which means putting the baby first. Whether through breastfeeding, carrying baby in a sling, sharing our bed or lots of cuddles, we want our babies to be close to us — and to know we are always there for them. That the world is a safe place. So they grow to be confident, trusting and happy.
And it’s not so hard to do things this way. It is only such a short time that they are babies anyway. After all, it’s a lot easier to create strong happy babies, than to fix broken adults.
We hope that by bringing up babies differently, in a kinder, gentler way, we are creating kinder adults.
Humans who choose to protect the earth by cutting their carbon footprint and not eating animals. Everyday people — and world leaders — that treat each other better.
And maybe, just maybe, we will no longer have to dream about a kinder, more peaceful world.
Because this will be our reality.
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