Traditional Cultures Children Spacing According to WAPF - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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WAPF says: "Price also discovered that many tribes practiced the spacing of children in order to allow the mother to recover her nutrient stores and to ensure that subsequent children would be as healthy as the first. They did this by a system of multiple wives, or in the case of monogamous cultures, deliberate abstinence. Three years was considered the minimum time necessary between children to the same mother--anything less brought shame on the parents and the opprobrium of the village."

Who agrees with the 3 years and is anyone doing this? Do you feel that if children are spaced too closely that the next child really gets robbed of rightful nutrition?

And just for clarification purposes, do you think the "3 years" means wait a total of 3 years between children, and then try to conceive, or can you try to conceive somewhere along the 2.5 year mark and give birth after the 3 year mark?

Also, I forget if I read it on WAPF, but I thought it was saying to wait at least 6 months after weaning the first child, before trying to conceive again. Is that correct?

What are the implications for tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant, if the above information about nutrient stores is true?

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#2 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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From what I have read about natural child spacing having the next child would vary between 18 months and 4 yrs- depending on the cultures and to my understanding that was when the next baby was born. I also don't think that tandem nursing is typically very traditional(although I am currently nursing and pregnant myself). I thought I had read it advised to wait 3 months between weaning and pregnancy.

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#3 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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I'm trying to space things out... my daughter is 2.5 right now and I don't see myself getting pregnant until maybe some time next year. i think there is a lot to be said for spacing things out, but i think it can work to have children close together as well... you probably have to be a bit more organized for that though! lol and i'm not a terribly organized person...

though i don't think tandem nursing is less nutritious... wouldn't more suckling induce more milk?
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#4 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 10:10 AM
 
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I think my 2nd is definitely worse off, nutritionally, than my first. I can see it in their health, plus in their facial structure. I know I have underlying issues that are exaggerating the situation, but I think that just makes it a bit more obvious for me and min.

I think there's some individual variation in all this, but if anything, given how most of us grew up eating (we're not starting out optimally nourished like Price's folks were, we're starting with potentially generations of nutritional deficiencies), that would push out the 3-year mark. My son (2nd child) just turned 3, he's been weaned for just over a year, and I'm hoping to be healthy enough to consider TTC by the time he turns 4 (I do have atypical stuff going on I admit, but I've also been working hard).

Personally, I'm not willing to nurse while pregnant. I've seen too clearly how hard it is on a child who's had a worse nutritional start and how hard it is on the family. And it was hard on me, it was hard to parent well when I felt really rundown. My son's food intolerances are more than my daughter's and he gets sick a whole lot more, and that affects us all. And doing the work after kiddo's born to correct things is, well, a lot of work. At times I feel tired.
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#5 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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My two are 22 months apart, and my son definitely shows signs that he wasn't given the same nutritional start. His teeth erupted and had caries almost right away. I did tandem nurse, but really I don't think that contributed to it, I think it was the lack of time between pregnancies. (I say this because my daughter barely nursed during pregnancy, once a day or once every other day after about 16 weeks, and didn't start nursing again after DS was born until he was 6 weeks... I think she didn't like the taste of colostrum).

We're waiting until this summer/fall to TTC #3, so that DS and #3 will be at least 3 years apart. But we are doing that more for my sanity (I had PPD after DS that caused some problems), and because I don't want to have another early spring baby (to avoid exposing a newborn to the late winter/early spring illnesses, that's always when we seem to get sick!)

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#6 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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Sarah--have you done any reading on zinc and depression? Lots of depressed folks (like I've been) are quite low on zinc. Doesn't get much mention by Price, but it's been important for us (and important in my son getting sick so much). I think D may often be low in depressed people too, IIRC.
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#7 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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I haven't heard about the zinc connection, but I do know about the Vit D connection (I am from the Pac NW, and both my dad and my brother have lots of seasonal affective stuff). My PPD hit a real low when my son was 11 mos, so in Feb, after several months of gray weather. I had some situational stuff going on at the time too, but I think my PPD spiraled out of control before I knew what it was going on.

I eat so much healthier now, that I'm not too worried, though I will be vigilant, and have my partner be also vigilant to keep on top of it.

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#8 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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I also see that my 2nd is slightly less healthy than my first. She has caries as well and overall a bit less vitality, unfortunately.
They are almost 4 years apart but I bfed until I was about 4 months pregnant. I took my time weaning because I thought it would go easier on my first that way.
I hate to get down on anybody but I am of the field that LLL could do more to promote the importance of nutrition. I think that it is possible to bfeed and be pregnant but you have to be super vigilant with the diet (even though I agree that it is not ideal). I definitely was not vigilant, if anything I was more lax because I was too tired and nauseous to care, especially having to care for my first.
So, now I do all I can to help them both catch up a bit.

I have seen how multiple pregnancies over a condensed period of time and how extended breastfeeding with multiple children has taken it's toll on many women.
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#9 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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It's not the milk that it different, it's the mother's body and what nutrition teh baby receives in utero.

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#10 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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It is odd to me as my second is healthier than my first. Of course we finally figured food issues - did some healing diets etc. I tried my best to my diet as perfect as possible during pregnancy. I did nurse some through pregnancy not a lot. I am currently pregnant w/ number 3. I am still nursing at 11 weeks, but working on weaning as I said I don't think it is natural to nurse through pregnancy I don't think it is always traditional to wean before pregnancy either. Again I am working on my diet as perfect as I can- had a few bad weeks but am rebounding now. Of course trying to have nutritional perfect children is by far not my only consideration when it comes to deciding when to conceive.

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#11 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
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#12 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 01:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rafaela View Post
I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
If someone lacto-fermented something, realized it kept better through the winter, but made everyone sick, they would stop doing it. When you're optimally nourished, you can see the effects of one dietary change much more easily than we can now, having not had a great diet most of our lives.

As to the OP, my second child is actually healthier than the first, doesn't have cavities like her brother, and isn't as much of a picky eater. But I think that's more a function of my diet when I was pregant with her (I was extra careful since I continued nursing right through) than with spacing. My eldest two are 2.5 yrs apart.

However, my healthiest child by far is my youngest, he was born 3 years after his sister. I think the common denominator is my continually improving diet (as I've learned more and more about traditional foods through the years and have slowly adjusted our diets accordingly) rather than the spacing, necessarily.

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#13 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rafaela View Post
I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
I agree w/ this as well. It might have well been a body fat but also a result of prolonged lactational amennoreah that we in our culture do not always have for some reason or another. Also I believe the original post talked about taboos against sex during certain times- I think this was probably a function of religious reasons but cultural as well.

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#14 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rafaela View Post
I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
I actually did quite a bit of research on this when I was in school (my degree is in cultural anthropology). There are numerous traditional societies that had social rules or taboos about child spacing; not necessarily from a nutrition standpoint. Nomadic tribes, such as the Maasai, had taboos against sex until a child was around three, when they could walk far distances. This prevented a mother from having two children who needed to be carried, thus slowing down the mother and the rest of the tribe. Other cultures had proscriptions against having sex while the child was still nursing, others for the first year, some had traditions about appropriate time between pregnancies that were closely adhered too. I think saying that they didn't deliberately plan their child spacing doesn't give our ancestors enough credit.

-Sarah : mom to DD (4/05) : and DS (3/07) : Urban homesteading in Eastern Iowa
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#15 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is another excerpt about children spacing from WAPF, which is talking about "modern science" knowing that 3 years is ideal for preventing birth defects and ensuring emotional health (I'm wondering which part of modern science validates this):

"Spacing Children

One of the most interesting traditional practices reported by Dr. Weston Price was the deliberate spacing of children in primitive societies. Throughout Africa and the South Seas, it was considered shameful to have a child more than once every three years.

Modern science validates this practice. We now know that the ideal interval for preventing physical birth defects is three years; this is also the optimal spacing for the emotional health of children. And allowing at least three years between pregnancies permits the mother to recover her nutritional stores between children and to provide sufficient attention to each child--and to her marriage!"

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#16 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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Who agrees with the 3 years and is anyone doing this? Do you feel that if children are spaced too closely that the next child really gets robbed of rightful nutrition?
Mine are all 3 years apart. I don't know about the children, but *I'D* be a total health disaster if I had them any closer.

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And just for clarification purposes, do you think the "3 years" means wait a total of 3 years between children, and then try to conceive, or can you try to conceive somewhere along the 2.5 year mark and give birth after the 3 year mark?
Mine were actually born when the previous one was just turning 3, so I got pregnant when they were 2.25 yrs old.

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Also, I forget if I read it on WAPF, but I thought it was saying to wait at least 6 months after weaning the first child, before trying to conceive again. Is that correct?

What are the implications for tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant, if the above information about nutrient stores is true?
I didn't follow this. Well, I didn't nurse my first very long (but she probably got all or most of my toxins.) I felt REALLY good after she was born, especially after we weaned. Then I got pregnant with Dd2 & felt good after her birth too - though I had an awful time trying to maintain my weight - dropping down to a measly 112 lbs on a 5'9 frame - and eating loads of good fats.

Then I got pregnant with Ds & nursed Dd2 right through that pregnancy & tandemed for 3 months. *THEN* I felt horrible, still do some days/most days.

I've been thinking about weaning, but my heart isn't really in it. Soon enough, soon enough...he just turned 3 in March, so soon enough..

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#17 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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However- as mama2lelia even said there was no universal amount of time that traditional societies spaced children. We also cannot attach our values and thoughts to something- they had different reasons and some traditional peoples spaced children much closer. Also- I think the whole bit about the good of the marriage and the emotional health of the children only weakens the argument. What is good for one family may not be for another. I am emotionally ready around 2 yrs pp- some people are ready much sooner. As to physical health that highly depends on so very many factors. Your genetics- your mothers and ancestors health, where you live, what you have been exposed to- toxicity levels and how your body goes about releasing those toxins- your own digestion and health- diet etc. etc. To me this kind of talk about how you are ruining your child physically and emotionally stinks of the worse of WAP and NT- this superiority complex.

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#18 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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Oh, and Dd2 seems to be my healthiest child - she has excellent spacing in her mouth, wide palate, no cavities, never sick.

Ds seems really healthy too, but he had a cavity & his spacing is more like Dd1's - which is weird because I've been way more TF since getting pregnant with him. Could be I was nutritionally depleted...

Dd1 doesn't seem "unhealthy", but she had very crowded teeth, decay & her nerves aren't as strong as Dd2's & Ds's. She's more like me in that respect - I need to strengthen her adrenals.

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#19 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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My PPD hit a real low when my son was 11 mos, so in Feb, after several months of gray weather.

That happened to me too... I didn't even realize it because it was so far PP. I think lack of sleep, and for me self inflicted pressures which led to overworking myself, in addition to pacnw gloom was super harsh on me. We're finally considering #2 & my daughter is 3. I couldn't even comprehend wanting a new baby after all that!

Might depend on the person, though.

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#20 of 54 Old 05-01-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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I actually did quite a bit of research on this when I was in school (my degree is in cultural anthropology). There are numerous traditional societies that had social rules or taboos about child spacing; not necessarily from a nutrition standpoint. Nomadic tribes, such as the Maasai, had taboos against sex until a child was around three, when they could walk far distances. This prevented a mother from having two children who needed to be carried, thus slowing down the mother and the rest of the tribe. Other cultures had proscriptions against having sex while the child was still nursing, others for the first year, some had traditions about appropriate time between pregnancies that were closely adhered too. I think saying that they didn't deliberately plan their child spacing doesn't give our ancestors enough credit.
i've heard this sorta thing too... though i can picture my 2.5 yr old still wanting to be held for a number of years
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#21 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Rafaela View Post
I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
I gotta say, I agree with you on this!


and personally? I'm just sorta well.. leery of letting a dentist decide how my family planning goes. (even if he is one heck of a good dentist )

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#22 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Really interesting. I'm not surprised at all, actually, that ancient cultures put value into spacing children. I think 2-3 years is somewhat of a natural, healthy spacing. My boys are 16 months apart, ebf, cosleeping and all, and that felt (feels!!) very unnatural to me. I think that DS2 is possibly healthier than DS1, but regardless, it really took a huge toll on my body.

What is more remarkable is the emphasis placed on rebuilding nutrient stores. I think sometimes, even (especially?) in pro-bf, hb, etc. circles, our emphasis has shifted more toward a "birth is healthy, breastfeeding is healthy" mindset, and further from an awareness that both of those things require nutrients, and how important it is to replenish a mother's body.

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#23 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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I haven't heard about the zinc connection, but I do know about the Vit D connection
Also omega 3's and magnesium.
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#24 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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though i don't think tandem nursing is less nutritious... wouldn't more suckling induce more milk?
\

Yes but it's being made with the same amount of nutrients available in a mother's body and diet.

It would make sense to me that it might be less concentrated in nutrition as diet has been shown to influence milk nutritive quality.
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#25 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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We weren't trying to be TF, but my two are 40 months apart and it seems like a nice separation (for sanity purposes). My sister and I were 44 months and it was nice in the growing up years (we had space to develop our own groups of friends and identities, but were not so far apart we couldn't "hang" together-- now we're very close and age doesn't matter).

Just my experience (in a completely non-TF situation). As far a nutrients goes, it does seem to make sense. I know many woman that have babies back-to-back have trouble in the subsequent pregnancies, probably due to nutritional difficiencies and all the stress of having small babies while pregnant and nursing.

In the end, I think each family should weigh the pros and cons and make the decision based on their needs.

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#26 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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I guess I agree with most of what is being said here. That said, I love the close spacing of my children, for us personally.

My regret- is that I don't think I was nourished enough during my second pregnancy to continue nursing my first born. She weaned at 15 months, 4 months into the pregnancy. My milk was gone, and I was so sad. I was partly a veg at this point still, and didn't know about raw milk


There are things I would have done slightly different, had I known, but I seriously love the spacing so much that we are trying for another now so I can have 2 sets of kids closely spaced. By closely, I mean 1 1/2-2 years apart.

Also, we probably have access to more foods at any given time than traditional peoples- including supplements, and knowledge to use to our advantage from thousands of years of people roughing it out.

I just can't imagine everyone in ancient culture deliberately spacing children at 3 years. Maybe it was an unwritten rule or taboo....but I can't imagine people strictly following it.

And I have been to Africa, in the bush, where time goes much more slowly than here in America. We once sent our pastor out for a few loafs of bread in the morning because we were starving and he came back beaming with happiness at what he brought for us at NIGHT I wouldn't be surprised if people were just too busy with life, taking it in stride to worry about having more...

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#27 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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I'm going to have to do more reading on the subject. I find it hard to believe that any traditional culture would deliberately plan how to space their children. (Just like I really doubt traditional cultures lacto-fermented food specifically because it's healthier and not because they needed to preserve food for winter). If anything, women in traditional cultures probably had too little body fat to nurse and ovulate at the same time, which is why children were spaced about 3 years apart and why tandem nursing would be rare.
Among the San, it is (was?) considered a source of incredible shame to conceive again while you have a baby/toddler that still needs to be slung and carried when the group is on the move.

So much shame, in fact, that there was a great deal of social pressure for that woman to go into the bush to give birth and *not* come out with a baby. One article I read said that one reason that after the first birth many births are solo births is to give the mother that room to claim the child was not born alive.

I have read similar accounts of other "Traditional people." There are various ways to ensure your culture's preferred/approved child spacing. Taboos on sex while nursing and infanticide are two of the most common.

Tandem nursing is almost unknown in my anthropological research. People from cultures that do tend to get pregnant while the previous baby is still nursing near-universally wean, usually in VERY ungentle ways (bitter substances on the nipples, or sending the toddler to sleep with an aunt or grandma instead of with mom). It's often the end of direct cosleeping with mom, as well - after that the child will sleep with an older sibling or one of mom or dad's younger siblings.

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#28 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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I remember reading--I think in Cannibals and Kings, by Marvin Harris, that the low-carb hunter/gatherer diet would have created a longer gap of time between kids. When people moved to agriculture, they tended to procreate more rapidly--for a variety of reasons, some of them nutritional, some of them not. I also seem to remember him talking about deliberate infanticide as another way such cultures might have slowed overall reproduction.

Don't have anything personal to add to that--I'm just fascinated in this from a theoretical perspective.
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#29 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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: Well I am glad I have access to foods that can keep me healthy. I can't imagine going into the bush alone to birth my baby and then leave him/her to die b/c of cultural norms.

This topic interested me so I asked my mom what she thought. She had 2 sets of kids 1 year apart, one set of kids 3 years apart (technically, m/c inbetween) and the rest were 2 years apart. She said the ones closer were easier births and that it felt as if her body was able to work better having just done it. She said the birth that was 3 yrs apart was really hard on her. Two years worked well for her.

Personally I feel that I could conceive right now and be fine w/ it. My body appears to have returned to it's normal state. I'm at my original weight. Only difference is I will never wear size 0 again lol. I think my hips are permanently moved.

I guess it depends on the individual?

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#30 of 54 Old 05-02-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
: Well I am glad I have access to foods that can keep me healthy. I can't imagine going into the bush alone to birth my baby and then leave him/her to die b/c of cultural norms.

This topic interested me so I asked my mom what she thought. She had 2 sets of kids 1 year apart, one set of kids 3 years apart (technically, m/c inbetween) and the rest were 2 years apart. She said the ones closer were easier births and that it felt as if her body was able to work better having just done it. She said the birth that was 3 yrs apart was really hard on her. Two years worked well for her.

Personally I feel that I could conceive right now and be fine w/ it. My body appears to have returned to it's normal state. I'm at my original weight. Only difference is I will never wear size 0 again lol. I think my hips are permanently moved.

I guess it depends on the individual?

I can personally testify to this as well. I never thought about it before. My 3rd was the hardest by far on my body after, and with my first 2 I had a relatively easy time feeling normal again. After this last one(3 and a half years after his older brother) I still have new aches and pains.I really need to go to the chiro actually.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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