ZOO VS EARTH THE ZOOKEEPER’S COMPARISON GUIDE

The Alien zookeeper noticed several things during his stay on Earth. Babies in his zoo fed better than the babies on Earth did. And the moms and babies in his zoo were happier than the moms and babies on Earth were.

He went to the Earth zoo to see why this was. He found the ways of the Earth Zoo to be quite peculiar.

***

HOW IT’S DONE ON EARTH:

Most of what a mom learns about feeding and caring for her baby she learns before birth from classes, books and the internet, and afterwards from the nursing staff at the hospital.

In addition to learning 2 or 3 positions for latching her baby to her breast, some of the things she learns are:

  • Breastfeeding is best for baby
  • She will probably need a nursing pillow/boppy and a breastpump
  • For the first few days after her baby is born her breasts will produce something called colostrum which is very important for baby, and then between the 3rd and 5th day after birth, her milk will “come in” and she will have breastmilk
  • Baby should not have a pacifier, formula, or a bottle

***

BIRTH AND FIRST FEW DAYS GENERALLY TAKE PLACE IN A HOSPITAL

Moms labor and deliver in a hospital bed, attached to monitors and hooked up to IV fluids. Many moms receive medication in labor to help reduce pain, and some moms end up having their babies delivered by cesarean section.

After baby is born he is placed skin to skin on mom’s chest and helped to latch on and breastfeed within the first hour. Once he nurses, the time is noted by the nurse, and this sets the clock for when he is supposed to eat next.

Then, he is taken from mom to be weighed, measured, bathed, given initial medications, clothed, and handed around to all the eager visitors.

For the remainder of the hospital stay (1-3 days) he will probably spend very little time skin to skin with mom, instead, he will spend most of his time swaddled, with his hands covered so that he cannot scratch his face or suck on his fingers.

He will often only smell/feel mom’s breasts when he has been placed there to eat. When he isn’t eating, he will spend most of his time in a bassinet. He may even spend some time in the nursery so that his mom can get some sleep without him.

Despite the fact that his mom is tired, between the visitors and hospital staff, her sleep is frequently interrupted, and the room tends to be bright and noisy much of the time.

***

BREASTFEEDING INSTRUCTION

Mom receives hands on breastfeeding support from the nurses, as well as instructions on many aspects of basic newborn care. Regardless of mom’s and baby’s unique attributes and needs, mom will likely receive the same instructions/support as every other mom does.

She should feed baby every 2-3 hours, or sooner if he shows feeding cues – sticking out his tongue, rooting and sucking, squirming.

She should also make note of the time she starts feeding him so she will know when he needs to eat again.

To wake him when it is time to feed him, she should remove him from the bassinet and un-swaddle him. If he still won’t wake up, she should take off his clothes to make him cold, rub him, tickle him, or wipe him with a cold/wet washcloth.

To feed him, mom sits upright and arranges pillows on her lap, then feeds in one of 3 specific positions – cradle, cross cradle, football hold. Most nurses have a preference for cross cradle or football hold.

Mom is taught to shape her breast for baby by using the thumb and index fingers of one hand, and not any other fingers. She should make a “u” with her fingers if feeding in cross cradle, or a “c” if feeding in football hold.

The nurse will show mom how to latch baby. First, she will tuck baby’s hands down so he can’t get them in the way. Then she will hold baby’s face away from the breast until he opens his mouth wide. When/if he opens wide, she will quickly bring him onto the breast. He may be pushed on by the back of the head or neck.

Mom is told to feed him for 10-15 minutes on each breast, or for 20-30 minutes on one breast.

***

SUPPORT AND ADVICE FOR FEEDING STRUGGLES

If baby isn’t able to latch and suck well, support and advice are generally geared towards improving baby’s performance. The underlying assumption is that baby is doing something wrong and that the breastfeeding struggles are his fault.

If he doesn’t open wide, or if the latch hurts, mom is told to take him off the breast repeatedly and make him do it correctly. She should not let baby get away with an incorrect latch, he will learn bad habits.

If he isn’t sucking and swallowing she is taught to rub him, tickle him, or wipe him with a cold washcloth to make him uncomfortable.

Mom may be told one of the phrases that make us miserable and encouraged to try alternative comfort measures, like swaddling, or letting baby suck on her finger, while she takes a break from feeding attempts.

If baby continues to struggle with breastfeeding, Mom is offered a break by having baby taken to nursery.

By the time mom, dad and baby leave the hospital, they are exhausted and sleep deprived. Mom may still not feel confident about breastfeeding, and may be fearful of being able to latch and feed baby when she goes home.

***

HOW IT’S DONE IN THE ZOO:

Mom has seen babies nursing all her life. Most of what she needs to know, she knows already without knowing it. As far as specifics, however, this she will learn together with her baby, depending on their unique fit. This is what mom knows:

Breastfeeding is a strange word. Breasts are for feeding babies. What other kind of feeding could there be?

What’s a boppy? All she needs to feed baby is a baby and herself. If she needs to express her milk, she can use her hands.

She knows that there is less milk in the first few days and more after that, but she doesn’t know that Earth humans have given different names to it. Food is food.

What’s a pacifier? And why would you use one? None of the other babies in the zoo use one. Babies suck to eat, sucking on something that doesn’t give them food makes no sense.

Mom has no idea what formula is. All she knows is that if her baby needs extra milk, she will need to borrow one of the zoo wet nurses.

***

BIRTH AND FIRST FEW DAYS GENERALLY TAKE PLACE IN MOM’S HOME

Mom labors and delivers in her own home, moving about as much or as little as she desires until she is ready to give birth. She is tended to by neighbor women. Labor is long and painful, but the zoo does not have pain medications, and there are no interventions, for the good or the bad.

When baby is born, he is placed on mom’s chest. When he is ready, he will crawl to the breast (with some help from mom) and latch on. However, nobody will note the time, after all, there are no clocks.

Mom and baby will be cleaned up, at some point. But baby won’t be taken from mom for any reason. There are no scales and tape measures. Babies belong with mothers, relatives are happy, but they don’t interfere with mom and baby bonding.

For the next few days and weeks, baby will live nestled between mom’s breasts.

Mom remains at home, in her own bed, tended by supportive women. There are no frequent interruptions, no bright lights and loud noises.

***

BREASTFEEDING

Mom trusts in herself and in baby’s innate feeding abilities, but she knows she can turn to the other women for help if she needs it.

Healthy babies eat when they are hungry and eat until they are full. She has never seen a clock, what could it possibly have to do with feeding a baby?

Her baby will spend all his time nestled between her breasts. When he needs to eat, he will begin to squirm down and find his way to the breast by using his face, hands and tongue for touch and his nose for smell. She’s never thought of those actions as “feeding cues”, just the things that babies do in order to eat.

What’s a bassinet? Babies sleep on mom’s chest during the day, and nestled safely in the crook of their mothers’ arms at night, where they can easily find the breast and feed as often as they need to.

Healthy babies wake on their own to feed. Feeding is fun, it’s enjoyable. Mom’s favorite time of day is family meal time. The idea of intentionally making baby uncomfortable to make him eat better just makes no sense.

Mom does not learn specific latch and positioning techniques. Mom and baby will explore each other and discover how they best fit together, depending on things like:

  • Mom’s body size and shape
  • Positions that mom finds comfortable after giving birth
  • The size and shape of mom’s breast
  • Where mom’s breast naturally hangs
  • The angle of mom’s nipple
  • Baby’s size and unique body characteristics
  • Baby’s discomforts – like bruising of his head and face
  • Baby’s mouth, and how it will best fit mom’s breast

Depending on how her baby fits into her body, she might need to shape her breast, using whichever fingers work. Why would anyone care what fingers she uses as long as it works?

Mom makes sure baby has his hands free to help him get in the right position and find the breast. Mom would never cover his hands or hold his face away so he can’t feel the breast, how else would he find it? He will feel with his face and hands until he feels the breast with his chin and the nipple beneath his nose.

Once he has had a chance to find his landmarks, he will latch himself. He will eat until he is full, although mom has no idea how long that will take or whether he will feed from one breast or both breasts.

If baby needs help to get started sucking, she will squeeze and massage her breast. As milk flows into his mouth, baby will begin to suck. If that doesn’t work, she may move him to the other breast or hand express into his mouth.

***

SUPPORT AND ADVICE FOR FEEDING STRUGGLES

When baby isn’t able to latch and suck well, support and advice are geared towards getting breastmilk into baby, and making sure that mom and baby are both fed and comforted while they figure things out. Mom knows that babies have no control over whether or not they are able to feed well. Babies are just babies.

Mom will comfort baby – he is hungry and struggling, she won’t do anything aimed at making him more uncomfortable.

Mom might re-latch him a few times, but she knows he is only learning and whether or not he gets it right, he still needs to eat. Babies are never correct or incorrect. They are just babies.

She would be surprised to have no milk. She knows that as soon as baby is born, there is already supposed to be some food in her breasts for him.

Although she has seen many ways to comfort a baby, she knows the only way to comfort hunger is with food. She will express her milk to feed baby until he is full so they can both sleep and take a break from learning.

She would never let someone take baby from her – babies without moms don’t do well!

Nobody would ever use one of the phrases that make us miserable! It would be unthinkable!

***

SO, WHY ARE MOMS AND BABIES MISERABLE ON EARTH?

EARTH CARE MODEL

Hospital delivery environment:

  • Many labor interventions – induction, iv fluids, epidural, c-section, vacuum – seem to have a strong correlation with latch difficulties and a delay in the onset of abundant milk supply
  • Not to mention the frequent disruptions, awkward hospital beds, noisy environment and lack of sleep

Human babies are like kangaroos. They aren’t meant to be swaddled and sleeping in a bassinet, or worse, in the nursery so mom can sleep. Being separated from mom increases the stress hormones in baby, and decrease how often and how well he nurses.

Scheduled/clock based feeds – in between feeds, babies are often swaddled in a bassinet. Some babies wake, ready to eat, but not smelling mom, go back to sleep. They are often excessively hungry by the time they are taken from the bassinet and expected to quickly latch. They spend very little time snuggling with mom before and after feeds.

Preconceived positions and latch techniques that do not take into account mom’s and baby’s unique fit. Latch techniques often thwart latch reflexes and sabotage baby’s latch attempts.

Phrases and concepts that make us miserable – these suggest that baby is being manipulative vs having a need. They suggest that baby has behaviors that need to be trained/modified vs needs that need to be nurtured.

Earth model sets moms and babies up for feeding hurdles, unrealistic expectations, seeds of resentment, and ultimately, unhappiness.

***

ALIEN ZOO MODEL

The zoo environment is calm and quiet. The lack of labor interventions prevents the latch difficulties that often correlate with birth interventions.

Baby remains nestled between mom’s breast, skin to skin, 24/7 for the first few days. This reduces stress hormones in baby, and helps him tap into his own reflexes to make sure he eats well.

Natural feeding positions are tailored to mom and baby and maximize likelihood of success.

When baby cries, frets, needs holding, etc., these are seen as needs to be addressed and not as behaviors to be corrected.

Alien Zoo model sets moms and babies up for breastfeeding success. Moms and babies are happier.

***

The zookeeper admitted that Earth had one huge advantage over his zoo – on Earth, moms and babies rarely died in childbirth. He wouldn’t have believed it possible to have such a low infant mortality rate if he hadn’t seen it himself.

Still, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for Earth’s moms and babies.

Earth humans were too smart, they overcomplicated everything, even the act of feeding babies.

Poor things, no wonder his zoo humans were so much happier.

He wished he could take them all home. But he couldn’t.

Instead, he wrote a four part guide:

THE ALIEN ZOOKEEPER’S GUIDE – BRINGING THE BEST OF THE ZOO TO EARTH

 

ZOO VS EARTH THE ZOOKEEPER’S COMPARISON GUIDE

The Alien zookeeper noticed several things during his stay on Earth. Babies in his zoo fed better than the babies on Earth did. And the moms and babies in his zoo were happier than the moms and babies on Earth were.

He went to the Earth zoo to see why this was. He found the ways of the Earth Zoo to be quite peculiar.

***

HOW IT’S DONE ON EARTH:

Most of what a mom learns about feeding and caring for her baby she learns before birth from classes, books and the internet, and afterwards from the nursing staff at the hospital.

In addition to learning 2 or 3 positions for latching her baby to her breast, some of the things she learns are:

  • Breastfeeding is best for baby
  • She will probably need a nursing pillow/boppy and a breastpump
  • For the first few days after her baby is born her breasts will produce something called colostrum which is very important for baby, and then between the 3rd and 5th day after birth, her milk will “come in” and she will have breastmilk
  • Baby should not have a pacifier, formula, or a bottle

***

BIRTH AND FIRST FEW DAYS GENERALLY TAKE PLACE IN A HOSPITAL

Moms labor and deliver in a hospital bed, attached to monitors and hooked up to IV fluids. Many moms receive medication in labor to help reduce pain, and some moms end up having their babies delivered by cesarean section.

After baby is born he is placed skin to skin on mom’s chest and helped to latch on and breastfeed within the first hour. Once he nurses, the time is noted by the nurse, and this sets the clock for when he is supposed to eat next.

Then, he is taken from mom to be weighed, measured, bathed, given initial medications, clothed, and handed around to all the eager visitors.

For the remainder of the hospital stay (1-3 days) he will probably spend very little time skin to skin with mom, instead, he will spend most of his time swaddled, with his hands covered so that he cannot scratch his face or suck on his fingers.

He will often only smell/feel mom’s breasts when he has been placed there to eat. When he isn’t eating, he will spend most of his time in a bassinet. He may even spend some time in the nursery so that his mom can get some sleep without him.

Despite the fact that his mom is tired, between the visitors and hospital staff, her sleep is frequently interrupted, and the room tends to be bright and noisy much of the time.

***

BREASTFEEDING INSTRUCTION

Mom receives hands on breastfeeding support from the nurses, as well as instructions on many aspects of basic newborn care. Regardless of mom’s and baby’s unique attributes and needs, mom will likely receive the same instructions/support as every other mom does.

She should feed baby every 2-3 hours, or sooner if he shows feeding cues – sticking out his tongue, rooting and sucking, squirming.

She should also make note of the time she starts feeding him so she will know when he needs to eat again.

To wake him when it is time to feed him, she should remove him from the bassinet and un-swaddle him. If he still won’t wake up, she should take off his clothes to make him cold, rub him, tickle him, or wipe him with a cold/wet washcloth.

To feed him, mom sits upright and arranges pillows on her lap, then feeds in one of 3 specific positions – cradle, cross cradle, football hold. Most nurses have a preference for cross cradle or football hold.

Mom is taught to shape her breast for baby by using the thumb and index fingers of one hand, and not any other fingers. She should make a “u” with her fingers if feeding in cross cradle, or a “c” if feeding in football hold.

The nurse will show mom how to latch baby. First, she will tuck baby’s hands down so he can’t get them in the way. Then she will hold baby’s face away from the breast until he opens his mouth wide. When/if he opens wide, she will quickly bring him onto the breast. He may be pushed on by the back of the head or neck.

Mom is told to feed him for 10-15 minutes on each breast, or for 20-30 minutes on one breast.

***

SUPPORT AND ADVICE FOR FEEDING STRUGGLES

If baby isn’t able to latch and suck well, support and advice are generally geared towards improving baby’s performance. The underlying assumption is that baby is doing something wrong and that the breastfeeding struggles are his fault.

If he doesn’t open wide, or if the latch hurts, mom is told to take him off the breast repeatedly and make him do it correctly. She should not let baby get away with an incorrect latch, he will learn bad habits.

If he isn’t sucking and swallowing she is taught to rub him, tickle him, or wipe him with a cold washcloth to make him uncomfortable.

Mom may be told one of the phrases that make us miserable and encouraged to try alternative comfort measures, like swaddling, or letting baby suck on her finger, while she takes a break from feeding attempts.

If baby continues to struggle with breastfeeding, Mom is offered a break by having baby taken to nursery.

By the time mom, dad and baby leave the hospital, they are exhausted and sleep deprived. Mom may still not feel confident about breastfeeding, and may be fearful of being able to latch and feed baby when she goes home.

***

HOW IT’S DONE IN THE ZOO:

Mom has seen babies nursing all her life. Most of what she needs to know, she knows already without knowing it. As far as specifics, however, this she will learn together with her baby, depending on their unique fit. This is what mom knows:

Breastfeeding is a strange word. Breasts are for feeding babies. What other kind of feeding could there be?

What’s a boppy? All she needs to feed baby is a baby and herself. If she needs to express her milk, she can use her hands.

She knows that there is less milk in the first few days and more after that, but she doesn’t know that Earth humans have given different names to it. Food is food.

What’s a pacifier? And why would you use one? None of the other babies in the zoo use one. Babies suck to eat, sucking on something that doesn’t give them food makes no sense.

Mom has no idea what formula is. All she knows is that if her baby needs extra milk, she will need to borrow one of the zoo wet nurses.

***

BIRTH AND FIRST FEW DAYS GENERALLY TAKE PLACE IN MOM’S HOME

Mom labors and delivers in her own home, moving about as much or as little as she desires until she is ready to give birth. She is tended to by neighbor women. Labor is long and painful, but the zoo does not have pain medications, and there are no interventions, for the good or the bad.

When baby is born, he is placed on mom’s chest. When he is ready, he will crawl to the breast (with some help from mom) and latch on. However, nobody will note the time, after all, there are no clocks.

Mom and baby will be cleaned up, at some point. But baby won’t be taken from mom for any reason. There are no scales and tape measures. Babies belong with mothers, relatives are happy, but they don’t interfere with mom and baby bonding.

For the next few days and weeks, baby will live nestled between mom’s breasts.

Mom remains at home, in her own bed, tended by supportive women. There are no frequent interruptions, no bright lights and loud noises.

***

BREASTFEEDING

Mom trusts in herself and in baby’s innate feeding abilities, but she knows she can turn to the other women for help if she needs it.

Healthy babies eat when they are hungry and eat until they are full. She has never seen a clock, what could it possibly have to do with feeding a baby?

Her baby will spend all his time nestled between her breasts. When he needs to eat, he will begin to squirm down and find his way to the breast by using his face, hands and tongue for touch and his nose for smell. She’s never thought of those actions as “feeding cues”, just the things that babies do in order to eat.

What’s a bassinet? Babies sleep on mom’s chest during the day, and nestled safely in the crook of their mothers’ arms at night, where they can easily find the breast and feed as often as they need to.

Healthy babies wake on their own to feed. Feeding is fun, it’s enjoyable. Mom’s favorite time of day is family meal time. The idea of intentionally making baby uncomfortable to make him eat better just makes no sense.

Mom does not learn specific latch and positioning techniques. Mom and baby will explore each other and discover how they best fit together, depending on things like:

  • Mom’s body size and shape
  • Positions that mom finds comfortable after giving birth
  • The size and shape of mom’s breast
  • Where mom’s breast naturally hangs
  • The angle of mom’s nipple
  • Baby’s size and unique body characteristics
  • Baby’s discomforts – like bruising of his head and face
  • Baby’s mouth, and how it will best fit mom’s breast

Depending on how her baby fits into her body, she might need to shape her breast, using whichever fingers work. Why would anyone care what fingers she uses as long as it works?

Mom makes sure baby has his hands free to help him get in the right position and find the breast. Mom would never cover his hands or hold his face away so he can’t feel the breast, how else would he find it? He will feel with his face and hands until he feels the breast with his chin and the nipple beneath his nose.

Once he has had a chance to find his landmarks, he will latch himself. He will eat until he is full, although mom has no idea how long that will take or whether he will feed from one breast or both breasts.

If baby needs help to get started sucking, she will squeeze and massage her breast. As milk flows into his mouth, baby will begin to suck. If that doesn’t work, she may move him to the other breast or hand express into his mouth.

***

SUPPORT AND ADVICE FOR FEEDING STRUGGLES

When baby isn’t able to latch and suck well, support and advice are geared towards getting breastmilk into baby, and making sure that mom and baby are both fed and comforted while they figure things out. Mom knows that babies have no control over whether or not they are able to feed well. Babies are just babies.

Mom will comfort baby – he is hungry and struggling, she won’t do anything aimed at making him more uncomfortable.

Mom might re-latch him a few times, but she knows he is only learning and whether or not he gets it right, he still needs to eat. Babies are never correct or incorrect. They are just babies.

She would be surprised to have no milk. She knows that as soon as baby is born, there is already supposed to be some food in her breasts for him.

Although she has seen many ways to comfort a baby, she knows the only way to comfort hunger is with food. She will express her milk to feed baby until he is full so they can both sleep and take a break from learning.

She would never let someone take baby from her – babies without moms don’t do well!

Nobody would ever use one of the phrases that make us miserable! It would be unthinkable!

***

SO, WHY ARE MOMS AND BABIES MISERABLE ON EARTH?

EARTH CARE MODEL

Hospital delivery environment:

  • Many labor interventions – induction, iv fluids, epidural, c-section, vacuum – seem to have a strong correlation with latch difficulties and a delay in the onset of abundant milk supply
  • Not to mention the frequent disruptions, awkward hospital beds, noisy environment and lack of sleep

Human babies are like kangaroos. They aren’t meant to be swaddled and sleeping in a bassinet, or worse, in the nursery so mom can sleep. Being separated from mom increases the stress hormones in baby, and decrease how often and how well he nurses.

Scheduled/clock based feeds – in between feeds, babies are often swaddled in a bassinet. Some babies wake, ready to eat, but not smelling mom, go back to sleep. They are often excessively hungry by the time they are taken from the bassinet and expected to quickly latch. They spend very little time snuggling with mom before and after feeds.

Preconceived positions and latch techniques that do not take into account mom’s and baby’s unique fit. Latch techniques often thwart latch reflexes and sabotage baby’s latch attempts.

Phrases and concepts that make us miserable – these suggest that baby is being manipulative vs having a need. They suggest that baby has behaviors that need to be trained/modified vs needs that need to be nurtured.

Earth model sets moms and babies up for feeding hurdles, unrealistic expectations, seeds of resentment, and ultimately, unhappiness.

***

ALIEN ZOO MODEL

The zoo environment is calm and quiet. The lack of labor interventions prevents the latch difficulties that often correlate with birth interventions.

Baby remains nestled between mom’s breast, skin to skin, 24/7 for the first few days. This reduces stress hormones in baby, and helps him tap into his own reflexes to make sure he eats well.

Natural feeding positions are tailored to mom and baby and maximize likelihood of success.

When baby cries, frets, needs holding, etc., these are seen as needs to be addressed and not as behaviors to be corrected.

Alien Zoo model sets moms and babies up for breastfeeding success. Moms and babies are happier.

***

The zookeeper admitted that Earth had one huge advantage over his zoo – on Earth, moms and babies rarely died in childbirth. He wouldn’t have believed it possible to have such a low infant mortality rate if he hadn’t seen it himself.

Still, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for Earth’s moms and babies.

Earth humans were too smart, they overcomplicated everything, even the act of feeding babies.

Poor things, no wonder his zoo humans were so much happier.

He wished he could take them all home. But he couldn’t.

Instead, he wrote a four part guide:

THE ALIEN ZOOKEEPER’S GUIDE – BRINGING THE BEST OF THE ZOO TO EARTH