exploring the history of pregnancy, birth, and infant care around the world.

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Non-human apes don’t need a tool to carry their infants in part because they have body hair for their infants to cling to but it’s more complicated than simply having body hair and a baby that can grasp it.

So you’re an obstetrician in the early 20th century. You want to expand your practice to include all pregnancies and births, not just the high risk ones (but not those of black women, oh no!) So you gather up some sexist and racist drivel and viola! The Obstetrical Dilemma is born… and it’s killing women to this day.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some infallible trick to calm a crying baby? According to science, there just might be. (Get on your walking shoes.)

Human feet are unique in the ape family, made for walking instead of grasping. For our babies this means two fewer grasping limbs to help cling to their mother, which means that during the evolution of bipedalism, infants had a harder time hanging on. How did our ancestors survive?