chapter  17
Infant Care among the Sedentarized Baka Hunter-Gatherers in Southeastern Cameroon
ByAyako Hirasawa
Pages 20

This chapter explores a more "culturalist" approach, emphasizing social and cultural contexts. It addresses issues of universal versus particularistic nature of forager infant care. The chapter describes home in on the Baka society and its people through their infant care practices. It also describes Baka infant care, focusing on four issues, which are common to most studies of hunter-gatherer infants: Who cares for infants? How often do mothers nurse the infants? How do caregivers stimulate the infants? How proximal are infants to caregivers? Baka infants are weaned all at once when the mother becomes aware of her next pregnancy because they believe that the infant will suffer serious sickness or emaciation if a pregnant mother nurses him/her. The chapter examines infant care among the Baka, and has partly examined the impact of sedentarization and introduction of substantial cultivation on infant care practices.