Advertisement

Human Nature

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 457–472 | Cite as

Girl helpers and time allocation of nursing women among the Toba of Argentina

  • Riley B. BoveEmail author
  • Claudia R. Valeggia
  • Peter T. Ellison
Article

Abstract

In this paper we outline the activities of young girls in a Toba community of northern Argentina and examine the effect of girl helpers on time allocation of nursing women. Activity budgets were obtained for 41 girls aged 3 to 15 using spot observations. Girls spent substantial portions of observations engaged in helping behaviors. Individual values varied with age, anthropometric characteristics, and birth order. Activity budgets of 21 nursing women were obtained through focal observation sessions. Women living in households with girls aged 7 to 15 allocated 17% less time to domestic work and 9% more time to socializing during afternoon observation sessions. For nursing women in this community, direct childcare (provided by the infant’s own mother) seemed to be a priority. Living with a girl helper did not have any measurable effect on the frequency or duration of nursing, or on the time that women spent caring for their infants. Based on these findings, hypotheses are outlined for future work on the effect of girl helpers on women’s fertility.

Key words

Allomothering Childcare Helper at the nest Time allocation Toba 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alam, N. 1995 Birth Spacing and Infant and Early Childhood Mortality in a High Fertility Area of Bangladesh: Age-Dependent and Interactive Effects. Journal of Biosocial Science 27:393–404.Google Scholar
  2. Bledsoe, C., and U. Isiugo-Abanihe 1989 Strategies of Child-Fosterage among Mende Grannies in Sierra Leone. In Reproduction and Social Organization in Sub-Saharan Africa, R. J. Lesthaeghe, ed. Pp. 442–474. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Borgerhoff Mulder, M., and T. M. Caro 1985 The Use of Quantitative Observational Techniques in Anthropology. Current Anthropology 26:323–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bove, R. 1998 Mother’s Helper: Girls Contribution to Childcare and Domestic Work among the Toba of Argentina. B.A. Honors Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Harvard College.Google Scholar
  5. Caldwell, J. C. 1983 Direct Economic Costs and Benefits of Children. In Determinants of Fertility in Developing Countries, vol. 1, R. A. Bulatao and R. D. Lee, eds. Pp. 458–493. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cohn, M., C. R. Valeggia, and P. T Ellison 2001 Child Care-taking and Maternal Activities in a Toba Community, Formosa, Argentina. American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Suppl.) 32:51.Google Scholar
  7. Crognier, E., A. Baali, and H. K. Hilali 2001 Do "Helpers at the Nest" Increase Their Parents’ Reproductive Success? American Journal of Human Biology 13:365–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Das Gupta, M. 1990 Death Clustering, Mothers’ Education and the Determinants of Child Mortality in Rural Punjab, India. Population Studies 44:489–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Draper, P., and E. Cashdan 1988 Technological Change and Child Behavior among the !Kung. Ethnology 27:339–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellison, P. T. 1995 Breastfeeding, Fertility and Maternal Condition. In Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, P. Stuart-Macadam and K. A. Dettwyler, eds. Pp. 305–345. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  11. Fuller, B., and X. Liang 1999 Which Girls Stay in School? The Influence of Family Economy, Social Demands, and Ethnicity in South Africa. In Critical Perspectives on Schooling and Fertility in the Developing World, C. Bledsoe, J. B. Casterline, J. A. Johnson-Kuhn, and J. G. Haaga, eds. Pp. 181–215. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gallimore, R. J., J. W. Boggs, and C. Jordan 1974 Culture, Behavior, and Education: A Study of Hawaiian Americans. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Goddard, V. 1985 Child Labour in Naples: The Case of Outwork. Anthropology Today 1(5): 18–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hill, K. R., and A. M. Hurtado 1996 Ache Life History: The Ecology and Demography of a Foraging People. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  15. Hobcraft, J. N., J. W. McDonald, and S. O. Rutstein 1983 Demographic Determinants of Infant and Child Mortality: A Comparative Analysis. Population Studies 39:363–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keller, W. 1991 Stature and Weight as Indicators of Undernutrition. In Anthropometric Assessment of Nutritional Status, J. H. Himes, ed. Pp. 113–122. New York: Wiley-Liss.Google Scholar
  17. Kuate Defo, B. 1996 Effects of Infant Feeding Practices and Birth Spacing on Infant and Child Survival: A Reassessment from Retrospective and Prospective Data. Journal of Biosocial Science 29:303–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee, R. D., and R. A. Bulatao 1983 The Demand for Children: A Critical Essay. In Determinants of Fertility in Developing Countries, R. A. Bulatao and R. D. Lee, eds. Pp. 233–287. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lunn, P. G., S. Austin, A. M. Prentice, and R. G. Whitehead 1984 The Effect of Improved Nutrition on Plasma Prolactin Concentrations and Postpartum Infertility in Lactating Gambian Women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 39:227–235.Google Scholar
  20. Majumder, A. K. 1988 Child Survival and Its Effect on Mortality of Siblings in Bangladesh. Journal of Biosocial Science 22:333–347.Google Scholar
  21. Marcoux, R. 1997 Nuptialite et Maintien de la Polygamie en Milieu Urbain au Mali. Cahiers Quebecois de Demographie 26:191–214.Google Scholar
  22. Mason, K. O., and V. T. Palan 1981 Female Employment and Fertility in Peninsular Malaysia: Maternal Role Incompatibility Hypothesis Reconsidered. Demography 18:549–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Minturn, L., and W. Lambert 1964 Mothers of Six Cultures. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Munroe, R. H., R. L. Munroe, and C. Michelson 1982 Time Allocation in Four Societies. Ethnology 22:355–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Peacock, N. 1985 Time Allocation, Work and Fertility among Efe Pygmy Women of Northeast Zaire. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  26. Programa NacyDef (Nacimientos y Defunciones) 2001 Informe interno sobre estadísticas vitales de la Provincia de Formosa para el año 2000. Formosa, Departamento de Vigilancia Epidemológica. Ministerio de Desarrollo Humano de la Provincia de Formosa, Argentina.Google Scholar
  27. Robertson, C. C. 1984 Sharing the Same Bowl: A Socioeconomic History of Women and Class in Accra, Ghana. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Stack, C. 1974 All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  29. Turke, P. 1987 Helpers at the Nest: Childcare Networks on Ifaluk. In Human Reproductive Behavior: A Darwinian Perspective, L. L. Betzig, M. Borgerhoff Mulder, and P. Turke, eds. Pp. 173–188. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. 1988 Evolution and the Demand for Children. Population and Development Review 15(1):61–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. UNICEF 1996 Report on the Census and Project in the Barrio NamQom. UNICEF.Google Scholar
  32. Valeggia, C. R., and P. T. Ellison 2001 Lactation, Energetics, and Postpartum Fecundity. In Reproductive Ecology and Human Evolution, P. T. Ellison, ed. Pp. 85–105. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  33. Valeggia, C., K. M. Faulkner, and P. T. Ellison 2002 Crecimiento en lactantes de una comunidad Toba de Formosa. Archivos Argentinos de Pediatría 100(2):31–36.Google Scholar
  34. Vizthum, V. J. 1989 Nursing Behavior and Its Relation to Post-Partum Amenorrhoea in an Andean Community. Journal of Biosocial Science 21:145–160.Google Scholar
  35. 1994 Comparative Study of Breastfeeding Structure and Its Relation to Human Reproductive Ecology. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 37:307–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ware, H. 1981 Women, Demography and Development. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Wood, J. W. 1994 Dynamics of Human Reproduction: Biology, Biometry, Demography. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  38. Worthman, C. M., C. L. Jenkins, J. F. Stallings, and D. Lai 1993 Attenuation of Nursing-Related Ovarian Suppression and High Fertility in Well-Nourished, Intensively Breastfeeding Amele Women in Lowland Papua New Guinea. Journal of Biosocial Science 25:425–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Walter de Gruyter, Inc 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riley B. Bove
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia R. Valeggia
    • 1
  • Peter T. Ellison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridge

Personalised recommendations