Mamatoto – MotherBaby – Epigenetics

The Swahili word Mamatoto literally means  “motherbaby.” It reflects the idea that the moment the mother conceives she and baby become one.  They share the same space for the following 42 weeks.  Everything in Mom’s world now becomes baby’s world.

The Swahili’s knew this to be true long before the new biological science of epigenetics confirmed it to be true.  Mother and baby also remain intimately connected post birth and via all the senses including nourishment through feeding.  Slowly baby’s world expands to take in other parts of their environment as they grow and become more independent.


I wanted to share this story with you about Minou the Mother cat.  Minou gave birth to her kittens without assistance and then instantly nursed them as they grew.  Then one day when the kittens were almost 3 weeks old, one of kittens became ill and then 2 more of the kittens showed similar signs and symptoms.  Something had definitely changed and they were not thriving as they had been before.  Minou’s owner knew of a chiropractor that took care of animals and wondered if  she would look at the kittens.  The Chiropractor checked the kittens and provided care but nothing changed.   The kittens were still ailing.  Then she asked if anything had changed in the house since the birth of the kittens that could be causing stress?  Then the lightbulb went on.  The family  who took care of Minou had agreed to take care of a neighbor’s large dog while they were away.  They recalled that every time the Dog was around Minou  she became very upset and agitated.  The Chiropractor in her wisdom said “bring  Mother Minou to me.”


The Chiropractor then checked and adjusted mama cat and within 1 day, the kittens were back to their old playful selves.  This story illustrates the power of epigenetics and the bond between mother and baby. (Epigenetics  means “above the genes”  and  is the term used to talk about how our environment can effect our genetic expression by turning genes on and turning genes off.)

In my practice I have seen this many times and this story has helped me understand the idea of “Mamatoto”.  A new mom will bring in her  baby in for care because they are sick or experiencing discomfort and many times I have said, ” Mama I need to take care of you so your baby can thrive to the fullest”

The next time your child is sick, or afraid, or stressed,  first ask yourself if you are sick, afraid or stressed?  This is the undeniable truth!  Motherhood is Mamatoto

Happy Mother’s Day everyday to all the Moms.  BTW if you are looking for a fabulous gift for a soon to be new mom or very new mom then you might want to give her a copy  of my best selling book “Building Healthy Humans” 

Grateful to be led down this path to take care of you so you can care for others.

My Best

Dr Pia