Monday, July 29, 2013

Old babies

Motherhood a few centuries back wasn't that different from what it is now, except for the staggeringly greater chance that your baby would die in infancy. That's my takeaway. Okay, it's kind of a big "except." But still, it's interesting to see how far back the roots of modern parenting styles go. Even further than this, I would wager in a lot of cases.

The painting at the top of the linked article looks insane to me. I've never seen one waking baby who looked that calm, never mind two. The artist took some heavy liberties there.


susan said...

It was a fascinating article but not too surprising to learn that history shows parents have always cared deeply for their children. The race wouldn't have survived if that weren't true. The other very high mortality rate (that wasn't part of the study) was that of mothers. If that many historically famous ones died you can only imagine the percentage among the poor. Of course, without birth control married women often gave birth much more often than we see today - see Monty Python's 'Meaning of Life'. As to what happened earlier in our history or among 'hunter/gatherers' it would be very interesting to know but unlikely to discover.

Strangely enough, swaddling really does soothe small babies. I agree with you though that those two look a bit too calm.

Ben said...

"There go them bloody Catholics filling up the bloody world with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed."

I'm sure the calmness was a kind of artistic license, but it does look kind of glaring. Interesting tidbit about swaddling.