As part of our blog contest last month we invited readers to submit their questions to us about the museum or life in the 19th Century. We will take some time this month to answer each of them.
Our first question deals with infant care.
Nell Asks: My question is about infant care in 19th century America. What did they eat? What were the norms around breastfeeding? Who cared for babies and very young children? What did they wear?
Answer: Breast feeding was the norm for infants up to 18 months of age. Sometimes less if a mothers was not particularly productive. In these cases wet nurses were available for hire.
Mothers cared for babies and young children unless of course the mother died in child birth which was not infrequent. In that case, a wet nurse was hired and siblings or female relatives cared for the child.
Babies wore cloth diapers, a diaper cover, a gown, and a piece of flannel wrapped around the mid section plus various caps, flannel for winter and cool weather cotton and linen for warmer weather.
As part of our Stages of Life Program at The Foster-Tufts House this year, we have a hand made baby layette available for you to see & touch.
Have a question? drop us a line through the email link or via our comments. We will answer all that we receive!