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Share The importance of breastfeeding in the Middle Ages

Mireia Long

I have found a very interesting work that tells us about the great importance of breastfeeding for the survival of children in the Middle Ages .

The work was done on human remains of a village that was abandoned during the Black Death. Until then, it could be considered that children were almost exclusively fed with breast milk until they were eighteen months old, although water and solid foods were added to their diet.

They were in very good condition, but only while they were still receiving breast milk.

These children had a growth and development equal to that of children in today's advanced societies, as breast milk protected them from diseases and provided them with a reliable and pollution-free diet.

However, when breastfeeding ceased, mortality soared and malnutrition and slow growth also reached, so much so that it was possible to show that humans continued to grow until they were 20 years old, and not until they turned 18 as is currently normal. This is explained because during childhood they did not receive, after weaned, enough food and did not grow at the normal rate.

The extension of prolonged suckling, in addition to the practical issue in a context of food shortages, was due to cultural reasons. Possibly it was evident that breastfeeding kept children well nourished and healthy, in addition to counting women with a propitious environment, in which it was usual to breastfeed and receive support and reliable information from other experienced mothers.

It is interesting to note that breastfeeding demonstrates its historical importance in the Middle Ages as a protective factor for the health and survival of babies, even in the context of food crisis and the worst possible health conditions.

Via | The Guardian