Brain drain and other tips for caring for children from the Middle Ages

Nowadays, when there are such wonderful inventions as disposable diapers, all kinds of radio and video nurses, rubber nipples, wet wipes and various cosmetics for babies, it is difficult to imagine what it was to mothers in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. How did they cope when there was none of the above? How many times a day was it prescribed to change diapers for a baby from the 17th century? How to wash it properly? Since when were children allowed to taste wine in the 15th century?

Based on information from the Ask the Past blog and the treatises of physicians of the late Middle Ages, the publication for parents of the NEN compiled a list of basic recommendations for medieval parents.

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How to care for a child

As soon as a child is born, it is immediately necessary to impose rose petals on it and rub it with salt.If one of the relatives wants to independently swaddle the baby, everyone else should step aside, and an experienced nanny will tell you where to stand. In general, the nurse is the most important person, because the child is plastic, like wax, and will grow exactly the way the nurse will make it. If the nanny is bad or harmful, then you will have a child. You need to swaddle the baby thoroughly, rewinding your arms, legs and head completely. After that, it must be put in the cradle so that it sleeps. Such advice gives Aldobrandino di Siena in his work "The Body Charter" in 1254.

Swaddling is important

Why is it necessary to swaddle a child as tightly as possible? Bartholomew English in the “Sixth Book”, dated 1492, writes that all parts of a baby’s body are very gentle and mobile, and if not swaddled properly, its internal organs can move.

What to do if the baby needs to change the diaper

First you need to tightly close all the doors and windows in the house. The nanny sits closer to the stove, pulls out her legs, puts a pillow on her knees, puts a baby on her and covers her on all sides with a raincoat so that the occasional draft does not catch the child's cold.If the child left abundantly for need, he can be undermined with a special cloth made from linen, which is moistened with water with the addition of wine. The nanny should change the diaper baby three times a day - at seven in the morning, at noon and at seven in the evening. The author of these councils, Jacques Guillaume, in his 1624 Birth of a Child, or Happy Childbirth book, recommends changing a baby’s diaper one more time at midnight, but notes that this practice is not very common in their parts.

How to bathe a baby

Francesco da Baberino in the “Charter for Women” of 1348 advises bathing only a well-sleeping child and always use warm water. If winter is necessary to take more hot water, but the use of boiling water is absolutely not recommended. Babies are washed twice or thrice a day, but as quickly as possible. If the baby’s skin turns red, stop washing. If during bathing the baby wants to kick up, you need not to hinder this: so he will get stronger faster. As soon as the child is washed, rub his nostrils and joints with good quality olive oil.

Features of breastfeeding

Bartolomeus Mettlinger in his “Book of Children” 1473 strongly discourages the mother from breastfeeding for the first 14 days after birth,because her milk has not had time to acquire useful properties. In these two weeks, the nurse must feed the nurse, and the author of the work recommends sucking milk with the help of a she-wolf (as stated in the original text, but it could be a puppy). If the mother still wants to breastfeed her baby immediately after birth, it is recommended to give a drop of honey to the baby before feeding, and then mother’s milk will not be so harmful to him.

How to choose a nurse

The same author gives advice on finding a nurse. If the mother cannot, for whatever reason, independently engage in breastfeeding, this case must be entrusted to the nurse. She should not be too young and too old; it’s best if she is 25 years old. By the time she starts feeding your baby, her own should be six weeks old. The main requirements - the girl should be healthy, not shy, with a tanned face, strong neck and elastic chest of medium size. The nurse’s breast should not be too small, too big or saggy.

What to do when a child has teeth cut

When a child begins to suffer from the fact that his teeth are cut, it is necessary to gently massage his throat and gums, and after such a massage - to spread the gums with a pie from hare brains. According to Giovanni Michele Savanarolla in his work “Tips for Women” of 1450, this is the best anesthetic. This should be done twice a day until the child is relieved. If there is no pate in the house, use dog milk. If not, it will fit and goose fat.

When children can drink wine

Bartolomeus Mettlinger in the “Book of Children” prescribes girls to try wine not earlier than 12 years, and boys not earlier. 14. Why not earlier? It turns out that due to the fact that up to this age children grow up, and they need moisture to grow. Wine is dry and it destroys moisture, so it prevents children from growing.

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