Rabbit brain pate and other tips for caring for children from the Middle AgesBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/rabbit-brain-pate-and-other-tips-for-caring-for-children-from-the-middle-ages
Nowadays, when there are such wonderful inventions as disposable diapers, all kinds of radios and baby monitors, rubber nipples, wet wipes and various cosmetics for babies, it is difficult to imagine what it was like for 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 XVII century? How to properly wash it? Since when can children taste wine?
Based on information from the Ask the Past blog and treatises of doctors of the late Middle Ages, the publication for NAN's parents has compiled a list of basic recommendations for medieval parents.
How to take care of a child
As soon as the child is born, it is immediately necessary to cover it with rose petals and rub it with salt. If one of the relatives wants to swaddle the baby on their own, all the others should make way, and an experienced nanny will tell who where to stand. In general, the nanny is the most important person, because the child is plastic like wax, and will grow up exactly the way the nanny will make it.
If the nanny is bad or harmful — this is how you will have a child. Swaddle the baby carefully, completely rewinding the arms, legs and head. After that, you need to put him in the cradle so that he sleeps. Such advice is given by Aldobrandino di Siena in his work "The Bodily Charter" of 1254.
Swaddling is important
Why is it necessary to swaddle the baby as tightly as possible? Bartholomew of England in the" Sixth Book", dated 1492, writes that all parts of the baby's body are very tender and mobile, and if it is not properly swaddled, its internal organs can move.
What to do if a child needs to change a diaper
First, you need to tightly close all the doors and windows in the house. The nurse sits closer to the stove, stretches out her legs, puts a pillow on her knees, the child on it and covers herself with a cloak on all sides so that an accidental draft does not catch a cold. If the child went to the need abundantly, it can be washed with a special cloth made of linen cloth, which is moistened with water with the addition of wine. The nanny must change the baby's diapers three times a day — at seven in the morning, at noon and at seven in the evening. The author of these tips, Jacques Guillaume, in his work "The Birth of a Child, or a Happy Birth" in 1612, recommends changing the baby's diaper one more time, at midnight, but notes that this practice is not very common in their parts yet.
How to bathe a child
Francesco da Baberino in the" Charter for Women " of 1348 advises to bathe only a well-slept child and always use warm water. If it is winter — it is necessary to take hotter water, but it is absolutely not recommended to use boiling water. Babies are washed twice or three times a day, but as quickly as possible. If the child's skin is red, washing should be stopped. If the baby wants to jump up and down while bathing, you should not prevent this: this way he will get stronger faster. As soon as the child is washed, you need to rub his nostrils and joints with good quality olive oil.
Features of breast-feeding
Bartholomeus Mettlinger in his" Book on Children " of 1473 strongly recommends that a mother should not breastfeed a child in the first 14 days after giving birth, because her milk has not yet had time to acquire useful properties. During these two weeks, the nurse should be engaged in feeding, and the author of the work recommends sucking the mother's milk with the help of a she-wolf (as it says in the original text, but it could be a puppy). If the mother still wants to breastfeed the baby herself immediately after birth, it is recommended to give the baby a drop of honey before feeding, and then the mother's milk will not be so harmful for him.
How to choose a wet nurse
The same author gives advice on finding a wet nurse. If the mother cannot, for some reason, independently engage in breastfeeding, it is absolutely necessary to entrust this matter to the wet nurse. She should not be too young and too old, it is best if she is 25 years old. By the time she starts feeding your baby, her own should already be six weeks old. The main requirements are that the girl should be healthy, not timid, with a tanned face, a powerful neck and elastic medium-sized breasts. The breast of the nurse should not be too small, too large or saggy.
What to do when a child is teething
When a child begins to suffer from the fact that his teeth are teething, it is necessary to gently massage his larynx and gums, and after such a massage-smear the gums with a pate of rabbit brains. According to Giovanni Michele Savanarolla in his work "Tips for Women" in 1450, this is the best painkiller. This should be done twice a day until the child is relieved. If there is no pate in the house, use dog's milk. If there is no such thing, goose fat will also do.
When can children drink wine
Bartholomeus Mettlinger in the" Book of Children " prescribes that girls should taste wine no earlier than 12 years, and boys-no earlier than 14. Why can't it be earlier? It turns out that due to the fact that children grow up to this age, and they need moisture for growth. Wine is dry, and it destroys moisture, so it prevents children from growing.