Posted by Caroline on August 15, 1997 at 13:32:19:
In reply to Re: Nursing Babies--JA Fam. Record posted by Kathy F. on August 15, 1997 at 11:05:35
] "Mrs. Austen [JA's mother] nursed her babies herself for their first few months of life, and then 'followed a custom, not unusual in those days, though it seems strange to us, of putting [them] out to be nursed in a cottage in the village. The infant was daily visited by one or both of tis parents, and frequently brought to them at the parsonage, but the cottage was its home, and must have remained so till it was old enough to run about and talk; for I know that one of them, in after life, used to speak of his foster mother as "Movie," the name by which he had called her in his infancy.'"
] Then from a letter from Mrs. A. to her Sister Cooper about JA: "I suckled my little Girl thro' the first quarter; she has been wean'd and settled at a good Woman's at Dean just Eight weeks; she is very healthy and lively, and puts on her short Petticoats to-day."
] One problem I always find, is that when I see the word "nurse" I think "breast-feeding"; when it may mean more like "doctor and nurse" nursing.
I think they do mean breastfeeding when they say "nursing" here. I read somewhere,(a La Leche League book, I think,) that the habit of feeing babies "pap"(by which the author meant bread and water, I think) was in vogue in some periods.However, and I again, I can't remember any specific instances, it seems to have been the fashion for ladies to breastfeed after the French Revolution. I have a couple of "genre " paintings of breastfeeding mothers(not "Ladies")which make those low-cut dresses with the frothy tucked-in neckerchief seem an extremely sensible garment for a mother to wear.
I remember when reading the bit you quoted from Le Faye's book, that it would seem to us to be odd to give up a three-month old baby for a few years, but when I thought a bout it , it makes a kind of sense. After all, many moms go back to work after a few months, and are exhausted by their babies at night, despite the quality of the day-time sittting.
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