Category Archives: childrearing

The word’s first incubators: not for the faint-hearted

Here is an interesting story I came across recently – it may or may not have a grain of truth in it. I have not been able to substantiate the legend with further historical sources, but it is too good … Continue reading

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How did prehistoric people handle baby poo?

Every parent knows: there is pee and poo. Plenty. In the first few months pretty much everywhere. Nowadays, we contain them – for the most part – in disposable nappies (diapers). Disposable nappies are an invention of the second half … Continue reading

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Baby care simulator backfires

This week, the BBC headline Concerns raised over teenage pregnancy ‘magic dolls’ caught my attention. In a course of a programme to prevent teenage pregnancy, Western Australian girls were given baby dolls to look after that simulate the needs of … Continue reading

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Maria Theresia of Austria (1717-1780): a working mother of 16

Maria Theresia is a well known historical figure in Austria, sometimes regarded as somewhat of a founding mother of the country. She indeed must have been a very impressive woman. The last of the House of Habsburg, she did not … Continue reading

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Baby Jesus was not attachment parented

The birth of Jesus pretty much coincides with the end of Prehistory in Central Europe. The Roman Occupation 15 BC is generally taken as prehistory’s cut-off date in this region. From then on, written sources inform us about the course … Continue reading

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Screaming babies, toddler tantrums and infanticide

One of the craziest and funniest hypotheses I have recently come across is Tomer Ullman’s attempt to explain screaming babies in terms of an evolutionary advantage. If you have seven spare minutes I recommend watching it. He suggests that ‘infant … Continue reading

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Baby slings, cradle boards or a hole in the ground?

All mothers are working mothers. Looking after babies and young infants is a hard job in its own right, but the notion of a stay at home mum was most likely alien to prehistoric people. Women’s working capacity outside their … Continue reading

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