Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Not To Choose A Red-Haired Wet Nurse

Whilst searching Google Books I came across this book from the 18th century, titled 'The Diseases of Women with Child, And in Child-Bed.' It's a treatise on childbirth and new born babies, and the section about choosing a wet nurse contains some interesting views in regards red hair. For example, page 371 states that a wet nurse "must not be red-hair'd, nor marked with Spots[.]"

It then goes on to say:
"She ought to have a sweet Voice to please and rejoice the Child, and likewise ought to have a clear and free Pronunciation, that the child may not learn an ill Accent from her, as usually red-hair'd have[.]"
Then, on page 372, when talking of the quality of a nurse’s milk, it says:
"It must be of a sweet and pleasant Smell, which is Testimony of a good Temperament, as may be seen in red hair'd Women, whose Milk hath a sour, stinking and bad Scent[.]"
However, my favourite line comes on page 338, where it states:
"Very frequently the Milk of a Nurse, who is Red-hair'd, given to Wine, or very Amorous, may by its Heat and Acrimony cause small Ulcers in an Infant's Mouth[.]"
Charming.


1 comment:

  1. I take it that the underlying implications are that red-hair'd women are therefore unfit to mother their own children due to their "toxic titties".

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