chapter  11
15 Pages

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings

Breastfeeding and weaning in the past
BySiân E. Halcrow, Charlotte L. King, Andrew R. Millard, Anne Marie E. Snoddy, Rachel M. Scott, Gail E. Elliott, Darren R. Gröcke, Hallie R. Buckley, Vivien G. Standen, Bernardo T. Arriaza

Infant feeding and the weaning process have important implications for early life health, mortality patterns and fertility in past societies. This chapter reviews the recent developments in the investigation of infant and child feeding in the archaeological past, including new sampling techniques in isotopic weaning studies that are allowing a re-evaluation of how weaning is interpreted. We present a multi-method case study that illustrates the contribution that the investigation of breastfeeding and weaning can make to understanding early life histories of stress, maternal health, subsistence and disease within past natural and social environments.