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MumblingSage
05-28-2008, 12:42 AM
...I was going to end the title with 'in the Bronze Age', but didn't want to scare anybody away.

*watches terrified browsers run for their lives*

My basic problem is simple. I have a woman who is traveling, on her own, with a, let's say, six-month-old baby boy. And this isn't a modern world, it's somewhat like ancient Greece or Rome in technology (the 'Bronze Age' was a bit of hyperbole on my part).

So I need advice on how to care for a kid while on the move, from people who keep in mind that this woman doesn't have easy acess to supermarkets and other such fun.

How often does a kid need to be fed? Changed? How much danger might there be from exposure to the elements? What am I not thinking of that shows how horribly unqualified I am to write this situation?

And is there anything special about the condition of a woman who gave birth six months ago that I should keep in mind? Assuming the pregnancy and birth went as normal.

Melenka
05-28-2008, 01:20 AM
A six month old baby would be breast fed, so the important thing is keeping the mother fed and hydrated. The child would be wrapped up against the elements, probably in a blanket or similar fabric, and carried close to the body for warmth. Not sure about diapering in that era. You may need to talk to an historian or anthropologist for better details.

Six months is more than enough time to recover, even from a complicated birth. Trust me, I've had both kinds. The good thing about babies at six months is that they spend more time sleeping than doing anything else and they aren't at the point where they need much in the way of entertainment.

johnnysannie
05-28-2008, 01:27 AM
...I was going to end the title with 'in the Bronze Age', but didn't want to scare anybody away.

*watches terrified browsers run for their lives*

My basic problem is simple. I have a woman who is traveling, on her own, with a, let's say, six-month-old baby boy. And this isn't a modern world, it's somewhat like ancient Greece or Rome in technology (the 'Bronze Age' was a bit of hyperbole on my part).

So I need advice on how to care for a kid while on the move, from people who keep in mind that this woman doesn't have easy acess to supermarkets and other such fun.

How often does a kid need to be fed? Changed? How much danger might there be from exposure to the elements? What am I not thinking of that shows how horribly unqualified I am to write this situation?

And is there anything special about the condition of a woman who gave birth six months ago that I should keep in mind? Assuming the pregnancy and birth went as normal.


She would probably carry the infant in something like this, Bronze Age style of course;) I had one for my son and loved it; could carry him against my chest or on my back everywhere.

http://www.ergobabycarriers.com/img/category/BC4S.jpg


Diapering....she might pack the swaddling or wrapping with dry moss or other materials that would absorb the waste and change it as often as possible.

How often to feed - as needed; several times a day at least

The mindset of a woman with a 6 month old in those conditions would be the status quo; birth and motherhood were entirely natural and normal.

MumblingSage
05-28-2008, 05:43 AM
Niiice. I think I'll have to formulate a Bronze-Age cradleboard. *research begins*

Okay, thanks for the advice, all.

Now...what do kids know how to do at 6 months? Much of anything? Do they still have some of the baby reflexes? Or are they just like big stuffed animals...that need changing and feeding?

Keyan
05-28-2008, 09:56 AM
My guess if the woman's main concern would be safety. In a pre-modern world, a woman alone would be vulnerable to predators both animal and human, and if she carried a baby, she would be doubly so since she would be hampered in fighting or escaping. However, if it's not an issue, then a six-month-old is relatively portable. The kid would probably be tied onto her in a carrier or sling. (Check out the Chinese baby-slings. They're very low tech but effective.) He'd have to be breast-fed every few hours. If she didn't get enough food, she'd lose weight. Enough water would be important to avoid the milk drying up and/ or the woman getting dehydrated.

Toileting probably wouldn't be a problem (unless you need it to be for your story). I've read that women who carry their babies like that all the time become attuned enough to their body-language that they can anticipate the need and hold the kid away from their bodies.

The weather would be a factor. If you want to make her journey easy, then it's quite warm but not scorching or horribly humid. If it's to be tough, then it's cold and windy and she has to be careful not to let the baby get hypothermic, which happens easily with babies.

In terms of what he can do: roll over, maybe creep or even crawl; take an interest in sounds. If he's happy and well-fed he'll sleep a lot. He will probably cry some, but not much since he's being carried all the time. If he's going to be in the story a while, you may want to read "The First Twelve Months of Life" by Frank Caplan and Theresa Caplan.
It details expected milestones month by month.

MumblingSage
05-28-2008, 09:02 PM
Sounds good. My mom might wonder why I'm checking it out, but...

slcboston
05-28-2008, 09:15 PM
Sounds good. My mom might wonder why I'm checking it out, but...

I can hear the conversation now...

"But mom, it's for a story. I'm NOT pregnant, I swear." :D

jennontheisland
05-28-2008, 09:24 PM
Moss in a cloth would make for a reasonable diaper. Covered with leather it would be fairly waterproof too. Any rash that developed could be treated with breast milk.

At six months the mother could start offering the baby tastes of real food, but the primary source of nutrition would be breast milk. Water could be given to maintain hydration on hot days, from a cupped hand or bottle, no nipple required.

They do get mobile very suddenly near that age, so he'd have to be watched closely if put down. At that age mine made it across the livingroom and completely under the rocking chair by rolling and wiggling. Total panic for the 30 seconds it took for me to find him.

Autodidact
05-29-2008, 07:41 AM
Niiice. I think I'll have to formulate a Bronze-Age cradleboard. *research begins*

Okay, thanks for the advice, all.

Now...what do kids know how to do at 6 months? Much of anything? Do they still have some of the baby reflexes? Or are they just like big stuffed animals...that need changing and feeding?

Can sit up but not crawl. Interacts, smiles and stuff, but no words. Can begin eating solid (gruel type texture) foods. Can turn over. Is cute. There's lots of books that cover this.

Most babies are happy for long periods on your back if you're walking, and don't cry till they get hungry. They sleep back there too, for an hour or so at a time. In most pre-industrial cultures babies are with their mom basically all the time.