Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Change a Diaper, 1612

"Dear Past, Do you have any advice for new parents?"

The Cholmondeley Ladies, c. 1600-1610
"How the childe must be made cleane... The Nurse, or some other, must sit neare the fire, laying out her legges at length, having a soft pillow in her lap, the doors and windowes being close shut, and having something about her that may keepe the wind from the child... If hee bee very foule, shee may wash him with a little water and wine luke-warme, with a spunge or linnen cloth. The time of shifting him is commonly about seven a clocke in the morning, then againe at noone, and at seven a clocke at night: and it would not be amisse to change him againe about mid-night; which is not commonly done. But... after hee hath slept a good while do everytime shift him; lest he should foule and bepisse himself." 
Jacques Guillemeau, Child-birth or, the Happy Deliverie of Women (1612)
Well, the fireside yoga pose and the windproof baby-changing cape increase the difficulty level a little. But on the plus side, you only have to do it three times a day, and wine is involved. (Sommelier? Is this a job for zinfandel?)


  1. Curious about why wine would be used?

  2. Wine might not be amiss as the water itself probably had some biology going on. I'm assuming that's the reason for the wine.

    As such, I expect vin ordinaire would do as well as any other vintage. Perhaps this would be a useful reference to make when rating wines? "I recommend this wine for cleaning youre childes butt."

  3. It might not have been wine as we know it today, just something fermented a bit, to keep it bacteria-free. From what I have read, people in the middle ages rarely drank water because it wasn't clean, they all drank beer -- it had a really low alcohol content, much weaker than what we drink today -- because it was cleaner.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.