Women in a 19th-century Dutch farming village didn’t breastfeed

An analysis of bones from about 500 individuals who died between 1830 and 1867 in Middenbeemster suggests women in the dairy farming community did not breastfeed

Women from a 19th-century farming community in the Netherlands probably didn’t breastfeed their babies because they were too busy working. It is the first time that widespread artificial feeding has been discovered in a farming community from this period.

Andrea Waters-Rist at Western University in Canada and her colleagues analysed the bones of about 500 individuals who died between 1830 and 1867 in Middenbeemster, a rural village in the north of the Netherlands.