Feeding Infants in Ancient Rome

Authors

  • Kaja Stemberger Flegar PJP d. o. o., Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/keria.25.1.51-66

Keywords:

Rome, material culture, childhood, breastfeeding

Abstract

Mother‘s milk is usually an infant‘s first food, but breastfeeding is not always possible. Small vessels presumed to have been used as feeding bottles are known even from prehistoric sites. The Roman-period material from Slovenia also includes a few such vessels, although these have previously not been discussed as nursing bottles. They are characterised by thin walls and a spout in addition to the lip. An infant could also be fed or breastfed by a wet nurse. Many Ancient myths include wet nurses or other substitutes for mother‘s milk, and several Ancient authors, among them physicians, discussed infant and child feeding. In Poetovio, wet nurses are featured in numerous dedicatory inscriptions and figural depictions, and were worshipped as deities.

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Published

20.12.2023

Issue

Section

I. Pignora Amoris: Children and Childhood in Antiquity (Contributions from the 14th Grošelj Symposium)