Swaddling

Swaddling

  • Swaddled child mannequin (Avignon).

  • Swaddled child mannequin (Creuse).

  • Swaddled child mannequin (Ardennes).

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Title: Swaddled child mannequin (Avignon).

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 58.7 - Width 29.1

Technique and other indications: Wool, canvas.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 08-522088 / 1936-2312-1-8

Swaddled child mannequin (Avignon).

© MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

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Title: Swaddled child mannequin (Creuse).

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 61 - Width 22.5

Technique and other indications: Wool, canvas.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 08-521905 / 1936.2307.1-6

Swaddled child mannequin (Creuse).

© MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

To close

Title: Swaddled child mannequin (Ardennes).

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 62 - Width 23.3

Technique and other indications: Flannel, canvas.

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 08-521904 / 1936.2300.1-5

Swaddled child mannequin (Ardennes).

© MuCEM, Dist RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Publication date: November 2008

Historical context

The action of public assistance

France at the end of the 19th centurye century is marked by great fragility of early childhood, very high mortality, diseases, epidemics and malformations that go hand in hand with practices with supposedly prophylactic virtues. It shows curious specimens: babies swaddled in sheepskin or wrapped in eiderdowns. A long, narrow strip of material called the "jersey" keeps the arms at your sides and the legs straight in line with the trunk. It is usually understood that the gunk protects, that the cradle cap should not be touched and that two or three overlapping cups provide good defense for the baby's head, despite the presence of numerous lice.

Image Analysis

Baby in a tank top

If it shows variations, infant layettes always consist of the same elements: one or more caps, worn until old age, protect their head. He is dressed in a shirt, a bra, a diaper and a swaddle, then swaddled in various fabrics. His neck is wrapped in a handkerchief. Her baptismal cap is a part of the costume particularly invested with symbols of providence. He also wears many amulets: medals sewn to the cap, mole skin against convulsions, necklace of amber grains, shells, wolf teeth ...

The first example comes from Vaucluse. The infant wears a white fleece cap, a bra and a white canvas diaper, a printed fabric bra. Around his neck he has a barely visible necklace of eighteen bone or ivory beads. He wears a point in printed fabric with a blue background and red patterns, a square of brown wool serving as a swaddle and a gray canvas band surrounding the body from the bottom to the bust. Remarkably, his arms are free.

The second model comes from the Creuse and wears a hat white with blue dots, a white canvas shirt, a bra in brown fabric with yellow and blue polka dots lined with a gray fabric, another white canvas fabric, a brown wool square edged with a blue braid, fabric serving as a swaddle and a band black to hold the diaper. The black band also ensures immobilization of the arms and legs.

Finally, the third example of a baby doll comes from the Ardennes with three superimposed caps: one in white flannel, a second in white fleece with a black border and a third in fine white canvas. He wears a fine white canvas fabric, a coarse white canvas diaper, a strip of fleece to hold everything together, and a khaki woolen square. His whole body is being held prisoner.

Interpretation

Customs versus doctors

In the eyes of mothers, swaddling provides warmth and protection, and provides reassuring pressure for the baby. It has other purposes: thus restrained, the baby is easy to keep as long as it is hung on a nail, as was done in certain regions of Poitou, or even hung in a bag in the Basque Country. The medical profession is protesting against this custom which it considers aberrant, barbaric and unhealthy. It is against good muscle development, and immobilization of the legs, from birth and for hours on end, aggravates congenital dislocations of the hips. Despite the recommendations of the doctors, the swaddling persists. This practice is found within a very significant paradox in French society in the 19th century.e century, which both praises local mores and customs, and vilifies them in the name of necessary national progress.

  • childhood
  • hygiene
  • medicine
  • childcare

Bibliography

Françoise LOUX, The Young Child and his body in traditional medicine, Paris, Flammarion, 1978 Nanny or crèche - History of the child kept in the 19th century, catalog of the exhibition at the Château Saint-Jean museum, July 4 - October 12, 1998, Nogent-le-Rotrou, 1998.Reports of the international jury - International Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris, presented by Alfred Picard, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Colonies - Report of class 64 of A. Proust, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1892.

To cite this article

Valérie RANSON-ENGUIALE, "Swaddling"


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