|The completed pseudo swaddling band.
|A photo of the photo from "What Clothes Reveal" showing
the swaddling band from
Colonial Williamsburg's collections.
|Attaching the lace to the linen.
It's not a real reproduction - the lace looks too 1940s to be appropriate for the 18th century and it's too short, which is why I refer to it as my "pseudo swaddling band". Even though this project isn't 18th century accurate, it was a good opportunity to learn more about swaddling in the 18th century.
|Swaddling Band 1700-1750 (made), probably French
(V&A accession number B.13-2001)
In Phillis Cunnington and Anne Buck's Children's Costume in England: 1300 - 1900, the chapter focusing on the 18th century begins by describing how the custom of swaddling in England was dying out around the middle of the century. The authors cite a primary source that states,
"How has my heart ached many and many a time when I have seen poor babies rolled and swathed, ten or a dozen times round; then blanket upon blanket, mantle upon that; its little neck pinned down to one posture; its head more than it frequently needs, triple-crowned like a young pope, with covering upon covering; its legs and arms as if to prevent that kindly stretching which we rather ought to promote . . . the former bundled up, the latter pinned down; and how the poor thing lies on the nurses lap, a miserable little pinioned captive" (p.103).
Cunnington and Buck also site a 1785 source where a doctor writes in Lady's Magazine, "The barbarous custom of swathing children like living mummies, is now almost universally laid aside" (p.104).
|My swaddled baby, September 2010
So would you swaddle your baby?