Forget Disposable Diapers: Here’s How Different Cultures Handled Baby Waste Through the Years
Who needs Pampers when you’ve got a bag of dried out moss? Not the Chuckchi. According to Slate writer Nicholas Day, who investigated “baby waste” throughout history, the Chuckchi, who live in far eastern Russia, used to carry babies in fur bags filled with dried moss. When the baby cried, the moss was changed. Easy, peasy.
For any mom who feels like she’s spent most of her children’s younger years changing diapers or begging them to potty train, old fashioned traditions like this sound kind of appealing.
Even parents in Colonial America may have had it right — they swaddled their babies in some major wrapping, and changed it whenever. No, literally, whenever it occurred to them — not whenever the baby made a noise because it was wet. The theory was that it took so long to swaddled the kid up, why un-swaddle a good thing? It’s genius if you think about it — why or why did we ever let diapers get in our way?
Maybe because we’re not as tolerant as Colonial parents? We can’t stand to hear our kids cry. Beyond that, it’s typically frowned about to walk around with a crying baby, so we’d never leave the house, which would eventually drive us insane, thus causing us to invent the disposable diaper.
Ahhh, now we get it.
But as Day cites in his book, Baby Meets World, coming out in April, some cultures may have had the right idea when it came to dealing with poop and pee pee. Here are a few that may or may not be worthy of bringing back in style:
·In Central Asia, babies were wrapped to cradleboards with urine tubes that let pee run into bottles or, in the summer, just right onto the floor. (Okay, that we couldn’t take.)
·The Navajo shredded bark off the cliffrose shrub and stuffed it between the baby’s legs to catch stuff.
·In parts of China, they put babies in sandbags, where they could do their business and stay out of trouble.