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Baths, Scrubs, And Cuddles: How To Bathe Young Infants According To Simon De Vallambert (1564)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the different practices of infant bathing in Western Europe in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, specifically in France. It seeks to establish not so much the confirmation of the practice, as its function within the system of health care, its justification. For pediatricians who engage in writing specific treatises on the diseases of children, age is clearly not only a matter of years. In 1565, Simon De Vallambert makes the mood of the child the first criterion for determining the length of his stay in water. Translating the medieval Latin mundificatio, which literally means purification, the first scrubbing is described as the erasure of flesh from the body of the child. In addition to the functions of protection, loosening and moisturizing, the bath is, primarily justified by its cleansing power.

Keywords: cleansing; infant bathing; Simon De Vallambert



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