subject: weaning

Residue of Ruminant Milk Identified in Prehistoric Baby Bottles

Residue of Ruminant Milk Identified in Prehistoric Baby Bottles

It has been quite an amazing year for milk-related anthropology research. First came a study in the fall of 2018 on barium levels in the molar of a 250,000 year old Neanderthal fossil that demonstrated the child was weaned between two and three years of age, similar to the age of weaning in modern human populations. Using the same methods on even more ancient teeth, a study published this summer found that australopithecines living 2 million years ago likely weaned one to two years later than modern humans. Then in September, an analysis of plaque on several 6,000-year-old human teeth from Great Britain provided the oldest direct evidence of human consumption of cow, sheep, and goat milk. And to end the year comes a study that combines the topics of weaning and dairy agriculture—organic residue analysis on 3,000-year-old ceramic artifacts suspected of being baby bottles found fatty acids unique to ruminant milk fats, demonstrating cow or sheep or goat milks were used as weaning foods for infants and young children after the advent of agriculture. Read More...

From Bench to Bedside: Translating Milk Science at the Clinician-Patient Interface

From Bench to Bedside: Translating Milk Science at the Clinician-Patient Interface

Emerging empirical research from chemistry, microbiology, animal science, nutrition, pediatrics, and evolutionary anthropology is accelerating our understanding of the magic of milk. Understanding the context and experiences of mothers of different races highlights the persistence of health care deficits that perpetuate breastfeeding disparities. Read More...

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Large breasts are often considered more attractive, but how about their function as organs destined to produce milk for the nourishment of the baby? During pregnancy and, particularly during lactation, women are mostly interested in their breasts as sources of food and growth signals for their baby. But, especially among women with breastfeeding difficulties, it is common for women to wonder, “If I had larger breasts, would I produce more milk?” Read More...

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

If a human mother were like a kangaroo, her “baby” would be born after only one month of gestation. Immediately after birth, her embryonic “baby” would crawl-climb up to one of her nipples and attach to one nipple, and not let go for the next 15 weeks. The “baby” nurses continually from the same nipple, drinking milk that is entirely different in composition from the milk consumed by the baby’s older brother or sister from the mother’s other nipple. The older sibling does not nurse continually. He or she bounces off to play and eat other food, and comes back to sip at the “Fountain of Mom” using the nipple not occupied by the newborn. Read More...

Weaning in TEETH!

Weaning in TEETH!

Weaning in primates is a fascinating process in which ingestion of mother’s milk, as a proportion of daily dietary intake, incrementally declines as the infant ages. From moment to moment, this exquisite negotiation of nipple access between mother and infant can vary in relation to food availability, maternal style, and the compelling power of the infant demand (a.k.a. weaning tantrum). And lots of other factors can influence the weaning process, too. Read More...

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