The duration of the breastfeeding and weaning periods is very much a combination of environmental and cultural elements and the study of those practices in historical populations is most useful because it allows the identification of patterns and trends over a long-term perspective. A number of studies have attempted to write the history of infant feeding in Western civilisations from a historical perspective but progress in stable isotope analysis in archaeology provides additional information that makes the overall picture much more varied and interesting. While a great deal of research and work is still required, the data available highlights trends that seem to indicate that shorter breastfeeding times were practiced in societies characterised by urban developments.
- Ancient authors
- Stable isotopes