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Distributed for Unicorn Publishing Group

White Blood

A History of Human Milk

A groundbreaking history of human milk

White Blood explores how the nature and properties of human breast milk were conceived within the fluctuating frameworks of distinct historical periods. For example, in the ancient world, human milk was thought to be blood diverted from the womb to the breast, where it was whitened and vivified to nourish the newborn. In the Renaissance it became known as a vital fluid transmutable into flesh by an “internal alchemist”; in the Enlightenment it was said to flow from “nature’s bountiful urn.”

From ancient Greece and Rome to the present, Lawrence Trevelyan Weaver traces the historical past of human milk across centuries, noting how the cultural and historical frameworks of the past informed the practices of milk feeding and its effects on infant health, growth, welfare, and survival. 

224 pages | 80 color plates | 5 x 7 3/4

Biological Sciences: Evolutionary Biology

History of Science

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"[Weaver] takes readers on a detailed, 2000-year journey through the biology, technology, medicalization, and truth of the distribution of human milk to babies and young children. The book reads much like a well-thought-out article in the New Yorker, cumulatively building reader interest, every turn of the page revealing more new information. . . . The volume includes a variety of visual enhancements including color photographs and medical drawings that support the surrounding content. . . . This is definitely a source not to be overlooked by readers who want a comprehensive historical depiction of human milk as the vital nutritional resource for babies worldwide. . . . Recommended."


Table of Contents


1 Human Milk – Miraculous Fluid
2 Humours – White Blood
3 Alchemy – Soft Sweet Subtil Substance
4 Science – Corpuscular Fluid
5 Nature – Nature's Bountiful Urn
6 Paediatrics – Medicalisation of Infant Feeding
7 Puericulture – Maternal and Child Welfare
8 Biology and Technology – Breast and Bottle

Acknowledgments and Sources
Picture Credits

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