Weaning

Weaning is one of the major transitions in the young child's life and in many societies the change in diet coincides with changed sleeping arrangements, less indulgence from caretakers, and possibly the arrival of a sibling. The timing and harshness of weaning vary cross-culturally (J. W. M. Whiting & Child, 1953), but in many societies the newly weaned child is reported to be poorly nourished and susceptible to illness (Briggs, 1970; J. W. M. Whiting, 1941). It was McKee (1985) who first reported that within certain societies, such as the mestizos of Ecuador, there are customary sex differences in weaning age. Girls are weaned long before boys, because it is believed that prolonged nursing results in "qualities of sexuality and aggression" (p. 96), viewed as inappropriate for girls. Relatively deprived of "high quality protein and immune protection" (p. 100), the little girls have a higher mortality rate. Cronk (1989, 1993) reports the exact opposite for the Mukogodo of Kenya, one of the rare societies that favors daughters.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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