Ask The Diaper-Washers

Sanyu Babies Home Just read about people questioning why Victorian-era toddlers–male and female–wore “dresses”. Gender differentiation in dress didn’t start until they were 2 or 3 years old.

The theory that it was psychological protection (make ’em fungible!) for the parents in an age of excruciatingly high infant mortality no doubt can explain some of it. But I am really taken aback that nobody’s thought of the fact that toilet training, accidents, and a toddler’s need to get to the privy OMG NOW would have more to do with it. When I think of changing a rag clout–which is what one would have, without modern diapers–or even of washing a large number of them without the aid of a diaper service or a washing machine…

…well, my soul quails a bit. Certainly it’s an operation that would be rendered much easier by a “dress” and not by britches with tiny buttons. Not to mention with nothing even resembling a safety pin around, well. There you go.

Anyway, my attention snagged on this and it occurs to me: so many of history’s questions might be answered thus, but precious few people ask the diaper-washers.

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That makes perfect sense.


History was dirty, unclean and unwashed. People romaticize their prefrence of era. I would love to go back to Renaisance times….but I’d prefer to do it with daily hot water baths and unrotted food. Guess I won’t be signing up for time travell soon.