Place: Alatornia-Nedertorneå I can't help but wonder if in other areas about this time there was a name for the babies dying and the doctor in this village/town did not know and used Oang as the cause. Here is the numbers I found for this village. 1845-139 deaths -56 were children, 1846-143 deaths -59 were children, 1847- 135 deaths - 48 were children, 1848- 168 deaths - 55 were children, 1849- 131 deaths -73 were children. The majority of these children were days to weeks old. I used Hiski to gather this information, seemed faster and easier to read.
What would the common denominator be for babies to die. Someone suggested a famine and the mothers were starving and unable to feed them but wouldn't they have other mothers nursing those babies? Please advise what you think this tragedy was all about.
There were many reasons for children dying very young at that time, especially the first half of the 19th century:
- people were living "dispersed" in the countryside, the distances long, difiicult to get help (this applied especially in the north of Finland)
- there were very few physicians in the whole country, maybe 30 regional ones + some soldier physicians
. there were even fewer hospitals
- the barbers, soldier medics, church cantors and little by little midwifes were trying to heal
- hygienic conditions were not good in general
- the food was not sufficient and nutritious
- the easily-catching diseases were common, e.g. tuberculosis, whooping cough
- child deaths at birth were common; any uncommon condition at birth resulted in death
- the actual famine in the 19th century was between 1869-70
As far as I know it was often that the babies were left in care of an older woman in the house while the mother had to rush to work in the fields (at least in summer) and we have been told that the older woman taking care of the baby often chew some food for the baby in her own tuberculotic mouth...
I have also seen some babies in my own family history to die if they were born in spring (not very much food then), in summer (mother working) but fewer died if they were born late in autumn and wintertime. And in the older times the cows did not give milk in winter, e.g.
You can think that we were at that time a developing country, before information on hygiene and diseases was spread.
Here you can see the figures of young children (still nursed) dying during centuries in Finland (Imeväiskuolleisuuden...)
It really has changed...