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South Australia - Glossary Term

Baby farming (1867 - )

Type of 'care'

Baby Farming was used in the second half of nineteenth century to describe the fostering of infants for a fee. In some cases babies were placed with a wet-nurse who would breastfeed the infant. In many cases children were placed with a foster mother and fed with cow's milk. Many died from dehydration and malnutrition. The term first came into use in the British press in 1867, and appeared in Australian newspaper articles by the end of that year. On 18 July 1890 the SA country newspaper, the Burra Record reported on the prevalence of this 'merciless practice' in England and 'the colonies'.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George