This study deals with the high infant mortality on Zuid-Beveland, a region which is situated in the middle of the province of Zeeland in the south western part of the Netherlands. The study describes on a micro-level the development of infant mortality during the period 1811-1900 in Goes, a small market town, and four neighbouring villages. This research is based on family reconstitution data. The analyses show that infant-feeding practices were the most important determinants of fertility and mortality levels, followed by the season in which children were born. This study shows that women were likely to cease breastfeeding during the months betweenJulyto October. The increasing demand for women's time by agricultural activities, especially during the harvest season and in the summer-months, caused the absence of the mother in the family.Which led to inferior food for the infants and to an increase of infant mortality rate.High temperatures in hot summers also raised the mortality rate. Exploration of the relationship between fertility and mortality at the micro-level further showed that the probability of conception during the first year following giving birth was greater when the infant died than when the infant survived. The evidence of 'replacing' children who had died, casts new light on this apparent change in the balance between fertility and infant mortality in the middle of the nineteenth century.
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