It was different along social classes, but it began with the upwardly mobile middle class. Around the beginning of the Edwardian. Became less of a mark of maternal, linkage with the holy Madonna and became a mark of the lower classes who had to feed their chudren bodily and breech propriety, rather than seclude themselves and hire nannies or wet nurses.
Until the 1700’s it was considered a mother’s duty, and it would simply have been more important that the child be present than to worry about an exposed breast, though most women would have had a shawl to cover the baby.not merely to preserve modesty, but also to hide the baby from the health risks of others and so on.
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