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(16,566 posts)
82. A History of Infant Feeding
Sat May 14, 2022, 08:32 PM
May 2022


Many other commercial products and formulas were rapidly introduced after the marketing of Liebig's infant food and the invention of evaporated milk (Radbill, 1981). By 1883, there were 27 patented brands of infant food (Fomon, 2001). These commercial products came in powdered form and consisted of carbohydrates such as sugars, starches, and dextrins that were to be added to milk. Name brands for the products included “Nestlé’s Food®, Horlick's Malted Milk®, Hill's Malted Biscuit Powder®, Mellin's Food®, Eskay's Food®, Imperial Granum®, and Robinson's Patent Barley®” (Radbill, 1981, p. 619). The foods were fattening but lacked valuable nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Over time, the nutrients were individually added (Radbill, 1981).

The use of artificial formula was associated with many summertime infant deaths (Wickes, 1953d) due to the spoilage of milk left in bottles (Weinberg, 1993). This association was not understood, however, until the public accepted germ theory. Between 1890 and 1910, emphasis was placed on cleanliness and the improvement in the quality of milk supplies. Improvements included providing better care for dairy cattle and forming infant milk clinics to disburse clean milk to the public (Greer & Apple, 1991). By 1912, rubber nipples that were easy to clean became available, and many homes were able to store milk safely in an icebox (Fomon, 2001).

In the 1920s, scientists also began developing nonmilk-based formulas for infants allergic to cow's milk. The first nonmilk formula was based on soy flour and became available to the public in 1929. Like the first formulas introduced in the late 19th century, soy formula lacked vital nutrients, particularly vitamins. Eventually, the problem was resolved with vitamin fortification (Fomon, 2001).

As formulas evolved and research supported their efficacy, manufacturers began to advertise directly to physicians. By 1929, the American Medical Association (AMA) formed the Committee on Foods to approve the safety and quality of formula composition, forcing many infant food companies to seek AMA approval or the organization's “Seal of Acceptance.” Three years later, advertising became regulated so that manufacturers could not solicit information to nonmedical personnel, which facilitated a positive relationship between physicians and the formula companies. By the 1940s and 1950s, physicians and consumers regarded the use of formula as a well known, popular, and safe substitute for breastmilk. Consequently, breastfeeding experienced a steady decline until the 1970s (Fomon, 2001).


Did your mother work outside the home? spooky3 May 2022 #1
No, she did not. MineralMan May 2022 #6
Yes, and both take less time than preparing formula. spooky3 May 2022 #7
I'm not judging anyone for anything. MineralMan May 2022 #12
You did not judge.I didn't feel that at all. ggma May 2022 #44
That was the recipe my sisters and their friends PatSeg May 2022 #57
I made formula for my first one or two kids also. this is an alternative, not judging. demigoddess May 2022 #61
Yeah, I don't understand that either. MineralMan May 2022 #77
In the 80s pediatricians recommended that women feed babies, low fat milk demigoddess May 2022 #109
Yeah, and look what it did to us. Hoyt May 2022 #2
That explains a lot 😁 I always wondered what happened? walkingman May 2022 #3
I know. It made us grow and thrive. MineralMan May 2022 #4
+1 Ferrets are Cool May 2022 #38
Breastfeeding wasn't popular at the time, for whatever reason. Mariana May 2022 #5
Oh, for sure. MineralMan May 2022 #9
Well that brought an unhappy memory back. I hated those vitamins and had completely forgotten them. Biophilic May 2022 #16
Yes. They were nasty, for sure. MineralMan May 2022 #30
My mother tried peppermint-flavored cod liver oil once EYESORE 9001 May 2022 #34
Orange juice at six weeks?? 1 - 2 ounces of tea per day??? LeftInTX May 2022 #8
Well, I don't know about that. MineralMan May 2022 #10
Commercial formula is superior to home made LeftInTX May 2022 #17
Yes, I'm sure today's commercial formulas are superior. MineralMan May 2022 #27
Today health experts say that babies and toddlers Mosby May 2022 #78
Not if you can't get them Ferrets are Cool May 2022 #39
Not All Kinds Of Them ProfessorGAC May 2022 #54
Thanks Ferrets are Cool May 2022 #89
I always enjoyed the whiskey on my gums for teething Lochloosa May 2022 #11
LOL SouthernDem4ever May 2022 #84
Babies will grow, given food. Lars39 May 2022 #13
Well, breastfeeding is always the best way to go. MineralMan May 2022 #18
It would probably be wise to use distilled water. n/t Mr.Bill May 2022 #23
Distilled or boiled. My mother boiled the water used in our formula. MineralMan May 2022 #26
Same here, though I'm a bit younger than you. Mom couldn't breastfeed. BlackSkimmer May 2022 #33
That granny's logic is exactly the same as all the pnwmom May 2022 #35
Lol, ok. BlackSkimmer May 2022 #45
I wear a mask... druidity33 May 2022 #83
Distilled water does no have any burrowowl May 2022 #50
Same here, Mineral Man Trailrider1951 May 2022 #14
I was wondering last nite how babies got fed before formula. Thanks for filling in that gap. jmbar2 May 2022 #15
That's an interesting account from a time even farther back. MineralMan May 2022 #22
Interesting - thanks for posting packman May 2022 #47
Most boomers like myself did fine on that recipe Freddie May 2022 #19
That recipe or one that was very similar, anyhow. MineralMan May 2022 #25
My DIL got a bottle sterilizer at her baby shower Freddie May 2022 #28
Well, Moms are always very, very careful with their first baby. MineralMan May 2022 #29
My son drank this in the 70's as an infant. scarletlib May 2022 #79
Yup. MineralMan May 2022 #80
Yes. Such formula recipes continued to be used MineralMan May 2022 #99
I remember reading Dianetics many years ago and there was a recipe for homemade baby formula in the liberal_mama May 2022 #20
Great find ! KentuckyWoman May 2022 #21
Thanks for your information. MineralMan May 2022 #24
I hadn't thought of that. KentuckyWoman May 2022 #32
That's it exactly. Mom had the big pot with racks for the glass bottles & sterilized everything... Hekate May 2022 #31
We're so far removed from the time when most babies MineralMan May 2022 #37
breastfed both of mine Kali May 2022 #36
Yup! MineralMan May 2022 #40
I was a 1950 baby and my moonscape May 2022 #68
My mom and my wife were militant breastfeeders. hunter May 2022 #41
I would consult a pediatrician IronLionZion May 2022 #42
Imagine that inthewind21 May 2022 #124
Delicate balance of nutrient proportions IronLionZion May 2022 #128
Formula today is ridiculously overpriced because there are only a couple of manufacturers alphafemale May 2022 #43
Bingo inthewind21 May 2022 #125
I was, too, in 1944. kskiska May 2022 #46
That's what I was fed. piddyprints May 2022 #48
I was, too, in 1944. kskiska May 2022 #49
1 MILLION YEARS HAB911 May 2022 #51
Infant mortality was incredibly high in the past Silent3 May 2022 #56
The same way "we" survived without vaccines. Mariana May 2022 #63
Thank you for this post. That is the tried and true recipe I helped my mother txwhitedove May 2022 #52
OMG I wish I had thought of that. My first had colic for-freaking-ever. I held her, rocked her,... Hekate May 2022 #71
Mine only had colic when I ate fresh tomatoes. Ms. Toad May 2022 #110
You think Gen Z can do all that? Polybius May 2022 #53
I'm a boomer (born in 1956) and never owned a bottle sterilizer...Gen Z is hopeless..LOL LeftInTX May 2022 #65
Is there a more nutritionally up-to-date recipe that mothers could safely use today... Silent3 May 2022 #55
Maybe. Several days ago I hunted for the old one that MinMan produced -- and couldn't find... Hekate May 2022 #74
Concise History of Infant Formulas Twists and Turns LeftInTX May 2022 #58
These instructions are dangerous. yardwork May 2022 #59
Link, please, to a source that says those things are poisonous to newborns. nt. Mariana May 2022 #64
Toxic? Not sure about that. Maybe fussy babies and messy diapers. But toxic? toesonthenose May 2022 #69
Never heard of the tea recommendation. OJ gives some babies a rash on their bottom (acidic)... Hekate May 2022 #75
This message was self-deleted by its author Raine May 2022 #60
That's what I was fed too. Except it was Carnation milk. Samrob May 2022 #62
Breastfed babies don't need water and it's not recommended in the first several months LeftInTX May 2022 #66
Why? Samrob May 2022 #101
All of the hydration needs are supplied with breast milk LeftInTX May 2022 #102
Also the mom's body is geared to provide baby with exactly what baby needs at the time. Ms. Toad May 2022 #111
My mom never produced enough milk. haele May 2022 #67
Same here born 1951, no store bought disposable diapers. I wore Emile May 2022 #70
I remember women in the 50s boiling baby bottles. Mr.Bill May 2022 #72
Yes Meowmee May 2022 #73
yep thats the formula i remember!! samnsara May 2022 #76
Was 13 ounces to 1 can back then? Lars39 May 2022 #90
Bet ya they were originally a full pint (16 ounces). Wednesdays May 2022 #94
Figures...shrink-flation strikes again! Lars39 May 2022 #96
Actually, as early as 1860 commercial formula became available Silent3 May 2022 #81
A History of Infant Feeding Mosby May 2022 #82
The invention of both canned evaporated milk and pasteurized milk was a great advance because Hekate May 2022 #86
Health experts saying to not do this CrackityJones75 May 2022 #85
Well then spend a fortune on lab-produced formula and let the baby cry when it gets recalled... Hekate May 2022 #87
Or don't pay attention to the health experts. CrackityJones75 May 2022 #104
Hey I am just relaying the message here. CrackityJones75 May 2022 #120
What do the health experts recommend to do Mariana May 2022 #91
I guess you'll have to look it up? CrackityJones75 May 2022 #105
Then those health experts had better provide safe alternatives which people can make at home. Ms. Toad May 2022 #112
Amazing, isn't it? Some of the comments here, but especially the comments by doctors who are... Hekate May 2022 #113
It's been inthewind21 May 2022 #126
Ok I will tell them immediately. CrackityJones75 May 2022 #119
My grandma bottle fed for all 4 of her sons MustLoveBeagles May 2022 #88
LOL, I like your grandpa! Emile May 2022 #92
Politifact: Experts warn against homemade baby formula sl8 May 2022 #93
So What Do RobinA May 2022 #121
Infant nutrition is a science. AllyCat May 2022 #95
Well, I wasn't suggesting that people feed their babies MineralMan May 2022 #98
Doctors used to recommend cigarettes in the 1940s, too Sympthsical May 2022 #97
Not for infants, they didn't. MineralMan May 2022 #100
"We all did fine without the polio vaccine" Sympthsical May 2022 #103
Oh, dear. You know, I said nothing about polio. MineralMan May 2022 #107
See? And you turned out ok! Hassin Bin Sober May 2022 #106
Hmm...more or less, anyhow. MineralMan May 2022 #108
It has far too little iron for a forming baby. herding cats May 2022 #114
My mother in law once said, "We didn't have all this breastfeeding stuff, we had Pet Milk"... LeftInTX May 2022 #115
And, she wasn't wrong. herding cats May 2022 #116
She said it to shame me LeftInTX May 2022 #118
You're aware inthewind21 May 2022 #127
The liquid vitamin supplement they used back then had iron, along MineralMan May 2022 #123
I was allergic to cow's milk Raine May 2022 #117
Kept the goat farmers in business. MineralMan May 2022 #122
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