Hospitals’ Stamp of Approval

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading on historical breastfeeding of late just to give some context to the photographs I have been sharing with you. Thank goodness for Google Book Search or else I wouldn’t be able to find as much great information as I have.

This morning I was fixated with a book called Don’t Kill Your Baby. Many of you probably know it very well. In fact, I have read it before, but it seems that every time I re-read I find a fact or a point that I’ve missed before.

I thought this quote was quite telling about how breastfeeding rates began to decline in the 1930s. It all started in the hospitals with their insistence that mothers did now instinctively know how to care for their own babies. This caused many of the mothers to be separated from their babies for up to 24 hours sometimes and in that period their babies had already been introduced to baby formula. Check out this quote about how milk companies got into the hospitals to stake their dominance over infant feeding.

The expectant mother may first hear about PET milk when learning about formula preparations in the hospital’s orientation class. She and her husband may select the baby’s name from a list supplied by a company medical relations representative. The name card on her baby’s crib in the hospital nursery may bear the PET insignia. Most important her baby’s first bottle of formula may very well be made with PET brand evaporated milk. The “little things” add up to a convincing acceptance of the PET brand.

Above is the nursery at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community in February 1942. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona.

And here are the babies the bottles are intended for.

Wolf Jacqueline. Don’t Kill Your Baby. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2001.