Influencing Mothers

Here is yet another example of bottle feeding in the 1940s. From the pictures I have found on the Library of Congress Web site it seems that the 1940s saw an explosion of moms who chose to feed their babies formula as opposed to breastfeeding.

I know that during World War II a whole host of women entered the workforce causing moms to find an alternative way to feed their babies. But during this time, canned milk manufacturers readily advertised their formula to nurses and doctors as stated by a rural nurse in a 1939 document from the Federal Writers Project. This advertising undoubtedly influenced mothers’ feeding choices as well.

One of the things about this blog is that I am learning as I go along and any insight you can provide is always appreciated. I am purposely not reading breastfeeding history books because I want to piece together the puzzle myself through the evidence I find on the Library of Congress Web site.

Middle River, Maryland. A FSA (Farm Security Administration) housing project (later administered by the National Housing Agency) for Glenn L. Martin aircraft workers. Mother feeding a baby.1943 Aug.?Collier, John, 1913-LC-USW3-035949-E DLC


3 thoughts on “Influencing Mothers”

  1. My father and his siblings were born from 1939-1952. My grandmother, particularly with the babies born during the 40s, was under extreme pressure from the medical doctors to feed her children formula. She absolutely refused saying, “God made my body this way, He didn’t make a mistake. Are you calling God a liar?” She was raised upper middle class, but was also from the mountain west, which has historically seen higher breastfeeding rates even when the rest of the country plummeted. I find it fascinating that the doctors tried to convince her that breastfeeding was backwards and formula so much more scientific and sanitary.

  2. My father born in the 50s was switched to canned Carnation Milk. They were told not only by the cans but the visiting nurse at the time that is was better because it was sterile which the breast milk couldn’t be.

    Thank you for your blog. It’s amazing.

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