Modern Mothering in the 1950s

If you had been a mother in the 1950s do you think you would have breastfed your babies? In all honesty, I cannot say with certainty that I would have given the incessant advertising then that linked bottle-feeding to wealth. We are lucky to be living in a time when medical professionals and researchers all agree that the breast is best. Actually, doctors knew that then too, but advertisers were exceptionally aggressive with bottle-feeding messages.

Surprisingly this ad is not for a formula company. It’s actually an ad for the Electric Institute of Washington, hence the mom putting a caboodle of baby bottles in the refrigerator. The only way an electric company could have gotten away with advertising a baby drinking from a bottle is if it was a common practice among their target market. Apparently in the 1950s it was.

4 thoughts on “Modern Mothering in the 1950s”

  1. Hello! A friend just shared your blog with me and I am fascinated! It is so interesting to me to see how much advertising affects mother’s choices. It’s still happening today. It’s sad to see that it was so acceptable to nurse in public just a century ago and how the views on that have changed and become so controversial. Breastfeeding feels like the most natural thing in the world to me, I love it! I look down at my nursing son and wonder how anybody could feel differently. Thank you for the historical perspective on nursing, I love the pictures and stories you have found!


  2. My mother did not breastfeed any of her children. One of my aunts, out of four sisters who gave birth in the 50’s through the 70’s, breastfed her children. It was just not the popular thing to do at the time and the advertising helped make it that way.

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