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Why did formula become the rage back in the day? - Page 2

post #21 of 30
Originally Posted by FarmerMomma View Post

With maybe a few bumps when teeth come in. Ouch.

True true
post #22 of 30
Originally Posted by kythe View Post

Somewhere I had heard that formula had its first surge of popularity during WW2 when women were entering the work force en masse for the first time. Alternate feeding methods - as well as child care - became necessary as women took over the jobs men once had while the men were off to war.

However, my dad was born in 1934 during the Great Depression. His mother was from a well-to-do family who had lost everything and became homeless in the economy crash. She breastfed him for 6 months before weaning him onto cows milk (directly milked from a farm cow, not bought from a store), because she couldn't afford formula. She saw breastfeeding as something only dirty or lower class people did. She was so embarrassed at having to stoop so low that she didn't even tell him he was breastfed until he was an adult. Even then, she couldn't actually say the word. She (and my dad too) called it "milk from the mother".

Ironically, my dad isn't embarrassed at all about having been born in a barn unassisted (they couldn't affored a midwife) behind the house of the people who took his homeless parents in. Jesus was born in a stable to temporarily-homeless parents, so my dad wears that as a badge of pride. But he still retains his mother's embarrassment over having to breastfeed, something she thought she was too good for.

wow that is somethin else. I guess I could see it being looked down on status wise, but IDK if I would feel ashamed even if other people thought badly on it... Once you nursed for 6 months there's been so much bonding, ya would think those feelings would over ride the "shame".

(Side note- Jesus' parents weren't homeless. They had to return to there home town for a census. So they traveled to Bethlehem, and couldn't find an inn. They're home was in Nazareth. Just FYI)
post #23 of 30

I totally remember pretending to nurse my baby doll.

post #24 of 30

I think back in the day there wasn't so much focus on letting toddlers enjoy being young, either. The emphasis was on growing up to be a productive member of the household. I remember a bit in the Little House books where Carrie is probably around 3 and she's crying for some fairly legitimate reason (I think because dad left and would be gone several weeks) and Laura (who is struggling not to break down in tears herself) chastises Carrie for "a great girl like you, crying". 


My mom said that when we were little (early 80s), six months was pretty much the standard, and that's about how far she made it with me. She also said that breast pumps were available but weren't very good quality. She was a SAHM, so nursed most of the time, and when she needed someone else to do one feeding, she used formula. 


As for why not nurse to a year if you nursed to 3 months... well it IS 9 more months of pumping at work, watching your diet, not getting to send the baby to Grandma's overnight, having to pump if you want your husband to do the night feedings, not being able to go out without baby for more than a few hours without worrying about pumping, having to find suitable places to nurse in public, etc. I can understand why somebody would choose to stop, and particularly if they are, say, already having problems with pumping at work, which does not necessarily go smoothly for everyone. I think it works best for those with white-collar office jobs who can structure their own day to a certain extent, and particularly if they can work on their computer while pumping. Teachers, retail/food service workers, manual workers, even health care workers, have a harder time. Sometimes when I see a utility truck go by, I speculate what it would be like to be, say, a plumber and how on earth you would pump during work hours and keep it cool. 

post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 

I found an article the other day that, to my surprise, suggested that breastfeeding was recommended more than anything until the 1900s.  Wetnurses were always a big popularity, and some governments had to regulate that career  to keep prospective wet nurses nursing their own babies for about nine months.  There were a lot of times when breastfeeding was considered low class, but it also appears different periods praised upper class nursing mothers.


I guess it's a pendulum thing.

post #26 of 30
I think it depends on the time and place. The idea that breastfeeding is less desirable was not invented by formula companies. Off and on for hundreds of years, the idea has perpetuated that breastfeeding isn't something you should be tied to if you can afford not to do it. Royalty and wealthier families have hired wet nurses for their babies, white slave owners have had their black slaves nurse their children, etc.

Not everyone sees breastfeeding as "bonding", either. Some people find it physically painful, something to work through to keep your baby alive. Some people feel it ties them down too much, it is very time and energy consuming. Before formula was common and affordable, people breastfed because they had to, not because of its "benefits" or a bonding/attachment relationship.
post #27 of 30
Thread Starter 

I'm afraid I have trouble understanding breastfeeding problems.  Yes, I've heard of them, read the lists, etc.  But after a couple of weeks, I had it down, and those first two weeks weren't exactly problematic disaster time, just akwardness and a learned curve.  So while I believe formula to be a perfectly viable choice, I have real trouble empathizing with nursing problems.

post #28 of 30
I would like to clarify that I wasn't saying I don't understand why people stop nursing after a few months, I was saying I don't understand why people expect you to stop nursing after a few months and switch to formula if there's no real need. I found breastfeeding very difficult at first and that made me very sympathetic to women who try and give up early on. I also understand that not everyone has a job like mine with a mother's room and understanding co-workers who don't mind when I disappear three times a day. I've had several people ask me how long I plan on breastfeeding and they sound kind of surprised when I say a year. I feel like I put a lot of effort into learning to nurse and switching to formula would be a lot more work for me. I would have to mix and wash a lot of bottles, and I hate washing dishes. For me, it's just easier to continue what I am doing. I support any woman who nurses if it's for a day, a week, a month or a year or more. When my 6-week old wouldn't take a bottle, I was envious of those moms who didn't breastfeed because they could probably leave the house for an hour without worrying too much and I couldn't. There are pros and cons to both sides.
Getting back to why formula became so popular, part of it is certainly the flexibility it affords. Women may not have been able to make the strides we have in the workforce without it. In the last century, the number of working moms increased dramatically. That would be an interesting topic to investigate further.
post #29 of 30

Well, I think part of it could be that they view breastfeeding as a bother for the reasons I listed or for others, and just assume that everyone/most people are going to eventually get tired of it and be ready to move on and give formula. 

post #30 of 30
I had understood what you meant pokey smile.gif

I know the envy of wishing my baby would take a bottle once in awhile in the beginning. Like you said about going to the store without rushing around and forgetting half the stuff on your list. Taking a shower and not having to hear the baby screaming when you get out... but its all worth it to me, the hard part is so temporary
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