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When did BFing become unpopular?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
When was BFing the "normal" (meaning mainstream) thing to do? When and why did it become unpopular? When did formula become the trend?
post #2 of 19
I have a huge extended family and don't personally know anyone who was a mom in the 70s or 80s or even early 90s who bf. My older cousin who did CLW was the first female in my family that I knew who bf in 1999.

My grandmother didn't bf in the fifties though. She said that my uncle needed more than she could give and started feeding him all sorts of odd things at 4 weeks. (OMG) Didn't even bother trying to BF my mom or her younger sis.
post #3 of 19
My guess would be in the '50s because women would led to believe that their milk wasn't good enough. You should ask on Lactivism--someone there will know
post #4 of 19
There was a decline during the industrial revolution (late 1800's) when lots of women went to work in factories...large public health campaign to increase BF in the 1910's b/c babies were otherwise fed cows milk, which at that time was unclean/not refrigerated for transport/infectedwith TB/etc....babies were dying at shocking rates. Not sure when broadly marketed formulas came along but post WWI and esp post WWII this country was consumed with anything "scientific" and "modern" which formula was considered to be. There was no such thing as lactation science, no one had any idea how nutritious breastmilk is (we're still learning!), so naturally something created by science was superior Plus, formula could be measured and scheduled...two very important factors in a society that was fast becoming obssessed with efficiency. The message was that bf was crude, old fashioned and for the poor.

BF was very out of fashion until the late 60s and 70s when those crazy hippies and women's libbers ( ) started making " the natural way" fashionable and insisted on respect for what a woman's body could do. Actually, La Leche League started in 1955 and made waves that far back, but it took a large movement for science to start examining why BF might be a good idea. BF rates in the 80s and 90s were still rather dismal though since several generations of women had been indoctrinated that babies "need formula" b/c bf can't possibly be enough. In fact, the World Health Org estimates only 3-5% of women truly can't bf for supply reasons, yet how many women do you know who believe they didn't make enough milk so they supplmented/switched. It's the number 1 reason women stop bf'ing! Thanks "science" :

Okay...I could go on for days but that should give you a rough timeline.
post #5 of 19
My mom was a weirdo who bf'ed and cd'ed in the 70s, only because it was cheaper. She didn't understand why people would spend money on formula and disposables.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
My mom was a weirdo who bf'ed and cd'ed in the 70s, only because it was cheaper. She didn't understand why people would spend money on formula and disposables.
Mine too She was the first in her family to have kids (6 sibs), and her mom didn't bf b/c she'd been told with the first she didn't have enough milk. My mom also did child-led weaning despite her mom's advice of "if they're old enough to ask for it it's time to stop" Go mom!
post #7 of 19
i think in the 40's-50's. my grandmother told me about how her social group all followed dr. spock and ffed every 4 hours and never held the baby : i'm so glad my mom BF and my aunt had 4/5 of her children at home.
post #8 of 19
I don't know but I do know that only 2 out of my 4 brothers was bf'd. My oldest (born in the 70's) and second to oldest (born in the early 80's). Not to mention that I also have a sister. I've asked my mom why she didn't bf all of us and she didn't really have an answer. I think she asks herself that same question. She simply said, "I don't know...I don't know why I didn't. It's so stupid when I look back." : We were all cd though..execpt for my youngest brother. Why wasn't he cd? Because sposies were born. : Actually, I'm not quite sure if I was cd. My mom can't really remember.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
My mom was a weirdo who bf'ed and cd'ed in the 70s, only because it was cheaper. She didn't understand why people would spend money on formula and disposables.
My hippie mom was too. Although me and my sister were formula fed (born in the 60's) by the time my brothers came around Mom was a flower child and embraced all that was natural. :
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by laurabelle1317
When was BFing the "normal" (meaning mainstream) thing to do? When and why did it become unpopular? When did formula become the trend?
I was under the opposite impression from what my mother has told me....she said it was not all the 'rage' as it is now. I was born in the 70's. But my mom BF me for 6 weeks.

IMO - and where I live...it seems that it is the recommended source of nutrition for the baby, but due to other factors with the mom...not being patient enough with BF, going back to work, lack of information and resources etc...bottle feeding becomes the way to feed the child. BF is a huge time committment for the mother in relation to bottle feeding where you can hand the child off to someone else if need be.

Most of my friends did BF up to 6 weeks, some 3 months, some 2 years. I guess it really just depends on the mom.

I have noticed though...from The Baby Story show...that many women do the bottle feeding, especially when they are having trouble BF.

Anyone else notice this? (OK, maybe I should not watch this show)

A.
post #11 of 19
My Grandma wanted to breastfeed her babies in the mid 50s-early 60s but her doctor told her that her milk wouldn't be good enough so she never tried. She used a homemade formula of evap. milk, karo syrup and vitamins instead. My mother gave it a go with me in the early 80s but she said that it was too painful so it didn't last long and she didn't try at all when my brother was born 2 years later.

None of my friends breastfeed their babies.
post #12 of 19
You've gotten some great responses, but also wanted to suggest reading "Milk, Money and Madness." It has a lot of great information. I read it right around the time my dd was born & it really turned me from a bf'ing mom into a lactivist.
post #13 of 19
My MIL bf dh in 1975, and also used cloth diapers. Her mom had her by cesarian in the 1950's She tried desperately to nurse MIL but by the time they let her see her baby a week had gone by
post #14 of 19
It's been out of fashion for really wealthy people for centuries, that's why they hired wet nurses Which were usually women who abandoned their newborns to go and get paid to nurse some rich infant So when it became unpopular for poorer people to do it, they were just emulating the rich folks (as they also tried to do in other ways...). It wasn't economically feasible and the babies couldn't really survive with artificial feeding until evaporated milk (which still caused many babies to die), and then the formula companies came on the scene. At first you needed a prescription to ff... but that changed pretty quickly.

love and peace.
post #15 of 19
Hm...I was born in 1980, and my mom bf. All her friends did, too (but this was an odd group of ex-hippie health & child development professionals, so a skewed sample. )
I would say since the introduction of formula and the marketing of it as the "better, high-tech" way to feed. People really bought into that, and didn't trust their bodies.

Now I'll be pollyanna and say that in my experience, bf is coming back into fashion. Not ebf, yet, but at least infant bf. In my circle, everyone bf for at least a few months, many for close to a year. You're looked at oddly if you leave the hospital bottle feeding (barring supply issues, which are more common than they should be, but of course exist). I live in a suburb in the midwest, fairly well-off and educated, and people are really aware of the research about WHY bf is best. That's what turned it around here, and hopefully it will happen across the country. Of course, the bf moms I know are able to either SAH or have jobs where they can pump several times a day. That's not possible for a lot of people
post #16 of 19
My husband's grandmother was pleased that I'd be nursing, and she told us that when she had her kids in the 1940s, they actually brought students into her hospital room to see a baby nursing since everyone else formula fed. But they were too poor for formula! That was in the northeast US.

My mother bfed in the late 70s and 80s, but none of her three sisters did with their kids. We grew up around back to the land types, so everyone did. I don't think this was the norm by any means.

Now, I'd say most friends and family have at least tried it. You get the usual excuses for quitting people give when they have a lack of knowledge or support, but I know a fair number of people who've made it past 2 years. Unfortunately, the underlying trend is that they have also achieved more years of education and have an economic situation that allows for staying home or a job that allows frequent pumping breaks, which are conditions that not everyone enjoys. I love how the government tries to run ads to promote it as the best choice yet we lack support for new families in this country. I can see why some women don't bother at all if they have to go back to work right away and know they won't be able to schedule breaks or are uninformed about how pumping can work.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
My mom was a weirdo who bf'ed and cd'ed in the 70s, only because it was cheaper. She didn't understand why people would spend money on formula and disposables.
Mine too. Though, by the time I was 3 months old I was pretty much 100% formula fed. My mom tried everything but was plagued with low supply issues (which ironically I ended up suffering as well), but she did everything else the "crunchy way" and really mourned our breastfeeding relationship.
post #18 of 19
i was born 76 and my sister 73 and we were both CD and bf. BF only until we were 4 months though, apparently i was a biter!!. i think was the norm in the UK though, as my mom never mentioned it being a big deal. She even donated her excess milk to the local hospital as she had too much. which so ironic as i suffer such chronic low supply, i am one of the 3-5 % of people who truly do. i hate it when people talk about low supply being not true or an excuse, although most believe me when i pull out my SNS.
post #19 of 19
My Mom's Mom breastfed most of her kids. My guess is that it was economic, but apparently my grandma felt "thats what they're for!" My Mom breastfed all 4 of us, but not me for very long. I had reflux & other issues, so formula was reccommended. (born in '72) She breastfed my brother born in 1980 for about a year & even donated milk through a local LLL group. My Dad's Mom had difficulty, maybe supply maybe lack of support.

My friend born in the early 70's was fed watered down sweetened condensed milk. From what my Mom said when I mentioned about my friend, she said that the Karo Syprup was to help with the constipation caused by the milk.

L
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