What would a baby born in the 40's have been fed if not breastfed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom was born in 1942. She insists that she was not breastfed, but she doesn't know what she was fed instead. (Her mom and dad are both gone, and her sister is only a couple years older than she is and she can't remember. She does remember getting to feed my Mom with a bottle, though.)

I know they didn't have formula. And they didn't have a wet nurse. Would they have just put plain cow's milk in the bottle?
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#2 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:17 PM
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My mom remembers babies getting "formula" made with goat's milk, and also with evaporated milk. Supposedly, goat's milk is closer to our own than cow's milk. I've never really looked into it.
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#3 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom remembers babies getting "formula" made with goat's milk, and also with evaporated milk. Supposedly, goat's milk is closer to our own than cow's milk. I've never really looked into it.
Hmmm...I wonder if they would have had access to goat's milk? My great-grandparents were dairy farmers, but I guess they could have had some goats, too.
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#4 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Formula was invented in the late 1800s. They absolutly had formula in the 1940s. My mother wasnt nursed either, and neither were any of her siblings, including my uncle born in 1949.

Formula was initially invented to feed orphans so that abandoned children wouldnt die. Can't remember when it became something to use in lou of breastmilk. WOnder whose brilliant idea THAT was.
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#5 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Formula was invented in the late 1800s. They absolutly had formula in the 1940s. My mother wasnt nursed either, and neither were any of her siblings, including my uncle born in 1949.

Formula was initially invented to feed orphans so that abandoned children wouldnt die. Can't remember when it became something to use in lou of breastmilk. WOnder whose brilliant idea THAT was.
Oh, I thought formula wasn't developed until later. Maybe that's what they fed her, then.

After I posted this, I got to thinking about what was done in orphanages. But probably an orphanage would have had a wet nurse. That would have been such an awesome job.

ETA: You are right! A quick little Wiki search revealed that Similac was introduced in the 1920's. I don't know why I assumed that formulas weren't available until the 50's or 60's.
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#6 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Oh, I thought formula wasn't developed until later. Maybe that's what they fed her, then.
just google "When was baby formual invented?" SOme say 1845, some say 1869, but it was definetly before the turn of the century. Like I said, it was invented as a means to keep the infant mortality rate down for orphaned children. SOmewhere along the way, it started to be commercialed as an alternative method to breastfeeding. I was formula fed. .

I had a morbid curiosity about this about a year ago.
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#7 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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After I posted this, I got to thinking about what was done in orphanages. But probably an orphanage would have had a wet nurse. That would have been such an awesome job.
I believe, if memory serves, the rate of orphaned babies was begining to overcome the services the wet nurses could provide. ALternative methods for nutrition were needed to satisfy the shere number of children in need.

Its the commercialazation that turned it into a cash cow. Scuse the pund.
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#8 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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This blog post contains a recipe in a booklet given to new mothers that sounds similar to what my grandmother describes mixing up for her children (condensed milk, corn syrup, and cod liver oil).

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#9 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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Babies can survive on animal milks as well. Presumably their death rates are much higher but I know my nephew (born in India) got buffalo milk after my SIL couldn't bf and he didn't tolerate whatever formula was available. He's just fine now.

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#10 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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From what little my grandmother and mother told me, canned evaporated milk, cows milk and early introduction of food. In fact, my dh(poor guy) was given formula for a couple weeks, then switched to cows milk and solids at about 3months. Maybe earlier. My MIL actually started with whole milk and slowly switched to 2%. How my dh isn't a complete metabolic mess, I have no idea.
Oh wait...he is.

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#11 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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Granted, I was born in 1981, but I was fed canned evaporated milk with caro syrup. that was my Gran's idea of formula. My mother was capable of BF'ing, and did, for 3 weeks. but she was also a senior in high school working 3 jobs, and wasn't able to and didn't have the desire to continue.

formula was available for a long time, but depending on people's circumstances and finances, they may have chosen a more inexpensive/readily available option.

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#12 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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Can't remember when it became something to use in lou of breastmilk. WOnder whose brilliant idea THAT was.
Some male doctor/researcher who thought he could do better than God/nature. Ok, there was probably more than one. It gave doctors one more thing they could have power over, which would necessitate more frequent doctors visits. Not to mention bottle feeding preserved their "Victorian" sense of modesty for their women (no need to bare breasts to anyone). So here we are 60-70 years later trying to undo multiple generations of BAAAAD informaion. Kind of like "smoking is good for you". Alright, enough sarcasam.

I'm sure it became more popular when more and more women went to work while the men were overseas fighting in WWII.

I have a home ec book from 1950 and it mentions using the "formula recipe" mom would get from the babies doctor. My mom remembers using evaporated milk mixed with Kayro syrup.
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#13 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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This blog post contains a recipe in a booklet given to new mothers that sounds similar to what my grandmother describes mixing up for her children (condensed milk, corn syrup, and cod liver oil).
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Originally Posted by smpayne View Post
I have a home ec book from 1950 and it mentions using the "formula recipe" mom would get from the babies doctor. My mom remembers using evaporated milk mixed with Kayro syrup.
the thought of giving my babe condensed milk and kayro/corn syrup made me simultaneously tear up and feel like i was going to vomit. OMG.

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#14 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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My mom was fed formula along with her siblings. DPs mom and all of her siblings (6 I believe) were fed a combo of powdered milk, karo syrup and maybe something else in it. It sounds like a gross combo, but honestly the formulas out there aren't very much different than that.

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#15 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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I've always wondered about this myself. I wondered about orphans or babies who mother died in childbirth and what they would have been fed two or three hundred years ago. Interesting topic.

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#16 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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200 or 300 years ago, and beyond that through the ages, they had wet nurses. Matter of fact, English, (and possible french and spanish) queens going back centuries were not even ALLOWED to feed their infant children. Especially if the baby was female.
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#17 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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My mom was born in the 40's and wasn't breastfed. She was fed a homemade formula: evaporated milk, corn syrup, and water, in a specific "recipe" (or formula) given to Grandma by the doctor. Solids were started very young because babies needed vitamins not found in canned milk or corn syrup.

Two or three hundred years ago, orphaned babies were either nursed by adoptive moms or a wet nurse, fed whole cow or goat milk, fed "solids" way too young, or died.

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#18 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
200 or 300 years ago, and beyond that through the ages, they had wet nurses. Matter of fact, English, (and possible french and spanish) queens going back centuries were not even ALLOWED to feed their infant children. Especially if the baby was female.
I heard a really interesting lecture by a GWU English professor about bio-moms and "breast moms" with regards to Shakespeare's time, and specifically Romeo & Juliet. What was interesting is that poorer women would have jumped at the chance to wet nurse, because they just couldn't afford to keep having babies. Rich women, on the other hand, were producing heirs, so it was in their best interest to have their fertility return ASAP.

ETA: I think it was Gail Kern Paster, the former director of the GWU English department. I saw her speak as part of the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute. She wrote a book about Shakespeare and bodily functions, if you're interested... sorry, rambling off topic. I'll blame the 94 degree heat.

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#19 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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I read a book about middle-class Victorian families in England and back then the general consensus of the "experts" was that formula was better for babies because it was "scientifically" engineered to meet babies nutritional needs. With all the new inventions like lightbulbs, phonographs, telephones, etc. there was kind of this "gee whiz, the more technology the better!" idea that prevailed.

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#20 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
This blog post contains a recipe in a booklet given to new mothers that sounds similar to what my grandmother describes mixing up for her children (condensed milk, corn syrup, and cod liver oil).
Sadly this is what my mother was told to feed me in the early 1970s!
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#21 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
Formula was invented in the late 1800s. They absolutly had formula in the 1940s. My mother wasnt nursed either, and neither were any of her siblings, including my uncle born in 1949.

Formula was initially invented to feed orphans so that abandoned children wouldnt die. Can't remember when it became something to use in lou of breastmilk. WOnder whose brilliant idea THAT was.
This is largely a guess based on what I know about attitudes in the US at the time, but I bet if nearly universal formula use didn't start around the end of WWII then it cranked up dramatically.

More women were in the work place (many went back home with the return of their men from the war, but many stayed too.)

People were all about the amazing-ness of science and how much better life was with technology. And formula is so much more scientific than breastfeeding ()

Processed, boxed food was all the rage. So convenient and easy, so technologically advanced. TV dinners and boxed cake mixes were introduced during this time. The modern woman would have been considered foolish to go back to making things the old, slow way.

I imagine the distrust of the breast started when (male) MDs started taking over birth from midwives. After all these were men of science who had so much education and knew so much more than than midwives and mothers. They were going to modernize birth and baby care. Breastfeeding was so unsanitary and unscientific. Obviously, these educated men could come up with something better.

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#22 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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This blog post contains a recipe in a booklet given to new mothers that sounds similar to what my grandmother describes mixing up for her children (condensed milk, corn syrup, and cod liver oil).
DH's grandmother didn't breastfeed, and made something similar to this for her three kids (born in the fifties).
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#23 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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the thought of giving my babe condensed milk and kayro/corn syrup made me simultaneously tear up and feel like i was going to vomit. OMG.
I will admit, I have tried it. It's not horible, just really sweet. Evaporated milk with Karo syrup is a little better (not so sweet). Just add some eggs, carmelized sugar and you have flan (real sugar works better).
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#24 of 84 Old 07-16-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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I was given raw goat's milk with raw honey.

My mother's siblings, born through the 40s and 50s, were given store-bought formula.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#25 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 03:31 AM
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Around the year 1900, or a few years before, there was a big shift in thinking, views on women, men and children changed. This was the first time in history children were seen as children, with special needs (rather than miniature adults). Along with this came a lot of (usually male) "specialists", the people who write books to teach parents how to care for their babies. They started by scheduling the babies sleep and feeding - and as a result, more babies would have been underfed, mothers milk supply diminished, and there would have been a need for formula. Also, formula made it so much easier to know what the baby had eaten - to tick all the boxes in the baby book (kind of)!

Doesn't mean formula was necessarily much in use before world war 1, but the process had began. I don't know exactly when, and exactly how as it wasn't really my subject (it is more related to women and education/learning/choices in the late 1900s), I've just come across some parts of it. If I remember right, this is part of the picture.

This would be in Sweden, or probably Northern Europe.

In the early years of the 1900s, Princess Margaret of England married the heir to the Swedish throne. It was reported in all the papers when her son was born (around 1910), that the Crown Princess was breastfeeding her baby herself! Princess Astrid (daughter of Prince Carl & Princess Ingeborg, and later Queen of Belgium) was born a couple of years before, and the papers could report who her wet nurse was.
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#26 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 07:08 AM
 
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A great book to read on this subject is:
"The Politics of Breastfeeding" by Gabrielle Palmer
I was hesitant to read this book because I thought that it would be too dated but it is excellent (I just looked for it on Amazon and its not available - my local LLL has a copy and it may be available through your library if you're interested). It was so interesting to learn simply where the name formula came from - I had never given it any thought - but doctors would create/prescribe an "individualized" "formula" for babies - which was basically treating babies as lab rats, because often mothers would have to return to the doctor for them to change the "formula" if the baby was not doing well - and as you can imagine this would happen a lot. It took a long time for the formula companies and doctors to agree to allow "formula" to be sold without a doctors visit - $$$ - The book also details the background information on the Nestle boycott - which explains well just how dangerous formula advertisement and unnecessary use is in developing countries. Try not to be a lactivist after reading it
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#27 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 08:10 AM
 
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I know that when my aunt had her babies (mid '70s) an older woman who likely had her babies in the '30's or '40's told her to feed condensed milk and Karo syrup since she "didn't have enough milk" (her oldest was barely home from the hospital, it was far too early to have established low supply). Apparently the recipe was to adjust the ratio depending on the baby's poop. If the baby was constipated, you needed more Karo syrup. If the baby had diahrrea, you needed less.

She was poor and couldn't afford commercial formula, and clearly didn't have enough milk so she raised two children on that. They are healthy adults now, thank heavens, though I certainly wouldn't recommend the "formula".

8 years later when I was born my mom & dad had such great jobs that they could feed me "real" formula.

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#28 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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Wow, this is a facinating topic!

I was breastfed along with all of my siblings, but I remember my mother telling me that when she told her doctor she did not want to use formula, he got huffy and said "go ahead and be a monkey then." This was the 1980's!!

My step-mom came from a very large farming family. She was number 5 of 14 children. Her mom would breastfeed them until they were 2 months old, then she'd give them whole cow's milk from their dairy cows on the farm. They also introduced solids very early...3 or 4 months old.

My step-mom and her siblings have many autoimmune diseases that I'm sure are because of this.

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#29 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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My mom was fed canned milk and karo syrup back in 1953. In the 70's, she fed my brother the same thing, *I think*. Then my oldest sister came along and she did nurse her for a while, but she wasn't tolerating her milk well and the doc said to switch to formula. After exhausting every commercial formula and the karo recipe, she tolerated some concoction using barley water and skim milk. She used that for my next oldest sis as well, when she stopped nursing at 7 months (nursing strike from what I can tell). Me and my little sister were the lucky ones who never got a drop of formula. (I think it took her that many tries to get it right since she was given NO support and HORRID advice)
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#30 of 84 Old 07-17-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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I was actually just talking to my grandma about this today. She had 4 kids in the 60s. She made formula for all of them (water, karo syrup, canned milk). Her first had lots of problems, and the doctor kept changing her formula. She tried to breastfeed her second, against her doctor's advice, because of all the problems she had with the first, but in her words "my nipples never toughend up." She started using formula after the first month and mixed formula for the next kids as well. She said that she would have panic attacks about running out of formula and not being able to feed her kids. She's proud of me for breastfeeding, though

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