What were you fed? - Mothering Forums
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Life With a Baby > What were you fed?
lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 08:58 AM 11-25-2013
This isn't intended to start bf vs formula debate. What I am interested in hearing about are these old wakey things parents were told to feed their babies.

We recently found out my husband as a baby was fed karo and evaporated milk! That was suppose to make him less colicky.

mamapigeon's Avatar mamapigeon 09:52 AM 11-25-2013

I think there's already a thread about this, but it's certainly an interesting topic.


I was a formula baby. I think I started solids at 4 months.

lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 11:05 AM 11-25-2013
I was reading in the 20s baby were give oj
bayosgirl87's Avatar bayosgirl87 09:13 AM 11-26-2013

Formula. :-( The doctors told my mom she couldn't breastfeed because she had flat nipples. Guess what? Mine are short and I breastfeed just fine!

Blanca78's Avatar Blanca78 10:58 AM 11-26-2013

Breastfed here till 19 months. OP--my mom told me she was fed the corn syrup and evaporated milk stuff in the 1940s/50s (her mom was one of the few who did breastfeed, but only for a few months). I'm guessing your DH is younger than my mom--surprising that he was given that, too?

MaggieLC's Avatar MaggieLC 09:57 AM 11-28-2013

I was born in the 60s. I was breastfed for about 6 weeks and then, supposedly, "some doctor told me my milk was water, so I quit." (My mother never owns her own decisions.) I found out later "that doctor" never saw me, never weighed me, (I was gaining well on breast milk and dropped in the percentiles when put on Similac and even more when put on cow milk, then developed a severe case of Milk Anemia.) and never asked my mother any questions about her breastfeeding.


By 2 weeks old I was eating: egg yolk, orange and/or tomato juice and cereal. I was then put on Similac at 6 weeks and then cow's milk at around 4 months, because "that formula was really expensive." More and more solids were added weekly. I was on meat shortly after the egg yolk, then every kind of jarred baby food known. My parents moved out of my grandmother's house when I was 16 weeks old and I was immediately put on a rigid CIO regiment. My mother claims, "You didn't sleep through the night at four months because your grandmother would come and pick you up whenever you cried." The horror.


And she wonders why my GI, immune and nervous systems are so messed up. *sigh*


My mother's excuse: "Doctors were gods. You did what they told you without questioning." I don't believe this as she lived IN THE TOWN where many of the first La Leche League meetings were being given and my grandmother and great grandmother and aunt all breastfed their kids until toddlerhood and she had the support to continue breastfeeding IF she wanted it. Yes, I'm still a little pissed off that my body was defiled by this stuff at such a young age due to "convenience" and my mother refusing to own her own decisions.


My MIL never breastfed after she was given a dry up shot in the delivery room without her consent and had no milk the first few days for my brother in law. She didn't try with my husband. They were given home made formula made with honey and evaporated milk. yikes2.gif They were born in the 50s.

Serafina33's Avatar Serafina33 05:32 AM 11-29-2013
Reading this stuff can make you very sad.

I was breastfed for two years(early eighties). I enjoy great health and a great immune system and I feel grateful to my mom.
My fiance was born in 77 & also was exclusively breastfeed for the first half year and not really sure about his weaning schedule after that, but regardless, he was a fat, healthy, breastfed infant who grew off the charts as a baby, so I'm happy to see those baby pics and know his body got such a great start in life. Whatever weaning process happened as he began to toddle pales in comparison with the importance of infants getting breastfed on demand. I am hysterically passionate about a new baby's right to nurse and be near mother as much as baby wants, but much more lassie faire (spelling?) about a 9 month old or 1 year old getting switched to a mix of formula & solids. I personally do extended breastfeeding, but don't get tears in my eyes (or upset even) at the thought of kids closer to a year and older not getting breastmilk. They're not my kids and I can shrug it off.

But newborns and infants not getting to thrive on mommy milk? Criminal neglect in my mind and makes me want to weep.
MaggieLC's Avatar MaggieLC 08:27 AM 11-29-2013

OMG. Thanksgiving. Somehow the subject of babies came up. My mother gleefully told the story about how she "had no choice" (dear Lord I hate that expression, there are few situations where people "have no choice") but to let me scream myself to sleep when they moved out of my grandmother's house when I was 16 weeks old. She blamed my dear, sweet grandmother and my dear sweet great grandmother and my aunts for picking me up when I cried when my parents lived with them. (My dad was 2nd Generation Italian and it wasn't uncommon for 3 or more generations to all live in the same house. Like a village.)  She again laughed when she told how she told the neighbors she was "teaching the baby to sleep, so if you hear screaming all night, I'm not beating her. I'm just NOT going to pick that baby up every time she makes a noise." I guess there was a risk of DCFS being called because I cried so hard, so long, so loud and so desperately.


I was fuming. How could anyone not only DO that to an innocent infant, but brag about it and tell the story like it was amusing to anyone. WTF? Decades later she's still defending her choice as not even being a choice. "You could stay awake for 24 hours." Yeah, so? I had my first two babies 26 months apart, they were both colicky for 14 weeks and never let them cry. I didn't get enough sleep. SO? You do for your babies and you survive. It didn't make me neglect my tiny innocent babies, who only cried because it was the only way they could communicate, and the ONLY thing they wanted was my presence and my arms and my milk. I don't think they were asking too much or unusual at all. That's what babies do. They sleep erratically.  Parenting isn't for the weak, or the excuse makers or for those who want a convenient life.


I'm still fuming. That woman still thinks she knows more about parenting than I do. Called me (I'm a Lactation Consultant) in the hospital after my THIRD baby was born and gave me completely irrational "breastfeeding advice." When I, as calmly as I could, told her that what she was suggesting (I had some soreness and she said, "You make those nurses get you a nipple shield!")  wasn't recommended for my situation, she got bitchy with me and said, "Then what are they for, then?" I was barely 24 hours post C Section with a preterm baby, in a lot of pain and trying to only get milk into this tiny little baby and I wasn't going to give my mother a crash course on Lactation 101 from my hospital bed at the moment.


Her hubris never fails to amaze me. She not only refuses to admit she made grievous errors but refuses to own any of her choices, claiming she "had no choice" but to make far less than optimal mothering choices, and then, if that is questioned or anyone explains that she did have other choices, blames other people who either "forced" her to do things a certain way or "wouldn't let" her do thing a different way. Cowardly. That's all I can call her mothering.


To laugh and joke about a baby crying lonely and scared in the night, her only worry that a neighbor might call DCFS. WHO does that?


Rant over. mecry.gif 

apeydef's Avatar apeydef 10:58 AM 11-29-2013
I think it must be the generation, she sounds like my grandma ( who had her babies in the 60's so I'm guessing they are around the same age!) I know she thinks it's weird I still breast feed! She just says, your still breast feeding ? And she said that when he was like 10 months old!

I was FF, my mom said I had jaundice so she had to switch me to formula! Ahhhh!!!! I hate hearing that now that I'm more educated.. However I made mistakes with my first too, I let her CIO desperate for sleep! I didn't know any better. I bought a book about sleep training and the rest is history!
lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 11:37 AM 11-29-2013
I agree with these things being generational. My gram after my baby was two weeks old asked why the baby wasn't sleeping the night yet! All her babies did right away. I wonder if she slipped them a "hard drink" and then just closed them in a room. Lol.

The only weird thing I know of that my parents did to me as an infant was put honey on my pacifier so I would take it.

Our families can't believe how long I nursed my first ( till 22 months) and how we don't introduce solids till at least six months. It's funny to me people can try and tell me my baby is starving when they have fat rolls:)
apeydef's Avatar apeydef 11:43 AM 11-29-2013
Oh yes I got that from family that I was starving my son! They say it in a nonchalant way but you know it's what they are getting at! I simply replied with dies he look like he's starving? Breasted babies can go one year on breast milk alone!

I also forgot to mention that my mom would put baby food and cereal in a bottle when I was a baby and feed me that ! And I know I was at least 4 months old I'm sure younger! Again though I made the mistake of starting my first on purred foods at 4 months bc she wasn't gaining as much as the dr thought
apeydef's Avatar apeydef 11:47 AM 11-29-2013
Hit reply too soon.....
She wasn't gaining as much as he thought she should! And I shrug put cereal in a bottle with bigger holes!!!! But I never out baby food in a bottle.... That is just laziness on my moms part lol..... Well we live and learn right? Now I'm BLW total opposite of what I did with the first.... And there are done things I'll do differently with my next too that I'm in the process of learning! I think our generation is always trying to grow and learn ( with I help if the internet) which our parents did not have! They just did what the dr's told them.just like I did with my first... (With some things)
EnviroBecca's Avatar EnviroBecca 02:27 PM 12-05-2013

Maggie, :Hug you are right to be angry!  It's not a "funny" story at all, and it's awful that your mother won't admit now that she did some things wrong, even if she really didn't know at the time.


My partner and I both were breastfed until about 1 1/2 years old and offered soft healthy foods at 6 months. :thumb  My younger brother nursed until he was almost 3, but his intro to solids was screwed up by my paternal grandmother, who claimed she "didn't know" not to feed him strawberry ice cream at 4 months.  My mom thinks that may have been the trigger for his dairy allergy, which lasted until he was about 4 years old.


That grandmother fed my dad some kind of homemade baby formula, but I don't know what was in it.  She also gave him "soothing syrup" with opium...


On my mom's side of the family, though, it seems like everybody breastfed even through the era when it was unfashionable.  I remember my great-aunt telling me that when her kids were babies in the 1940s, she would leave them with their father while she went grocery shopping, but if she heard someone else's baby crying in the store, her milk would let down--she made it sound like she looked like a lawn sprinkler! :D

pamelaRRRR's Avatar pamelaRRRR 09:31 PM 12-05-2013
My mom was young when she had me in '79 and she and her five brothers and sisters were FF because my grandmother "just couldn't make enough" so she didn't really have any breastfeeding peers or influencers and had no idea what she was doing when the OB that delivered me have her a shot to dry her milk up when she first went into labor.

I think if she'd had any kind of positive influencers or information besides the OB, she would have gladly breastfed me and my sister.

She's very attached without having a definition of it. She held her babies, fed them lovingly (no bottle propping in our family!) and discipline was gentle, for the most part.

She just, honestly, wasn't given a choice and didn't feel like she had a choice, when it came to breastfeeding.

She also didn't know about circumcision choices either, but had no sons. She didn't even know her own father was intact until she mentioned to my grandparents that my son is intact.
laura-belle's Avatar laura-belle 11:06 PM 12-05-2013
I had formula in the NICU, but my mom eventually managed to EBF me. Her supply always seemed on the low side of normal. I self-weaned shortly after learning to operate a cup.

My grandmother nursed my mom for about 3 months. She says that her milk went away at that point and ended up exclusively feeding formula. She never tried to nurse any of her other kids. I don't know to what extent she was supplementing with a bottle before three months.
apeydef's Avatar apeydef 07:31 AM 12-06-2013
I've noticed women who had babies In the 60's tended to ff. it was a relatively newer thing and dr's encouraged it. I know it came out years before but seems like it was just the thing you did in that time. My grandmas both had my parents in the 60s and they said they didn't give it much thought
Red Pajama's Avatar Red Pajama 08:13 AM 12-06-2013

My sister was breastfeed for about 6 months I think. The crazy story about that is that friends of theirs wanted to "keep the baby overnight", she agreed, and weaned her because of it. 


I was breastfed until 11 months, when my parents went on vacation. In those days, "vacation" was excluded to anyone under age 5, because one can't expect an under 5 to sit in a boat hours a day and fish. So at 11 months (and subsequent years following) I was sent off to an aunt who had a similar age child for a week while my mom went on vacation with dad. I can't imagine how hard that was for me, my mother, or the aunt!


My mother was formula fed, although she said her mother breastfed some of the children (there were 9) but not all.  I've heard that my father was forumla fed, although that probably means he was fed cow's milk, as they lived on a dairy farm. Stories about her in bed for days make me think she suffered severe post-partum depression. 

erinmattsmom88 08:16 AM 12-06-2013

Both my brother and I were EBF for six weeks, then mom had to go back to work. Who knows after that? I am assuming formula. My husband was never BF'd and was fed corn syrup, that karo stuff, and powdered milk. Yuck. We were born in the early 70's.

lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 11:10 AM 12-06-2013
The kero mix makes me think of humming bird sugar water, lol.
LilyTiger's Avatar LilyTiger 10:19 AM 12-07-2013

My siblings and I were EBF, though my mom weaned me at 7 months due to compulsive biting and mastitis.  I think the others she nursed until around one year. 

sissa78's Avatar sissa78 04:54 PM 12-07-2013

My siblings and I where breastfed, my twin sister until she was 1 1/2 and me until 1 year old, I dont know why I stopped earlier though.

EnviroBecca's Avatar EnviroBecca 09:03 AM 12-09-2013
 Both my brother and I were EBF for six weeks, then mom had to go back to work. Who knows after that? I am assuming formula. [...] We were born in the early 70's.

There were breast pumps in the early '70s!  (Actually, there were manual breast pumps at least as far back as 1902--they're in the Sears catalog I have!)  Depending on your mom's work situation, it might have been too difficult for her to pump at work, but it's possible that she might have.  My aunt did.  My mom was a SAHM when we were little but was a LLLLeader, and I remember her having custody of the chapter's electric breast pump and having moms come over to learn how to use it, not for work (they would have needed their own) but for temporary situations like being in the hospital or taking a short trip away from baby.  I was kind of freaked out by the pump, and the feeling stayed with me until after my son was born when I tried pumping myself--it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable and weird as I'd expected! :)

cardigan's Avatar cardigan 06:29 AM 12-11-2013
My mother bf me for a year. She went back to work pretty early, but had an awesome boss that loved babies. So I went to work with her and napped and nursed in her office, and was taken outside by a babysitter. I must have received formula bc I have a very clear memory of confusion of being told not to bother my mathematician father bc he was hard at work on his formulas and he wasn't drinking from a bottle.
Backroads's Avatar Backroads 12:51 AM 12-12-2013
Originally Posted by lovemylab View Post

We recently found out my husband as a baby was fed karo and evaporated milk! That was suppose to make him less colicky.


Hah!  My grandmother can describe the recipe in detail!  She laughs about it now, how it was all the rage...  It was part of the homemade recipe for formula.


I was breastfed 6 weeks, then put on formula.  Apparently I was a very bad nurser, because my twin brother nursed much longer.

Ruthla's Avatar Ruthla 11:29 AM 12-17-2013

I was breastfed back in 1972 when "only the Hippies nursed their babies." At least, that was the case in suburban Long Island where I was born.  She used to express milk for my 1 bottle a week when she and my Dad had an appointment. I  believe the doctor gave her the go-ahead to use whole cow's milk in that bottle when I was 6 months old. At 11 months old, the day I learned to walk, I "weaned myself." Apparently, I couldn't take the breast with me (but she let me  toddle/crawl around with a bottle.) I have no idea how much cow's milk/how many nursings a day I was getting between 6 and 11 months old.


I can now recognise my own toddler behavior as a nursing strike, and could  give a new mom lots of tips for getting the baby back to the breast. But in 1973, she was given kudos for nursing "so long" and she's still proud that she never fed any of us formula.

USAmma's Avatar USAmma 04:55 AM 12-21-2013

My dad was fed that too! It was 1953 and my grandma had had breast surgery and was unable to make milk. My dad ended up with horrible allergies, eczema, and asthma. They also introduced solids way, way early, as in 1 month old. My dad ended up on goat's milk. He suffered health problems his whole life and then passed away in April due to asthma attack. :-(

I, on the other hand, was breastfed for a long time, and fed home-made baby food. I too unfortunately have asthma and allergies but not to the extent my dad did. My brother was unable to nurse due to a rare syndrome and my mom had to formula feed him through a tube. The breast pumps were not good enough back then to sustain a milk supply for very long but she tried.

sillysapling's Avatar sillysapling 03:51 AM 12-22-2013

Breastfed for 3 years, probably EBF for at least the first 6 months, and home made baby food only.


I barely speak to my mother because we have never had a good relationship. I'm pretty sure breastfeeding is the only fond memory I have of her. I actually realized that this week- I have a really hard time thinking of good memories of my mother. I have virtually no immune system to speak of and numerous physical and mental ailments, including a lot of food intolerances. Breast milk didn't do me much good. I would have preferred being formula fed and raised by a good, loving parent. I mean, sure, ideally you could have both- but sometimes I feel like after I weaned my mom decided that she was done with the parenting thing.

ancoda's Avatar ancoda 12:47 PM 12-22-2013

My mom BF all of my sibling and me. I am the oldest of 4 girls.  Most of use were weaned to formula at some point. The longest she BF was 1.5 years and the shortest was 7 months.

JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn 03:44 PM 12-22-2013

In the 80s, I was breastfed around 6 months til my mom broke her wrist and was put on strong pain meds that would pass into the milk, so then I got formula. I probably ate cereal and purees like 4m or so onward. In 2000 my baby brother nursed for 2 months then I had him full time and mom worked.

kblackstone444's Avatar kblackstone444 09:50 PM 12-22-2013

My Mom was 17 when she had me in the mid-70's and she was led to believe that boobs are "dirty parts", so I was formula fed.  I developed colic almost immediately, and by the time I was 10 weeks old, the pediatrician had told her that I was crying because I was hungry, so they put me on rice cereal in a bottle, too.  :eyesroll  But I'd keep eating the rice cereal and drinking formula because I suspect I must've had a high suck need as an infant.  I've since had two sons- breastfed babies- and they were the same- refused their thumbs, refused a paci, just wanted to suck- nurse- 24/7.

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