History of infant feeding.

Tara - posted on 09/08/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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1. History Of Infant Feeding

Until recently, women never considered not nursing their babies. It was the only means available to them at the time—the only way they knew how to feed their babies. In fact, not only did they breast-feed their babies but they did so until the child was at least two or three years of age.

Shelton points out in an article, "The Story of Infant Nursing,'' that most civilizations of people nursed their babies and for long periods of time. He included the Egyptians, the American Indians, the Mesopotamians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Orientals in his documentation of this fact. In these cultures, a wet nurse (a woman with breast milk who nurses your baby for you) was utilized only by rich women who thought they were "above" nursing their own babies.

When babies were first artificially fed, it was on bread and water. Then came the use of cow's milk. The invention of the bottle naturally followed. The first bottle consisted of a cow's horn with a couple of pieces of leather sewn to the narrow end which had a hole in it. The baby sucked the milk through the holes between the stitches of the leather. Next came the invention of artificial formula milks and all sorts of canned baby foods—and needless to say, the deterioration of health.

Nursing, and in fact nursing for long periods, continued in this country until the beginning of this century. After this, the decline in breast-feeding was very rapid in America. This is largely due to the medical profession advising mothers that bottle-feeding is better (cleaner) for the baby and will allow them more freedom. This decline was also due to the rising dairy industry followed by the manufacture of artificial formula milks which were pushed for a profit.

By the 1920s, a women's rights movement began and breasts went out of style. Women were moving into a men's world and took jobs outside of the home. They were no longer able to stay home and nurse their babies.

Besides women being forced into the work world, doctors—and other "experts" were urging mothers not to breast-feed and if they do breast-feed, they should wean early. These "experts" claimed that if mothers nursed their babies too long, their child will become too attached to them, become emotionally retarded, or that it will ruin their marital relationships, etc.

With the 20th century came so-called scientific child rearing—rearing the child on a schedule rather than on instinct or common sense. Up until a generation ago, children mostly stayed home with their mothers until kindergarten or first grade. Each year it seems the age of children being cared for by those other than parents gets lowered. Now even infants are raised in day care centers. Much of this is due to the economic situation—our exploitive industrial society—forcing women to work and away from their children.

In the 1960s and 1970s the trend, however, came back toward breast-feeding. Women began questioning the "experts" and feeling there must be a better way. Now there are many books available on the subjects of natural birthing and breast-feeding. There are also organizations such as the La Leche League willing to help and urging women to go back to nature's way of nourishing their young.
Home > Lesson 56 - Normal Feeding Of Infants; Feeding Babies Under Abnormal Conditions Until Weaning Age

* 1. History Of Infant Feeding
* 2. Importance Of Breast Feeding
* 3. The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding
* 4. Methods Of Breast-Feeding
* 5. Feeding Solid Foods
* 6. Feeding Under Abnormal Conditions
* 7. Questions & Answers
* Article #1: Simplicity of Infant Feeding By William L. Esser
* Article #2: Indigestion in Babies By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
* Article #3: The Long Nursing Period By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton

http://www.rawfoodexplained.com/feeding-...

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Mary - posted on 09/08/2010

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Thanks for sharing, Tara!

It's funny, in a sad way, that the more educated and empowered women become, the more difficult our choices are. Do we push ourselves to achieve higher education and find career success, only to then be torn about how to juggle both career and family? And no matter what you chose to do, there is a new study out every other day that implies your choice was wrong, or not in the best interests of either side.

?? - posted on 09/08/2010

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I don't think that the article is necessarily complete, as in, it doesn't encompass other factors in life or aspects of life that affect both westernized and non-westernized life styles. And like Mary has said, it doesn't matter which way we choose, it's never going to the be right choice.



"Women began questioning the "experts" and feeling there must be a better way."



This is inaccurate in my experience. People who end up not breast feeding, it's not about finding an ultimate better way, questioning that breast milk is best for their baby. People who have done their research and are informed in their decisions KNOW that breast milk is the best way, it's the 100% best way. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the better way for their life, and the life of their baby, to be the most fulfilled and complete.



No matter the reason for a woman to decide that she doesn't want to breast feed - if she is looking for another method to feed her child then breast feeding isn't the best way for her family and she is looking for a better way to do everything she has to do, including feed her child. Whether she ends up breast feeding, pumping, getting a wet nurse or feeding her child formula - it doesn't matter which decision she makes - if mother and child are both satisfied, growing, healthy and happy then that method *IS* the better way for their family dynamic.



Perhaps on a scientific level, and commercial level, they are trying to find 'a better way' but the mothers I know, their parenting isn't about being scientific. Their decisions aren't based on what the latest study say. So to generalize that parenting and mothering is being put on the way side because of science trying to find a better way, it's irrelivant, it's just so pointless and all it does is shove another divider between mothers security issues. Which ultimately feeds to the exact same commercial / scientific playing ground.



Anyways, people go against the "experts" all the time. It doesn't mean they're denying that breast feeding isn't best for the baby, it means they're accepting that breast feeding isn't going to work for their family dynamic and they're looking for a better way to live their life to their wants, needs, desires... expectations, whatever it is they want to do with their life.









What does breast feeding and formual feeding have to do with infant mortality and length of life? If there wasn't a breast to feed the baby and a wet nurse wasn't available that child would probably starve or be in insane amounts of pain for the years of their lives while slowly starving to death. Third world countries have women with boobs and milk and there are children dying left, right and center. They don't have clean water / formula and food to feed their children or their adults. Leaving the infant mortality rate bombing while western worlds are relatively thriving. Letting people live longer. They have the same diseases / different diseases in non-westernized countries as we do. So as much as the article has good points it also leaves out a lot of other information that goes along with it or against it.



Sure it was a good read. Especially for people that are just starting to breast feed or about to start and have no idea what they're doing, and it's a good lil history lesson. To me though it's just another article stating some obvious stuff and leaving out other obvious stuff. It's one of those things that seems to be wrote in hopes of getting validation of their own choices. *shrugs*

?? - posted on 09/08/2010

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Along with all of this information, there are also tons of other things that have changed in that time period. Infant mortality for one. A womans role in the world has drastically changed in this time. Some women want and need different things.



Breast is best.



If a mothers breast isn't what is best for the overall survival, health and happiness of both mother and baby... I, for one, am happy there are other methods available so that those babies still get the nutrition they need to live.



I wanna add that I find it amusing that it talks about the ancient civilizations breast feeding and using wet nurses... most of those people didn't live longer than 20-30 years. They probably should have continued breast feeding until death - they might have lived longer :p Life spans go long beyond 30-50 years old now, where not even 100 years ago, most men were lucky to make it to 60.

Rosie - posted on 09/08/2010

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i have to disagree with that statement barbara, not everybody has the luxury of being able to stay home with their kids (depends on your view if its a luxury or not, lol). some women HAVE to work, like myself. hell with my first one i was single, no help at all from his "dad". no way i could just stay at home-well i guess i could've gone on welfare, but i think my work ethic wouldn't allow that to ever happen. i personally couldn't choose to NOT work at all, i don't have that ability. and where i work, while it's illegal to not allow me to pump or breastfeed (don't know the specific laws on that) i work retail. i can just see how it goes now - "excuse me sir, i know you would like to return this lawnmower, but i have to go drain my boobies for 15 min. hold on, i'll be back" it just doesn't work that way in the world of retail. i can only imagine what that would've been like if i had continued to BF. in fact that's part of the reason why i didn't continue-along with the whole depression, overwhelmed, couldn't stand a child attached to my boob thing.

and as for what jo said, i couldn't agree more!! i know breastfeeding is best, definitely, and i knew all that stuff that was posted.it'll never come out of my mouth that i think formula is better than breastmilk nutrition wise. for me formula was overall the better choice, with all the other factors considered in there.

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[deleted account]

I have to respectfully disagree with Barbara to a certain extent too. While I agree with what you are saying when I apply it to myself, I can also say from personal experience that mothers who choose to take a long career break are discriminated against. We have our whole life to go back to work, but there are consequences to taking too much time out. I can understand why some women are not willing to take the chance.

[deleted account]

I think formula is basically a good thing for many babies who are not breastfeeding for whatever reason, but I think the commercial nature of formula companies probably played a big part in the decline of breastfeeding. I'm glad times have changed and more information is out there to help people make informed choices.

Tara - posted on 09/08/2010

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Lol This was supposed to go in the breastfeeding forum, not the debate one!
I had both of them open, pasted to the wrong page.
But glad to see it has been read and commented on.
:)tara

[deleted account]

I agree Barbara. I have my whole entire life to go back to work. My kids are only young once. So, I'll re-start my career when this baby in my belly starts elementary school. I'll be in my early thirties. I'll probably work 25 years and retire in my late fifties. Or, maybe I won't go back to work. My husband doesn't really care. Either way, I'm glad I have the choice to stay home with my babies (and nurse them while I'm home).

Barbara - posted on 09/08/2010

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I don't see the struggle in choosing whether to be educated and career driven and being a devoted mom. We don't have to choose between education and career at all, and we can even stay home with our babies if we want. What is a handful of years in the overall scheme of things? What's the difference between working for 30 years and working for 35? And there are ways to work with your baby if you need to work. I did it with both of mine for a time. I just feel like it is so black and white in our society. There are so many options if you think about it, one for every lifestyle.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

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My bad, Jo, I guess I got a different impression of what you were saying.

?? - posted on 09/08/2010

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I don't see it as breast feeding vs bottle feeding... I see it as there are plenty of options for parents now that have led to more fulfilling and happy lives for women (and their families).

I see it as, just because they choose to breast feed, pump, have a wet nurse, buy breast milk, or formula feed it doesn't mean they're choosing to put 'parenting to the way side' or that they're denying the benefits of breast feeding.

I agree with you 100% what you said before Dana, "We CAN have both and I think that's an awesome message these days."

Jessica - posted on 09/08/2010

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I don't think it was so much breast vs. bottle... just outlining the history of how babies were fed. And when they said women started finding a "better way", that was because for years up until then health professionals and society both actively campaigned AGAINST breastfeeding- that it was dirty, unhealthy and that formula and bottles were better. Only the formula back then wasn't nearly as nutritious as it is now, thanks to scientific research. So the "better way" was realizing that bottle/formula feeding wasn't actually better than breastfeeding like they were saying, and breastfeeding wasn't dirty.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

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I guess if you're looking at is as a breastfeeding vs bottle feeding you're going to see it in a different light.

Jessica - posted on 09/08/2010

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Very interesting information! I find the history of things like that really fascinating. I am totally for breastfeeding, though I personally have never wanted to nurse past a year or so. But nowadays our access to nutritious food is much better. Back in the day, regular nutritious food wasn't as easy to come by all the time so it totally makes sense for them to have nursed for 2 or 3 years. If I were in that kind of situation I would do the same thing since nutrition and my child's survival would trump my personal preference.

My grandma is 82 and says she never breastfed any of her 4 children- but wishes she had. She always laughs and says "maybe that's what's wrong with them!" I guess it wasn't what people did in her time and they didn't know about all the benefits it actually has. She herself was one of 11 children and remembers seeing how her mother's breasts looked (she was pretty much constantly nursing) and said it looked really painful.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

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I'm curious as to how an article talking about the history of breastfeeding & child rearing and why it was pushed to the way side is tied together with life expectancy and infant mortality.

That being said, I'm glad that woman's rights and breastfeeding are back in the forefront. We CAN have both and I think that's an awesome message these days.

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