Advanced search

when did formula milk start being used?

(27 Posts)
booyhoo Tue 28-Jul-09 21:54:31

thats all i want to know really.

Essie3 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:21:40

It was available in special circumstances in the 1940s.
My Dad was given it (on prescription) because he was very premature.
My Mum was given it because she was adopted at 10 days old.

Wow...I bet not many people can claim that neither of their parents were bf in the forties - it was the norm, surely? Ooh, I'm special! grin

Essie3 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:26:28

There's a history of it here albeit rather Americanized.

brettgirl2 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:27:40

Neither of my parents were breast fed in the forties either. There was some powdered milk called 'national milk'.

Prior to that, despite the romantic noticns that everyone breastfed successfully people (or at least some in my family did) gave babies watered down cows milk.

Essie3 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:33:10

<Disappointed emoticon> So nothing special... brettgirl that's the one I was looking for, 'national milk'.

I'm a medieval legal historian, and the laws on childrearing aim for a wetnurse (if you could afford it) but another option is pap - grain mixed with cow's milk or water. I think watered down cows milk was very common until quite recently but not really talked about.

brettgirl2 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:37:47

My ancestors were certainly not of the class that could afford wetnurses!!!

llareggub Tue 28-Jul-09 22:47:31

My grandmother had her children in the 1940s and is always telling me that she breastfed both her babies, which leads me to conclude that quite a few of her friends didn't.

booyhoo Tue 28-Jul-09 22:54:51

i ask because everyone i talk to in rl seem to think its an issue (not necessarily in a negative way) worth mentioning that i bf. to me its how i feed my babies and im just wondering how long ago it was that this became not the norm.

booyhoo Tue 28-Jul-09 22:56:22

my mum and her sibs were all born in the 50's/60's and i had assumed they were all bfed but perhaps not so.

tiktok Wed 29-Jul-09 09:11:30

Commercial formulas became widely available for use from birth in the 1960s though they had existed before then. National Dried Milk was a state product issued in the 40s which lasted about 25 years (I think).

Many babies, even into the 60s, who were not breastfed or who had milk in addition to breastmilk were given diluted boiled normal cows milk to which sugar was added.

belgo Wed 29-Jul-09 09:14:22

My grandmother wet-nursed in the 1940s, in the UK.

WelliesAndPyjamas Wed 29-Jul-09 09:17:22

My aunt was given goat's milk iirc, because my grandmother was too ill to bf her.

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 09:17:43

booyhoo, interesting site here:

LeonieSoSleepy Wed 29-Jul-09 09:33:13

Message withdrawn

MadEyeballsMoody Wed 29-Jul-09 09:44:36

It would be interesting to know how these babies fared on watered down cows' milk etc. Unfortunately, taking other living conditions into consideration we never will.

<<controverial point coming>>

A tiny bit of me wonders if we are too precious about what we give to babies. I mean, if you were to give a newborn watered down cows' milk, would there be any effect? I'm not seriously suggesting that as an experiment btw and I don't mean precious in a perjorative sense, IYSWIM. It's one of those things you idly wonder when you're bored at work... wink

SolidGoldBrass Wed 29-Jul-09 09:47:41

At a rough guess, being given watered-down cows/goats/horses' milk wouldn't be lethal to babies - a fair percentage would have survived and even thrived on it (if something else didn;t get to them). Ditto very early weaning doesn't kill babies or the human race would have died out in the decades when it was regarded as the done thing to wean at around 12 weeks.

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 10:02:03

I think such a restricted diet mainly caused long-term health problems, which would have been common at the time anyway, so it wouldn't have been immediately obvious the baby's early diet was to blame. Obviously some babies would have died of malnutrition as well.

rasputin Wed 29-Jul-09 10:08:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiktok Wed 29-Jul-09 10:17:20

Not being breastfed was a major cause of infant death right into the 20th century. For most of the human race's existence, breastfeeding for long periods was usual - in historical terms, 500 or 1000 or 2000 years ago or even 10,000 years ago is recent.

MadEyeballsMoody Wed 29-Jul-09 10:20:24

It's sad that, not only were conditions so awful, but that so many people now have no idea how advantaged they are, even when they think they have nothing. I devoured Jennifer Worth's books about the East End midwives. Things were so so different only 50 years ago. Parts of London were unrecognisable and the conditions that people lived in were appalling. Really makes you think about what you have and what you can give your children.

Sorry, that was a total hijack but I love social history.

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 10:28:29

Me too MEM I was shocked actually to read in Politics of Breastfeeding that up until the 1970s - much more recently than I'd thought - it was not uncommon in some areas for babies to be fed on condensed milk on the advice of grandparents etc.

tiktok Wed 29-Jul-09 11:04:39

Condensed milk was a positive change, though, in the early 20th century.

Babies who were not breastfed had cows milk, which was not stored properly in houses or shops, and was brought in milk churns on the milkman's cart, pulled by a horse.

In the summer, especially, it quickly went off.

Condensed (and also evaporated) milk was canned at the factory and had an indefinite shelf life. This undoubtedly saved many non-breastfed babies' lives.

Nutritionally, obviously, it was a great deal poorer than breastmilk, but hygeinically it was a whole lot better than bacteria-ridden ordinary milk laced with horse shit

I think this is what lies at the heart of the folk memory, certainly alive in the 1970s according to Gabrielle Palmer, that condensed milk was 'good' for babies.

tinierclanger Wed 29-Jul-09 11:11:41

I was fed on evaporated milk. And that was the 70s!

CornflowerB Wed 29-Jul-09 11:19:53

I'm pretty sure I was fed on cow's milk (born in the the 60s) because I remember a tin of formula being bought when we went to Spain in teh 70s when my sister was born and it being a big deal (the formula, that is - the tin was kept for ages to store things in grin) My sister was breastfed, but also given boiled cow's milk. I remember because I was nine at the time and formula was definitely not the norm in our house - only for the big Spanish holiday!

brettgirl2 Wed 29-Jul-09 15:42:55

It is interesting isn't it, because while breastfeeding when it works well is clearly the best thing for baby formula, although used too widely will in fact have saved many lives.

FWIW out of the 10 babies that my great grandmother had 8 survived to old age, one died at 15 and the other at 45.

I must admit, even having discussed baby feeding with my grandmother I was shock that people gave babies watered down normal milk as late as the 60s. I really did assume that had gone out by the 20s/30s.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: