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.
- 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