The History of Bottle Feeding

February 25, 2008

Archaeological findings have shown that breast feeding substitutes were used thousands of years ago. Historically, substitute milk was given to infants whose mothers died or were too sick to feed their babies, usually with limited possibility of wet nursing at hand. Cow’s milk or goat’s milk were commonly used to replace mother’s milk. In addition, babies were sometimes given supplementary solid food, such as a paste made of bread or flour mixed with milk or water. Needless to say that infant mortality rate was extremely high – from 50 to 99% . History and cross-cultural studies have revealed that the increase in bottle feeding resulted in an increase in infant deaths, especially where standards of hygiene were not met. It is a fact, that artificial infant feeding can hold more risks for baby.

During the industrial revolution artificial feeding became popular in Britain as women had to leave their children behind to work in the factories. The first scientific breast milk substitute was invented in 1867 by a German chemist. It was a combination of cow’s milk, flour, potassium bicarbonate and malt. However, the popularity of bottle feeding increased when condensed milk was developed in the late 19th century. The social consensus about how best to feed baby in a modern world which was filled with new scientific achievements, changed towards artificial infant feeding. Bottle feeding was sold as nutritious, safe and easy to prepare with no need for refrigeration. More importantly, pasteurization of milk and sterilization of feeding equipment made artificial infant feeding a safer alternative; thus, making bottle feeding more popular. In addition, medical representatives and scientists celebrated this new supposedly convenient way of feeding baby. As a result, breast feeding became comparatively unpopular as figures show that only 20 to 30% of babies were actually breastfed during WWII in the USA. However, the 1980s proved difficult for companies such as Nestlé when their involvement with medical establishments in order to sell formula feeding in the third world was revealed.

Bottle feeding is still the number one choice for many new mothers. This can have different personal or even medical reasons, although modern living standards are mainly to blame for the change in maternal attitude over the past century.

For more information about breast- and bottle feeding visit


2 Responses to “The History of Bottle Feeding”

  1. Anna Noble Says:

    Some mothers CAN’T breastfeed for medical reasons; other than that, manufactured fake milk is NOT for babies—BREASTMILK IS! Don’t be fooled by how “easy” formula feeding is–it ISN’T nearly as easy as what is naturally from a mother’s body.

    Do your research—breastmilk IS and ALWAYS HAS BEEN the BEST!!!

  2. Pushpinder Singh Says:

    I used to drink milk but have since given up after analyzing a few facts from nature.

    Just want to make a few telling points, if I may.

    We humans belong to the class of mammals. All mammals, on birth of their newborns, start breast feeding, till the infant, be it a calf, a foal, a tigress cub, reaches an age when they are ready to be weaned off. Thereafter a calf gets onto a vegetarian based diet, a tiger cub goes onto flesh, a foal onto hay and what have you. In nature, i don’t think there is a single example of any mammal, as an adult, resorting to consuming milk. Ever! Except, when we keep dogs and cats as pets, and feed them cows milk. In the wild, I’m sure, they would have not done that.

    The reason why we consume milk is, probably, because it is easily available and is a reasonably good source of nutrition. Rest assured, as evident from nature, it is not an essential part of our diet, or else, all mammals would have been having milk all their lives.

    Amongst human infants, bottle feeding with cows milk is a strict no- no. Milk as we all know, is species specific. Cows milk is ideally suited for the calf. Similarly human milk is ideal for human infants. This has been amply highlighted by the World Health Organization in a number of their publications.

    Bearing in mind the above facts, it would be nice if you could highlight these on your website and dissuade people from making a beeline for cows milk bars.

    Promote Breast Feeding!!!!

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