Current Events: Missing the (Bottled) Point

So the evening news has noticed what the Wall Street Journal pointed out back in January; we have a baby formula shortage. This is very much Not Good. Unfortunately, the MSM and too many other people leaving comments on various spots on the internet seem to think this is a light and passing problem. “Mother’s milk is best!” is the common snark, with various levels of “how can you be so stupid and lazy not to know that?” often attached.

Which ticks me off, because it’s clear said commenters have never had a tiny infant mammal depending on them when everything goes wrong. And there is so much that can go wrong.

I’ve been involved in a lot of such care. Whenever the ewes lambed or the goats kidded, one of the first things that had to be done was to milk them for some colostrum (the first milk with all the major antibodies), and then freeze it. Usually we didn’t need it, but every once in a while we’d have an orphan. Or the mother rejected them. Or the mother developed mastitis and couldn’t give healthy milk. Then we needed that frozen supply, so much. Formula later, if they lived.

Mother’s milk won’t help if the mother can’t produce it.

Modern medicine has vastly lowered the maternal mortality rate, but that doesn’t nearly solve the problem. What are often lifesaving medicines for the mother – chemotherapy, psychiatric meds, penicillin – can be lethal to a breastfeeding baby. Imagine, as really does happen, you’ve been diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. You likely hold off on treatment as long as you can, and probably have a C-section to deliver the baby early but viable. Then you must have medicine. Chemo in particular tends to kill the cancer just a little faster than it kills you. You cannot pass those toxins along to a child.

Tell that mother a formula shortage isn’t a big deal.

And then there’s the child’s side of the equation. Between unexpected allergies and various metabolic diseases, breast milk is not healthy for some babies. They will sicken and die. Still others never seem to latch onto a nipple, and far too many bite.

That last one I can attest to in my own family. One of the boys was a biter, and at one point bit his mother so hard she screamed. From that point on he refused to take a breast ever again, no matter how hungry he was. It was a bottle or nothing.

I particularly want to take a blunt object to people who think mothers bottle-feeding “for convenience” should “just” start nursing again. Lactation does not work that way. Yes, you can induce lactation again, but it can take weeks, or months, and it is not a sure thing. In the meantime the baby still needs to eat. And anyone who wants to bring back hired wetnurses ought to go read up on exactly why they used to be called “angel makers”.

This also applies to anyone who thinks you can just use condensed milk and karo syrup “like the old days”. Let me introduce you to severe nutritional deficiencies and allergic reactions, you… you… I’ve known people who were raised on that. 0 of 10, would not recommend.

People snarking about mother’s milk being the best “even if it’s inconvenient” remind me way too much of those who go on about “oh, handwashing is the best way to treat fabrics!” When they’ve never had to handle a whole family’s worth of laundry, day in and day out, in their lives.

It’s not always the best. It’s not always possible. Read up before you look down on someone. The answers are likely not as cut, dried, and easy as you think.


55 thoughts on “Current Events: Missing the (Bottled) Point

  1. I remember one point in my life I had to do hand-washing of my clothes. Took me a significant portion of my morning, and that was for only my clothes. Yeah, no thanks.

    And I don’t have a bat but I have some tonfa I can loan you for percussive education…

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Oh yes. I was able to breastfeed my first baby until he was a year old, but I never did seem to produce enough. After the first night at the hospital (he was born in the evening), the nurses brought me a bottle of formula. It was amazing how suddenly he wasn’t crying and fussing as much. I relied so much on bring able to supplement my milk with formula.
    Plus, babies eat all day and all night in the beginning, and that’s exhausting. Formula gave me a chance to take a break and let my husband feed our son sometimes, which also let dad and baby bond.
    We’re expecting our second baby on October, and I’m keeping a very worried eye on the news about the shortage. We’ve been debating trying to get a small supply now (1 can of formula every 4-8 weeks) before Baby 2 is born just in case, because we’re probably going to need it and I don’t want to have an unhealthy baby if I can do anything to prevent that.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Do it. It will keep, and you will thank yourself later. My supply dried up at 3 months with my second and I had to bottle feed her for months before she could take solid food. Stock up on the formula.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. If it’s still ongoing, goat milk is the closest to human milk and is very good for children. Just make sure it isn’t pasteurized, because babies need all the healthy enzymes to help them digest.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Congratulations!

      I mentioned it down below, but seriously– see if you can get a pump. If you’ve got blue cross affiliated insurance, I strongly suggest the Ameda MYA Joy. (Yes, I copied that from the confirmation email.) It’s like the size of my palm, the pump can fit in a coat pocket, plug-in or normal batteries. (The bags it comes with are useless for pumping, but great for storage– you can keep a full bag in the fridge, plus the bag you’re dumping pumping sessions into, and freeze the rest.)

      Besides the feeding baby part, it helps a lot with engorgement.

      And it is really nice to be able to trade off feeding the baby at night.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I have a good pump that I got from my insurance (and while the insurance company doesn’t advertise it, the prenatal classes and hospital sure do) with my first baby. It helped a little, but it didn’t noticeably increase my production. It might be better with this new baby (fingers crossed), and maybe then I won’t need as much formula. But I’m still going to keep formula as a backup.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Good– is there a place you can put one of those dry rounds in the back of a freezer, somewhere?

        The expiration date is based off of shelf storage, so dry and cold can seriously extend that. Not something you want to do if there’s an option, but…this *is* just in case stuff.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. the issue of lack of formula is something that mothers know better then anyone else how serious it is- as im no mother (and never will be, due to being a guy) i admit to ignorance here. though the mothers i do know, who have toddlers and babies, seem to ALWAYS have formula for the baby.

    As for the hand washing – from all i heard the electrical washing machine was lauded as the biggest life quality improvement by women, and one show told how that was the biggest contributor to feminism, simply because with it, all the HOURS spent on washing clothes for the family are suddenly free.

    this is like the joke:
    A minister of economy asks his assistant to tell him what’s the economic situation in the nation.
    said assistant tries :”How to explain, minister..”
    And the minister interrupts him saying: “I know how to explain it without you, I’m asking what’s the situation!”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Nah, that was the spinning Jenny. Spinsters could barely make a living even while cloth manufacturers spent twice as much on spinning wages as on weaving wages. And cloth still cost so much that reusing the clothes of the dead was common even after contagious disease.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. TLDR: general agreement and details.

    There is a very real shortage of some very specialized formulas– the kids for whom “just nurse” cannot work, because they can’t process it– and there’s what appears to be an induced shortage from the news suddenly noting, nearly half a year later, that it’s hard to get the specific formula your child uses.
    That’s important because switching formula can upset the kid’s stomach, and this really isn’t a time when we need more stress, is it?

    But the the news started screaming about how there’s a formula shortage…and suddenly there was even more of a shortage, the shelves that had been about 3/4 full but with a limited selection are suddenly about 1/5 full, and there’s a buying limit.

    That’s the pattern I’ve noticed when people are trying to help, so they buy whatever is hard to get and donate it to local aid groups. I’ve heard from some online friends that there’s a known pattern of people buying formula to ship to relatives out of country, too.


    The “just nurse” advice is… at best, misdirected. It aims at the mothers, when a major reason that formula gets used is to paper over other problems.

    Best case, it’s a ramp– our youngest couldn’t get out of the NICU until he’d shown he could eat a set amount, consistently. That is not very likely for a post-emergency-c-section mother [waves] trying to nurse. (They weigh the baby before, and after– this isn’t very accurate, but it does increase milk production vs pumping.) So he got mostly formula, and I pumped until we had enough for a feeding, and by the time he got home I was able to produce enough, and a few weeks later I’m over-producing as normal. Transient issue, we still have three vials of formula left.

    Outside of the best case, formula is easier for the person who is supposed to help fix the problem.
    As an example, biting babies can be fixed/mitigated with nipple covers, which also helps with latching problems. Sometimes those fix themselves, sometimes you use a cover as long as they’re nursing– had to do that with the eldest, wasn’t that bad. (Latching issues, and supplementing early on.)

    Worst case, there’s things like the kid being tongue-tied and nobody notices that he’s got “nursing issues” because of that.

    With the (induced) shortage of healthcare workers right now, there are a lot more people taking the simpler, just-use-formula way out. Even the “lactation consultants” are having staffing issues.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My sister was unable to produce enough milk to keep any of her three children contently fed, and had to supplement with formula almost from the day they were born. She also felt guilty, but the doctors told her there isn’t always a reason that happens! Sometimes they just don’t produce enough milk. And then you have my younger brother, who grew so fast and was so hungry that my mom even had to put a little cream of wheat in with his milk (she also had to supplement with formula when she couldn’t keep up), AND still needed to feed him every 2 to 4 hours for several months. And he was not a chubby baby! Formula was invented for a Reason! Sure, if the baby doesn’t have problems, and the Mom doesn’t have problems, mothers milk is the preference option. But that situation is actually rarer than people think, obviously. I can’t believe people are treating this like it isn’t a scary problem! What about low income families? Who have to use food stamps? How are they supposed to keep their baby fed, when they are usually undernourished and/or probably have health problems too! Or single moms, who just need to freaking Sleep? Grr, this makes me so mad…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. On the off chance that someone is having problems for non specialized formula — there are milk banks, just *try* contacting them.

    They can also help you get a breast pump. They have improved *so much* in the last decade, never mind from when I was a kid. Sometimes your insurance company will even cover it, although they sure don’t advertise it much.

    BlueCross has a phone number to call, took about half an hour because I am trash at being able to hear the audio over the kids, then about a week for shipping, you can order it any time after you’ve been confirmed pregnant.

    I know that the news harping on it has been making me extremely stressed, because there’s nothing quite as scary as “can’t feed my baby.” For the pregnant ladies right now? I can imagine, and don’t like it!
    Take a deep breath, there is help.
    And stress hurts milk production. Which makes you more stressed. Which hurts your output evne more…..

    Liked by 4 people

  7. When I was born I was almost 2 months early and couldn’t nurse from my mother, and then when I was out of the NICU, I refused to. So it was formula or nothing for baby me.

    From what I’ve heard, a lot of premature babies have similar stories.

    And as someone who does wash most of my families clothing by hand, it sucks, I miss washers a LOT (I do still take the blankets and heavy stuff to a laundry mat), but there’s just no space in our current home and the price of a washer plus the monthly increase on the water bill would be too much to handle.

    The invention of the washing machine, even the proto form of a mangle, was an INCREDIBLE shift in domestic history.

    The invention of real actual baby formula was similar, though if I remember right the first versions of it were NOT great and mostly flour.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. When I was born I was almost 2 months early and couldn’t nurse from my mother, and then when I was out of the NICU, I refused to. So it was formula or nothing for baby me.
      From what I’ve heard, a lot of premature babies have similar stories.

      It is, though thankfully they’ve found ways to help with some of that– different bottle shapes, those pumps I mentioned, letting parents stay in-room as much as they want, keeping parents involved, physically, with the baby, as much as possible…. I’m sure I’m missing things, that’s just the stuff that I’ve seen or directly heard of from nurses.

      Even getting the few drops of milk that a mom can manage and swabbing the baby’s mouth with it. Holding the baby while a machine slowly feeds him with one of the nose tubes, so he learns to associate “held like this” with “feel full.”

      Doesn’t fix everything, but it can *help* with *some* things.

      (Long term NICU moms: holding your baby while you pump can make you produce more, too.)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh good to know things have improved! This was the late 80s, so most of that wasn’t an option I think. From what mom’s said, they were fine with her staying with me SOME of the time, but kept kicking her out after visiting hours were over.

        So she camped in the waiting room and stared down the security guard they called a few times before giving up and just letting her stay.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Yeah, when I was born– early 80s– it was still kind of a new thing to have the baby in the room with mom during recovery, instead of in a nursery. Now, when you can’t be sure you’re able to keep the rooms baby-comfortable, you only have a few baby-nurses, and there’s a good chance of mom being seriously ill, that’s a very important tactic…. but it doesn’t make it GOOD, just a reasonable thing and maybe the best they could manage.

        I can remember reading about visitor’s hours being enforced on parents of (older) terminally ill kids, too. …. having a hard time coming up with a good reason for that, unless it was one of those rules that was usually not enforced unless they had to do something where the parents’ distress would also upset the kid.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Yeah, when I was born– early 80s– it was still kind of a new thing to have the baby in the room with mom during recovery, instead of in a nursery.

        My mom kept my brother with her extra around that time because he kept conking out on her and she’d tell the nurses she was waiting for him to wake up and eat. But to my understanding, the pressure on her, with both of us, was basically as strong toward formula as it is toward breastmilk now — and breastfeeding wasn’t even on the radar for her mom, because at that time and place, formula was the Superior Scientific Option if you could possibly get it.

        I think a lot of the pro-breastfeeding rhetoric is still fighting the last war that idea. When switching to formula (like normal people!) was encouraged upon encountering any difficulty at all, arguing that difficulties could be overcome probably had a higher percentage of accuracy. When everybody’s encouraged to breastfeed if possible and they send lactation coaches into the delivery room before you’ve gotten up, not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Absolutely. 50s and 60s, it was down-right *shameful* that my grandmother had nursed, instead of using formula.

        That was for poor people.

        Now, though– while there isn’t the bias towards “formula is wonderful!”, there is the same lazy medicine as other reproductive adjacent fields, and more taboos than you can shake a stick at.
        Sure, they push breastfeeding very hard– along with prolonging the flat out insane levels of restrictions from pregnancy, most of which are either exaggerated, specialized, or only for one stage of the pregnancy.

        Basically, the culture is flatly insane for anything related to having kids.

        Example: a very basic way to help a woman nurse is to have a beer*. Dark ones are preferred, although hops do help with milk production…and my sister in law has been told she can’t have a beer within six hours of nursing. Not for cause, but because there could be trace amounts of alcohol in her system.
        This is roughly on par with worrying about getting drunk off of a cake because vanilla extract has alcohol in it, or alcohol toxicity from using hand sanitizer.

        Instead, the activists tell nursing mothers not to drink at all, not to have caffeinated drinks, not to drink herbal teas, to avoid sugar (???), that they shouldn’t eat allergens, that they need to avoid fish (mercury!), to limit meat intake (???) and avoid salt, basically everything they nag anyone who walks in the door about plus the pregnancy restrictions…..

        Which is a great way to make moms neurotic as heck, but not so much for improving nursing rates.

        * in contrast, my husband’s grandmother had a very stiff cocktail –roughly a double– every day of her marriage, either with her husband or with him in spirit. Of five kids, four are various types of doctor. But nobody wants to say that any level of alcohol is safe, so the same irrational hysteria against radiation gets applied to “but it has alcohol!” Yes, fetal alcohol syndrome is horrible. We lived next to the Rez. I am familiar. It’s also not studied worth snot, and a lot of the folks doing the studies should be shot for gross insults to science. Surveys are utterly horrible for this kind of subject, especially after years of brow-beating, and with no attempt to identify if the girl who has been an all-day alcoholic since she was a pre-teen really did magically stop drinking other than ‘once or twice’ for 9 months. /end rant

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Did not know the bit on beer, interesting….

        Yeah, my grandmother was told by a doctor her milk was “too thin” to breastfeed successfully. No idea if this was true or not, but she’d lost her first daughter to SIDS so she never breastfed the second.

        (And only. I strongly wonder if part of my family’s messed-up-ness comes from all that guilt and cosseting piled onto the second child and there not being any others to share out some of it.)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. On the beer:
        after a tempest in a teapot over some old Guinness ads about a mug being good for nursing mothers, some of the more practical mommy groups quietly mentioned that yes, they’d had a glass of stout every evening, many on doctor’s orders, often to ‘build up the blood’.
        (There’s a ton of good stuff in stouts.)

        But nobody wants to get caught SAYING anything like that, because you’ll be mobbed.


        On SIDS– Iowa has a program going on right now, to drop the rate. It’s so rare that it’s hard to tell, but there appears to be a significant drop.
        They noticed that a high rate of SIDS cases were when the mother had preeclampsia, and the longer she’d had symptoms the higher the correlation.
        So they lowered the “this is a problem” level for symptoms– that’s why they yanked our youngest out, even though it was only a week before the scheduled c-section– and in the last few years, the SIDS rate has gone down.
        Previously, the standard was to try to prevent damage to the mother while attempting to reach the estimated birth date; now it’s treated as a hazard to the child, as well.

        (Sorry if I’m over doing it on info-dumping, I find this stuff fascinating– and I’m aware of how hard it was to FIND a lot of it, so I get a little over-excited on the chance to drop it where someone else who needs it might find it.)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’ve been lucky enough not to run into the really wild ones, I think — admittedly I dodge the whole “there is no safe dose of alcohol while pregnant!” (let alone nursing) issue because I never found any that I liked enough to bother with. But the milk banks here don’t say anything about not taking vitamins, and when I broke my leg, the time I was supposed to refrain from nursing due to medication was a matter of hours — when I woke up from anesthesia (and possibly some subsequent natural sleep? it was like 3am), they just had me pump and discard once.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. That’s hopeful– once I have a decent supply built up, I’ll poke the local area and see what they accept. It’s at least an hour’s drive, so we’ll see.
        Hoping it was mostly Seattle blob, and then ego-defense, induced stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I should probably clarify that I haven’t actually ever built up the minimum starting donation, so theoretically there could be obstacles I haven’t gotten far enough to encounter. But the vitamin supplements thing has always struck me as so weird.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. To add an extra spin of weirdness, there are some laws preventing the sale of breast milk.

    They’re meant to prevent poor people from selling kidneys.

    So you have a few undersupplied and overworked milk banks, and a black market/social media network of milk sellers and donators, but they have trouble setting up what could be a perfectly viable business.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The milk banks also work in a market of their own, though it’s not (directly) money for milk– I seriously doubt that there’s a law saying that they can’t accept milk from women who eat peanuts and are still taking prenatal vitamins, but they need involved-population approval. Volunteers and donations mean you need to say the right things for at least some of that group.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. This makes me feel so torn. I can see the logic and the pros, of such laws; but the downsides…. However, if it weren’t for the laws, we could have a similar situation as pharmaceutical companies, where the business is gouging prices or something similar (One of the Downsides of capitalism, unfortunately) or you would have the crazy sick people who would poison the milk, or add stuff to it, or, like with Blood donations, people who aren’t honest about their health/medications/diseases, etc. And that isn’t even getting to the rumors and problems that would also be similar to what we get with Blood banks, like the rumor I keep hearing about Red Cross supposedly charging hospitals for the blood that is supposed to be a free donation. (Haven’t been able to confirm that either way, there is a huge amount of crazy info on several sides of the argument, and I am finding it harder and harder to locate reliable sources online these days…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a charge for donated blood– because there’s a huge cost to processing, shipping, storing, etc.

        Sometimes, the pay-people-to-give-blood places are actually lower cost, because they’re able to keep a relatively steady supply, don’t have to move around, etc.

        Without both options, you run even shorter on blood and blood products.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Yeah, but the crazy people on the internet make it sound like it is a Terrible, Horrible thing for places that accept blood donations to charge hospitals for it. I had mixed feeling when I first learned about it, (I was very young and didn’t know better) but it’s just like you said, it costs money to store, transport, etc. And hospitals recieve funding for that too. Then there is also situations like now, where even with both options, there is a pretty bad blood shortage.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. The thing that frustrates me is that I’m pretty sure the laws were never intended to target milk.

        If they have concerns about a milk market and make laws to regulate it, that’s fine.
        But having a law aimed at a completely different issue interfering is annoying.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Ayup. My brother and I both would’ve starved to death in infancy without formula; in my particular case I suspect it may be related to having been rather premature (thank you, Navy, for calling up the doc and forcing the procedure to be done weeks earlier…). Sometimes “natural” just is not possible.

    Modern conveniences exist for a reason. It ain’t just laziness. Modern _society_ could not exist without them. Lots fewer people would survive to adulthood, and people would be too busy with household chores to innovate. Having once spent three months living in a house with _no_ functioning utilities, and gone without one or another for varying periods of time since, I have no use whatsoever for the “oh, modern society is just so lazy” arguments.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yep. Although, I do feel society has lost a little of something important with modern conveniences, they are there for a reason! They help a LOT of people and do a lot of good!

      My personal feelings about modern conveniences is more rooted in disaster concerns and the limits of food storage. For example, if a huge natural disaster struck where I live and we were literally unable to get to any kind of store for a prolonged period of time, like 6 months or longer (not likely, I know, but I do sometimes worry about that kind of thing) what would the average person be able to do to get basic food ingredients? It kind of hit me one day: do I even know how or where to get salt naturally? Or sugar? Without being able to trade/or grow it myself? What about pepper? Starch? How many people have ever actually tried to make bread? Or noodles? Or soup from scratch, without using canned broth? I’m not saying that people need to give up convenience, or that it is bad for people to have such things and not worry about where they come from. But I also think there should be some way to learn/teach some basic survival skills based on the areas you live in if we have a limited supply of those basic ingredients that are kind of taken for granted. Beach I realized, that as an adult, I am unusual among my coworkers and friends in that I have actually tried to learn some of this kind of stuff: like sewing, weaving, baking from scratch, how to make and store stuff like broth and wheat and alternatives to sugar, etc. It is definitely encouraged by my writing, I will admit that, because I tend to write fantasy, based more in a midevil or less technological based society. Sorry for the long comment, I was thinking about this today after hearing about the formula shortage, and I have devolved an odd habit of going: Huh, I wonder how people would make this stuff if it wasn’t produced in vast quantities in factories to be sold in stores? And down the rabbit hole I go. So I’ll shut up now, sorry! I absolutely agree with your comment, just got carried away thinking about it. 😅

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Oh, absolutely, knowing _how_ to do without is a very good idea. Modern conveniences can and do fail–I live on the western edge of Florida, so it’s a perennial concern here. (Never had the power go out for more than a few hours, even with Irma a few years back, but I know full well we’ve been lucky.) Heck, I _do_ know how to make bread from scratch, and have done so quite a bit. …Not sure what I’d do if the electric oven wasn’t an option, but I at least know the rest of the steps!

        I very much agree that modern conveniences have had the downside of creating generations of people who don’t know what to do without them. It’s just that we wouldn’t even have a modern world if they didn’t exist. Just _try_ sustaining a modern population without modern farming techniques, much less the rest.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Oh yes, especially modern farming! The sheer numbers if you stop and think about it are absolutely staggering! Especially if you have tried gardening, and have an idea of how much you have to grow to support just yourself. Society today would definitely not be where we are without industry, mass production and modern advances on farming.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. It’s not just that they don’t know how to do without them, it’s that they regard them as the spontaneous natural state of things, requiring no effort to sustain.

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Really grinds my gears when these people blithely, deliberately stomp on what they _know_ is the bedrock of production, in full knowledge of the damage being done–because they’re just so confident their own status/money/etc. will keep them going regardless of how much the peons suffer.

        Never does it seem to occur to these people that money won’t help them buy essentials _when the essentials are no longer there to be bought._ An economy is built in layers–knock out the lowest layers, and sooner or later the higher ones will fall, too. The “little people”, and the cheap products that support them(/us), make the fancier stuff the head-in-the-clouds elites buy. Or at least make the stuff that makes the stuff.

        Sooner or later, a shortage that only affects the “little people” will bring the elites tumbling down just as much–and the abused will bite back.

        (Note: none of this is a screed against the rich, or against capitalism. My complaints are strictly about the kind of rich elites who let power go to their head. Not every rich person is this dumb or sadistic–just enough of them to currently be making life _very_ miserable.)

        Liked by 3 people

      5. A lot of it is that. But there’s a lot of cluster B types in various positions of power, and they love to see people suffer. It’s like a cocaine hit.

        Meaning that it doesn’t matter how much it damages them, if they get to see others suffer.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. My mom did her best to breast feed all her kids, but 3 months after I was born she had to have an emergency appendectomy. Antibiotics and pain meds do not mix with breast feeding momma and she dried up while on treatment. There are extenuating circumstances, even with the best will in the world for ‘breast is best’. Kid has got to eat.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. It turns out that the 1910’s and 1920’s had a lot of push for breastfeeding, and also some interesting info on supplemental food or formula.

    Condensed milk with dilution was kinda looked down on, and the Karo syrup wasn’t even a thing yet.

    Olden Days Baby Formula Substitutes

    Barley and barley water is a possible, but it really doesn’t have enough calories and protein. It was popular because it was available easily at some points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interesting bit is that a lot of the advice is very modern, like “Don’t worry so much about feeding the baby for the first few days; but make sure the baby stays close to the mother’s body, because that promotes lactation.” Which it logically would, with all the maternal hormones and the influence of touch and smell.

      Some of the advice is crap or dangerous, of course, but a lot of the good bits are very detailed and outspoken.

      The one I think is interesting is the idea that it’s better to wrap up baby feet in one little bundle, because baby feet can get cold easily when separated, even in socks. I’m not sure this is absolutely true, but it does explain a lot of the logic of swaddling. (And honestly, a lot of tiny babies do have cold feet inside their socks, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just like adults having a tendency to cold hands.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Swaddling argument may be sounder than you think.

        I’m a little confused tonight, where writing a proper simple concise summary is concerned.

        You’ve got three modes of heat transfer to consider here. One is conduction through the cloth, rate is driven by temperature difference, distance, and insulating properties of the cloth. You also have convection and radiation from the surface of the cloth to the surroundings.

        Conduction, basically, thicker layers, and multiple layers (air gap gets counted), are more insulating.

        Convection is temperature difference, shape, airflow, and surface area. If you are wearing pants, they have more surface area than if you have your legs in sack. Obviously, you would have more convection losses with more surface area. This is why bigger, fatter people tend to feel the heat more. Thermal energy generation is mass related, and heat loss is surface area related, so a lower surface to mass ratio means that you have a harder time cooling down.

        Radiation is temperature difference, surface area, and some other things. Again, the lower surface area means that swaddling has a lower heat transfer than pants and socks.

        Obvious key difference between the cohorts over the ninety-hundred years of difference, cheap and reliable interior heating, and generational memories regarding the availability and reliability of in door healing.

        You will care more strongly about how warmly you wrap babies, when you have more doubts about keeping the house warm. OR insulated against drafts, etc. And, pre-AC, in some climates you could not build houses that were super tight and insulated, otherwise you would cook too much during summer.


    2. That’s fascinating… and makes me wonder if we’re likely to have another pro-formula swing covering the decades my kids/grandkids might be having children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Part of it was that there was justified fear of tuberculosis carried by cows being passed along by raw milk, which in some areas caused a lot of infant/childhood TB among humans. Homogenization and milk refrigeration was just being invented.

        OTOH, it was also recognized that in some cases, raw milk had enough more nutrition that it made a difference….

        I saw some doctor articles that said too-tight corsetry styles made breastfeeding difficult for some women in the US, because their breasts didn’t fully develop. Also a lot of women had difficulty eating enough and healthily enough to carry babies and then nurse them. So physicians were concentrating on getting women to regard nursing their own babies as very important to their families, and on getting cooperation from their husbands for everything connected to it.

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    3. Oh, and pearl barley, aka Job’s tears, which is a very popular food/porridge/tea in South Korea. That’s supposedly a good food for babies, which I readily believe because the porridge powder is very nourishing. But I’m sure it does need supplementation — and the kind in Korean stores has little ground up nuts in it, which you’d probably have to pick out or smash a lot smaller, for babies.

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      1. Anyway, Job’s tears are gluten-free, which is a big benefit for those with gluten problems, and they are high in potassium, iron, calcium, and fiber. So you can see why Korean moms push the tea on kids of all ages, including in school and college.

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  12. Teff also has no gluten and high protein, but it might have a strong taste for a baby. Ask Ethiopians, I guess. But teff flatbread is soft, so teff softened with water or other liquids would probably go down okay.

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