Baby formula history

When was baby formula invented? - A short history of baby formula

November 15, 2018

Baby formula is something that we take for granted today. It’s readily available, easy to buy, and safe for our baby. But this wasn’t always an option for parents.

So when was baby formula invented?

Wet nurse:

The very first substitute for mother’s breastmilk was the wet nurse and she dates right back to 2000BC. Wet nursing is when another mother feeds your child with her breastmilk, and it was extremely common. We still see some examples of it today, like the policewoman in Buenos Aires, Argentina who fed a malnourished baby as it waited, crying, for care in a hospital.

That’s a very good reason why baby formula was invented. If you saw a malnourished baby and you were lactating you’d be pretty heart torn to help the poor little one have a chance at life too. It’s lucky the policewoman was there and willing to help, and now we’re lucky to have the great alternative of baby formula. It’s perfect for moms who have trouble lactating or breastfeeding and have no other option. It’s not an uncommon problem and it’s great we live in a generation with a great solution.

The feeding bottle:

This came next and with it came a huge range of bacteria, difficulties in cleaning the bottles and nipples, resulting in sick babies. Feeding bottles date right back to the Romans and the Middle Ages but were not particularly hygienic or effective. They were used to deliver a variety of animal milks like sheep, goat or cow milk.

In the 19th century there were massive improvements in the feeding bottle with glass baby milk bottles leading to plastic bottles and the rubber nipples we see today.

  • Baby formula:

  • The major breakthrough came in the 1800s when sterilized food containers were invented.

    In 1865, chemist Justus von Liebig developed an infant food. It was first available as a liquid and then a powder formula for better preservation. It was made using formula ingredients cow's milk, wheat and malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate. It was the first baby formula invented and it was a great success, leading to many further formulas being developed and released.

    Baby formulas continue to be improved to avoid spoilage, to have clean milk, clean bottles and clean nipples, and to provide the very best ingredients for babies. The industry and advertising has become regulated.

    So there you have a brief history of baby formula.  

    Here at the Organic Baby Food Shop we found this really interesting because we do take it for granted. Formula has always been around in our time. And yes, we are passionate about always finding the best organic baby formulas for the health of our baby, but we had never really considered what people in Ancient times must have gone through when they had lactating difficulty. We feel pretty lucky to have such a great selection of organic formulas and sterilization techniques to keep our babies happy and healthy.



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