The University of Wisconsin Press

Health Sciences / Nursing


Mothers and Medicine
A Social History of Infant Feeding, 18901950
Rima D. Apple

Wisconsin Publications in the History of Science and Medicine

In the nineteenth century infants were commonly breast-fed; yet by the middle of the twentieth century, women typically bottle-fed their babies on the advice of their doctors. Rima D. Apple analyzes the complex interactions of science, medicine, economics, and culture that underlie this dramatic shift in infant-care practices.

As infant feeding became the keystone of the emerging specialty of pediatrics, the manufacture of infant food became a lucrative industry. More and more mothers reported difficulty in nursing their babies. This book clarifies the complex and contradictory interaction between women and the medical profession in America.

"The strength of Apple's book is her ability to indicate how the mutual interests of mothers, doctors, and manufacturers led to the transformation of infant feeding . . . Historians of science will be impressed with the way she probes the connections between the medical profession and the manufacturers and with her ability to demonstrate how medical theories were translated into medical practice."—Janet Golden, Isis

Rima D. Apple is a fellow in the Department of the History of Medicine and a member of the Women’s Studies Programs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has lectured at the University of Melbourne and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she compiled the Illustrated Catalogue of the Slide Archive of Historical Medical Photographs at Stony Brook. Her work has appeared in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and she has contributed to several books, including Women and Health in America, edited by Judith Walzer Leavitt, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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January 2005  
LC: 87-040137 RJ
280 pp.   6 x 9
34 illus.

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Paper $21.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-11484-8
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