A history of infant feeding.
The historical evolution of infant feeding includes wet nursing, the feeding bottle, and formula use. Before the invention of bottles and formula, wet nursing was the safest and most common alternative to the natural mother's breastmilk. Society's negative view of wet nursing, combined with improvements of the feeding bottle, the availability of animal's milk, and advances in formula development, gradually led to the substitution of artificial feeding for wet nursing. In addition, the advertising and safety of formula products increased their popularity and use among society. Currently, infant formula-feeding is widely practiced in the United States and appears to contribute to the development of several common childhood illnesses, including atopy, diabetes mellitus, and childhood obesity.