A Voice for Mothers: The Plunket Society and Infant Welfare by Linda Bryder

By Linda Bryder

Overlaying the historical past of the Plunket Society from 1907 to the current day, this e-book is geared up round 3 dominant topics that give a contribution either to foreign historiography and to the social historical past of latest Zealand. those issues are the combined economic system of welfare, maternal and child overall healthiness, and motherhood and parenting. mentioned intimately is how jointly those 3 strands shape a huge contribution to New Zealand's social background. particularly, the general public position of girls as welfare services, maternal and baby health and wellbeing provision, and parenting roles and practices are tested. An in-depth research of the voluntary welfare procedure, this ebook can be of curiosity to welfare historians, women's stories historians, social historians of drugs, and govt coverage makers.

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During the 1880s and 1890s methods of artificial feeding became a major topic of discussion in American paediatric literature. This arose from attempts to reduce mortality among babies in asylums and hospitals. 69 From the 1890s, paediatricians, led by Rotch, constructed an intricate technology for bottlefeeding babies known as the percentage method (also known as humanised milk). It was based on the notion that artificial feeding of infants would be more successful if cows’ milk were altered to approximate more closely the chemical composition of mothers’ milk.

This led to the creation of elaborate formulae for modifying cows’ milk. 70 There was never unanimity among paediatricians about the percentage method. Jacobi and some other American paediatricians rejected it even at the height of its popularity. Nonetheless, percentage feeding had been widely adopted and was taught at leading medical schools in the early twentieth century. Holt was one of its proponents and the subject took up a large portion of his lecture course at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

It may be laid down as an axiom that Every Mother can nourish her offspring in the natural way. ’88 Yet, like Collins, he believed that hereditary patterns could be established unless checked. 89 With this in mind, he justified the time spent promoting a healthy system of artificial feeding. On the advice of Miss C. M. Beswick, the matron of Seacliff Mental Hospital, Truby King chose as his ‘community nurse’ a staff member of the hospital, Joanna McKinnon. While she was not a registered nurse, she was a ‘bright, winsome’ young Scottish woman90 who learnt the formula and proceeded to teach mothers and caregivers how to modify cows’ milk.

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