In the nineteenth century, infants were commonly breast-fed; by the middle of the twentieth century, women typically bottle-fed their babies on the advice of their doctors. In this book, Rima D. Apple discloses and analyzes the complex interactions of science, medicine, economics, and culture that underlie this dramatic shift in infant-care practices and women’s lives.
As infant feeding became the keystone of the emerging specialty of pediatrics in the twentieth century, the manufacture of infant food became a lucrative industry. More and more mothers reported difficulty in nursing their babies. While physicians were establishing themselves and the scientific experts and the infant-food industry was hawking the scientific bases of their products, women embraced “scientific motherhood,” believing that science could shape child care practices. The commercialization and medicalization of infant care established an environment that made bottle feeding not only less feared by many mothers, but indeed “natural” and “necessary.” Focusing on the history of infant feeding, this book clarifies the major elements involved in the complex and sometimes contradictory interaction between women and the medical profession, revealing much about the changing roles of mothers and physicians in American society.
“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
Parenting today is virtually synonymous with worry. We want to ensure that our children are healthy, that they get a good education, and that they grow up to be able to cope with the challenges of modern life. In our anxiety, we are keenly aware of our inability to know what is best for our children. When should we toilet train? What is the best way to encourage a fussy child to eat? How should we protect our children from disease and injury?
Before the nineteenth century, maternal instinct—a mother’s “natural know-how”—was considered the only tool necessary for effective childrearing. Over the past two hundred years, however, science has entered the realm of motherhood in increasingly significant ways. In Perfect Motherhood, Rima D. Apple shows how the growing belief that mothers need to be savvy about the latest scientific directives has shifted the role of expert away from the mother and toward the professional establishment. Apple, however, argues that most women today are finding ways to negotiate among the abundance of scientific recommendations, their own knowledge, and the reality of their daily lives.
Ever since the threads of seventeenth-century natural philosophy began to coalesce into an understanding of the natural world, printed artifacts such as laboratory notebooks, research journals, college textbooks, and popular paperbacks have been instrumental to the development of what we think of today as “science.” But just as the history of science involves more than recording discoveries, so too does the study of print culture extend beyond the mere cataloguing of books. In both disciplines, researchers attempt to comprehend how social structures of power, reputation, and meaning permeate both the written record and the intellectual scaffolding through which scientific debate takes place. Science in Print brings together scholars from the fields of print culture, environmental history, science and technology studies, medical history, and library and information studies. This ambitious volume paints a rich picture of those tools and techniques of printing, publishing, and reading that shaped the ideas and practices that grew into modern science, from the days of the Royal Society of London in the late 1600s to the beginning of the modern U.S. environmental movement in the early 1960s.
"Have you taken your vitamins today?" That question echoes daily through American households. Thanks to intensive research in nutrition and medicine, the importance of vitamins to health is undisputed. But millions of Americans believe that the vitamins they get in their food are not enough. Vitamin supplements have become a multibillion-dollar industry. At the same time, many scientists, consumer advocacy groups, and the federal Food and Drug Administration doubt that most people need to take vitamin pills.
Vitamania tells how and why vitamins have become so important to so many Americans. Rima Apple examines the claims and counterclaims of scientists, manufacturers, retailers, politicians, and consumers from the discovery of vitamins in the early twentieth century to the present. She reveals the complicated interests--scientific, professional, financial--that have propelled the vitamin industry and its would-be regulators. From early advertisements linking motherhood and vitamin D, to Linus Pauling's claims for vitamin C, to recent congressional debates about restricting vitamin products, Apple's insightful history shows the ambivalence of Americans toward the authority of science. She also documents how consumers have insisted on their right to make their own decisions about their health and their vitamins.
Vitamania makes fascinating reading for anyone who takes--or refuses to take--vitamins. It will be of special interest to students, scholars, and professionals in public health, the biomedical sciences, history of medicine and science, twentieth-century history, nutrition, marketing, and consumer studies.