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Who Knows What's Best for Babies? Advertisers Do ~ or How the Better Babies Movement Made Us All Fat ~ Vintage Lima Ohio Collectibles and History

How did milk-fed babies became the chubby ideal?

Read how the milk industry, and other advertisers sponsored the Better Baby Movement, using chubby blonde blue eyed babies in their advertisements to introducing baby formulas, promoting bottle feeding, changing America's baby nursing habits in Nature's Perfect Food: How Milk Became America's Drink 
by Erna Melanie DuPuis.

All babies under a year old who are registered will receive a white felt pennant bearing Lima's slogan, "Better Babies, Better Homes, Better Communities".

Excerpted from The Lima News March 4, 1916
Better Babies Day Observance Plans Complete
Program For Baby Week As Planned For Lima 


The above is the official slogan for Baby Week celebration. 
"Baby Week" was officially in augurated today, when Mayor B. H Simpson issued an official proclamation asking that all Lima citizens interested in making for children a better home and better place in which to live, link their efforts In a great educational campaign to give the baby his just deserts. 

From now on until next Saturday, the greatest forces for good in the city will pull together to help mothers and fathers know more about their young children and the bringing up of the little ones in a way which will make them healthier boys and girls. 

President Woodrow Wilson is heartily in favor of the plans put forth for the celebration of Baby Week in the United States. He thinks it is one of the greatest factors for good inaugurated. Governor Frank B. Willis has also taken up the good work and his proclamation regarding the celebration, has been issued. 

All babies under a year old who are registered will receive a white felt pennant bearing Lima's slogan, "Better Babies, Better Homes, Better Communities". 

These pennnts will be distributed at Baby Week headquarters at 213 West High street, for those not previously registered. Those babies already registered will receive a pennant through the mails, together with a pamphlet, "Save the Babies". 

Pamphlets and booklets of scientific information from best authorities on the care of the baby may be had free of charge. Exhibits and charts showing facts concerning infant mortality, proper feeding and clothing, etc, will be shown, and will be on display all week. 

Special conferences will be held on "Food and Feeding", and on "Milk". 

The primary school will present a playlet, "Mother Goose Up to Date"; the grammar school will write essays on "The Clean Food Code", "The Milk Code"

Prizes for the HEAVY Babies

Grandmother's Methods Made Prize Babies

Even Rose O'Neill's Kewpies got on the Better Baby Bandwagon.

For Better, or Worse?

More on the Better Baby Movement:

  • Better Baby Contests: The Scientific Quest for Childhood Perfection in the Early Twentieth Century by Annette K. Dorey -- Beginning at state fairs where judging cattle was the norm, a unique campaign of "scientific" baby judging spread to towns and cities of all sizes across the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Infants were poked and prodded, weighed and measured, and then rated on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being "perfect."

  • Read about the controversial aspects of these contests "creating" better babies as a form of eugenics.
  • Go even deeper into the subject here.

  • P.S.

    As early as 1893, cute round faced babies were used to promote ''Lactated Food'' to save babies lives from malnutrition. 

    Colour advertising card issued by the Wells & Richardson Company of Burlington, Vermont, possibly in 1893. It features portraits of five babies and brief letters on the reverse from their mothers (dated 1892 and 1893) praising the nutritious properties of Lactated Food and how it had saved the lives of their infants who weren’t interested in any other sort of food. 

    Wells, Richardson & Co., took over the business of Henry & Co. in 1872. Originally wholesale druggists, they began manufacture of other products in 1886 with butter colour for the dairy industry, a well-known remedy, kidney-wort and finally lactated food, a very valuable food for infants and invalids. These were all advertised extensively in newspapers and almanacs etc. 

    As its name suggests, the basis of Lactated Food was lactose or milk sugar. The food was hailed by the medical profession as the best of its kind with which they were acquainted. They expanded, establishing branches in other countries, including London, England and in 1882 became a corporation under the name of Wells & Richardson Company. [Source]

    This earlier baby food invention could be an entire post of its own, but I shall leave you to that research: link, and just share a few more cute baby tradecards.


    Note: These items are part of my ''Collecting Lima Virtual Museum''. They are not for sale.

    If/when I find more information on these items, I will add it to the post.

    Read the Introduction to Collecting Lima Virtual Museum Project ~ My Lima Ohio Bottles, Advertising, Antiques


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