Infant Food, Nestle's Lactogen


This example of Nestle's Lactogen, a pediatric food product claiming to be "highly suitable for nursing mothers, convalescents and others in delicate health," was collected from the shelves of Tupper's Pharmacy, a neighborhood drugstore that existed in Summerville, S.C., from 1902 to 1977.

Lactogen is manufactured by the Nestle Company, the Swiss firm founded by pharmacist Henri Nestle, inventor of the first fully artificial infant milk formula, "Farine Lactee." Farine Lactee, a malt- and cow milk-based product, was first introduced in the 1860s. It and other commercial pediatric formulas of the time attempted to reproduce the nutritional formula found in breast milk.

Companies continued to try to create synthetics that more closely replicated human milk. Gerstenberger and Ruh introduced SMA (Synthetic Milk Adapted) in 1919; Nestle introduced Lactogen, and Franklin Foods, Similac, soon after. These new products gained the trust of the medical establishment, and the 1950s saw a sharp increase in infant formula use within the United States. Use of infant formula peaked within the 1970s, when approximately 75 percent of American newborns received formula instead of being breastfed. The reasons for this increase include successful marketing campaigns, including the provision of free products; mid-century consumer confidence in "scientific products"; the acceptance of infant formula's nutritional value by nurses and pediatricians; and the increase of women in the workforce.

The use of infant formulas has decreased greatly in recent years; today only three out of ten newborns in the United States are given formula. This change is primarily due to more recent medical studies determining that while babies can thrive on formula, breast milk is superior, especially in that it strengthens the immune system. Nestle and other commercial infant food manufacturers have come under worldwide censure for the aggressive marketing of formulas within third-world countries.

Founder Of The Company: Nestle, HenriRetailer: Tupper's PharmacyMaker: Nestle Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: Infant & Children's Products - PediatricsDietary/ Nutritional Supplements & Reducing Aids


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine, Health & Medicine, Food


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Mary E. and Joseph F. Melfi, Jr., Tupper's Drug Store, Summerville, South Carolina

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1980.0698.135Accession Number: 1980.0698Catalog Number: 1980.0698.135

Object Name: infant foodnutritional productOther Terms: infant food; Food Supplements; Pharmaceuticals; Drugs; Non-Liquid

Physical Description: spray dried cows' milk (overall material)milk fat (overall material)milk proteins (overall material)milk sugar (overall material)ash (mineral salts) (overall material)iron citrate (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 1/4 in x 4 3/8 in; 10.795 cm x 11.1125 cmoverall: 11 cm x 11 cm; 4 5/16 in x 4 5/16 in


Record Id: nmah_717074

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