Recommended Reading: Breastfeeding in The American Philatelist
My father-in-law is dabbling in stamp collecting and as part of his hobby he receives a copy of the The American Philatelist. The January 2012 issue has an absolutely fascinating article by William Moskoff entitled “The Campaign To Reduce Infant Mortality in the Soviet Union 1917–1939”.
With women in the factory workforce, Russia started to experience a tragic infant mortality rate. “In 1917 infant mortality was 350 for every 1,000 live births among women who worked in factories.” Moskoff writes and notes that was 2.7–3.5 times higher than the U.S.
Recognizing the issue, Russia took measures to educate its people. How did they deliver their message? Postal materials! Postcards and stamps provided instruction on topics such as how to bathe a child and how only doctors should remove bugs from a child’s ear (apparently common enough to warrant a postcard). Another thing the propaganda prescribed… breastfeeding!
“Nothing can substitute for the milk and heart of a mother.”
-Caption from a Government Sponsored Postcard, 1920
I thoroughly enjoyed the article and appreciate all the research William Moskoff put into it. Definitely check it out… at the very least to learn about the soskas rural infants were given while their mothers were working. Crazy!
You can read the article online here and download a full PDF of the The American Philatelist from the same site.