What is an infant feeder?
December 13, 2010 5:46 PM   Subscribe

What is an infant feeder? My wife's former boss (mid 60's I guess) said that when she had her kid she didn't wake up in the night to feed him, she just hooked an infant feeder up to his crib and put some formula and rice cereal in it and the baby would feed himself. It sounds like something a hamster drinks out of, but for babies. I have googled and not been able to find anything but this picture that I am not sure is what this lady was talking about. Do you know what this thing is and can you tell me about it?
posted by ND¢ to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I have to believe that she's totally messing with you
posted by victoriab at 5:50 PM on December 13, 2010 [13 favorites]

She's got to be joking.
posted by tristeza at 5:51 PM on December 13, 2010

You've been had Mr. ¢.
posted by special-k at 5:59 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, somebody did file a patent in 1959 for an automatic infant feeder.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:03 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

We found the 1 week diaper to be really helpful as well.

...Yes, you've been had.
posted by cosmac at 6:06 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not as certain you've been had. At least not totally. That is indeed an infant feeder, and it looks to me almost exactly like what I'd always seen in antique shops marked as an invalid feeder.

Here's a link which may give you more info: American Collectors of Infant Feeders

I do think she had to have been kidding about the baby feeding himself, but maybe not???
posted by pixiecrinkle at 6:08 PM on December 13, 2010

Well, there are definitely a couple of ads on this page for devices that look like they're designed to be left in the crib with the baby. Maybe not overnight, but still, it looks possible.
posted by MsMolly at 6:10 PM on December 13, 2010

Hahahaha! This reminds me of an episode of Scrubs where the Janitor thinks babies belong in cages because he was caged as a baby. Oh my. You've been had.
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:11 PM on December 13, 2010

My mother had a "bottle holder" made of a wire structure, surrounded by some kind of vinyl and with an elastic band. It looks somethat like mmmbacon's link. You could put formula and rice cereal into a bottle, and the adjustable contraption held the food right at the correct height for the baby to feed itself.
It was pretty common in those times, no one ever remarked on it.
posted by mmf at 6:14 PM on December 13, 2010

And there is this, from (apparently) a 1933 issue of Modern Mecanix (see top-right image)
posted by YamwotIam at 6:15 PM on December 13, 2010

This woman has described this device to several different people at different times. She is also not the make-up-a-crazy-story-to-mess-with-people type.
posted by ND¢ at 6:16 PM on December 13, 2010

Found more. Searching old magazines for "bottle holder" brings up quite a few results.

From 1909



and 1950
posted by MsMolly at 6:40 PM on December 13, 2010

I'm guessing none of you have multiples or know parents with multiples...

Bebe Bottle Sling | Bottle Genie | Pacifeeder | Podee
posted by candyland at 6:41 PM on December 13, 2010

I know of a mom (online) who used a podee to do exactly this at night, except with pumped breastmilk. I'm sure it's not an approved use of the podee but there you go. And I'm not talking ancient history here, this is within the last 3 years.
posted by Joh at 6:42 PM on December 13, 2010

FWIW, variations on this theme are still marketed everywhere. Podee -- Pacifeeder -- Bottle sling -- Baba Buddy
posted by kmennie at 6:49 PM on December 13, 2010

And a way to start your kids on the road to future success in games of Edward Forty Hands.
posted by MsMolly at 6:53 PM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

and, a bit beyond your question, maybe-friends of mine took the Podee and modded it, because the Podee is pretty awesome, except the tubing is WAY too short-so they made their own. And all three of their kids have used it. It's a joy to feed a kid with it-when the kid is a tiny tiny one and you're holding the thing in his mouth instead of the entire bottle, and later when he's holding it in there himself. Also, that you can feed at a better angle. My friends never used it as a feed-and-leave-the-baby-alone, which I gather is the big criticism of these sorts of things. But it is great to have another hand and/or a slightly more ergonomic angle for both baby AND baby-feeding-adult.
posted by atomicstone at 7:00 PM on December 13, 2010

Could she have meant that she didn't feed the baby, as in cereal with a spoon, but instead used a cereal feeder like this?
posted by tamitang at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2010

As others pointed out, this did exist, but I would bet they went out of fashion because babies were choking in the night.
posted by elpea at 9:01 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

[few more comments removed, this is not the place for you to try out your parenting humor]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2010

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