1940's Parenting BooksMy mom visited this past week and brought with her some awesome vintage booklets ranging in date from the 1930s to the 1950s. These sage parenting and pregnancy books reveal such tidbits as, “If the breasts become large and heavy, the should be supported with an uplift type of brassiere.”, and “Today, liver soup is recommended by many doctors for babies three months or less, because of it’s valuable iron content”. That last gem was from the booklet Meat in Your Baby’s Diet, published in 1941. Of course, I have been feeding my infant son liver soup for the past two months – it’s what modern mothers do.

So here for your reading pleasure are some tips you, as an expectant or new mother, should take under consideration:

  • On traveling when pregnant: Many times women wish to know whether or not they may travel to various out-of-town places. The answer is no, and if you go you must be entirely responsible. If an emergency requires that you travel, a trip by train is preferable to one by bus or automobile. Automobile rides on smooth streets and roads are permissible, but you should not make long tours even under the best conditions. (From Instructions for Expectant Mothers)
  • On general habits while pregnant: Drinking alcoholic liquors during pregnancy is not advisable. I suggest you ask me (presumably the doctor) about smoking. Plan to be as quiet as possible during the week which corresponds to each menstrual period (this was obviously written by a man). (From Instructions for Expectant Mothers)
  • Hooey is the Main Ingredient in Infant Food. The old time baby specialists started it. By dint of much algebra and trickonometry they contrived to throw a forbidding mantle of mystery over the business of fixing up the baby’s bottle, and the dumb nineties let them get away with it. Probably the family doctors were so busy attending to their practice in those days that they didn’t give the carryings-on of the pediatrics much attention. (From The Brady Baby Book - in which the front cover quotes, “Babies today are 25% happier than when you and I were younger, Maggie. There are reasons.”)
  • Colic is a quaint concept. Maybe you old timers should renounce your faith in my teachings, if any. I don’t believe cutting teeth ever makes a baby ill; I don’t believe “growing pains” are due to growing; and I don’t believe in “colic”. (From The Brady Baby Book)
  • Dedicated to Modern Mothers…mothers who are alert to new discoveries…mothers who welcome developments in infant feeding that will help them bring up stronger, healthier children. (From Meat in Your Baby’s Diet )
  • Don’t – Feed the baby too often or too much
    Don’t – Urge him to stand on his feet too young, for if you do he will become bow-legged
    Don’t – Give him team and coffee, beer, whiskey, gin, or any drink containing alcohol
    Don’t – Let him stay up all hours of the night, undress and put him to bed promptly at six every night
    Don’t – Handle him too much, it is bad for him
    Don’t – Pin band or diaper around him too tight, as it may cause deformity and often is the cause of vomiting (From The Care of Babies)
  • The Mother’s Clothing: Your own good common sense, dear mother-to-be, will suggest that the essentials of correct clothing during pregnancy are comfort, warmth, looseness and ease of movement. Surely you can not hope to be comfortable and dress in the height of fashion at the same time. (From Motherhood and the Coming Baby)