Each decade brought new parenting ideas that were quickly put into practice by many parents in order to be in line with the others, but also out of the desire to have healthy children. Over time, many have been challenged by new scientific discoveries, proved to be unwavering and today are seen as strange or hilarious.
Whether it was the fad of bathing babies in lard in the 1910s, or advising pregnant women to avoid negative thoughts or video games, there are trends imposed on pregnant women and mothers that we’re glad are a thing of the past. Here are just some of the tips and tricks that parents have followed in the last 100 years and which today are downright bizarre.
Mothers were forbidden from negative thoughts
Expectant mothers from 1910 were told that in order to have a beautiful and healthy baby, they must refrain from thinking about ugly things. After birth, the nursing mother was given a stern warning in 1916 not to eat when angry, otherwise the child would suffer more from colic.
Do not touch the child!
If you had lived around the beginning of the last century, experts would have encouraged you, as a parent, not to breastfeed your child. It was believed that manipulating the child as little as possible was a good thing.
Throughout the 1920s, many parenting experts continued to advise parents not to hug and kiss their children except when they were sleeping, in order not to spoil them or become overly dependent on their parents.
Non-stop outdoor playtime
Fresh air is wonderful and keeps children healthy. In the 20s, the idea was taken to the extreme, experts advised parents to keep their child outside all day. Later, in the 1930s, children’s prolonged outdoor exposure continued to be an obligation for parents. It was also then that some scary accessories began to be used: cages mounted on the windows of the apartments. They were about the size of an air conditioner, like portable porches designed to allow city kids who lived in high-rises to get their recommended daily dose of fresh air and sunshine. They became very popular and only after the Second World War did they gradually disappear, due to the lack of safety.
The child must eat at fixed times
And currently there are some voices that support the imposition of a strict meal plan for children. Throughout the last century, experts in raising and caring for children were delighted with the idea that infants and young children should be accustomed to a rigid feeding schedule. This schedule was so strict that it required mothers to wake their little ones or stop them from any other activity in order to feed them.
Stay away from the radio!
Technology has always been the subject of much debate, especially when it comes to the impact it can have on a pregnant woman or a young child. In 1947, a pamphlet published by the Canadian government warned women against listening to the radio at high volumes. The reason? They could simply be too excited and can negatively influence the child’s development. Regarding the child, the high volume could damage his hearing.
Coffee, from 6 months?
There were also doctors whose advice was very dangerous for children. In a book from 1962, doctor Walter Sackett recommended that mothers give black coffee to their babies starting at 6 months of age. He was probably the one who recommended giving eggs to babies starting at 6 weeks of age.