As I round the corner into Trimester III, and Sandy and I embark on childbirth classes later this week, we’re heading into the part of the pregnancy where advice on childbirth, nursery decoration, and baby care is going to start coming out of the woodwork.
In advance, I’ve gathered some advice from long ago, just so I can start comparing. Today, advice from A Young Mother’s Tokology by Anna Hoffman, 1908.
“The art of raising fine stock is almost perfect. Let us make it so with raising children.”
“Riding on horseback, riding a bicycle, or running a sewing machine are not to be thought of during pregnancy.” *
“For the best interests of both mother and offspring, sexual intercourse should not be indulged in by either parent. It is generally painful and obnoxious to the wife and is moreover a frequent cause of abortion.” *
“The diet composed of rice, sago, wheat cereals and fruits recommended on the ground that it produces ‘boneless babies’ and consequently painless labors, is not to be depended upon to insure such results.”
“There certainly never was uttered a more truthful remark than this: ‘Cow’s milk, when given to infants, must be mixed with human brains.’” *
“Home-made white bread is the best bread for children. It contains more nourishment…than from either whole wheat or Graham bread…Twentieth century mothers will, I trust, study the chemistry of foods themselves, and not allow food advertising firms to think for them.”
“A raw meat diet is advised for children with diarrhea and also for adults with weak digestion and diarrhea.”
*Lest you fear that I have stumbled upon a zombie baby manual by mistake, I’m pretty sure she means human ingenuity. I could be wrong, though…
“Kissing children is also a most indiscreet custom, fraught with the greatest danger of communicating disease, and, ouside the immediate family, should not be tolerated. It is to be hoped that every twentieth century mother will make the custom obsolete by having sufficient courage to hang upon the walls of her home the notice, ‘Don’t kiss my baby.’“
Next up, groovy advice from 1975!