Friday, April 20, 2012

We're All Terrible Parents


Well, at least according to childcare experts of yesteryear. This week's Flashback Friday is a bit different. I was recently given an old parenting book (thanks!), and some of the advice given contradicts today's "norms" when taking care of our kids.

I had a really fun time going through this book and I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite excerpts.


Penelope Leach's Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five is actually still available on Amazon, although it appears that there have been a few revisions since the 1986 edition I was given (the book was first published in 1977). Okay, now for a look inside the book!


"Sucky" apparently had a different connotation in the 70s and 80s. The term seems a bit demeaning nowadays, doesn't it?


Hmmm... I think if you ask every.single.mom who's ever tried breastfeeding they'd say it takes a bit more work than Leach lead expectant mothers to believe.


This was one of my favorite sections of the book. Obviously when this book was published the Back to Sleep campaign hadn't been enacted yet. Don't put her to like on her back, she cannot deal easily with burped-up milk in this position. Hmmm... nowadays that is the opposite of what is recommended. Funny how things change over the years. The book also recommends several blankets in the crib, yikes!


The book seemed to be an awful lot of focus on keeping your baby in the "normal" range of the growth charts.  All the parenting books today stress that all babies develop at different rates and that there really isn't a norm. I also remember hearing a while back that chubby babies are healthy and often grow up with less of a chance of childhood obesity than skinnier babies. Plus, those treble chins are freaking adorable!


Another interesting piece of advice... cribs are too drafty for a newborn. While they might be a bit drafty, the airflow is extremely important in preventing SIDS and it's highly recommended to put a new baby to sleep in a crib or Pack n' Play these days. However, drop-side cribs have recently been banned in the United States for being extremely dangerous. Hard to believe they were once the style of choice for parents.

I've only read through the infant care section of the book, and here are a few other differences between this book and the parenting books I've purchased since having Harry.

  • The breastfeeding section was very small. Only one hold is shown compared to the four or five shown today. I was somewhat surprised that the book did say breast milk was the preferred method of feeding since it seems like most babies during that time were formula fed.
  • Not a single mention of breast pumping! Today breast feeding and pumping seem to go hand, I didn't realize that pumping wasn't popular back in the day.
  • Car seat safety was only mentioned in the glossary. Yep, just a small section all the way in the back of the book. My What to Expect the First Year book makes mention of car seats no less than five times.
  • Circumcision is also only briefly mentioned in the glossary. Leach claims the only reason to circumcise is religious or social, no medical benefits are listed. These days the procedure is pretty controversial, but my books do mention a slight reduction in certain STDs and cancers among boys who are circumcised.
  • There's also a huge emphasis in this book on how often and when babies should be eating, sleeping and crying. According to a chart in the book, a 28 day old baby should only be eating five times a day... hahaha, ya right! At five months old we've just now gotten Harry down to five feedings a day.
  • Leach said solids can be started around three months. And that not only is water okay for very young infants, but should be offered twice a day. 
So that's the book in a nutshell. It's really interesting to me how in the past 30 years or so childcare has changed so much! I would love to read a book about babies from the 1950s or even earlier. Did you know that condensed milk and Karo Syrup was the preferred "food" for babies back then? Talk about sugar overload!

 Thanks for reading this week's Flashback Friday! You can see past entries here. If you're a blogger I'd love to have you play along. So far I've seen Nyla, Tiffany and Lacei join in the fun, thanks ladies :). If I missed you, I'm sorry! Let me know and I can link to your blog next week.

Feel free to use my Flashback Friday banner, but I ask that you link back to my blog if you do.

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