You'll Spoil That Baby! -- Vintage Baby and Child Care Advice
Bad Babies and Bad Mothers -- Retro Baby Care Advice
There's never been a shortage of advice for new moms -- particularly really bad advice. In this lens, I pay tribute to some of the most crazy-making baby-care advice moms have received over the years.
1930s Baby Advice
Dr. Dafoe's Guidebook for Mothers
Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe's claim to fame was that he was the personal physician to the Dionne Quintuplets from their birth on May 28, 1934, until his resignation from the position in 1942. In between he wrote two books, numerous articles (possibly with some assistance from some ghostwriters), and made numerous radio appearances on the hottest radio shows of the day. He became the most famous doctor of the day and was portrayed in at least two Hollywood films.
The Top Selling Baby Book Ever -- Written by a "Revolutionary" Thinker
Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care
Dr. Benjamin Spock's bestselling book Baby and Child Care was first published under the title The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care in 1946. Spock's ideas were revolutionary for the day: he told parents that they were the true experts when it came to raising their children (a rather shocking notion in an era when doctor-worshipping was the norm). During his lifetime (1903-1998), his book sold 50 million copies and was translated into 39 languages. His book is still in print.
Breast or Bottle? How a 1920s Milk Campaign Gave Birth to Modern-Day Formula Marketing Techniques
The Glaxo Baby Book
First published in 1908 by Glaxo (today leading pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, but back then a small powdered milk manufacturer), The Glaxo Baby Book answered mothers' questions about using the company's powdered milk to feed their babies. By 1922, the company had published a million copies of the book and the campaign had been heralded by Advertising Age magazine as "the most successful form of advertising of the present day."
1940s Advice for Canadian Moms-to-be
The Canadian Mother and Child
The Canadian Mother and Child was published by the Canadian government in an attempt to provide Canadian mothers with the best pregnancy and childrearing advice of the day. Mothers were advised to listen to their doctors -- and no one else -- when it came to the health of themselves and their babies. "Avoid medical books as such reading is easily subject to misinterpretation, and may cause undue worry over minor symptoms. Your doctor is by far your best guide....Gatherings such as bridges and teas, are often occasions of unwise discussions as to the relative merits of doctors. After careful consideration you have chosen a doctor, therefore do not let yourself be influenced by those who are not qualified to advise....To be happy, you need to have complete confidence in your doctor. Anyone criticizing him to you (and at the same time in your condition) lacks discernment to say the least and should not be taken seriously." (Ernest Couture, MD, The Canadian Mother and Child. Ottawa: Minister of Health and Welfare, 1st edition, 7th printing, 1947)
Motherhood Milestones: A Motherlode of Advice
by Ann Douglas
A Motherlode of Advice
From Pablum to the Pill, from maternity wear to Mr. Dressup, Ann Douglas chronicles a century in Canuck parenting
By Ann Douglas
Think you've heard your share of unwanted parenting tips and conflicting research about raising healthy, happy kids? Well, you're not alone. There's a long tradition of expert flip-flops and changing parenting philosophies stretching back generations. If you thought Aunt Mabel's tips about potty training were annoying, just wait until you hear about all the misguided advice and weird science parents have had to put up with over the last 100 years or so.
Safe Counsel: Human Incubators, Perfect Mothers, and Violent Passions
The 19th Century Childrearing Guide
Traditional pregnancy and baby care guides treated moms-to-be as human incubators and urged expectant mothers to be models of perfect motherhood throughout their entire pregnancies.
Safe Counsel -- a bestselling 19th century childrearing guide -- warned expectant mothers, for example, that "low spirits, violent passions, irritability, frivolity in the pregnant woman, leave indelible marks on the unborn child."
Doing it By The Book: The History of The Modern Pregnancy Book
I recently had the opportunity to speak about the history of the pregnancy book at The Association for Research in Mothering's Motherlode Conference. Here are my handouts from that presentation for the die-hard history of motherhood addicts.
Doing it By The Book: The History of the Modern Pregnancy Book (1900 to 2006): My speaking notes.
History of the Modern Pregnancy Book -- Table: Describes some fun and lively examples of pregnancy books across the decades, including some deliciously awful pregnancy and baby advice.
Overheads (visual shots of pregnancy books past; a collage of images, etc.)
History of Parenting Links
Vintage Baby: Fun and Collectible Baby Ephemera at Etsy.com - Baby ephemera is hot and collectible.
Here's a sampling of what you'll find at Etsy.com.
- Vintage Baby Shower Bingo Cards
Okay, the game is called S-T-O-R-K, but the game works the same way.
- Vintage Mothers Manual from Sears Roebuck and Co
Vintage advice for mothers, circa 1944.
- March 1908 Baby Announcement
Birth announcement for a baby born in March 1908.
- Baby Needs New Shoes
Vintage shoe advertisement and vintage birth certificate for a baby girl.
- Vintage Baby Announcements
Vintage baby announcements.
- Vintage Baby Buggy - Pendant
A pendant fashioned from an image of a vintage baby buggy.
Calling All History Shopaholics - Check out these history of parenthood and history of motherhood titles