9 weird parenting rules from the past

9 weird parenting rules from the past

Parenting… the norms can change generation to generation. So we decided to take a look back through the years at the strangest parenting rules that our mothers, fathers, or grandparents might have been on the receiving end of.

9 weird parenting rules from the past

A spoonful of sugar. We have to admit, this one sounds a bit Mary Poppins-y (a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!)  Ever had your mother suggest dipping your baby’s bottle teat in honey? Or your great aunt itching to rub brandy on your baby’s gums? The introduction of this kind of sugar is utterly terrifying to us modern Mum’s, but only a generation or two back, these were common ways to soothe a teething infant or induce them to drink from a bottle.

A pint of the black stuff. Our mothers were advised to drink Guinness during pregnancy – half a pint a day, or even a pint – because it was believed to be full of iron. Well, it has been revealed that Guinness isn’t actually that iron packed so we’ve replaced it with things like bran flakes or beef now. It’s not nearly as fun, but what can you do?

Daddy AWOL. We all remember watching older movies, with the scene of the dad anxiously pacing the door outside the delivery room till he heard the first cries of his new born through the door. Up until the 1960’s, fathers were not present in the delivery room – well that is all different now. Get in there and hold our hand, consider letting go at your own peril.

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No hugs and kisses. In a 1928 manual, one expert of the time advised parents: ‘Never hug and kiss children. Never let them sit on your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight. Shake hands with them in the morning.’ Could you imagine shaking your kids hands as they come down for breakfast in the morning?!

Tranquillisers for children. And no we don’t mean a continuous loop of Spongebob Square Pants or Dora The Explorer. In Victorian England, infant cordials actually often contained opiates to calm them down. Unbelievable!

Swaddling to the extreme. It is believed that in the Middle Ages, babies were kept almost constantly swaddled in linen bands around the body and legs until the age of eight or nine months, as it was believed that this would help them grow straight.

The outdoor nursery. Fresh air was the parenting mantra of the 1920’s, when babies were supposed to be outside in the fresh air from dawn till dusk. Feeding, sleeping and nappy-changing all ideally happened outdoors.

Smoke away. The 1966 edition of a leading obstetrics textbook stated that pregnant women could safely smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day.

Grow up. Today parents expect to do most things for their children, but as recently as the mid-20th century, two and three-year-olds were expected to be able to wash, feed and dress themselves.

maternity & infant