Fancy a beer while breastfeeding?
New mums in the 1950s did!
1950s parenting advice…
- ...you would never hear now
“Drink stout while breastfeeding” and “don’t smoke over the baby’s cot” where just some of the rather odd pieces of advice new mums received back in the 1950s.
With shows like Call the Midwife gripping 21st Century viewers with a taste of what life was like for new mums back in the 1950s and 1960s, we take a look at some of the somewhat shocking advice new mums were given back then. Times have certainly changed…
1. ‘Bad labour? You’ve only got yourself to blame’
Can you imagine a midwife or doctor saying this to you now? Back then, they did! It was thought that labour pains were never as bad as people imagine and the excitement of your new arrival should help you barely notice the pain. Yeah right.
2. ‘When breastfeeding, have a glass of beer or stout a day’
Certainly in the late 1950s this was advice given to new mums as it was thought it could help breastfeeding mums and that stout could help a mother to maintain her natural milk. Today the NHS suggests an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfed baby but to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, it's safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
3. ‘Don’t want sex with your husband? You are obviously frigid’
It was thought in the 1950s and 1960s that if after giving birth you didn’t have the desire to have sex with your husband you were suffering from ‘post-partum frigidity’. Not letting your husband ‘suffer’ as a result of you having given birth was hugely important and women were even encouraged to put their sex lives before the demands of breastfeeding. Really!
4. ‘After giving birth, it is total bed rest’
Can you imagine staying in the hospital for a week after the birth of your child? Some even spent as long as ten days in hospital after the birth. Mums had lessons in bathing babies but not, strangely, about getting to grips with breastfeeding.
5. ‘Your baby’s sweating? He’s happy then’
What?! A bit like today the advice was that if you clean and bathe your baby too much you destroy the skin's natural barrier, but it was said that leaving your baby a little sweaty was keeping him happy, therefore anything that came up on the baby’s skin e.g. Rash or dryness was supposedly a sign your baby’ was unhappy in the mind?!
6. ‘Ready to wean, raw egg yolk is the answer’
Mothers were advised they could try their baby on raw egg yolk, yes raw egg yolk at as young as four months old! Tripe was another favourite to get your baby onto solid foods. Poor babies. Have they never heard of salmonella?