For my own amusement, I’ve been skimming over the contents of several information sheets my mother-in-law received from her pediatrician in Decatur, Georgia, at Rob’s routine baby and toddler checkups. Circa 1974-1975.
Here’s a sampler:
Back then there was no starving the baby on nothing but mother’s milk for 6 months. No, you’ve got a little diner on your hands and you need to move onto solid foods and juices fast.
At 4-6 weeks: “You may now begin giving your baby cereal and fruit at breakfast and supper. The cereals should be started in this order: Rice, Oats, Barley, Mixed and finally Hi-Protein cereal. It makes no difference in which order you start the fruits. When starting a new food, you should ALWAYS start only one food at a time and continue this same food for four consecutive days. Give 1-2 teaspoons the first day and increase the amount daily until the baby takes as much as he wants.”
At 2 ½ months: “Continue giving cereal and fruit at breakfast and supper. At lunch, start the baby on yellow vegetables first and then the green vegetables. Offer four ounces of juice – mixed half and half with boiled water – one or two times a day after naps.”
At 3 ½ months: Continue cereal and fruit at breakfast and supper. At lunch give either a yellow or green vegetable and start adding the sinlge meats like lamb, beef, liver, chicken etc.
At 5 months: “Breakfast: cereal, fruit, egg yolk. Lunch: mixed meat and vegetables, hi-meat dinners, soups, desserts. Supper: a single meat and 1 or 2 vegetables. Continue offering juice 1-2 times a day.”
Bring on the cow's milk:
At 6-9 months: Begin offering your baby whole milk from a cup or glass.
Breastfeeding, what’s that? (We don’t mention breasts or nursing in these information packets, thank you):
At 9-12 months: "Continue to offer milk out of the cup and STOP the bottle by age 12 months. A baby does not need as much milk now and the intake will automatically decrease if the bottle is stopped somewhere between 9 and 12 months."
From the BAP era (Before Attachment Parenting); when slings were foreign and playpens were P.C.:
“Now is the time to begin putting him in a playpen, before he discovers the thrill of moving about on his own. The playpen will keep him out of things but near you, in or out of doors. The firm floor helps in learning to sit, the bars are good for pulling up and the top railing gives him support for his first steps.”
And here’s a little car safety gem:
“When riding in the car with your baby, restrain him in some manner. Either put him in a car bed placed lengthwise of the car or, if he’s in an infant seat, fasten the seat belt around it. In case of an accident, your baby is probably safer in his car bed or with the seat belt around him, than if you held him in your arms. Don’t just lay him on the seat beside you!”
But best of all, some 70s-era advice on catering to your husband as well as your children. And yes, these information packets are addressed specifically to moms. After all, dads wouldn’t need to know anything about baby care since they are busy being breadwinners and watching sports and lounging in their arm chairs and the like:
“So many girls tend to get all wrapped up with the children that they forget about, or neglect, their husbands. He needs you, too – often more than the child does. He may have had just as hard a day as you. You’re a lot more likely to be taken out that nite (sic on the spelling) if he’s greeted with a warm smile and a kiss rather than a cross word and tears.”
(Ahem. If my pediatrician attempted to lecture me on my duties to my husband, and called me and all mothers “girls” in the process, I might just save the cross words for him.)