A page dug out of a parenting book, thought to date from the 1950s, shows the stark contrasts (and enduring similarities) with how we parent seven decades later.
The page, shared by Facebook group Mum’s Grapevine, shows a timetable for a mother and baby, with a regimented schedule of meals and naps.
The strict, hardcore nature of it isn’t a million miles away from some modern parenting techniques, but they seem to be in the minority now – on the whole it feels like there’s been a shift to more baby-focused parenting, than “Okay, Tiny, I don’t care if you’re tired, the plan says sleep so you’re gonna flippin’ sleep”.
There are some questionable inclusions, though.
The orange juice sticks out. Fruit juice isn’t recommended for babies at all – experts suggest a blanket ban up until one year old, and no more than 100ml a day up to the age of three.
It’s also unclear what “hold out” means. Hold them vertically to see if they fancy learning to walk? Is it meant in the way it’s used in a siege context? That’s one a lot of parents could relate to, if so – just taking a minute every so often to think “Well, I’m still doing this.” One person on Facebook reckons it means when parents held their baby out over their nappy or the toilet to do their business. Interesting.
There are small windows of allowing the baby to kick and play – but does this suggest the rest of the time they don’t have any opportunity to do that at all? Oh, and two baths a day is totally unnecessary.
Vitamin D is important, but we probably wouldn’t call time outside a “sunbath” – which sounds like sunbathing, to me – when it comes to our babies.
“There’s an element of this regime that appeals colossally though, and that is the seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.”
Some trends on the routine are cyclical – putting your baby to sleep outside definitely fell out of favour for a while, but is well on its way back, with parents adopting the Scandinavian approach of letting infants doze outdoors.
There’s an element of this regime that appeals colossally though, and that is the seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Amazing! We might question other parts of the routine, but if a 1950s lifestyle guarantees a full night’s sleep, we’re all in.
Parents commenting on the routine on Facebook had some reservations. “Oh hell no! Put my baby asleep at 6pm? No thanks, he would wake up at 9 full of energy and then he would fall asleep again at like 1am,” one mum wrote.
Another wrote: “How did they get the babies to sleep that long? Children rarely sleep nowadays haha.”
But some thought it was pretty similar to their routine now, with one parent writing: “Looks pretty good to me, not dissimilar to what I do with my babies.”