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Baby care in the 60's and 70's

286 replies

Zofloraqueen27 · 18/06/2017 07:13

I am a regular lurker on MN and really enjoy reading about how different life is today from when my babies were born. I am a devoted grandma (and to be a great (!) grandma in August).

Having a baby today seems so much more involved now. I am amazed when I read "the baby will only sleep on me", "cluster feeding" and having your baby constantly attached to you with slings.. and what is this "co sleeping"? You brought your baby home from hospital (where most were born) after a four/five restful day stay where babies were taken to a nursery after last 10pm feed to give new mums a nights sleep.

Once home you immediately carried on the feeding regime started in hospital of feeds at 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm. Babies were settled for the night and you hoped they would sleep through to 6am feed. Obviously feeding during the night if the baby woke up, otherwise it was back to the 6am onwards regime. Most babies were bottle fed then.

After feeding, changing and a cuddle babies were put back into their cot to await next feed. Obviously as they grew older and became more awake and interesting they were put into bouncy chairs but otherwise mums would put babies back to sleep. This way babies learned cot means rest/sleep.Cluster feeding was an unknown concept then and generally babies followed four hourly feeds. My health visitor advised me to start giving baby rice or a Farley's Rusk along with bottle feed when the baby got to sons were all 9.5lbs born so weaning started around six weeks then.

Baby gros were a revelation by the time my second son was born and babies stayed in them day and night until about six months old -easy to wash and no unnecessary dressing babies up (much less laundry) as today. I see tiny babies dressed as mini adults now. It seems mums today have a much harder time of it - never putting a baby down to rest and be quiet, always having to be comforted by carrying around.

We managed with far less baby equipment too - though we did not have the luxury (or expense!) of disposable nappies. The way we raise our children varies from generation to generation following trends and fashions but I have to say it seemed a lot easier when I had mine. I wonder what the trends will be when babies of today become parents and today's mum watch in wonder.

OP posts:
Iamastonished · 20/06/2017 20:47

MIL reckons that SIL was potty trained at 13 months. DD wasn't even walking at 13 moths let alone able to communicate with me. There was no way she would have been potty trained at such a young age. SIL had loads of "accidents" (because she wasn't potty trained at all). MIL not only had knickers and more clothes to wash, she also had floors to clean.

FreeNiki · 20/06/2017 21:09

With a 13 month old she probably just noted the time she usually shit herself and stuck her on the potty at that time.

She wasnt actually trained.

hickorydickorynurseryrhyme · 20/06/2017 21:33

I've never understood why there is a name for these supposedly new parenting styles such as 'attachment parenting and 'co-sleeping' and 'breasting feeding on demand'. I have always just done these things as it is what felt most natural.

Bearfrills · 20/06/2017 21:34

Plus more women back then were SAHM so had more time to be sitting toddlers on potties every half hour. I had one DC potty trained at 2.6yo and two trained at a little over 3yo, they were all reliably dry/clean within 3-7 days of starting the training because they were ready for it. I can't envision spending months potty training a child who isn't ready to be potty trained.

LightDrizzle · 20/06/2017 21:34

I was born in 1970. Mum was a Dr Spock mum so she was affectionate and didn't leave us to cry....if she could hear us, - she did leave us out of earshot in her massive garden at least once most days!

We were bottle fed, when I breastfed mum couldn't understand why, as my breasts would droop and it was all rather third world Shock. She was pretty supportive once my first arrived but I did get the inevitable "She can't be hungry again!" comments.

One thing I adopted from her when my first came in 1991 was swaddling. I found lightly swaddling her in her cellular blanket really helped her settle and not wake herself with every spasm and jerk. Both mine were quite easy to put down to sleep. I think swaddling is more widespread again now, it was uncommon but not unheard of when my first was born.

I also followed my mum when it came to discipline and toddlers, lots of praise and love but firm boundaries and never, ever giving in to nagging and whining.

She did a good job, all in all, with zero help from my 1970s dad.

CharlieSierra · 20/06/2017 21:52

Re the potty training, my 3, my sister's 4 and all my friend's children were trained within a couple of weeks at around 2. It would depend on the season of the birthday, easier in summer than winter and yes, we were all SAHM. I think that the better nappies are a factor in later training now, back then they felt discomfort when wet. I never sat them on the pot to try to 'catch' them, they knew when they were weeing and then we took it from there. I don't remember it being difficult and they definitely didn't continually have accidents. The same week my DD was dry in the day she woke me up in the morning shouting for a wee wee, that was it. The boys took a bit longer to be dry all night but I just left them to it.

famousfour · 21/06/2017 07:12

The biggest difference with my mother (I was born in the late 79s) was that she didn't understand why I was trying some 'routine'. In the other hand she definitely did not get breastfeeding 'on demand' for prolonged periods. She figured that you feed them properly and regularly but did not need to have a 'baby hanging off your boobs' all the time. So not sure where that leaves things! Just shows it's hard to generalise. And

YY to the potty training thing. She started making comments about nappies from about 1year. I just did it when they seemed ready which was at about two / 2.5 year for both of them. But she. Definitely sees nappy wearing past a certain stage as deficient parenting!

famousfour · 21/06/2017 07:12

Sorry lots of typos!

reallyanotherone · 21/06/2017 12:48

My mother famously lectured me about a programme she alledgedly watched where "neglectful" parents had not bothered to night time train their two sons.

The sons were apparently about to head for uni still in nappies at night....

All children should be dry day and night by 2, otherwise the parents are negligent.

I offered that she tried it the next time she stayed with my 6 year old, and did all the washing etc. She didn't take me up on it...

OlennasWimple · 21/06/2017 13:50

My DM has said that she was seen as a bit of a hippie for BF in the 70s, as formula was consistently pushed as the best thing (modern technology having made it better than breast milk)

Swirlingasong · 21/06/2017 16:43

I talked to my mum about potty training and she maintained that there was a big difference between ' out of nappies' and 'potty trained'.

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