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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:
Shockers · 18/06/2017 09:13

woodhill, did you know that Dr Spock has since apologised for advocating leaving babies to cry themselves to sleep?

whatwouldrondo · 18/06/2017 09:13

Mumzy Upthread lots of posters have pointed out some scientific facts about the size of babies stomachs to support the case for feeding on demand but you join in with Ima?

Shockers · 18/06/2017 09:13

Cross post annandale!

Imamouseduh · 18/06/2017 09:16

whatwouldrondo Perhaps you should improve your reading comprehension skills. You cannot dispute that children are fatter now than ever before. And as I said, was a general wondering, I wasn't declaring it as a fact, you rude div. I really don't care what anyone does with their own children.

FurryLittleTwerp · 18/06/2017 09:18

My mother breast-fed me & my brother for several months in the mid 60s & was thought very odd by most of her friends & especially by her own mother.

She knitted all of our first clothes & made all of our bedding herself!

woodhill · 18/06/2017 09:19

No,Shockers but my dm and dgm seemed to think this was the way you

I think you learn when they are a bit whingy as oppose to being upset or having a problem. I found it frustrating when I couldn't get on with things with my firstborn and my dh didn't understand why I couldn't get much done but that's another story. I used to put her in her car seat with head support and have her near or sit with her. The feeding took a long time.

happilyLostCareer · 18/06/2017 09:22

re demand vs schedule feeding, I don't know the research, but a lot is known now about the relationship between hunger, satiety and feeding. I suspect it is more complex than just processing food then being hungry - you need to learn to stop eating when full - which is what a breastfed baby does but not necessarily what a bottle fed baby does if they learn to stop when the bottle is empty.

Given the rates of breastfeeding at a few months quoted above that might have something to do with obesity. But keep in mind also the massive rise in calorie-rich processed foods these days. Not talking just junk food, think of all the trans fats and soy protein and high fructose corn syrup and other crud added to everything. Bread and peanut butter isn't just wheat flour, yeast, water and peanuts, these days....

Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 09:23

What would.....yes, I do join in with ima thanks. What makes you think scientists are right this time?!!!! They have been changing their mind about what's good for babies since year dot. And yet you think you are right and perfect?!.

7461Mary18 · 18/06/2017 09:24

Well my mother ni 1961 was one of the first members of the NCT, no spock mother there. I suspect most mothers have always responded to the needs of their child however. It's just natural. My great grandmother breastfed all 11 children and on demand of course.

happilyLostCareer · 18/06/2017 09:26

Spock changed massively from a Truby king approach in the first ed in the 1940s to a cosleeping attachment parentiing kind of thing in the last ed in the 90s.

Hugh Jolly's Book of Child Care was better (but only 2 editions in the mid 70s and early 80s). A lot of it still looks sensible.

whatwouldrondo · 18/06/2017 09:29

Mumzy Well I will stick with not just the Science but centuries of tradition amongst women, including the women in my own family. Plenty of Science behind the reasons that women were led down the path of regular formula feeding too, none of it to do with the interests of the baby, or mother come to that. As my Nana would have said Think on't....

MightyMcMe · 18/06/2017 09:31

I think we are naive to believe research won't meantnings don't change further. Nothing is static. So there will be women in 30 years commenting on certain things we do now that they consider bizarre.
Personally I think that the weaning age will go down again at some point.

7461Mary18 · 18/06/2017 09:34

I have a lovely collection of books on childcare upstairs going back to about 1930s I think (nothing valuable but very interesting),. Having read all that lot I remain of the view that most mothers have tended to do what felt natural to them i.e. respond to the needs of their baby.

My father was better off than my mother in the 1920s so his family set aside a tuberculosis free cow in a local field from which his mother got his cow's milk ! (HE was not rich or anything but a bit more middle class) . My mother was breastfed and not so well off and no question of cow's milk for her, lucky her.

Zofloraqueen27 · 18/06/2017 09:36

Iamastonished. I am ASTONISHED ...I truly was not being "Goady" AT ALL! I was just wanting to share how things were different when I was having babies forty plus years ago. Please re-read my last sentence where I wonder what things/trends will be like when your children are raising their own families. I can guarantee ideas will have changed by then and you will be thought of a "goady"for sharing your experiences. Of course I cuddled and comforted my children - three boys under 5 (AND I had a full time job with no nursery/childcare/grandmas to help ....but that's another thread)!! when they were upset and did not let them "cry it out" as my mother repeatedly told me ......I welcome new changes and improvements in all walks of life and I am always open to new ideas - I am absolutely love reading all the topics on mumsnet. Please just take a cruise over to Gransnet and read the thread about "respectful parenting" ... now words did almost fail me on that one!

OP posts:
Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 09:37

What would....but I wasn't talking about the difference between formula fed versus breastfed in particular, but the difference between feeding on demand and feeding to a schedule. No one is perfect and I'm all for advocating each to their own, we all know what is best for our own baby. I just hate it when people try and put other people down for the way they do it. A lot of people have to formula feed for a reason, so not nice to put them down. Formula feed isn't the poison people like to make it out to be. Often it's a lifesaver!!!!

blueskyinmarch · 18/06/2017 09:41

I reckon that although the childcare experts in the 60/70 were big on routines and 4 hourly feeds etc, most parents did as they do today. They responded to the needs of their babies as was required. I don't think they all followed the 'rules' blindly.

Kokapetl · 18/06/2017 09:42

My Mum raised us in the early 80s and ignored most of the official advice because she thought it was wrong. Many of the things she did are now standard. This included breastfeeding on demand, not putting us to sleep on our fronts as was the advice at the time, waiting until 6 months to wean, naps while help or carried and co- sleeping. She thinks baby-led weaning is awesome. That was one thing she didn't do because there was then thought to be a risk of choking.

Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 09:43

Four hourly feeds weren't stuck in the 60s, it was a big thing only ten years ago. I suspect there are masses and masses of people that do it now.

vdbfamily · 18/06/2017 09:45

I had 3 children within 3.5 years and within that timescale 2003-2006 the weaning advice was different for each of them. And none of it was based on baby weight. I am very interested to see what will be said to my children when/if they start families.

Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 09:45

And it was only ten years ago they were telling me to give my child baby rice at twelve weeks. So things change very very quickly, and the advice will change again and again and again by the time new parents are Grandparents.

whatwouldrondo · 18/06/2017 10:04

Mumzy Formula feeding can be a lifesaver, yes, but especially in the 60s and 70s many more babies were being given formula because of the expectations of society than because of the needs of mother and baby. Even in the 90s less than half of the anti natal group I was part of even started to breastfeed and the main reasons were embarrassment and conflicted feelings about what breasts were for. By six months only two of us were still breastfeeding and given that I had a ready cheap and easy way of feeding my child I found that incredibly sad but it had taken a lot of determination to resist the pressures from the nurses in the hospital wanting me to give her a top up on. What sustained me was the support of two generations of my family who had done it before who had had the support of generations of women before them. It was the 60s and 70s and the obsession with routine, and promotion of formula, that broke that chain. When /if my daughters, who by the way are not obese, and have a healthy relationship with food, in spite of the pressures in society that have led to people's unhealthy relationship with food, have babies, I will pass on that support to trust in their instincts and respond to their babies needs, a long tradition amongst mothers that many others have highlighted has persisted in spite of official advice or other pressures from society.

Calyrical · 18/06/2017 10:06

If I may be frank I think the way children used to be treated was bloody awful.


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YokoReturns · 18/06/2017 10:09

DS2 had put on half a pound by day 5, so 6 weeks seems a lot of time to gain that weight (am inferring from your original post OP)

He did cluster feed, sit in a sling and co-sleep though Grin

YokoReturns · 18/06/2017 10:14

I believe we lost our way with babies from the 19th century onwards. We stopped responding to their needs. Mothers in many countries are aghast that our babies cry - they carry theirs everywhere and pop a boob in if he/she squeaks. (DS2 got this treatment).

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints · 18/06/2017 10:15

It's like fashion in a sense, it goes in phases. I have a housekeeping manual from the late 1800's. In it it's advised that babies aren't weaned until 6 months & that until 1 year the primary focus should still be on milk- which is essentially today's guidance.

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