From the Archives: Newborn Care, c. 1972

From the Editor: This post was originally published in 2011. As my 40th birthday approaches  I thought it would be fun to re-visit these instructions my mom received in 1972.

Wanna see something funny?

A while ago my mother presented me with copies of the handouts she got from the pediatrician at each of my well-baby visits back in the early 1970s. We were doubled over laughing at these instructions. Boy, times have changed. The most outdated advice comes later in the first year, but I think you’ll enjoy these as starters:

First, these are the instructions they gave my mom (age 26, already married for 6 years and mom to a 3-year-old) when she brought me home from the hospital. There’s a lot of information about bottle-feeding supplies, but my mom had decided to breastfeed instead. In 1972 this still wasn’t so commonplace and a nurse asked her increduously, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

Here’s a close-up of those feeding instructions. Yes, you were allowed to give your 2-day-old baby tea with sugar:

And at my one-month check-up, my mom was allowed to start giving me juice, cereal, and fruit too. Really, JUICE?? Maybe this is why one of R’s great grandmas asked me when R. was 6 weeks old, “Does the baby drink orange juice yet?” I guess fruit juice was de riguer for infants born during the Nixon era.

Just wait…it gets better. Around 5 months I get to start eating sirloin steak. I’m not even kidding.

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