Out of Date Parenting Advice

The best parenting advice today is (hopefully) tried and true methods that are designed to help infants and children be healthy. Sometimes, people will pass along ideas that have since been debunked. No matter what kind of unwanted parenting advice you have heard, it probably isn’t worse than some of the advice given to moms of the past.

A popular book for mothers in the 1900s was The Mother and Her Child. It advised mothers to “wash their nipples with soap and water” before nursing, and then “rinse in boracic acid”. This is a terrible idea! Boric acid is not safe for humans to consume, so it is definitely not something nursing mothers should rinse their nipples in before feeding their babies. 

In the 1910’s, new mothers were encouraged to avoid holding their infant. It was only acceptable to do so if the mother was feeding the baby, changing a diaper, or providing other types of basic care. What convinced mothers to follow this advice? The prevailing view was that babies who were held too much would become spoiled, and would grow to “little tyrants”. 

Today’s parents should completely disregard that out of date parenting advice. A study found skin-to-skin contact between parent and child, especially in the few hours after birth, is beneficial. It increases the likelihood of successful breastfeeding and has been shown to reduce pain in infants.

Mothers in the 1940s were warned to stop coddling boys. This questionable advice came from a book called Generation of Vipers which was written by Philip Wylie. He blamed “middle-aged overweight mothers” for raising boys who, according to him, were “prissy”. 

Today, WebMD points out that it is impossible for parents to respond to a baby too much. In fact, infants need constant attention in order to grow emotionally, physically, and intellectually. 

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