One of the very best gifts I've received this pregnancy is a book handed down to me from my mom that was originally my father's mother's. I never met this grandmother of mine but since I'm the next female in that line of the family I get this awesome piece of history. I will say it is an awesome read. Hilarious and shocking! This was once a real advice book... in 1933.
About 95% of what this book advises new mothers to be is totally bogus and not advisable anymore. It's awesomely funny to think that people really thought these things and believed them. I love it in a satirical way, the way you love Portlandia, or maybe The Onion. Perhaps a little surprising after reading some quotes here is that they got some things right, modern 2014 right. Some things with having babies... never change.
So You're Going to Have a Baby - Helen Washburn
Harcourt, Brace and Company - 1933
I've chosen some great quotes that maybe could answer these questions a new mother to be might have.
I'm pregnant, now what? >>
"The first thing to do once the baby is on the way is naturally to find a competent doctor." ... "One important thing to make sure of is that your doctor believes in anesthetics. It costs no more and will make more difference than you might believe. Some extremely good doctors do not believe in them and others, equally eminent, do."
On drinking and smoking while pregnant >>
"But your drinking and smoking habits have carried you fairly successfully to your present advanced age, and in normal case there is no reason why they should be altered. As to smoking, the usual reason given for cutting it out, or cutting it down, is that it makes your nervous. That is, of course, ridiculous."
Budgeting for baby... >>
"In any case, furniture and baby clothes cost around $30 at least. You will have some kind of help after the baby is born, probably a practical nurse. The upkeep on a child for the first three or four years, as long as most people look ahead in these times, is three of four hundred dollars a year, just a shade less on the average than the benign. Uncle Sam allows in additional income tax exemption."
How to act when in labor >>
"The thing to have firmly fixed in your mind when you get to the hospital is that you are going to be a good girl. The doctors and nurses know a lot more than you do, and the way to get the most of of them is to do what you are told, no matter how impossible it may seem." ... "Nurses, on the surface a hard-boiled lot, are sentimental as nurse-maids underneath, and as anxious to be proud of their charges. A patient who won't even make an effort to cooperate is left pretty much to her own devices, with a callousness that is cruel. Whining people, nuisances in any situation, are frankly treated as such in hospitals."
How can I soothe my baby? >>
"Well, a baby is suppose to cry an hour a day. That exercises the lungs."
Should I drink alcohol while nursing my baby? >>
"This period should not be passed over without reference to the question of drinking while nursing. As with drink in every other circumstance, including drinking while pregnant, much high-binding nonsense has been written on this subject by pulpit scientists.
In the good old days nursing mothers were urged to drink all the malt drinks obtainable. There was no question raised of its being harmful. It was considered positively good. Beer helped to make milk."
What about bathing myself after having a baby? >>
"Until you have been pronounced sound by your doctor after the six-week interval, however, the shock of a cold bath or shower should not be risked."
Should I be concerned about my figure after having a baby? >>
"Immediately after a mother begins to get up and about after the birth of a child she should, for her own future looks, take to corsets, even if she has never stood for them before in her life."
Can I spoil my baby? >>
"The modern model home completely centered around the child is as bad for him as was the old Model T or 1900 home. There should be and there need be no sacrifice on the part of either parents or children, no fundamental sacrifice."
On material buying (it's true... some things ever change) >>
"Stores leave one - that is their business - with the impression that a new baby needs a vast array of appurtenances, most of which will be too small before half a year is out. In reality the needs are quite simple, especially if you are willing to leave fancy dress for the distant future and concentrate on what is necessary to keep the child clean an warm."