When someone we know has a baby, it can be difficult to resist the urge to offer sagely advice and helpful hints. When the new parents are our own children, however, the advice is often sought out, or expected. We’re sure you all have a bevvy of excellent tips for bringing up healthy, respectful, open-minded children, but here are some reminders that not all parenting advice is worth sharing.
1. Angry milk causes colic
A married pair of doctors warned, with sagely know-how, that a mother who breastfed her baby while she was angry would give her baby colic. The same pair (the Sadlers, in case you want to look them up), decided that a mother would run completely dry of milk if she succumbed to “worry, grief, or nagging.” So, basically, be a happy mother at all times or you’ll make your child sick and then cause them to starve.
2. High-rise baby cages
The Chelsea Baby Club were responsible for these terrifying contraptions, which sought to remedy the cramped conditions of 1930s London. If you don’t have room for your child to play outside, just hang them out the window in a cage. Yep, everything’s fine here.
3. Who’s a lardy baby? You are!
Newborn babies who came into the world at the start of the 20th century were in for a special treat: a head-to-toe slavering in lard. Parents were often told to cover their newborn in butter, olive-oil, or lard and not to wash them for two weeks. You know – to make sure their juices were well and truly sealed in.
4. Lefties are wrongies
Well into the 20th century, many experts, including psychologists, advocated for parents to re-train their left-handed children to be right-handed instead. The theory was that being left-handed was a decision made by “defiant” personalities. Studies showed that children who were forced to use their right hands often developed a stutter.
5. Mummy’s little socialist
A paediatrician named Walter W. Sackett Jr. published a book in 1962, Bringing Up Babies, in which he alluded to the unpatriotic nature of parents who did not enforce a rigid schedule upon their babies. This paediatrician advised new parents to never feed their child at night, no matter the age of the baby. The reason he gave? Giving in to a child’s every whim would sow “the seeds of socialism”.
6. “Shh, darling, have some opium”
During the 19th century, young children and babies were often given opium as a treatment for both asthma and restlessness. Some children were even lucky enough to be given opium cough drops – made just for youngsters.
What’s the worst parenting advice you ever received? Share it with us in the comments below!