OT........Oh baby ! What a difference 70 years make

yoyobon_gw

I was sitting here thinking about my MIL......when I had my first baby she would always tell me about her knitting "soakers" for my DH. I never knew what they were so I did a quick google today.

In the mid 1940's there were no rubber pants or vinyl pants to cover diapers ...and so babies were changed as soon as they wet. The mothers used lap pads to prevent getting wet laps or furniture. Some women knit wool soakers which were worn over the cloth diaper. Apparently the lanolin helped prevent leaks ( I would guess, sort of ). Babies were usually introduced to potties at 3-4 months and trained by one year !!

There were no disposable diapers to fill landfills.

Cloth diapers were laundered, dried and folded daily.

That was incentive enough to get that child out of them as soon as possible !

What practices or items do you recall from your infancy which are long gone ?

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msmeow

My mom bathed me in a little plastic tub on the kitchen counter. I'm sure that would be a big no-no these days! And we have pictures of my little sister in her stroller in the back of the station wagon. LOL

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

I'll bet everyone has a photo of a child taking a bath in the kitchen sink !! Not too sanitary as I think of it .

In the 1950's my aunt used a bathinette / changing table set up like this:

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yoyobon_gw

No one had Reveal Parties to announce the sex of the baby. On the contrary, when I had my son there was a woman who gave birth to twins each weighing over 8 pounds .....and she had no idea she was having twins until they were delivered !!

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Carolyn Newlen

My siblings and I were all delivered at home and breast fed. In 1955, I made formula from evaporated milk and corn syrup. The bottles were filled and cooked for 20 minutes in a deep covered pan in simmering water. My daughter was born in Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii where we were required to have rooming-in unless either mother or baby wasn't well because many of those new young mothers were first-timers and thousands of miles from their own mothers to get advice. We were given classes on formula making, diaper folding, and bathing the baby, I suppose so that we wouldn't kill the little things when we got them home. DD was the subject of the sample bath. I've always thought she was chosen because she was the cutest baby on the ward.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Homemade birthday parties. Regular cake, a few kids, snacks and games. No bouncy house, no paid entertainment - just plain fun.

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annpanagain

We took a child's booster seat which had hooks to fit over a dining chair to raise the child for feeding and by drilling two holes in the back parcel rack of our car, pushed it down securely and transformed it into a car seat. No safety straps to hold her so my D once crawled out and sunned herself, stark naked, on the parcel rack, to the amusement of the people in the car behind us!

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vee_new

Apparently (I was too young to remember) just before my birth my grandmother, living in the US, sent over much needed nappy/diaper material, as by the end of the War it was impossible to buy such items here.

Our baby baths were made of tin and we still have one now used as a flower container and a neighbour just the other day rescued one found in a hedge.

English babies spent most of the day outside in big 'coach-built' prams as fresh air was considered most beneficial and were out in all weathers except for fog!

My Mother, who didn't have her own Mother at hand had to 'learn' from the then baby-rearing NZ guru Sir Frederick Truby King who's books were influential in the '30's - '50's. Strict routines were followed, breast feeding every 4 hours, early potty training, little 'play time' between mother and baby. Of course these methods have long been discredited . . as have the more liberal ideas from the '60's onward.

It seems a case of what goes around comes around.

Carolyn, is corn syrup still added to baby milk in the US? Of course we now know the dangers of feeding too much sweet stuff to children but back then did the powers-that-be not realise the fattening properties/teeth rotting effect of sugar?


Truby King



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yoyobon_gw

My bathing suit when I was a toddler was made of wool !! Can you imagine? I still have it tucked in my cedar chest along with a wool bunting and cap . Apparently babies weren't thought to be so fragile and delicate back then.....no cozy soft fabrics for us !

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annpanagain

Vee, I will vouch for the benefits of fresh air for babies. My daughter was not doing well while we lived in an upstairs apartment for the first few months after she was born. I was offered the loan of a Silver Cross coach pram which I would have loved, to take her out for daily airings but couldn't manage the stairs with it!

We moved to a house with a garden and she was left there for hours and soon stopped her volatile projecting and put on the weight that the Baby Clinic and I were so anxious that she gained. Sadly these clinics have closed. They were a weekly highlight for me and I could socialise with most of the mothers except one who made a disparaging remark about my baby!

Judging by what she said dictatorially that she was feeding her poor mite, far too advanced for a three months old baby, IMHO, he probably suffered from indigestion for the rest of his life!

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Carolyn Newlen

Vee, I am not au courant with baby formula nowadays, but it comes already made up in cans from the grocery so I suspect no added sugar. The amount of corn syrup to evaporated milk and water that I used was something like 2 Tbsp. for I think six bottles of milk. It was thought to prevent constipation in the baby. I would like to say that is where she developed her sweet tooth, but unfortunately I think it is generic--from me!

Ann, her first car seat was a little square made of heavy cloth with leg holes and two hooks to hang over the front bench seat between us. She didn't like riding in my lap when she was small, and her dad said the seat was worth its price of $5.00 during the first 30 minutes she rode in it happily.

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annpanagain

Carolyn, you have to smile, comparing the simple car seats we had with the elaborate baby capsules now! Was $5.00 quite a lot of money back then? I remember the wage that my husband got in the early 1960s was about the same as he paid in tax on his wage in the 70's inflation!

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yoyobon_gw

Apparently many baby formulas today do have corn syrup added, however , you can find brands that are sugar-free and corn syrup free if you read labels. Fortunately many new moms are able to breast feed and avoid the problem altogether

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Carolyn Newlen

Oh, yes, Ann. $5.00 was bus fare and lunch money for a five-day work week for me at that time. My first office job (stenographic) paid $195 a month before taxes. I remember how rich I felt when my net bi-monthly paycheck rose to $100. When I had some remodeling done a couple of years ago, I had the breakfast area double windows pushed out a couple of feet, a window seat that lifts up for storage put in, and shelves put up both sides to hold cookbooks, teacups and saucers, etc. I'm very pleased with the results, but the cost was more than we paid for our first house!

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Rosefolly

What my parents paid for their small house in the 1960's would not buy even a very modest new car today.

BTW, according to my mother at any rate, the sugar added to cows' milk formulas was there to make cows' milk closer to human milk. Apparently human milk naturally has more sugar and less salt than cow's milk due to the difference in the rate of growth between the two species.

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maxmom96

Yoyobon, I will soon be 84 and as a child I received a doll's bathinette, or as I knew it, a basinette. It held water for bathing my doll and had a rubber hose on the bottom to drain the water out, with a metal clamp to secure the closure.

I had two in diapers at the same time, born in 68 and 70, the older one resisting toilet training with a vengeance. We thought sure we'd have to send him to kindergarten in diapers! I used cloth diapers exclusively, even when we went out of town for the weekend. Lots of fun!

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Carolyn Newlen

I must have bought some of the first disposable diapers on the market to use on the plane from San Francisco to Louisville, pre-jet, of course, when we came home from Hawaii with our two-month old. They literally disintegrated on contact.

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yoyobon_gw

There were some brands that were supposed to dissolve after use. You were to swirl them in the toilet water until they shredded then toss the plastic . Not sure they were a hit because most didn't want to bother .

Ecologically, the best were the cloth diapers that were laundered when the diaper pail ( full of some blue disinfectant water) got full. Then we had to wring out the dirty diapers before hauling them to the washer. UGH.

Mothers today do not know what REAL women had to go through !!!

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annpanagain

I used to listen to a radio book reading at 10.45am until 11am while I did the nappy/diaper wash. "Sara Dane" and the trials of the pioneer women in Australia got me through the horrid chore!

The early disposables were dreadful, full of something like Kitty Litter! I had a triangle of filtering material between the baby and the terry towel nappy that "wicked" away the moisture and helped avoid nappy rash.

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vee_new

We still have what we called the 'nappy bucket' now used to keep whites separate from coloureds before going intoin the washing machine. Must have bought it for eldest DD who is now over 40! As yoyo say it was filled with some sort of 'sanitising' solution, then the nappies were rinsed and put into the machine. Over here we also had muslin nappies that went under the towelling ones and plastic over all, so the baby's rear-end was well 'swaddled'.

Those lines of white nappies blowing in the breeze on a Spring morning were always a good sight . . . modern mothers don't know how lucky they are. Now voices are being raised over the damage to the environment caused by 'disposables' and women are being urged to go back to the towelling sort.

There is also 'talk' about how some mothers today using these disposable nappies/diapers can't be bothered to potty-train their toddlers and the children are reaching school age (4+ over here) without knowing what a toilet is for.

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Carolyn Newlen

There were plastic pants available to pull on over the diaper to keep Mama's lap or the sheets dry, but I couldn't use them because they caused diaper rash on my daughter. Then there were the quilted lap pads to keep under baby to protect the grown ups.

I once hung out diapers when the weather was so cold that the first one was frozen solid by the time I got the third one hung up. I didn't know about special sanitizer; I used a tiny bit of bleach in the diaper pail. My mother-in-law said DD had the whitest diapers she ever saw!



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Rosefolly

I used a combination of cloth and disposable diapers for my children, disposables when I was away from home so I didn't have to haul the smelly wet diapers around with me. That was in the 1980's. At that time disposable diapers had a lot of fragrance and my kids skin used to react to the perfume with nasty rashes resembling diaper rash. That was why I mostly used cloth with no plastic pants (except overnight). I changed them as soon as they were wet which meant a load of diapers to wash just about every day. No more rashes that way.

Young mothers these days do not have to worry about fragrance in the disposables - that is no longer done. And some trendy stay-at-home mothers have gone back to cloth, much fancier cloth diapers than the ones I used to have.

I do think that disposable diapers are an environmental nightmare in the landfill, but oh, the convenience!

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astrokath

My boys had cloth nappies with a liner (as Ann mentioned). If they were just wet, the liner was washed, if it was dirty, it could be thrown away. They always had plastic pants over the top though. I used disposables occasionally but they tended to give my kids nappy rash.

My daughter in law bought some modern cloth nappies but I haven't seen her actually using them - I'll have to ask.

I do think it must be harder to toilet train children in today's nappies as I'm not sure they would notice they were wet.


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Rosefolly

I think they make special toilet training diapers that allow the child to feel the wetness. The grandson who lives with us is approaching that age, and his mother mentioned something about that to me recently.


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annpanagain

What is the good of "feeling the wetness"? Children need to recognise the urge "to go", surely? As this was nearly 60 years ago for me, I can't recall how I went about the training.

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yoyobon_gw

At a certain point, when they are physically ready, I suspect it's a battle of the wills !

A friend who was a kindergarten teacher trained her own son in one day by leaving him pantsless , putting his training potty in a central location and telling him that every time he tinkled in his potty she'd give him an M&M. The kid was good to go ( pun intended) in one day !

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vee_new

When I had our older son his sister who was about 20 months old. Rather than having double the amount of nappies to wash and as it was the Summer we let her go bare of botty. She was very surprised when she produced a huge puddle (pity it was on the kitchen floor) but 'got the message' in no time and the three of them went on to be dry at night with no problems. And no obvious psychological damage done . . .

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yoyobon_gw

I always felt that diapers , after a certain infant stage, were like a wearable potty and when they were left off , as you said, the message was clear.

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Carolyn Newlen

I think when the diapers were wet, they were uncomfortable. These new ones that whisk away moisture are not.

Yoyo, I have an M&M story, too. A man I worked for had a little boy not much older than his little sister, whom they were having difficulty potty training. They began rewarding him with M&Ms when he was successful, and little sister, watching all this, struggled out of her diaper, stood in front of the toilet, wet all over the floor, looked up, beaming, and said, "MM, MM, MM"

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yoyobon_gw

Maybe the moral of this tale is : Don't make it too easy for your kid or they won't learn anything !

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