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Old Parenting Advice

8 Things Our Mothers Did With Us as Babies That Would Never Happen Now

Even before I held my daughter for the first time, I was bombarded with parenting advice from just about everyone. Every person I met in the super market, at Target, or at the hospital had some sage wisdom they just had to impart to me. It took the birth of my daughter (and two children after that) to fully realize why people wanted to give me their advice. Having a baby is a precious and joyous experience, and everyone stresses about raising their child "the right way." So, naturally, anyone that has already raised children into adulthood will want to share their secrets.

It's entertaining to think about how much parenting trends and advice has changed over the years. I recently talked to my mom about what she and her friends used to do with us babies back in the day that would most likely never happen now. Not only was it fun to look back on these things with my mom and talk about how much life has changed, but I can also show my kids and joke about how good they have it. Keep reading for eight pieces of advice moms used to give, and prepare to laugh (and probably roll your eyes a few times, too).

  1. "Put rice cereal in their bottles, it will help baby sleep." Surprisingly, this advice was still floating around just eight years ago! Most of us know, however, that you shouldn't add anything to the bottles, no matter how desperate you are for an extra hour of sleep.
  2. "Just give that baby some whiskey on his gums for teething!" This was a very common "cure" for teething pain back in the day, but, thankfully, we can all just use some Tylenol or Motrin when desperate.
  3. "Your baby must sleep on their stomach." My mother claimed this is what the hospital told her when she brought both me and my sister home. When I brought my daughter home, we were told to put her on her back to sleep. The Back to Sleep campaign began in the '90s, and it's said to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  4. "Clean your plate or no dessert!" Well, maybe this one still happens in some houses. However, these days, most parents choose their battles, and oftentimes dinner is not the war they want to fight.
  5. "Newborns should have a bottle of plain water." This one came up frequently while I was chatting with friends about their mothers. Even my own mother gave my daughter water when she was under two months — the reason seemed to be they were worried about her becoming dehydrated. We now know that formula and breast milk will keep babies very well hydrated, and there's no need for extra water — it will just fill them up without giving them nutrients.
  6. "Car seats? What car seats?" Car seats in the front, no rear-facing, or going home with the baby in your arms from the hospital. My father-in-law's mother mentioned that when she left the hospital after giving birth, she held her baby in her arms the entire car ride home. My mother-in-law and mother both told me car seats were allowed in the front seat of cars in the '80s. Now we know that the safest place for baby is rear-facing in the back seat of any car.
  7. "For safety, put a crib bumper on so baby doesn't get stuck in the rails." OK, honestly, my daughter used to get stuck in the rails of her crib all the time! The screaming she did would make my heart pound furiously, and I wished I could just put something in there with her. But since any extra padding or blankets are huge suffocation risks to babies, it's better to hear (and then comfort) those cries.
  8. "Feed the baby carnation evaporated milk mixed with water and Karo syrup." A friend told me her mother said this would keep baby from being constipated. What's astounding about this advice is prune juice works as a stool softener, and its much healthier.

All mothers, no matter the generation or advice followed, are awesome. Maybe my daughter will make a very similar list for me in 20 years, and everything I did with her will be met with gasps? I turned out fine, and my daughter is great, so I think it's safe to say mothers know what's best for their own families.

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Thanks, Mom!

Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of POPSUGAR Inc. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.

Image Source: Unsplash / Li Tzuni
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