7 pieces of really terrible parenting advice from yesterday's 'experts' 2 years ago

7 pieces of really terrible parenting advice from yesterday's 'experts'

The most common weird baby advice still doing the rounds today usually involves supplementing your tot's diet with shots of hard whiskey or rubbing it on their gums to soothe teething pain. 

Luckily (because science) we've moved on from taking the first piece of advice proffered by the nearest granny, but in progressing to a better, safer future, we've left behind some of the advice of yesteryear, which still has some serious comedy value (if absolutely no grounding in medicine or science whatsoever).

Here, for your reading pleasure, we've collected the top ten pieces of wrong and hilariously inappropriate child-rearing advice ever published:

1. From 1878: Always place your baby in the cot with its head pointing north, says Dr George Naphys in The Physical Life of Woman. Why? Eh... "There are known to be great electrical currents always coursing in one direction around the globe. There is no doubt that our nervous systems are in some mysterious way connected with this universal agent, as it may be called, electricity."

2. From 1894: Dr L Emmett Holt warned parents to avoid playing with their offspring until they were at least six months old. In his manual he says such interactions could cause nervousness or agitation, also advising parents that crying is “the baby’s exercise”.

3. From 1916: "A baby should cry vigorously several times each day." say Drs. Lena and William Sadler in their book The Mother and Her Child. "Handle the baby as little as possible. Turn it occasionally from side to side, feed it, change it, keep it warm, and let it alone; crying is absolutely essential to the development of good strong lungs." Yikes.


4. From 1920s: "Pregnant mothers should avoid thinking of ugly people, or those marked by any deformity or disease; avoid injury, fright and disease of any kind." So say B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols in Searchlights on Health: The Science of Eugenics. 

5. From 1932: Toilet training usually begins at around age two, but in the Thirties the US government were determined to get their country's babies trained up at just four weeks. How exactly? Well, a manual from the time advises parents to hold their baby “over the chamber, using a soap stick, if necessary, to start the movement.”

6. From 1941: Mums weren't immune from a bit of a talking to from the good doctors of the time either. In Motherhood and the Coming Baby, there is a chapter dedicated to The Mother’s Clothing that advises women to choose clothing 'for comfort, warmth, looseness and ease of movement'. It adds: "Surely you can not hope to be comfortable and dress in the height of fashion at the same time!" Later, Everywoman: A Gynaecological Guide for Life, warned: ‘If an expectant mother gains more than 35lbs in pregnancy she will find it almost impossible to lose the extra weight. Her clothes will not fit and her former sylph-like figure will be a memory.’ Good to know.

7. From 1962: Swinging Sixties parents were told that, while brewing themselves a cup of Joe, it's quite okay to make one for baby too. Dr. Walter Sackett prescribed a black coffee every morning, starting at six months.

Have you a heard any hilariously bad parenting advice lately? Share it with us on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.