Raising a baby means getting advice from those who supposedly know more than you do -and in the 19th century, there were no shortage of experts to sell you a book. But even the most commonly-followed advice seems strange to us now.
From the day of birth, schedules and strict discipline were of deep importance. This baby was to interfere as little as possible with your life. Affection was to be restricted, with care instructions more fitting a ficus than a child. From 1916's The Mother and her Child by Drs. Lena and William Sadler: "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. A baby should cry vigorously several times each day."
As the child grew, regulated contact could be tolerated. "At the age of two weeks, the child may be systematically carried about in the arms 2 to 3 times a day, as a means of furnishing additional change in position," is the precise advice of Dr. JP Crozer Griffith in 1900.
That appears cruel and unnecessary to us today, but if you dig a little deeper, there are reasons that they seemed like a good idea at the time. An article at the Atlantic tells the reasons why such advice might not have been "stupid" after all. Link -via Metafilter
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