American Baby: Advice, Then & Now

What we think about babies, breastfeeding, and being a mommy sure has changed over the years -- and thank goodness for that!

  • The advice we used to give, and the attitudes we had about family life, have evolved in big ways. We've pulled together some funny, interesting (and, okay, maybe a teeny bit embarrassing) things that appeared in our magazine over the last 70 years. Nothing that follows represents in any way advice we'd give today -- but it is fun to see just how much times have changed. Read on for a few very good laughs.


    On Breastfeeding

    * If you are nursing your baby, you must drink a quart of milk per day. -- March 1964

    * A Man's Point of View: As men we must admit that breasts do make lovely sweater decorations. However, as doctors, we remind you that their primary purpose is a source of food for babies. -- March 1967

    * Breastfeeding mothers have higher blood levels. They are more energetic, feel better, and are more fun to live with and be around. -- March 1967

    * The close, physical contact with the baby triggers the outflow of true selfless compassion for all humanity. -- March 1967


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On a Woman's Role in the Birth Process

    Your body goes through certain motions and the doctor does the rest.... The less you know the less you will think about, so relax -- let some other smarty bother with [the] details. -- March 1964


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Husbands

    * Thank heavens for husbands! Not only are they nice to have around the house, but they come through in times of crisis with the calm, rational objectivity a woman sometimes needs so desperately. -- April 1965

    * Many husbands can't bear the thought that they can't bear the child.... A man, with the strength and muscles of an ox, can't see his petite wife bearing this burden.... The fragility of her appearance rouses the protective instinct in her husband -- an instinct nurtured by mixed feelings of pride and guilt. -- June 1965

    * Father is more of a novelty. He is only seen in the evenings and on weekends. -- January 1967


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Coping with the Baby Blues

    * Overcoming the baby blues is not an easy task, but you can do it if you adopt the right attitude toward the problem and develop persistence. -- February 1970

    * Begin your scheduling by setting aside times of the day for your own quiet.... Listen to records, read a novel, experiment with makeup, make a cocktail dress, do beauty exercises, or take a nap yourself -- but don't wash the dishes! -- February 1970


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Naming Baby

    * Persons with attractive names are usually better liked than the ones whose names have unpleasant connotations. -- January 1967

    * What do the initials spell? Sebastian Anthony Pratt would not be a good combination of names. -- January 1967

    * Most popular names of 1967: Robert, Mark, Stephen, Linda, Sandra, Susan. -- January 1967


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • Beauty Advice for Mom

    * Your Own Wonderful Look: The changes taking place in your body evidence themselves in your physical appearance, and require a flexible beauty regime. Plan to devote more time grooming. -- January 1964

    * Getting Back into Shape: Don't ask [your girdle] to do all the work your muscles should be doing. You can prevent that sagging tummy even after a whole passel of babies if you are firm with your muscles.... -- June 1965


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Toddler Discipline

    * He does not want to share and indeed he should not be expected to share unless he wishes, for he must experience the security of owning things and should expect protection of his possessions and his rights, above all by his parents. -- January 1967


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Manners

    * Teaching Baby to Feed Himself: In the beginning of the process keep in mind that your baby's table manners will not be the best. Don't be too concerned about this, for he will want to learn to eat more neatly and expertly as he grows older. -- April 1967

    * The How-Tos of Baby Showers: Except for a family affair, it is not in good taste for a mother, sister, or grandmother to initiate the party.... Fanfare, please! The presentation of the gifts should be, above all, dramatic...but also be prepared for its less glamorous aspects. A scissors and a wastepaper basket should be on hand. And ask a friend to keep the gifts and guests properly matched. -- January 1970


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On Mommy's Role as the Housewife

    * Your Husband: Take a little time to consider the things you can do to make his life a little easier while you are away [in the hospital]...(1) Write out a telephone list (2) Leave him a week's supply of clean underclothes and shirts (3) Stock the refrigerator with food (4) Arrange for a maid to come in one day while you are in the hospital (5) Most important, remember to let your husband carry the baby home from the hospital. -- February 1968

    * As a rule, the major care of the baby will fall to the mother, and she will be so busy as a mother that she may forget to be a wife. Unless father is a very well adjusted personality, he is going to resent this neglect. Not only will he be resentful towards his wife, but he may also harbor subconscious antagonism toward this third person that has invaded their happy home. -- May 1965


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.

  • On the Mystery of Birth

    * Birth is the rude interruption of [a blissful state of security and satisfaction in the womb]. This is a tremendous shock from which the individual spends his life trying to recover. -- March 1965


    The advice we used to give has evolved in substantial ways over the years. Nothing that appears here represents in any way advice we'd give today.



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