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Monthly Archive:: September 2012

Lessons from the 1950s, Part 2: Baby Products

A few weeks ago, I bought some parenting magazines from the 1950s. In a previous installment, I shared some baby-rearing advice found in those magazines. Today, I’ll share some baby products, including car seats, ’50s style!

A good portion of the magazine ads were for food. Carnation and Pet vied to be mothers’ choice for the evaporated milk used in making baby formula. Companies like Heinz, Libby’s, Gerber, Swift, and Beech-Nut advertised their delectable boxed and jarred baby food. (Liver and Bacon, anyone?)

There were lots of ads for diapers and detergent, too, of course. You know gDiapers, the cloth-disposable hybrid system available today? Yeah, that’s not a modern idea. In the ’50s, Playtex offered a system of flushable liners with reusable cloth covers:

Evenflo advertised artificial nipples that offered an even flow of milk, and long before they produced Sceneras, Cosco made really cool high chairs

 (I want one so bad! Preferably in aqua.)

As promised, here are some car seats. They’re horrifying by today’s standards, of course, but keep in mind the point was just to keep the baby contained in the car, not to protect it in  crashes. A lot of these served as multi-use chairs/beds for use outside the car as well:

  

Here’s an old-timey travel system!

Here’s a…thing…intended to keep your kid in bed, but great in the car, too!

Here are a couple “dedicated” car seats:

 

I hope you enjoyed the stroll down questionable-products lane! Stay tuned to CarseatBlog for my third and final “Lesson from the 1950s,” coming soon!

Lessons from the 1950s, Part 1: Baby-Rearing

It all started innocently enough. I went on Etsy in search of artwork for my kids’ bedrooms, and two hours later found myself purchasing six parenting magazines from the 1950s.

I anxiously awaited their arrival. I couldn’t wait to peruse the ads and laugh at the parenting advice. Surely it would be a hoot!

Indeed, there was a lot of stuff you wouldn’t read about today.

Back then, apparently, it was an absolute must to bath babies every day, and up to three times a day in the summer. I realize a lot of people today also give baths everyday, but more as a way to establish a routine, not as a requirement on the same level as feeding or changing diapers. Based on ads and articles, “bathinettes” were a must-have piece of baby furniture. They were changing tables (often on wheels) that could be taken into the kitchen or bathroom. The changing table folded out of the way to reveal a tub that was filled with water for bathing baby then drained with a hose.

(It turns out there are companies that still make these today. Given the current generation’s obsession with baby products, I’m actually surprised these aren’t more common.)

Babies were to be given sunbaths starting at one month. You were to set the baby in the sun for one minute, working up to 30 minutes per day. (You were supposed to avoid direct sunlight on very hot days.)

Babies should start having orange or tomato juice around 1-2 months old, and solids might be started around that time, too.

One of the magazines had a whole article about hospitals. Back then, hospitals had formula rooms where trained nurses did nothing but make various baby formulas according to doctors’ orders. Fathers had their own waiting rooms, of course. Mothers stayed in the hospital for six or seven days, and their babies typically stayed in the nursery the whole time. (Babies were supposed to be brought to mothers to breastfeed, although it sounds like the nurses didn’t always comply.)  This was by far the strangest passage in the hospital article:

First of all, what is all this talk you have heard about hospitals looking so dreary? Modern hospital rooms actually look very cheerful! The walls are usually painted in a soft pastel shade. So is the ceiling, for that matter. No wonder a patient doesn’t mind looking at it for long hours at a stretch, when it’s easy on the eyes.

Yes, clearly.

What surprised me most, though, was that most of the advice was along the same lines as what you’d read in mainstream parenting magazines today. If you’re breastfeeding, feed baby on demand. When introducing solid foods, don’t force something that baby doesn’t like.

There were reminders that it’s not possible to spoil a baby, and admonitions against “advice from the 1930s” that crying is good for exercising a baby’s lungs.

There were recipes, just like you’d see in today’s magazines, including ideas for using a whole chicken. Today’s photos would probably be a little more appealing, though.

One of the most interesting things I read about was the suggestion to “send” a baby-shower to a friend who lives far away. The suggestion from a 1952 Baby Talk was to have all of the attendees arrive at the hostess’s house with unwrapped gifts. The ladies would then chat, snack, write notes to the expectant mom, and wrap up their gifts after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them. Then all the gifts would be boxed together and mailed to the pregnant mommy, who could open the gifts with her husband, who wouldn’t have been at a traditional shower, of course. These days, people sometimes have “cyber-showers,” which seem to be met with varying levels of approval.

An article on safety revealed many of the same tips we’d read today: No pillows in baby’s crib. Make sure small objects are out of reach. Watch out for lead paint on toys! Never leave baby unattended in the bathtub, even for a minute. There was even a caution against the looped cords on Venetian blinds. Car seats were recommended, too, but not to protect in a crash: The main purpose was to keep baby from falling over and to prevent the driver from being distracted.

Stay tuned for the next installment to see some car seat ads and other cool ’50s baby products!

 

 

The ABC Show Is A Month Away!

Yeah baby! The biggest and the best baby gear trade show is less than a month away and it’s time to start planning. I’m actually exhausted already just thinking about how tired we’ll be at the end of each day of looking at all of the miles of baby gear. But we need your help in planning! Give us your carseat product questions and we’ll *try* to get answers for you direct from the folks who know the answers. And, if you’re feeling brave, throw in some stroller questions too. I’m going to do my best impersonation of a rubber bouncy ball and bounce back and forth between Kecia and Darren and one of my new baby planning/concierge service business partners, Jana, with A La Carte Bébé. Jana and I will be hitting the stroller side of gear, and since I never really got into strollers, I’m hoping someone here brings me up to speed on them with some great questions!

Graco Affix Highback Booster Unboxing and Giveaway!

 

More information may be found on Graco’s Affix webpage.

  • Secure connection keeps booster seat properly in place
  • Keeps booster steady for easy self-buckling for your independent child
  • Unigue front adjustment allows you to quickly and easily tighten the booster to the vehicle seat
  • Side Impact Tested* (*The AFFIX™ Highback Booster with Latch System has been side impact tested for occupant retention with a standard vehicle harness system in high back booster mode. Please consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more specific information on the performance of your vehicle’s safety belt system.)
  • Engineered & crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213
  • Designed with the style and comfort features that kids love
  • Easily converts to backless booster for years of use
  • EPS, energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management
  • Fully-adjustable headrest keeps your growing child secure
  • Open-loop belt guides help you correctly position your vehicle’s seat belt
  • Integrated cup holder and hide-away storage compartment keeps your child’s drinks and favorite things within arm’s reach

CarseatBlog is giving away one (1) Graco Affix High Back Booster in the winner’s choice of either Vivi or Sterling fabric.

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for your participation!

To Enter, you must reply to this blog with a comment that mentions an item that is “affixed” to your child!  Is it a video game?  A toy?  A stuffed animal?  The comment can be short or long, serious or funny, simple or creative. Winners must have a USA shipping address.  The contest will close sometime on or around September 30th, 2012. The winner will be selected at random by a representative of Graco Children’s Products (or their designee) on or around October 1st from all eligible entries submitted before the contest closes.

Eligibility:

One entry per household/account/IP address.  If you comment more than once to this blog, only your first entry will be counted.

CarseatBlog and Graco staff not eligible.

Winners of a sponsored child safety seat giveaway at CarseatBlog in 2011 or 2012 are not eligible.

You must provide a shipping address in the continental USA (Alaska and Hawaii may require a shipping charge).

Rules:

Any disputes will be resolved solely by Car-Seat.Org, who will make any necessary judgment required. In the event a prize winner has not submitted valid shipping information within 30 days of being named the winner on this thread, Graco and/or Car-Seat.Org will select a new winner. Car-Seat.Org reserves the right to modify the rules or eligibility without prior notice.