Many of us like to look back at certain periods of time and think about what it would have been like to live in that era. The 1960s, in particular, had The Beatles, Woodstock, and fashion that people still look to for inspiration today. One thing we are grateful to just look back on and not live through during the '60s is everything we know about the needs and care of newborn babies and their mothers today. And we have made much progress towards a positive labor and birth experience since then.
A recently discovered hospital document from 1968 has made that incredibly apparent. Micala Gabrielle Henson headed to Facebook with a document she found from the Nursing Service of Caburus Memorial hospital dated October, 30th 1968 that her grandmother was handed after giving birth to her mother. The document lists instructions for mother’s after the birth of their child and I am so glad I wasn’t around in 1968 to give birth because the list is problematic today.
"My mom was going through her things and we saw this – it's rules in regards to just having a baby," Micala Gabrielle Henson wrote in a caption alongside a copy of the paper from a North Carolina-based facility.
It seems that the goal of the document was to keep the mother and her new baby as safe and healthy as possible. But if these rules were to be enforced today, it would shake any millennial parent to their core. Childbirth itself has not changed. Babies are still born the same way they’ve been born for centuries. But we’ve come a long way since the 1960s. Many things associated with childbirth have changed and based on this hospital document, it’s clearly for the better. It gave me a chuckle,” Henson wrote, adding, "Thank goodness things have changed, I can’t imagine!”
Our view of child birth in a hospital setting is that mother and baby are safe and have whatever they need available in case an emergency arises.
via: Getty ImagesMany mothers choose to have their baby’s in a hospital, but lately, there has been a lot of interest for home births.
Today, we expect for the baby to be immediately held and breastfed or bottle fed.
via: Getty ImagesSome babies actually “breast crawl" up to their mothers chest and initiate nursing with little intervention.
Immediate skin-to-skin bonding is highly encouraged because it has been proven to help stabilize baby’s temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
via: Getty ImagesIt’s those first moments with skin contact that are so crucial for the baby.
Dads are also encouraged to participate in skin-to-skin contact with their new baby.
via: Getty ImagesIt’s also seriously super adorable!.
Nowadays parents are so involved in the upcoming birth of their new baby that they create birth plans.
via: Getty ImagesA birth plan communicates parents wishes to their caregivers of the before, during, and after labor and delivery care of their baby.
Imagine living in the 1960s and a pregnant woman hands her doctor a “birth plan".
via: Getty ImagesFor that time period, this was something unheard of.
Women were expected to listen to their doctor and not have any say in what was told or recommended.
via: Getty ImagesAnd from this time, I think many women may have felt it was OK.
From then to now, many women have become more aware of their care and treatment options during labor, delivery, and care of their newborn.And many have exercised their patient rights as they should.
We’ve come a long way from what was practiced before.
via: Getty ImagesAnd I can totally see that, based on what was on the hospital document.
Micala Gabrielle Henson shared the hospital document on her Facebook page and like her, I couldn’t help but feel shocked and laugh.I was also shook by the rules outlined.
1968 can keep their “hospital instructions for mothers".They can go very far away from me with this. No thanks.
Look, I think nurses are an incredible group of people and the work they do should be highly appreciated. But these instructions seem very rigid.
via: Getty ImagesIt’s things like this that make me proud to be a millennial parent.
Micala’s grandmother was handed the “instructions for mothers" after giving birth to Micala’s mom.
via: Getty ImagesAs shocking as the rules are, it’s quite interesting to read how things were done back in the day. I also think it's safe to say, they didn't know any better.
“My mom was going through her things and we saw this. It's rules in regards to just having a baby," Micala wrote in her Facebook post.
via: Getty ImagesThe post quickly went viral.
And thank goodness things have changed.
The instructions have specific time slots for when parents are actually allowed to see their newborn.This first rule is the hardest for any new parent to get through. It seems skin-to-skin bonding was something that was not practiced.
"Babies are on display at the nursery window from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 to 7:45 p.m.," it reads. "Do not ask to see baby at any other time."Pretty much, bonding time between baby and mom was less than two hours in an entire day. This definitely wouldn’t fly with today’s modern parents. Um, how about no, 1968.
Breastfeeding was highly regulated.
via: Getty ImagesBeing how popular breastfeeding has become, this would definitely be an issue today.
The first 24 hours after giving birth, moms were told to breastfeed for only five minutes. For the following two days, that could be upped to seven minutes, and then 10-15 minutes on days four and five.The reason behind the timing rules for breastfeeding? Breastfeeding could cause “sore nipple". Well no duh, Nurse Obvious. Sore nipples are common especially during the first few weeks of nursing. But by taking care of your breasts and possibly help from a lactation consultant, the discomfort will go away.
It’s quite shocking to read how strict the nursing guidelines were.
via: Getty ImagesAccording to La Leche League International, if moms have made the decision to nurse their babies, then breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour of the baby being born, ideally during skin-to-skin bonding.
Science has proven the incredible powers of breast milk. We also know that things like cuddling babies majorly boosts brain health.
via: Getty ImagesGood thing is, that at least we know better now.
Based on how strict these breastfeeding rules are, I think it’s safe to say that it’s no wonder breastfeeding rates during the mid-20th century was so low.
via: Getty ImagesIt almost seems like it was a subtle way to shame breastfeeding mothers.
Trying to keep all newborns on the same strict and limited feeding schedule, regardless of their needs or their time of birth, is not just unfeasible but just plain crazy by today's standards.
via: Getty ImagesAlso, it’s very difficult to have a newborn on a schedule. They have no schedule. Once you have a newborn, you are living under their rules.
Fathers were basically considered visitors. The rules state that the father is not allowed to be in the room while the baby is nursing.Heaven forbid the father of the baby walked in while the mother to his child was breastfeeding and he saw her breasts (insert sarcastic eye-roll here).
Another notable section of the instructions are the lists of foods banned from nursing mothers to eat.How dare they?!
Foods like chocolate, candy, raw apple, cabbage, nuts, strawberries, cherries, onions, and one that's actually questionable, green coconut cake.Green coconut cake sounds highly specific. I’ve breastfed all three of my kids and ate most of these foods during those times. Everything was fine. But I really don’t appreciate that chocolate is on this list.
No one should agonize a nursing mom about her diet. I will be the first to testify that breastfeeding makes women very hungry.We burn about 500 calories a day from nursing so it’s no wonder we constantly eat.
One thing it seems they did have right was that smoking was not allowed while the baby was in the room.But once the baby was not, smoking was allowed. Back in the day, smoking was even allowed in the operating room.
Thanks to medical advancements, research, better methods of sharing information thanks to the internet, we now know just how crucial those first weeks are for a baby's development.
via: Getty ImagesCue all of the birth plans out there.