It begins with explaining how your baby is not a miniature adult:
- The bones of the head are soft and rubbery.
- Your baby may have no hair - or excess hair all over his body.
- The face is asymmetrical.
- Your baby has poor vision.
- The neck is short and supports the head poorly.
- Extremities may twitch.
- The skin has a purple-red color due to poor circulation.
- Hearing is not present at birth, but appears within a few days.
- Babies can lose as much as 10% of their birth weight.
- Babies are born with their mother's hormones in the blood, which may cause swollen breasts, bloody vaginal discharge, swollen vagina/scrotum.
- Respiration is irregular.
- Spitting up is very common the first few months.
- The bridge of baby's nose is flat.
- Hiccups are common.
- Sleep patters vary in infants. Some may sleep 18 hours a day while others 7 - 8 hours.
- Bowel moments also vary greatly.
- The navel may protrude.
- The feet may turn in or out.
Okay...here's a highly-disturbing section (I think) entitled "Friends and Visitors" - "Do your utmost to keep visitors and especially children away from your baby. The newborn baby is best kept as much to himself as possible. He should never sleep with you or with anybody else." Again, WHAT?! So the baby's father, grandmother, siblings, aunt, etc. should not interact with this child? Everyone should be kept away, and this insecure baby with poor vision and hearing (as described above) should feel lonely just laying by himself all night and day? Oh, that's right...this is for people giving their babies formula, which does not allow the baby to share the mother's immunity as breastfeeding would, so the baby's immunity is compromised, and he should be ignored. Sigh...
Finally, on page 5 of this booklet, breastfeeding is mentioned! Phew... It opens with "For maximum milk production - - your baby will be brought to you every three to four hours around the clock." While that is very important, shouldn't it really begin with "For maximum bonding and health, you should breastfeed"?? Most of the other information is actually accurate and beneficial for new moms - how to hold your baby while nursing, how to get a good latch, manually express if needed, be patient, wear a good nursing bra, etc. It talks about how you should not sleep through the night until at least the 8th week. I am still waiting for more than 3 hours of sleep at a time, and Lydia is almost 11 months old. And for some reason, after all that, it says not to weigh your baby at home. That's just odd. Just turned the page and found the best part yet, actually (no sarcasm here for a change): "If baby cries you MUST NURSE baby ON DEMAND. IT IS NORMAL DURING FIRST FEW WEEKS TO NURSE 10 - 12 TIMES A DAY!" (I think I still nurse this frequently.) This is followed by a sentence about how you need to offer your baby lukewarm water once or twice daily, but it's okay if your child does not take it. I don't think Lydia was ever offered water until about 6 months of age. I couldn't imagine offering a newborn a bottle of water. Isn't the whole point to provide your child with nourishment, comfort, and weight gain? How would water help with any of that?
The next section is on baby care, and it is still accurate. Here's the really amazing part -- no mention of disposable diapers, only cloth diapers. Intriguing! It's all about how to properly wash your diapers (doesn't even call them "cloth diapers") or to use a diaper service. One other thing I like that was in here was to not over-dress your baby. Your baby only needs as much clothing as you need. I see so many moms who dress their kids in full outfits and then wrap blankets around them - in the summer heat in Florida! UGH!
So to wrap it all up...The biggest difference of all between the 1970s and 2010? "Most babies prefer to sleep on their stomachs with the head turned to one side." Definitely not a recommendation anyone would make anymore! Amazing how all of us turned out okay and we all slept on our stomachs. Now babies sleep on their backs and need positioners that warn against plagiocephaly (flattening of the head).
What do you think? Is the parenting advice given in hospitals better now...or better then?