On a recent trip to the “People’s Friend” Archive, I noticed the “‘People’s Friend’ Nursery Card” – a page of advice on caring for very young children, from January, 1907.
Like the “Friend”, lots of the advice has stood the test of time, although there are a couple of odd items to look out for!
- Accustom a baby from the very first to sleep when laid down, without singing or rocking.
- Bedtime should be a set hour.
- Do not leave a light in bedrooms to please child.
Food and Feeding
- Wherever possible, mother’s milk should be the sole diet for 8 or 9 months.
- Utensils must be clean and sterilised daily.
- For its first seven months baby should get no starchy foods (biscuits or bread and milk, milk puddings, &c); but later these are suitable. Oat-flour gruel is particularly good then.
- Children should have neither pieces nor fruit nor sweets between meals.
- Jam must not be used as a substitute for butter. If a substitute be necessary, beef dripping is admirable.
- Daily outings are essential – the only obstacle being fog or rain.
- Do not bribe a child to be good.
- Too few toys are better than too many.
- Where disapproval is a distinct punishment, you may spare the rod – otherwise whippings are advisable.
- Teach children to be methodical and tidy in every little task they undertake.
- Never give laudanum in any form to a child. (!)
- Never use punch or any other form of alcohol.
- Never make a promise you cannot keep.
- Never frighten a child either about the dark or a bogie-man, or the doctor, or anything.
- Coughs and Colds should be carefully watched, and a doctor summoned if the temperature rises or the breath becomes hurried.
- Constipation – Teach child to try at a set time daily. For children over six months, prune juice or stewed apples or rhubarb may be tried.
- Diarrhoea – Dose of castor oil at once. Lime water.
- Croup – Linseed poultices or hot fomentations to front of neck; drinks of warm milk; fire in room, and steam kettle.
For more historical gems and curiosities, pick up a copy of our 150th Anniversary Edition!