I bought the book Don’ts for Mothers – 1878 for a couple of my friends who are celebrating their first Christmas as mothers this year. They unwrapped the book at dinner last night and we howled with laughter at some of the advice handed out to mothers in 1878 – and in has to be said, we gasped in shock at some of the points too.
I thought I’d share some of the best bits from the book – and if you want to buy the book, I really recommend it, at this Amazon.co.uk link Don’ts for Mothers – 1878.
“Don’t put boys in trousers too young, but keep them in petticoats until they are four years old.”
“Don’t forget to be sure that cow’s milk is of good quality, if it must be given as a substitute. If you have not a cow of your own, have the milk from a respectable cow keeper.”
“Don’t cram a wet nurse with food, give her a strong ale to drink”.
“Don’t neglect the washing of creases made by the flesh of very fat children as the skin of these parts becomes sore and inflamed.”
“Don’t hold children’s parties. They are one of the great follies of the present age; where children are dressed up like grown-up women, stuck out in petticoats, and encouraged to eat rich cake and to drink wine, and to sit up late at night! Their pure minds are blighted by it!”
“Don’t lie. If a question is asked that is beyond experience, refer the child to his father.”
“Mothers of England, let me entreat you, rescue your girls from the bondage of fashion and folly.”
“Don’t neglect to be sure a child eats salt with his dinner. Let a mother see that this advice is followed, or evil consequences will inevitably ensue.”
“Don’t treat the mind of a babe like that of a mature and rational being.”