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CIO spin-off...how'd they do it 200 years ago? - Page 2

post #21 of 74

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Edited by GoestoShow - 1/11/11 at 10:08am
post #22 of 74
I wanted to add a thought on this idea of doing something b/c it is "natural."


In the childrearing category, I often see "natural" tossed out as a reason (among many) to do one thing over another.

But "natural" seems to be interchangable with "old." That doesn't make sense to me. People in all cultures and time periods have done things that aren't "natural." For example, just in this discussion we have topics such as forcing children to read for hours (this was noted in Laura Ingalls books right?) and Indians mildly suffocating their children. Neither of those is "natural."

In history, we see bloodletting, binding of feet, circumcision, etc etc. It could be said that none of these represent "natural" but they are definitely historic and old.

Perhaps when we use the "natural" argument, we should clarify that we want to do something b/c it is "natural" regardless of the history or time period.
post #23 of 74
For those of you who are interested, Our Babies, Ourselves is a really fantastic book. Doesn't address history much, but by looking at different cultures, discusses what parts of infancy are biological and what parts are cultural.
post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
You know, in the Little House books, Ma is always rocking the little sisters to sleep. I remember two distinct passages where she rocks Grace to sleep.

there are also passages about laura and mary being whipped at a very young age. I'm guessing that babies cried a lot because there was an emphasis on being obedient, respectful and self-sufficient. But like someone else pointed out, ppl lived in very close quarters, so it is not as if a baby was left to cry alone in the dark behind closed doors.
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
For those of you who are interested, Our Babies, Ourselves is a really fantastic book. Doesn't address history much, but by looking at different cultures, discusses what parts of infancy are biological and what parts are cultural.
If I remember rightly, this was the book that did gloss over certain points though...like one tribe that constantly babywore, nursed, etc...also made it a point to NOT look their babies in the eye so the babies would learn who was boss. Not exactly an AP habit, kwim?

Not that the book is crap; I just remember reading some criticisms of it that she specifically leaves out points that don't support her thesis.
post #26 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalemma View Post
Yes - I always think the intense anti-crying, pro-babywearing, "it's natural", thing is kind of funny. In an actual tribal culture, say, you don't wear your baby because it's "better", you wear your baby because you have to go dig roots or nobody eats. And if your baby cries all the way to the root field and back, that's just too bad.

I'm pretty sure parents have always had a pretty tough time.
This is my POV exactly. I don't romanticize cultures who SEEM to be all AP when really it isn't like that.
post #27 of 74
I know that a lot of people contemplate how things were done "back then"-- and I guess when I think about things like attachment/seperation/cio, etc. I tend to look at it from an evolutionary perspective (I'm a goelogist, so I'm comfortable with a wayyyyy longer time frame!) So when I think about cio, in particular, I try to think about the reasons that a crying infant would be more likely to survive and reproduce than a quiet infant. One obvious selective advantage (I'm sure there are many others) would be to avoid becoming prey. I have a dear friend who tried cio with her first dc , and when she asked me why I didn't I answered that I didn't want my baby to be scared, alone, in the dark, and thinking that her mama had left her for the sabre-tooths

Contemplating how people have parented differently over time is interesting from a societal/cultural perspective-- but I think it's very important to remember that our babies' instinctual behaviors evolved loooooong before any quaint earlier times that we can realistically reflect upon. We're animals, and newborns are just little balls of instinct, trying to survive. I know that I, for one, am happy as heck to live in the time we do
post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post
If I remember rightly, this was the book that did gloss over certain points though...like one tribe that constantly babywore, nursed, etc...also made it a point to NOT look their babies in the eye so the babies would learn who was boss. Not exactly an AP habit, kwim?

Not that the book is crap; I just remember reading some criticisms of it that she specifically leaves out points that don't support her thesis.
The point of her book was not that the "tribal cultures" she was describing were perfect examples of AP parenting, though. The point was simply to objectively look at a whole bunch of different cultural approaches to childrearing through an anthropological perspective. That's the way I remember it.

Our Babies, Ourselves is definitely one of the most interesting books on parenting I've read.
post #29 of 74
I think swaddling was popular, I also heard that infants were swaddled and hung from a hook, or their siblings played with the baby. Didn't Aboriginals use cradleboards, which could be worn on the back, or leaned up against a tree?

My Dad's friend was telling me how his great-great grandmother travelled all over Canada when she was younger to help her older siblings after they had a baby. Apparently an unmarried female relative would go to the home of a new baby and stay for a year to help out. It was in her travels that his great-great grandmother met his great-great grandfather. Ah l'amour.
post #30 of 74
Yeah, I'm pretty sure when your survival depends on being able to do household chores, you rock the baby as you walk by the cradle and I'm pretty sure the babies cried a bit. Babies cry whether you wear them or not. CIO is a sleeptraining method, but the babies do seem to eventually "give up" and cry for shorter periods of time. I think once the older siblings are around to help it was probably a little better, but not all families lived in multigenerational households, particularly pioneers were often alone and isolated from neighbors by miles.
post #31 of 74
First of all, I'd like to point out that the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were written by a 60-something woman remembering (incorrectly, as she fully admitted) events of a child as young as 4 years old, and fictionalizing them for children. I don't think you can use her Little House books as a reference. Entertainment, yes, historical fact, no. Perhaps not even very good examples.

I would guess that there was a lot of CIO in both Colonial times and Pioneer times because of the diseases that children often had. Mortality rates where very high. I agree that the "times" were vastly different historically and both were very hard times in their own way. I don't think parents wanted any less to be there for their children, but the hardships of the times probably dictated that if the crop had to be brought in before the baby got fed, then that's how it was. Today we can drop just about anything to tend to our babies.

I do think that the benefit we don't have today is that there was more intergenerational living and smaller "villages" that raised the children. There were also wet nurses and other women to nurse the babies when they needed it. Might be "gross" to us now, but any lactating woman would feed the babies.
post #32 of 74
This doesn't have much specific info about infant care, but it does have interesting facts about babies and children throughout history...

http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/204.html#218
post #33 of 74
They spanked them till they stopped crying:

Quote:
When they turned a year old (and some before) they were taught to fear the rod, and to cry softly.
From a letter written by Susanna Wesley to her son John Wesley (a founder of the Methodist church.)

I also saw an antique rocking chair from colonial times that was attached to the cradle and the butter churn so the mom could sit in the chair and simultaniously rock the baby, churn the butter and do something useful (such as knitting) with her hands.
post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post

I also saw an antique rocking chair from colonial times that was attached to the cradle and the butter churn so the mom could sit in the chair and simultaniously rock the baby, churn the butter and do something useful (such as knitting) with her hands.
That is awesome! I need a computer chair like that.
post #35 of 74
Um, just here to point out that believing in predestination doesn't necessarily lead to non-AP parenting. I'm a Calvinist and whether my baby is damned or she ain't is God's business, I'm still told to take care of her. I don't see how considering children to be sinners necessarily means treating them callously - after all, Puritans believed adults were sinners too and had loving marriages. There may indeed have been religious reasoning behind colonial childcare practices, but it wasn't as simple as "Well, they're depraved so we may as well let them cry it out" - that's a non sequiter.

I recall reading about farming women leaving their toddlers tied to trees to prevent them wandering off and falling in the well while the women worked in the fields. Thinking about fiction, in Gone with the Wind (I know, say what you will, but she did do a lot of research about customs and habits and clothing and all) one of the slaves wore a baby while picking cotton - mind you, that was in extreme circumstances. I remember a poor girl in The Grapes of Wrath (again, well-researched) cooking one-handed while feeding a baby as well. Not sure how much fictional examples are worth, but!
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoestoShow View Post
Anyway, it is a really interesting topic, but again, I just think the OP is asking about way too broad a time range, but a survey on this topic sure would be interesting. I'm sure some professor somewhere has taught something like this in a literature or a culture course. Be interesting to see if a syllabus couldn't be found somewhere. Hmm.....
Nancy Theriot at the University of Louisville teaches a course on the history of childhood. U of L has a closed online classroom system, but I'm sure if you emailed her, she'd send you the list of books she uses if you're interested. Or you could Google history of childhood.
post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
They spanked them till they stopped crying:



From a letter written by Susanna Wesley to her son John Wesley (a founder of the Methodist church.)

I also saw an antique rocking chair from colonial times that was attached to the cradle and the butter churn so the mom could sit in the chair and simultaniously rock the baby, churn the butter and do something useful (such as knitting) with her hands.
I noticed something in that letter-- wide variation in child-rearing practices, from one parent to another. Such as this line: "At seven the maid [who seems to have been more like what we would call a nanny] washed them, and beginning at the youngest, she undressed and got them all to bed by eight. At this time she left them in their various rooms awake. For there was no such thing allowed of in our house, as sitting by a child until
it fell asleep." Meaning there WAS such a thing in other houses, or she wouldn't have needed to specify it.

The same letter also mentions that the mother was very particular about making sure the servants followed her instructions with regard to how to treat and discipline the children-- meaning some of the servants, also, had a difference of opinion on one thing or another.
post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
I noticed something in that letter-- wide variation in child-rearing practices, from one parent to another.
Just like today. Huh. What do you know.

I'm sure throughout the centuries you've had various levels of compassionate child-rearing regardless of the time and place.
post #39 of 74
This isn't 200 years ago but my great grandmother's mom came and delivered the babies and stayed to help. I suspect this was the base model for early childhood care even 200 years ago, because it's just practical when you're in a low tech society.

My grandfather was one of 10. And his mom breastfed for 2 years (all her kids were 2 years apart oddly enough ) while cooking and cleaning and helping to run a farm.

She also had major abdominal surgery at one point on the kitchen table with no anesthesia.

I have read that pioneer women would pin their little ones' nighties under a table leg to keep them in place and out of the fire while they cooked/tended to chores. Baby holders in the time before Graco.

This is even more recent, from the 50s, but it always amazes me. My BIL is from E. Europe and his family was dirt poor as in no shoes, rags for clothes, no electricity or running water. Mom doped the little ones with poppy 'tea' so she could tend the farm with her DH, otherwise they would not have had enough food. I have mentioned this before on MDC and everyone was horrified, but it seems practical to me. If the alternative is no food, I would probably do the same thing in that culture. Certainly there was no CIO with that method.

I don't know if it was a common practice, but it is such an interesting anecdote to me.

V
post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post

Someone here on MDC wrote that there was a group-- Pilgrims I think?-- who would swaddle the babies and hang them on hooks on the wall.
I read in an historical novel that babies were swaddled to a board (like swaddled with baby lying on a board, and the board wrapped up with them) during Puritan times. Crazy!
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