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CIO spin-off...how'd they do it 200 years ago? - Page 3

post #41 of 74
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Edited by GoestoShow - 1/11/11 at 10:10am
post #42 of 74
Quote:
And much as with anything, I'm sure the Calvinists of today are very different in their parenting practices from the Calvinists of nearly 400 years ago! Part of that was due to life. It's not that they were depraved. I don't think they were necessarily. But they were incredibly steadfast and in many ways unforgiving. In other ways, though, they were perhaps forgiving.
LOL! I wasn't referring to the Puritans as depraved, but the babies. It was a reference to the first point of Calvinism, total depravity (meaning that mankind is inherently sinful). I'm not saying either that Puritans did or didn't treat their babies harshly by modern AP standards (I suspect most people at that time in history did, regardless of religion, for practical reasons mentioned in this thread). I just got a sort of "Well, if they believed in predestination naturally they wouldn't have been nice to their babies" vibe from your post, and take exception to it because I do happen to believe in predestination, and it has never once occurred to me that believing my baby's a sinner means I should treat her with anything other than compassion. Not that I'm a perfect parent, but when I'm not it's not because of Calvinism, you know? "Harsh" theologies often coexist quite happily with close, loving families, and there's no contradiction in that - no theology, as far as I know, teaches "Thou shalt not feed thy baby on demand, because he might be damned to hell for all thee knowest". All the Calvinists I know would go "Huh?" at that.
post #43 of 74
I don't think Americans in times past thought of it as CIO, but rather that babies cry. I've had more than one older person tell me that I should let my babies cry, it's good for them, hat it's good for their lungs, etc. I imagine back then at night when everyone's trying to sleep, sure, nurse or rock that baby, but if mom is busy outside boiling everyone's clothes or trying to cook over an iron stove (or fire) or working in the garden that has to feed everyone that year, well, a little crying is good for the lungs, right?
post #44 of 74
Babies don't just cry and cry forever. If someone past/present feeds their baby, cuddles them and is a caring parent, the baby does not just sit around and cry all day/night! I think that some of us who feed on demand have this idea that everyone else is just letting their baby cry constantly or Ferberizing, but there are a lot of ways that people parent their children in a loving way that is not textbook AP. I have been parenting my children for over 5 years now and I continue to be shocked by the assumption that there is only one way to correctly or lovingly parent a child. I know many, many families who are very loving, attentive parents, but do not breastfeed to pacify the baby and do not wear their babies. Strangely enough, their babies seem just as content, loved and stable. In fact, many of these parents are extremely creative and sensitive to their babies, able to calm them without the tools I have come to rely upon (breasts/sling). I sometimes wonder if I would be able to calm a baby that I couldn't breastfeed. Maybe I rely on my AP ways too heavily. I think believing that there is only one way to do things is a bit over the top. Maybe I felt this way when I was a younger mother and my experience was based on theory, but in practice, parents of all sorts find ways to lovingly raise their children and have for generations.
post #45 of 74
Here's a link to a PhD blog on sociology with pics of cocaine teething drops for infants from the turn of the century. Apparently opium,cocaine and heroine were broadly uses, even for kids.

The product pictures are interesting.

V
post #46 of 74
Cocaine is in fact a local anesthetic, no? I seem to remember one of our neighbor kids getting it as a local when I was a kid, for some stitches (this must have been when we weren't in the US!). So it would actually have worked for teething.
post #47 of 74
Coming late to the party, LOL!, but I have never understood the romanticizing of the "good old days" either. People used to purposely burn their toddlers so they'd be afraid enough to stay away from the stove. Lives were hard, and the harsh reality applied to little ones as well. I think of it in sort of the opposite way-- thank goodness we live in a time when we are free to just love our children without restrain. We don't have to worry about not getting too attached because there's a good chance they might die or pushing them to be independent because they need to be able to pitch in early or because we have are living hand to mouth day by day and don't have the time to just get lost in them. I'm pretty happy to be living here and now.
post #48 of 74
No matter how far we go back in time parenting styles have changed over the years and some of the basics of parenting has stuck. No one person's parenting style is the be all end all of parenting. People have evolved in the learning and style of different techniques and some will still follow some of the old school parenting styles. Doesn't make it wrong or right. Bottom line is as long as the child/ren are loved, provided their basic needs and meet those needs then no one should be judged.

Most parents do what they feel is best for the child/ren and while some people may look at one child and feel bad for them because it differs from their style of parenting doesn't mean that the child is neglected or whatever. No one is generally around someone else's life 24/7 to see exactly how things are done to actually make a fair accurate judgement.
post #49 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleanani View Post
I read WAY back when, in elementary school I think, about a white person visiting Native Americans (this wasn't a novel btw) and noticing the babies NEVER cried - in comparison to the babies who cried all the time where he came from. The "Indians" would put their hands over the babies' mouths and noses before they had their first cry, and I guess as long as it took to make sure they didn't cry. Somehow this extinguished the cry, even though a few babies died if they were smothered too long or fought too hard. They needed the babies to stay quiet so they wouldn't give their location away to enemies or prey.

I swore up and down I would do that when I grew up... it seemed a REALLY good idea to me when I was like seven years old. Yeahhhh maybe not.
I did the SAME thing. I can't believe I ever thought that.
post #50 of 74
I also think there was a wide range of parenting, and I think there has always been.

I've been reading the Charlotte Mason homeschooling series, and I was struck again last night about how child-rearing practices seem to cycle. It seems as soon as a generation of children or two grow up one way, they start doing it another. (Meaning, to spank or not spank, or air or not air, etc.)

Since I've had babies, I've pondered a lot what I learned as a child. My parents didn't exactly do CIO, and they even wore us quite a bit. Mom nursed us for a short while, although there was ZERO support for that kind of thing. Anyway, thier version of CIO was "I will rock you and cuddle you and walk you up and down the hall until you fall asleep. But, this cannot take all day, and you cannot fight me." So, if we arched or screamed or just wouldn't go to sleep, then they would plop us in our beds. But, we were always given the chance to fall asleep cuddled. Watching my parents with other small children as I grew, I guess I just sort of developed two expectations. The first is that babies take a lot of time, and are rocked, walked around, played with, and that someone should be holding them. The second was that by the time they are toddlers, they don't. At least not in the same way. You still play, and read, and stuff, but you can put them to bed then. I dunno. I'm trying to say I feel like my family was pretty traditional, and traditionally, people rock and sing their babies. Sorry, I'm totally rambling.

I guess my point is that there is a middle ground. On MDC, I am often frustrated about the one or the other scenerio. You can love your baby/child and teach them lots and lots and be caring and gentle AND not be totally AP.

I suspect that the same parent/child dynamic that exists today existed 200 years ago, and 300, and 400. Some people did, some people didn't. Some things just HAD to be because of survival. But, mostly, except for a few which we still have today, people loved their babies and did the best the could.
post #51 of 74
A book I love is A World Of Babies. It gives 7 (I think) real societies parenting, but presents them in a fictional model- I believe the puritans were mentioned but the other societies were modern day. Its all fact based, the author studied the societies child-rearing. Its really fascinating, I still draw parenting from some of what I read in there. And it shows you that some cultures who get is so right in some areas, do shocking things in other areas. I've yet to see a society I agree with 100%. Im also glad to be able to do things my own way and just love my kids.
post #52 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
Historically people lived in multigenerational homes where parents coslept with their babies and grandparents helped care for the next generation. As pointed out, when you had fewer rooms, everyone slept in the same room. Remember Laura Ingalls Wilder slept in a trundle bed in the shared bedroom with her parents.

Re: that story about Indians putting their hands over babies mouths. I am extremely suspicious of that story. Usually stories like that were written by european colonists who viewed everything the indians did with suspicion and considered them savages. The reason indian babies didn't cry was because they were carried everywhere and everyone coslept.

btw, I use the term "indians" as used by the colonists. No disrespect intended.

Keeping babies separate from their parents is a modern, western 20th century idea.
Most American pioneers (out on the setern frontier) were NOT lnear other people, including family. They were actually extrememly isolated. Usually it was just a mand an dwomand and whatever children they could manage to keep alive. It was very difficult.
post #53 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Cocaine is in fact a local anesthetic, no? I seem to remember one of our neighbor kids getting it as a local when I was a kid, for some stitches (this must have been when we weren't in the US!). So it would actually have worked for teething.
I can see how cocaine would work for teething. When you put cocaine in your mouth, you get what is often fondly-referred to as "the numbies". So it doesn't surprise me that it was and/or is still in some cultures used for teething.
post #54 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDSmomma View Post
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!
It couldn't look any sillier than a Bumbo seat.
post #55 of 74
i have got to bookmark this thread! i have got to come back to read!
post #56 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. 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.
And this just goes to show, you can't discount the contribution of class expectations and education. This obviously educated woman, had access to different information, and different types of peer pressure. And of course the leisure time to contemplate such things!! Upper class puritans would have had slaves (remember poor Tituba of the salem witch trials), but their poorer neighbors would have come up with other solutions, just like most of early American history. I don't know about the colonials in particular, but many European immigrants did baby wear, so I would expect it was an option.

We are biologically pre-disposed to distress ant the sound of crying child. Without very strong social pressure otherwise, I'm sure most moms throughout history have done the best they could to tend and comfort their babies.
post #57 of 74
Let me recommend two of my favorite books on sociobiology of childcare/mothering behavior.

Dr Sarah Hrdy: Mother Nature
Dr Sarah Hrdy: Mothers and others

Dr Hrdy looks both cross culturally and cross-species for scientific evidence of what is culturally based vs what is hard wired into humans for parenting practices.

To look at what is hard wired and what is culturally based, you gotta go back a lot further than 200 years ago. You gotta go back 20,000 + years ago - pre-agricultural - humans evolved in and spent 100s of thousands of years living in nomadic hunter gatherer groups and only a few tens of thousands in settled agricultural based groups and only 200 in industrial society. It is our culture which has changed 1.; our babies evolved for a totally different living environment. The fact that our babies thrive in such a different world than the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) tells me that humans are hard wired to be very flexible and adaptable creatures!

And you have to remember that the purpose of culture (from an evolutionary standpoint) is to maximize the survival of the group - but that any one snapshot from that culture will not actually tell you whether a particular cultural behavior is beneficial or not (it may be neutral) for survival. There are thousands of examples of cultural behavior that is negative and eventually helped lead to the disappearance of the culture.

Fascinating stuff. Another thing to remember is that there are multiple actors in parenting behavior: the mother, the father, older siblings, other relations (like the mother's mother or the mother's sisters), AND THE BABY. The baby is an actor with an arsenal of tools to maximizes his/her survival just like the other actors. Crying is one of those tools, as is baby fat (babies who look healthy tend to be better taken care of), baby smiles, and the fact that most babies look more like their dads at birth than any other time in their lives.

And the baby's needs and the mother's needs, and the needs of the siblings, are not always in concert - sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning when there isn't enough food to go around.

A study in Rwanda discovered that "high needs" babies - i.e. the ones who cried more than easy babies - actually had higher rates of survival in high conflict/stress situations than "easy" babies. The theory is that babies who cried more did demand more attention from mom to shut them up - and they may have been fed more (breastmilk or table food) as a pacifying mechanism.

Just some thoughts.

1. Humans have continued to evolve of course over the course of our move from nomadic to industrial - the ability of many humans to eat dairy after childhood is a great example of human evolution. But this process is a helluva lot slower than cultural adaptation.
post #58 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by honey-lilac View Post
I read WAY back when, in elementary school I think, about a white person visiting Native Americans (this wasn't a novel btw) and noticing the babies NEVER cried - in comparison to the babies who cried all the time where he came from. The "Indians" would put their hands over the babies' mouths and noses before they had their first cry, and I guess as long as it took to make sure they didn't cry. Somehow this extinguished the cry, even though a few babies died if they were smothered too long or fought too hard. They needed the babies to stay quiet so they wouldn't give their location away to enemies or prey.

I swore up and down I would do that when I grew up... it seemed a REALLY good idea to me when I was like seven years old. Yeahhhh maybe not.
That is such propaganda. In one of my college classes, we discussed narratives of that period and the outrageous and misproven things that settlers said about the Natives. You wouldn't believe the amount of BS as a pull for support to get more land for newcomers and an excuse to kill and relocate Native Americans.
post #59 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
The reason indian babies didn't cry was because they were carried everywhere and everyone coslept.
I very highly doubt that. I think most people here carry their babies and co-sleep, and our babies still aren't silent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
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.
Well, and a lot of times I hear about something being "natural" when it really isn't "natural" at all. For me that's a weird reason to do something anyway. I don't choose to do things because they are "natural," I choose to do things when I think about it, try it, and decide I like it. Whether it's natural, unnatural, old-fashioned, or brand-spankin-new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPotato View Post
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.
Isn't that backward? The noisy child would attract predators, and the quiet child would not be found?
post #60 of 74
I used to volunteer at a museum of Early American stuff. We had one artifact that was basically the great-great granddaddy of the Johnny Jump-Up. I do not recall what time period it was from, unfortunately. I'm going to guess early 20th. It wasn't something that caught my attention at the time; too focused on textiles.
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