No fruit and no touching books - a bizzare 1940s list of rules for new mothers

By Lovin' Media

November 15, 2023 at 1:11pm


Some interesting advice here.

Any new mother will tell you the influx of information and mandated do's and don'ts after giving birth is immense. There's a lot to learn and adjust to, but luckily some of the questionable advice from years gone by has fallen by the wayside.

A list of "Instructions for New Mothers" believed to be from the 1940s is doing the rounds on Reddit, with some unusual advice including no touching books or the telephone while your baby is in the room and strictly no visitors allowed while a mother is breastfeeding.

Some of the stranger guidelines read as follows:

Rule 2: Do not handle books, magazines, papers, combs or cosmetics, and especially the TELEPHONE, after you have been prepared for the baby and as long as the baby is in your room.

Rule 19: Please do not eat candy, fresh fruit or milkshakes. It may affect your baby.

Via Reddit/The_unfunny_hump

At this particular hospital there seems to have been extremely strict rules around breastfeeding schedules, with instructions including:

Rule 3: A bell sounds to allow the mother time to prepare for her baby. Be sure to be ready when the baby arrives. A few minutes delay with one mother may mean several babies thrown off schedule with feeding.

Rule 8: Allow the baby to nurse only three minutes the first three days, gradually increasing to 15 minutes.

Rule 9: Never let the baby’s nursing period exceed 20 minutes at any time.

Alongside this, mothers were forbidden from handling their baby while breastfeeding. Which seems like a particularly challenging rule to abide.

Rule 12: The baby is wrapped in a sterile wrapper when taken to the breast. The mother is ASKED NEVER TO UNWRAP OR HANDLE HER BABY.

One user responded: "I’m 54 and I am still in my original wrap, as tattered and worn as it is. My mother was a stickler for rules". Another wrote "Oh my god. No wonder boomers are so f*cked up".


Would any of these rules stand the test of time today?

Header image via Getty 


- Season 2 of Netflix's Wednesday will be filmed in Ireland

- RTÉ intends to reduce workforce by up to 400 people


- The Wolfe Tones set to retire in 2024 after 60 years together