As a recent first-time parent, I’m constantly soliciting advice from other more experienced people I meet about how best to take care of my baby. I thought it might be fun to peruse the Duke Digital Collections to see what words of wisdom could be gleaned from years past.
This 1930 ad, part of the Medicine and Madison Avenue collection, advises that we should make regular visits to the doctor’s office so our baby can be ‘carefully examined, measured, weighed and recorded.’ Excellent – we’ve been doing that!
This one from 1946 offers the ‘newest facts and findings on baby care and feeding.’ Overall the advice largely seems applicable to today. I found this line to be particularly fun:
Let your child participate in household tasks — play at dusting or cooking or bedmaking. It’s more of a hindrance than a help, but it gives the youngster a feeling of being needed and loved.
Baby strollers seem to have many innovative features these days, but more than 100 years ago the Oriole Go-Basket — a ‘combined Go-Cart, High Chair, Jumper and Bassinet’ — let you take your baby everywhere.
I’m a puzzled father of a rather young child — it’s like this 1933 ad was written just for me…
Of all the digitized materials in the collections I searched through, this 1928 booklet from the Emergence of Advertising in America collection seems to hold the most knowledge. On page 15, they offer ‘New Ways to Interest the Whole Family’ and suggest serving ‘Mapl-Flake’ and ‘Checkr-Corn Flake’ — are these really Web startups from 2005?
And finally, thanks to this 1955 ad, I’m glad to know I can give my baby 7-up, especially when mixed in equal parts with milk. ‘It’s a wholesome combination — and it works!’