Extinguishing: 100 Years of Baby Care Mythology – A Series

I’m planning a new series of blog posts about a number myths that have been generated about parenting and infant care in the last century or so.  From the late 1800’s until the present time, a number of “experts” came up with new ideas about how mothers should care for their babies and disseminated the ideas into American culture.  A feature of these theories was the labeling of more traditional mothering practices as primitive, unsanitary, or harmful to the mother and child.  They were usually based on early application of science, germ theory, psychology, or nutrition in parenting and may have been well intended, but a few theories were mainly conceived to make certain professionals or products seen and indispensable in child care.  In all cases, the result of these myths of parenting was to separate the mother from her infant, replacing mothering with something else and breaking up the natural intimacy of the mother/baby dyad.  In this series, I’ll to look into these early modern myths about mothering, explore how and why they came about, what traditional wisdom they replaced, how they have affected several generations of families, the investment American culture has made in the myths, and what we’re now finally learning about how these changes in infant care really affect infant development and the health of mothers.  This series will be in addition to other posts about Bringing Home Baby and my existing ongoing series on pregnancy and birth in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and The Postpartum Doula Diaries, a series on my experiences as a mother and as a postpartum doula, a mother who helps other mothers with their new babies.  Stay tuned!

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