Thursday, 3 June 2010

Britain needs more babies

When your baby is coming
A Kitchen Front Broadcast prepared for the Ministry of Health and the Central Council for Health Education by the Ministry of Information.
Shelfmark GII.1/1

“The care of the young and the establishment of sound, hygienic conditions of motherhood have a bearing upon the whole future of the race which is vital”
The Prime Minister March 21st 1943.

When browsing on the stacks I came across this wonderful pamphlet, it is split into 5 chapters and is a fantastic read.
The first chapter starts with “Britain needs more babies.”
It explains that the birth rate has gone down due to the later age of marriage, the selfishness of young people who are said to prefer a baby car to the real thing!
The second chapter is about the building of the baby.
There are no special foods or drinks or pills, and you don’t need a bottle of stout or a life of leisure, however, you should eat eggs and liver and the eggs can be borrowed from your husband’s ration.
The third chapter is entitled facts and fables about pregnancy.
One of the fables is “the baby will be marked if you get a fright.” It also discusses morning sickness, it usually disappears in a month or so, a tip to help is to have a cup of weak tea and a dry biscuit or a piece of toast taken before you get up, this is a job for the father if he’s at home!
The fourth chapter is advice to mother – and father.
It states don’t be afraid of the stares of those nosey neighbours whose gaze starts at your face and rapidly descends with a measuring eye to your waist line. You are doing a job worth while and you’ve nothing to fear. It explains about a proper snooze after lunch, not one ear to the forces programme, you fingers busy with a piece of knitting, your eyes skimming across a book, you should put your feet up and snooze.
The chapter also explains what you can do to prepare your breasts for breast feeding. "It states to wash your nipples daily with plain soap and water, then gently pull out the nipple about half a dozen times, then dry it and smear on a little lanoline or cold cream if you have got it. But that’s not essential."
The father’s advice is “in the latter months some women feel depressed at their appearance. He must understand that.”
The final chapter is about after the baby is born.
The baby needs to be protected from the kisses of relatives from father downwards due to salivary bacteria, and he can wait for his first smell of father’s tobacco, and the less he is handled the better, don’t try and tickle a smile out of him.
This pamphlet is a wonderful read of a bygone time and it is full of priceless information. One final comment it was written by a man!