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  • These Post-Birth Hospital Rules From 1968 Will Make Your Eyes Pop at the Restrictions!

    The rules were meant to safeguard both mother and child, but it reveals how little we knew then.
    by Rachel Perez .
These Post-Birth Hospital Rules From 1968 Will Make Your Eyes Pop at the Restrictions!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Can you imagine not having to hold your baby after hours of labor and delivery? Probably not, but there was a time when babies were actually whisked away from the moms after birth, and the idea of rooming-in was unheard of in many hospitals, as one viral Facebook post showed.

    New mom Micala Gabrielle Henson shared a photo of the post-birth instructions from the hospital where her grandmother gave birth to her mom in 1968.

    "My mom was going through her things, and we saw this: it's rules in regards to just having a baby," Micala wrote. She admitted she couldn't imagine what labor and childbirth was like for her grandmother at the time. "Thank goodness things have changed" she added.

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    The rules were typewritten and in the form of a memo. Clearly, some "safeguards" for a new mom and the baby's health in the 1960's are far different from today. Just how ancient were these rules? To wit:

    Babies remain in the nursery

    Yup, at this hospital back in 1968, you don't get to spend the whole day with your baby. In fact, you could only do so twice a day. "Please do not ask to see baby at any other time," the instructions stated.

    Breastfeeding was only done four times a day

    The memo was very specific. The nurses would bring the baby to the mom's room to nurse but only four times a day. For the first 24 hours after birth, the instructions said breastfeeding should only be done for five minutes max each time. 

    On the baby's second day, the recommended nursing time was approximately seven minutes, and it jumped to about 10 to 15 minutes on the baby's third day. "Any longer than the recommended times may cause the nipple to become sore," the instruction state.

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    The hospital also explicitly told moms not to smoke while the baby is in the room. Visitors, not even the new dad, were not allowed in the room or the floor during nursing periods. No sitting on the new mom's bed, too, to keep it clean for baby (we kind of get this).

    No chocolate for the new mom!

    "Do not eat chocolate, candy, raw apple, cabbage, nuts, strawberries, cherries, onions, or green coconut cake." The instructions didn't explain why, but we guess it's to prevent possible food allergen from seeping into your breast milk and adversely affecting the newborn.

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    Your baby could have formula milk at the hospital

    That meant, of course, you could bring feeding bottles. Today, in the Philippines, we have a law that prohibits teats, feeding bottles, and artificial feeding paraphernalia in health facilities to encourage breastfeeding. Most hospitals implement it as part of the Essential Newborn Care or Unang Yakap protocol. Unang Yakap helps promote kangaroo mother care, which is skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding —both are essential to a newborn's health.

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    Breastfeeding and breast milk are recommended by experts at least for the baby's first six months. Studies have proven its many benefits for mom and baby. While it's not against the law for moms to give their baby formula, the Philippine's Milk Code helps set up a nursing-friendly environment and encourages moms to make an informed choice about feeding her baby.

    It's nice to appreciate what moms and babies have now and look back at how far childbirth and breastfeeding hospital policies have evolved.

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