Giving birth in any decade has its challenges, but spare a thought for the mums who gave birth at this hospital in the 1940s. According to a list of instructions shared online, these new mums weren’t allowed to eat lollies or fruit, drink milk shakes, or handle their baby. Ouch!

The list of Instructions For New Mothers was uploaded to reddit, with the poster revealing it’s a list of rules for new mums at a hospital maternity ward in the 1940s. And the 20 rules have left everyone scratching their heads – and thankful they didn’t give birth at that hospital.

The rules cover everything from now smoking for one hour prior to breastfeeding, to being banned from handling books, magazines, papers, combs, cosmetics and telephones while their baby is in their room.

The hospital appeared to have strict nursing times when babies were breastfed by their mothers, and woe betide anyone who put the schedule out of whack.

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.

And speaking of feeding, the breastfeeding rules seem unusually harsh.

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.

Those poor babies!

1940s Hospital Instructions For New Mums

The rules also stipulate that nobody is allowed in the room with mum while she’s feeding her baby. And babies aren’t to be handled.

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.

The use of caps is especially unnerving.

Mothers are also asked to name their babies as soon as possible, and when it comes to snacks:

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

What do you think of these rules? Did you have anything similar when you gave birth? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • They were very strict times by the sounds of things. The only thing I do agree with is no smoking in the room.


  • Wow!! What an unfortunate time to be a baby, or even a new mother. Glad times have changed


  • Wow. You wonder if there will be a similar article in 100 years time. lol


  • Finally this is why the women in my family in the 70 plus age group are real cows looks like they where taught to eat grass from an early age


  • Wow they knew so little back then compared to now


  • Sounds horrible! I don’t understand the thinking behind this!


  • Wow, so glad times have changed.


  • How shocking and saddening. My heart aches for the babies born at the time


  • These are a great way to kill your baby!

    • Yes I would think it’s harmful at the least !


  • My grandmother was told to feed her newborn water if they woke up at night. She refused.

    • Oh my goodness ! Glad your grandmother refused !


  • So strict and detailed!


  • Wow that’s pretty full on.


  • Given the time the attitude towards no smoking in rooms or 1 hour prior to feeding seems pretty progressive. The thought of smoking *inside* a hospital at all now is crazy.


  • Some guidelines are worth considering today., and might help new Mums.


  • It seems they are mostly about minimising the possibility of infecting the baby.


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