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’80s and ’90s home videos are revealing just how wrong parents used to do things: ‘It’s a miracle any of us survived’

TikTokers are taking a trip down memory lane with home videos from the 1980s and 1990s — but rather than getting the warm fuzzies, they’re being struck by how misinformed parents were prior to the digital age.

Now, thanks to viral glimpses into the past — like these shocking 1970s maternity ward instructions that were given out to new mothers — it’s clear just how much the parenting world has changed and how much our understanding of infant care has deepened.

‘Sugar Water for Newborns circa 1986’

According to her bio, TikToker Rachel (@nostalgicallyrachel) has made it her mission to share her childhood “one home video at a time.”

But one home video in particular gained viral traction — over 1.7 million views — when viewers took notice of what her mother was feeding her just hours after giving birth.

“I’m sorry — IS THAT WATER,” commented @toastedcornbagel on Rachel’s original video.

In the viral follow-up video, Rachel replied, “Indeed, it is” — further expanding in the onscreen caption, “Sugar Water for Newborns circa 1986.”

According to WebMD, children under a year old don’t need water like adults do. In fact, consuming water can actually be dangerous for them.

“A baby should drink only breast milk or formula until they’re six months old. It has all the hydration and nutrition they need in the early months,” WebMD reports.

When parents do introduce water, WebMD advises that they should only offer 2-3 ounces at a time. “At this age, 4-8 ounces a day of water is enough. More than that may lead to water intoxication.”

As for sugar consumption in infants, according to a 2020 report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, no amount of added sugar is OK for a baby’s development.

“Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life,” the committee stated. “Moreover, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked with increased risk of overweight or obesity.”

TikTokers were shocked by Rachel’s footage, as evidenced by their comments.

“Newborn drinking a bottle of water in the hospital is wild,” wrote @timelessmemories3.

“As a new mom this genuinely is making me want to cry 😭 there was so much misinformation back then those poor babies,” commented @planet_neo.

“I was an 86 baby. My mom was blown away when i told her no sugar water bottles or cereal in bottles for my kids,” commented @rachel_u86.

‘That is them feeding me rice cereal at 1 month old’

Rice cereal became the subject of another controversial home movie, this time uploaded by TikTok user Vaughn Trainor (@mrvaughntrainor).

In the video, which gained over 1.3 million views, Trainor and his mother watched as she spoon-fed the 1-month-old rice cereal (in a medically ill-advised reclining position) in footage from 1990.

In the video, Trainor’s mom can be heard citing a parenting magazine that advised parents not to feed babies solids with a bottle but rather a spoon. “Heavier things are eaten with a spoon,” she quoted.

In the video’s caption, Trainor wrote, “Parenting before the internet … I turned out alright.”

However, according to a 2013 article from the New York Times, it seems parents knew for some time — long before the advent of the internet — that infants should not be fed solid foods.

“For at least 20 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics had advised against feeding babies solid food before they turned at least 4 months old,” the article reported.

Over 5,200 TikTokers responded to Trainor’s video in the comments.

“and then they still have the AUDACITY to question our choices and give us parenting advice,” wrote @elidae2, a comment which gained over 16,000 likes

“‘You turned out just fine!’ DID I. DID I ACTUALLY THO,” commented @niccmaccattack.

“I wonder why we all have GI issues,” wrote @mrsjuliemae.

“There’s a picture of me in like 1994 at a year old in a stroller with a DIET PEPSI,” commented @sarahmarylr.

‘Nursery Tour circa 1986’

Another home video from Rachel (@nostalgicallyrachel) that shocked viewers, gaining over 21,000 views, was a tour of her nursery — specifically, her crib.

While baby Rachel was lying properly on her back — the American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended sleeping position for all infants — she was surrounded by soft, loose materials, such as crib padding, throw pillows and stuffed animals, something the AAP warns parents against.

“Use a crib, bassinet or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet. … Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers and other soft items out of the sleep space,” the AAP advises.

Doing so helps to protect babies from sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of injury death in infancy.

“it’s a miracle any of us survived the 80s,” commented @kateblake1212.

Some viewers, however, have come to the defense of Baby Boomers and their parenting choices.

“My mom put all her babies on their belly to sleep from day 1. We had zero problems lol,” commented @havefaith_91.

However, this “we all turned out fine” mentality is actually an example of survivorship bias, which is a logical error in which only those who survived a particular situation are accounted for, and those who did not survive — and the causes of their failure to survive — are not factored in.

According to the CDC, from 1980 through 1988, 47,932 infants born to U.S. residents died from SIDS.

But now, thanks to all we know about infant safety and proper care, child mortality today is the lowest it has ever been.

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The post ’80s and ’90s home videos are revealing just how wrong parents used to do things: ‘It’s a miracle any of us survived’ appeared first on In The Know.

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