It’s notoriously difficult to get babies to calm down when they’re upset.
Every parent I know has a full day of rejoicing the first time their baby stops crying and manages to sleep through the night. There are tons of guides that detail mistakes parents make now and how to correct them. Not communicating and not being consistent are some of the most common errors.
Back in the day, however, there were some techniques people used to settle their kids down that seem insane now. They may have worked, but in some cases, they were downright dangerous.
1. Unlatching car seats.
Letting babies free from their restraints for a few seconds (or minutes!) was thought to calm them down so they could settle in. Nowadays, we know it’s so, so risky!
2. Using bumper pads.
Bumper pads are meant to protect babies’ heads, but now the American Academy of Pediatrics says they could contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
3. Putting your baby on his or her stomach to sleep.
This position is perfect for learning how to crawl around. But when babies are sleeping? You’re just asking for trouble. Letting your little one sleep on their stomach can lead to suffocation and/or SIDS.
4. Hanging rickety mobiles.
Mobiles are adorable, and the modern ones are sturdy and well-made, but the old-school sleep aids didn’t have any of the safety features we’ve come to expect.
5. Swinging in any baby chair with a crank.
Just like mobiles, baby bouncers and rockers are much safer now, but steer clear of the ones from the ’80s that you had to crank. They’re too fast and uncontrollable!
6. Adding whiskey to teethers.
Even pediatricians recommended this trick to soothe teething babies, which we obviously would never do now. Cold washcloths and frozen teethers are standard these days.
7. Picking the baby up as soon as they cried.
This one’s not dangerous, but it will make you crazy. If you teach your baby that every time he or she cries you’ll come running, you’re more likely to have a crying baby all the time.
8. Using walkers with wheels and no brakes.
Not all of these are bad, and they can be great for wearing a baby out but be careful of their tiny feet.
9. Going from a crib to a grown-up bed too soon.
It used to be thought that without the bars, kids would be happier. Today we’re taught that unless your baby can crawl out of the crib themselves (usually around two years old), they’re still at risk.
10. Ignoring the signs your baby gives you.
Old-school parents tend to think it’s “my way or the highway,” but paying attention to your baby is the best way to know how to help them. It’s easy to get frustrated, but don’t ignore your baby’s calm cues.