How Did They Raise Kids Before the Internet?

My cousin Erin had a baby in April. She marveled to her mom (my aunt), “How did anyone have a baby before the Internet?” My aunt remembered back when she was raising babies in the 1970s. She was an army wife and got issued a pamphlet with everything she needed to know for the baby’s first couple years. She referred to it over and over as her babies grew. And they seemed to turn out okay.

I am pretty sure my mom had a dog-eared copy of Dr. Spock she would refer to if she needed some baby advice.

In a way it sounds kind of nice to have nothing more than a pamphlet to help guide all your parenting decisions. When do I start solid foods? Look it up in your pamphlet, and there will be one confident answer. How do I wash cloth diapers and what do I do about cradle cap? Look in the pamphlet!

I can’t really imagine parenting life without the Internet, which is funny, since I love all that olden-days stuff. But back when I was eschewing disposables and jarred food, I wasn’t even close to unplugging the modem. I needed it, not just for information and advice, but for connecting to other people—friends, families, and other people going through the same experiences.

Gratuitous baby shot

Joy and I never lost touch after college, but the emails started flying back and forth when we both found ourselves pregnant at the same time. Suddenly we had so much more to discuss! Ironically, if it hadn’t been for the internet, we never would have written our old-fashioned paper book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. It was over email that we conceived the idea and swapped drafts of chapters.

Those of you who raised babies before the internet, tell us all about it in the comments! And for those of us who gave birth in the information age, let’s talk about how the internet enhances (or detracts from!) our own parenting.

Don’t forget to enter the amber necklace giveaway!


  1. I love the gratuitous baby pic!

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