'Only one visitor allowed in the afternoon, or only one in the evening, this includes the husband,' states one rule.
Nowadays maternity ward rules are made keeping in mind the mother and child's utmost comfort. Moreover, new moms are permitted to have their partner or a family member always present with them for support. But that was not the case back in the 1940s. The maternity ward rules seem to be made more for the hospitals' convenience than for the mothers'. However, the child's safety was still a priority back then. "This list of rules for new moms (hospital maternity ward) from the 1940s," u/The_unfunny_hump captioned a post featuring a document with the heading "Instructions for New Mothers." It states, "In order to protect your and your baby's health, keep up order and feeding schedule on time. Please cooperate with us in the following rules."
The first rule says that mothers should refrain from smoking one hour before nursing. "Also, refrain from smoking during visiting hours; visitors are not allowed to smoke on the maternity floor," reads the document. The next rule talks about the precautions mothers should take before the baby arrives in their room. "Do not handle books, magazines, papers, combs or cosmetics and especially the telephone, after you have been prepared for the baby and as long as the baby is in your room," the document says.
It is important to remember that newborns face a high risk of infection, so hospitals had to make sure that mothers were extra careful. So one of the rules states, "To prepare for baby, if you have any signs of a cold, please ask for a mask which will completely cover the nose and mouth, in order to protect your baby." "Turn on one side and lay in position so the baby will be near the edge away from the center of the bed, which has been contaminated with perspiration and discharge from the mother," reads another. It also mentions that no visitors should be allowed to sit on the bed or smoke in the mother's room. Moreover, it says that the baby would be wrapped in a sterile wrapper when the mother nurses them and they are advised against unwrapping them or handling the baby. The instructions also mention the visiting hours to meet the baby. "The babies will be shown to visitors at the observation window between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. the first two nights only." They added that only one visitor is allowed in the afternoon and one in the evening, which includes the husband.
Surprisingly, it also talks about the naming of the child and circumcision. The hospital requests that the parents name their child as soon as possible so that they can save time while preparing the birth certificate. "If your baby is a boy, please decide whether or not you wish to have him circumcised so that the permit can be signed when the birth certificate is filled by the nurse," reads the document. Another rule that does not make much sense to many on the internet is this one: "Please do not eat candy, fresh fruit or milkshakes. It may affect your baby." The document ends with these words, "Please cooperate, thank you."
People on the social media platform were amused by the maternity rules of the 1940s. u/art_teacher_no_1 commented, "I'm going to end all my correspondence like that: please cooperate, thank you." u/Few-School-3869 wrote, "Hurry up and name your baby. Oh and don’t eat fresh fruit." u/EcstaticSeahorse shared, "Only 3 minute nursings... hurry up, newborn! I'd like to know the reasoning behind this because 20-30 years ago, I was getting the complete opposite advice."
The person who posted these maternity rules also commented about the source of the document. "I found this in a collection of my dad's old stuff, along with super old photo albums and greeting cards and a Western Union telegram! All of it was pretty fascinating, but this one is so unbelievable. It's too wild not to share. It has his mother's name at the top. The upper right corner had his older brother's name, weight, and length," they revealed.