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Bewildering and Intriguing: 25 Vintage Ads Featuring Babies

By Monica Bielanko |

Because, as we all know, the earlier you get your kid hooked on soda, the better.

When I get to feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, when I find myself bitching about how hard it is to be a parent, I think about those that came before me.  The mothers.  I think about how much harder they had it and then I pick myself up by my bra straps and get on with the business of getting on.

If you presented one of those moms with a baby wipe warmer they would laugh your pansy ass all the way back to the giant big box retailer you probably bought it from.

Fuggeddabout warm wipes…  Have you ever asked your grandma how she made a bottle or took a walk with her babies?  Baby carrier?  What’s that?  I use my arms, she’d say.  I mean, look at the evolution of the stroller, for example.  At some points in history it was so bulky it was pulled by a small horse, for crying out loud.

The semantics of parenting (diaper changing, bottle feeding, milk pumping, transporting baby)  have been made so much easier, because of the invention of various baby gear items and the betterment of stock items like diapers, bottles and food.  Fortunately, with the advent of the internet (arguably a parent’s best friend and most valuable tool) we can go back and look at old ads featuring baby gear and other parenting-related items and, with the crystal clear vantage point that time automatically affords us, see how far we’ve actually come and realize how lucky we really are to be able to parent in this day and age.

When my mother-in-law described to me the twenty-minute process she used to sterilize a bottle and mix formula I was blown away.  Twenty minutes.  To make a bottle.  Or the way they strapped babies into plastic car seats which were then placed loosely on the car seat.  My mom remembers how every time she took a corner a bit fast she’d have to reach over to steady the baby seat containing my brother she’d jammed into the floor area of the passenger seat.

It was after a conversation with my mother-in-law that I started perusing old advertisements featuring babies and baby products.  Some of the ads will make your jaw drop, maybe because of the belief about parenting implied in the ad, maybe the product itself will send an eyebrow skyward.  Whatever it is, each of the 25 ads you’re about to see are fascinating.

So check it out.  Glimpse what parenting a baby would’ve been like forty, fifty, sixty and even seventy years ago.  Next time you get to feeling overwhelmed by parenting in this decade, remember what it was like for your mom or your grandma and you’ll feel grateful for the knowledge and the tools we, as parents, have at our fingertips.

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Bewildering and Intriguing:  25 Vintage Ads Featuring Babies

So Wholesome!

The 50s was a decade filled with astounding ads featuring babies. This 7up ad is from 1956 and speaks for itself.

You can also find Monica Bielanko on her personal blog, The Girl Who.


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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Bewildering and Intriguing: 25 Vintage Ads Featuring Babies

  1. Barb says:

    So funny! I especially love the ad that says cola will “boost personality” and lab tests have “proven” kids that start on cola early will fit in better when they are in the pre-teen years – lol.

  2. (London) Amanda says:

    My best friend has a photo from 1955 of her, newborn in her mother’s arms in the hospital bed, me, six weeks old in my mother’s arms and our two dads. All four parents are smoking and drinking gin and tonic to celebrate her birth. And our dads were doctors! That’s how it was then, nobody batted an eyelid, not even in the hospital room of a newborn. Probably thought it was good for us. Could you imagine Serge puffing away as you gave birth!

  3. DeathMetalMommy says:

    The Soda Pop Board of America? Boy, there’s one I’d like to lobby for.

  4. (London) Amanda says:

    Mind you, knowing Serge he probably was puffing away – in phantom labour. I seem to recall him writing about his own labour pains!

  5. cassandra says:

    Oh the Eveready wins hands down. Mind blowing advertising right there. Probably created by Don Draper. ;)

  6. Kristina says:

    I love these, too funny. It is amazing how much things change from year to year, even now, it was different from 2000 when I had Zoe to 2008 when I had Vincent. Zoe started on solids at 4 months, with Vincent I was told not to til 6 months. Every year its something new. :) As far as baby stuff goes, cudos to those moms from way back, lol. I never have used a stroller with either of mine, wipe warmer, bottle warmer, etc. Just don’t see the need for all that:)

  7. Shannon says:

    Okay, I don’t know how out of you are, but if you think about when the ads were created you have to realized how ignorant the author of this article sounds. They did not use aspartame in the 50′s, nor was it even high fructose corn syrup, they used sugar in cola. It’s harder to find that now.

    I believe the idea behind an ad showing a baby was to imply that one would be smooth as a baby’s bottom by using their razor/shaving cream, etc.

    I have my first son right now at 8 month old, but my mother raised her oldest kids in the 50′s. She does laugh at me for some of the things I use and find invaluable with my son. It was a different time. They did NOT know at the time that smoking and sun damage were cancer causing! Hello??? How does anyone know long term effects of anything BEFORE a “long time” has passed or before sufficient research was done to find these out YEARS later? Give ‘em a break! I’m sure there is crap we use now that they will discover decades from now causes some horrendous disease and we’ll all feel either stupid about it after the fact.

    Some of it is pretty dang funny though, and the drawn pictures of some of the babies are just plain scary, I’m with ya on that!

  8. sarah says:

    i GIVE MY CHILD WHO IS 15 MONTHS COLA EVERYDAY! Nothing wrong with a little cola every now and again! stop listening to what statistics its YOUR child YOU raise them the way YOU want to!

  9. Paula says:

    Aspartame didn’t exist back then, of course.
    But yes, it seems that babies were exploited as a means to sell any product!

  10. jacksgirl says:

    Those screened in cribs (Kidde Koops) were a godsend in hot climates with no air conditioning. It keep mosquitos and other bugs away from your sleeping baby, while insuring good air flow. My 3 siblings and myself all slept in them in the 40′s.

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