Three Generations of Mom’s Knowledge

. August 29, 2014.

Moms have been raising children for centuries, with each generation transforming the child-rearing norms. Moms and grandmas give advice from the past on the most common, yet often the most challenging, parenting topics around – teething, potty training, tantrums and more.

Though times have certainly changed the way we raise our kids, in many ways we are not much different from our own moms and grandmas in our age-old motherly wisdom—Mom still knows best!

The Baird/Taylor/Lane Family

Great Grandma: Betty Baird, mother of two, 86 
Grandma: Sue Taylor, mother of one, 60 
Mom: Tina Lane, mother of three, 38


Fussy baby/teething

Great Grandma: I would massage their teeth with my finger, and use baby medicine for the pain if available.
Grandma: It was common practice at that time to rub whiskey on their gums, but I chose a cold, wet washcloth to rub.
Mom: I used Tylenol and Baby Orajel.

Sleeping through the Night

Great Grandma: Always fed and changed them before bed, then rocked them. I tried to put them to bed before they were totally asleep.
Grandma: Binky and favorite blanket. I always rocked her to sleep, and if she got up, I rocked her some more. We didn’t do “cry it out.”
Mom: I tried “swaddle, swing and shush.” I wrapped them in a swaddle blanket with a binky, then swung them in my arms while making “shushing” sounds.

Potty Training

Great Grandma: Had a training seat and stool. We took our time and didn’t have much trouble.
Grandma: Used a potty chair and she picked out some pretty little ruffle-y panties. We used a plastic predecessor to Pull-Ups over the underwear.
Mom: Potty chair, the kids got to pick out some special underwear, rewarded them with stickers and candy.


Great grandma: Didn’t have many, but would let them get through it, then have them sit and think about what they did.
Grandma: Daughter only had them when she was frustrated or fearful, so I would figure out the reason for it, then address it.
Mom: I don’t have many, but I use time outs, and never give in to what they want. It’s also important to be consistent.

Breastfeeding/getting them to latch on

Great Grandma: Had a cesarean section and an emergency surgery for the first delivery, so I fed them both formula.
Grandma: Breast feeding wasn’t really encouraged at that time. My doctor wanted me to formula feed – for a whole year if possible with no food – and I didn’t know of any friends or family breastfeeding.
Mom: A lot of my friends utilized a lactation consultant to get going. I tried to breastfeed, but it didn’t work out.

Time Spent in the Hospital after Birth

Great Grandma: Ten days, due to appendicitis surgery along with giving birth.
Grandma: Four days.
Mother: Two days.

The Bommarito/Warner Family
Great Grandma-in-law: Mary Bommarito, mother of seven, 94
Grandma-in-law: Stef Warner, mother of two, 67
Mom: Karen Warner, mother of three, 40

Sleeping through the Night

Great Grandma-in-law: I used to walk the floor with them until they fell asleep.
Grandma-in-law: Not too long after getting back from the hospital I would give them a rice cereal called Pablum. You would cut a hole in the nipple of their bottle to feed it to them, and then they would sleep with their stomach full.
Mom: I did what Stef told me – I cut the nipple and gave them rice cereal. It seemed to work. We also gave them a Binky. If they woke up, my husband would rock them.


Great grandma-in-law: I never had any children who threw tantrums.
Grandma-in-law: My (kids) never had tantrums. The tantrums come when they’re teenagers.
Mom: One effective method was that I would video tape a tantrum and then show it to them at a later date when they were calm. When they saw it, they would kind of go, “Ohhh…”

How to get them away from their favorite blankie, toy, etc.

Great Grandma-in-law: My daughter had a blanket until she was at least 10. We would try to take the blanket or pillows from her but she would get so upset. We ended up just letting her wean herself off of those things, and she did in time.
Grandma-in-law: We would just set limits, like you can’t take it to the grocery store, or you can’t take it to grandma’s. Eventually, they just forget about it.
Mom: Our kids really liked Binkies. I took scissors to the nipple and deflated it. They would suck on it and soon say that they didn’t want it anymore. I do remember it being a hard time, and that we almost went to buy more, but we stuck to our guns.

Breastfeeding/getting them to latch on

Great Grandma-in-law: I breastfed all of them for three months, because when they would start teething, they would bite.
Grandma-in-law: I did not breast feed. At that time, it was just starting to come back as a suggestion, but I don’t remember any of my friends doing it.
Mom: It was highly encouraged by the lactation consultant (at the hospital). I remember being very determined and tried very hard. I gave it 110 percent. But my best advice is let go of the guilt if you have to transition out of it.

Diapering Tips

Great Grandma-in-law: I had cloth diapers. I made my own, also flannel ones. When they were dirty, you would soak them in a pail, then wash them with your other clothes. I had a ringer washer that I used.
Grandma in-law: I remember with my oldest child, they put a disposable diaper on him at the hospital. I brought him home and thought, “I can’t believe they put a paper diaper on this baby.” I used a diaper service for cloth diapers. They would come once a week and you’d set out your pail of dirty diapers and they would leave you clean ones.
Mom: Pampers and A&D ointment daily. Desitin for a rash.

Time Spent in Hospital after Birth

Great Grandma-in-law: Ten days.
Grandma-in-law: Four days. You were not allowed to unwrap the baby from their blanket and they brought the baby to your room three times a day. Dads had visiting hours.
Mom: Two days. Dad and baby spent the night in my room.