As a new mom, it’s only natural to think back about how your own mother did things. But lots can change in just one generation. We took a closer look at what parenting was like back then and what it’s like now. Spoiler alert: We have it better!
1. Watching Over Baby
Back in the Day: If you were born in the ’80s, chances are your mom had one of the first audio monitors that let her listen in on your nap time while she went about her day. But she probably still tiptoed into the nursery to check on you—trying her best not to wake you up—a few times a night (at least those first few months).
Nowadays: Baby monitors sure have come a long way. With the dawn of the 21st century, video monitors became the norm, and later models came with (slightly creepy) night vision. As smartphones saturated the market, it became even easier to keep an eye on baby wherever you went. But the most recent and exciting development involves high-tech health sensors that can actually alert you if baby’s vital signs go awry. So sleepless nights worrying about SIDS and other health scares can actually be a thing of the past.
2. Getting Answers to Parenting Questions
Back in the Day: Your pediatrician and books were the only truly trusted sources on parenting. Your mom probably relied a ton on her mom too when things got overwhelming.
Nowadays: Like just about everything else in the world, the internet has revolutionized how we find answers to questions both big and small. Obviously for true emergencies you’ll still go straight to your doctor or the hospital—and thankfully pediatricians are more accessible than ever via email and text. But most nonurgent questions can be answered at home or on the go with a simple search, or by using a Q&A platform like The Bump Real Answers, where experts and other moms can quickly weigh in on your dilemma. Not to mention the virtual support via parenting community boards that have helped millions of moms feel less confused, less alone, more connected and more accepted.
3. Dealing With Breastfeeding Challenges
Back in the Day: It’s hard to believe, but breastfeeding wasn’t as socially accepted in the ’70s and ’80s (and even the ’90s in some circles), so if you struggled with milk production, latching or even just finding a place to breastfeed in public, there weren’t many widespread resources to help.
Nowadays: As more and more scientific research proved that breastfeeding is best for newborns, there was a move toward more education on the topic. And along with it came more support for new moms, from lactation consultants on call at hospitals to high-tech monitors that measure the amount of milk you’re producing. On top of that, greater awareness has made moms more comfortable breastfeeding their babies wherever and whenever they need to. In fact, our #Boobolution campaign aims to celebrate and normalize the act of breastfeeding.
4. Keeping Germs Away From Baby
Back in the day: Bleach and heavy-duty chemical cleaners used to be the standard stash under the kitchen sink for fighting household germs.
Nowadays: Research showing that certain chemicals can have a negative effect on baby’s health has made many parents more aware of what they use in their daily cleaning routine. (Especially since baby spends a lot of time crawling around on the floor and putting everything in sight into his or her mouth.) But giving up on chemicals doesn’t mean giving up on cleanliness—phew! Microfiber cleaning cloths can remove 99 percent of bacteria from hard surfaces using only water, and there’s an array of organic and baby-friendly cleaning products on the shelves these days. You can also add steam mops and today’s washing machines, with sanitizing and steam cycles, to your germ-busting arsenal.
5. Soothing a Fussy Baby
Back in the Day: For our moms, battery-powered toys or swings were the most advanced way to get baby to settle down—unless you counted cable TV or an episode of Sesame Street you recorded on the VCR.
Nowadays: Can you count the ways? Portable soothing sound machines are completely customizable with your own music and special settings. High-tech bouncers can mimic natural movements, which along with sound and visual stimulation options, can help give moms a few minutes of much-needed downtime. But we can’t end this list without mentioning the incredible power of tablets and smartphones. You’d be hard-pressed to find a parent who hasn’t at least once used it to soothe a tantruming toddler, whether they technically agree with it or not.