Becoming a new parent: then vs now

Becoming a new parent: then vs now

Parenting has probably changed a bit since you did it last. See what's new- and what's stayed exactly the same as it's always been. Let us know what you think of our 'Then vs Now' article.


Before you rush to give advice to a new mum or dad, stop and think about how much parenthood has changed over the years – you’d be amazed.

How long is it since you were a new mum? Even if it feels like only yesterday, if you’re about to become a grandparent, chances are it was quite a while ago now!

Sharing your knowledge and experience can be really useful, but some of your tips might well be met with looks of utter surprise. So have things really changed that much?


Forget gleaming newborn faces – these days parents are advised not to wash their baby for at least an hour after the birth, and told that babies don’t really need a bath for the first few days. Instead it’s a good idea to ‘top and tail’ babies by washing their face, neck, hands and bottom gently with warm water.


When your baby was small, did you ever have them sleeping in bed with you? For many parents, this was really popular. Not any more. Parents are advised to avoid sleeping with their baby on a bed, sofa or chair.

Instead, the latest NHS guidance suggests babies should be laid on their backs to sleep, in a crib or cot, with only enough bedding to ensure they don’t get too hot or cold.

There is lots of reassuring information available about safe sleeping today, and parents should buy new bedding rather than bringing something old and dusty down from the attic. It’s certainly a far cry from when we were babies and cots were old painted metal hand-me-downs and teething tots would chew on the cot’s rails!


While your mother had to use those thick old cloths that had to be boiled clean in buckets (yuck!), you were probably lucky enough to use Pampers. But disposable nappies have still changed in the last 20 years.

Specifically, Pampers now have nappy pants, which make it a lot easier when the baby’s at the wriggle-around-the-changing-mat stage (usually around the six-month mark).

The nappies, which pull up and down like pants, have only been around for a few years so, when the time comes, be sure to buy a pack for the new parents, as they could be a time and energy saver they weren’t aware of.


Did you ever rub whisky or brandy on your baby’s gums when he or she was teething? Even if you didn’t, chances are a lot of your friends or your own mum did. It was regarded as a way of numbing the gums and sending the baby off to sleep happy. Now breastfeeding or a chilled, clean teething ring offer far more age-appropriate relief!

Car seats

A generation ago, you might have just rested the cot across the back seat or put the back seat down and let toddlers sleep under a blanket on a long drive. In these much more safety-conscious days, there are so many different models of carrier and seat on the market, you practically need a GCSE in ‘car seat science’ to choose one.

The standard advice is to position babies and toddlers in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, and the law states they must use an age-appropriate car seat until they are 12 years old or at least 135cm.


Today babies don’t start eating solids until at least six months. And then, of course ‘solid’ actually means mushed to a total pulp.

Babies shouldn’t be given cow’s milk until they’re one – and no nuts either. This in some cases might be as a precaution due to allergies in the family, but mainly it’s because nuts can be a choking hazard. So keep that bag of peanuts to yourself.

Find out more about Pampers nappies, pants and wipes at

What do you remember that is completely different now to then? We’d love to hear! Share your memories, or something you’re amazed is common practice now, below.

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Good old days

debbiepostlewait 12/04/2018

We used to ask parents grandmother's friends about anything child related now it seems social media plays the biggest part in informing people about everything child and pregnancy related.And pregnancy tests used to take days to be confirmed not a good wait lol

Finding out

Hockeymum1477 21/02/2018

Pregnancy tests took about a week to come through, an intolerable wait for news was so frustrating x

1st Grandchild

Michelle 08/02/2018

I'm so excited at the prospect of being a Nanny. My daughter is blooming and I am busy in the background gathering bits for them without trying to overdo! Things have changed over the years and are so different now. I have been to a couple of midwife appointments with her and find its more relaxed now than when I had my first 24 years ago and there is so much more information available for parents. Love and best wishes to all future grandparents x

Then and now

Margaret 05/01/2018

There will always be an ever changing way of what to do with your new born baby.Be guided and listen to everyone's advice,but take from it,what suits you and your baby.Then you will find,that both will be content with life.All mean well and so much politically correct rules are in place now,that it becomes too confusing. Common sense,is what's needed at the end of the day. Enjoy and relax,having your precious time with your wee one,as they don't stay that way for long enough. One stage @ a time.


jules 31/12/2017

ummies should only be used in the first few weeks, If you can remain calm your baby will pick up on that vibe and will be soothed by your whispering voice. Reasons to avoid Dummies Dummies can draw fluid into the middle ear so a snuffle can turn into a chesty cold.More worry. Use a dummy but speech progress will suffer. thus a toddler can cry as they cannot talk and so the cycle goes on The mouth palate will change forming around a dummy. A brace in teenage years may be inevitable !!!

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