What Does A Baby Need?

Monday, Feb. 22, 1943

In 1943, The answer, of necessity, was “not much.” Wartime privations and rationing forced expectant parents to consider a baby’s needs very carefully. What does a baby really need? Diapers and diaper pins, for sure. (You had to pin the diaper on a squirming baby trying all the while not to stick her.) A couple of bottles with rubber nipples and bands. Maybe a rack to put the bottles in while sterilizing them. Blankets. A stroller would be nice. As for a crib, if Kayo in the Moon Mullins cartoon could sleep in a drawer, so could a baby – at least for a while. A friend or relative with older children could share hand-me-downs. Don’t worry about a few stains. Your child will add to them. And who needs toys when there are always pots and pans and spoons to play with? In our era, which prizes comfort and luxury, women during WWII had more serious concerns. Children caught measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhoid, typhus, and polio. Some died. Too many were left permanently injured or handicapped. Diarrhea could become fatal. Safety was always a concern as mothers went about their work. So you can understand why my mother was thrilled at getting help from her family. She wrote to her mother: “ So tell me, what did you buy Daniel? PULEEZE don’t go and spend a lot of money and don’t buy any fancy stuff. There’s a war – But it’s nice to know that you’re getting things we can use.”

This entry was posted in Chicago during WW II, Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, Today in WWII, Uncategorized, World War II and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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