Tuesday, August 3, 1943
Continuing her letter, Lois addressed the challenge of assembling a layette: “Mother, you keep asking what we need. To put it very simply, all we have is what you have already given us. We haven’t a stitch of clothing, blankets, underwear or anything. In fact, with my extensive ignorance of what babies, I wouldn’t even know what or how much to buy. My neighbors advise me to start out with four dozen diapers. Holy smokes! But they say that unless you want to wash every day, that is what you need. It would seem simpler to put the baby on the toilet and leave it there all day, wouldn’t it? I suppose there are also nightgowns, blankets, sheets, socks, and booties. Tell you what, we don’t plan to buy anything until after the baby arrives. If Abe telephones you on that day, that would leave plenty of time to ship out whatever you have bought. The only thing is this, I don’t want you to feel that you have to furnish the whole ‘trousseau’ and, on the other hand, I don’t want us to duplicate the same purchases. So suppose you see what you can get because the stores here have very limited supplies and selection. Then we will compare notes and complete the required needs…I’m trying really hard to get everything in order, because Abe thinks that I am just about ready, judging by the way I look and feel. If I have time and it’s not too hot, I may do all the curtains just before I leave so I won’t have it to worry about after I get back.” To which Abe added a PS: “Before I dig myself into the cellar, I’d better make my comments – I don’t think you ought to go out and buy any clothes or diapers yet. When I call you up, if you still want to, you can get them. Maybe we are ahead of ourselves but we both have that certain feeling that things will happen soon – the sooner the better – Anyway, I don’t see why a body needs clothes in this hot weather – even we can hardly wear them.” Here is her updated list assembled with help from a neighbor which, she noted, still didn’t include bottles, nipples, bottle brushes, a bath thermometer, sfatey pins, and more.
Have you asked yourself why Lois was confident her parents could ship stuff to her before she came home with the baby? It’s because women got a minimum of ten days in the hospital, even after a normal delivery!