As soon as you fall pregnant, it seems everyone has some advice for you on being a mother.

Sonny Jim might be two in a few months… but the unsolicited suggestions, often from complete strangers, have continued unabashed.

My favourite tips however, come courtesy of a book from 1878, called Don’ts for Mothers. If you had any doubts that parenting has changed rather a lot in the last 140 years, this should put you straight...

* Don’t feel it necessary to wash your infant’s head with brandy.

* Don’t allow your child luncheon. If he want anything to eat between breakfast and dinner let him have a piece of dry bread

* Infants ought never to be kissed except for on the forehead, and even that should be seldom permitted.

* Don’t permit a child to be in the glare of the sun without a hat. He is likely to have a sunstroke, which might either at once kill him, or make him an idiot for the remainder of his life.

*Don’t put boys into trousers too young but keep them in petticoats until they are four years old. Never put trousers on girls at all.

*Don’t allow the child to be with persons who stutter, or have any extraordinary sort of ugliness.

*Don’t allow children indiscriminate and careless intercourse with strangers. They may learn vicious and destructive habits.

* Don’t be disappointed when you learn ‘it’ is a girl not a boy. A girl is every bit as important to this world as a boy.

* Don’t hold children’s parties. Their pure minds are blighted by it.

* Don’t punish a child too harshly. Small children may be sent to bed without supper or tied in an arm-chair.

* Don’t attempt to manage a boy if he is too bad to be governed by any other means than flogging: tell his father of his disobedience and request him to punish the boy.

Find Katy at