By Sam B. Cooper III, LMSW-IPR
My grandmother used to tell us stories of her childhood – occasionally some veered to Tall Texas Tales, but one of the most interesting was about her birth and early years. She and her twin sister were born in 1918 into a farming family in rural East Texas. She told us that at birth, she and her "younger" sister (Grandmother was a real competitor from the start) slept in shoe boxes because they were so tiny. She went on to say that they eventually graduated to the bottom drawer of the dresser for their first year.
As our country celebrates the 80th birthday of the Social Security Act, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935, this edition of Pulse is focusing on the youngest beneficiaries of that legislation. We have made tremendous progress in infant health since that time, but all of you working to ensure every baby celebrates a happy, healthy first birthday, know we have more to do.
When the Children's Bureau published and distributed the revised Infant Care bulletin (https://ia902605.us.archive.org/19/items/infantcare00unit/infantcare00unit.pdf) in the fall of 1935, the information was the best available at the time and now provides interesting comparisons to 2015. Obviously daily "sun baths" for infants are not part of the current recommendations, unless appropriate sunscreen and eye protection is employed! However, the references to the importance of well-child checkups, nutrition through breastfeeding, and injury prevention are still relevant themes today.
As the Title V agencies and MCH partners in your communities continue efforts to promote preconception health before pregnancy, accessible prenatal care, and focused efforts to improve birth outcomes through evidence-based practice, we will see continued progress. Newborn screening, infant safety, immunization, and family support networks are essential to ensuring that the babies today reach their fullest potential. Continue to carry forward the vital work that must be done so we can have lots of little ears to hear the tall tales of our youth!