August 8, 2011
(Here's an article from the Almanac archives with some tongue-in-cheek advice about having a baby … )
Anyone with the brains of a bunny can raise a happy, healthy, successful child by following a few simple rules. The following bits of folk wisdom have been collected from all over the United States.
- Blow a dandelion seedball, and the number of seeds left on it will be the number of children you will have.
- Give away old baby clothes, and you will soon need them again.
- A couple who go to a movie within three days of getting married will have a baby.
- Attach your wedding ring to a string and dangle it inside a glass tumbler, asking, “How many children shall I have?” Count the number of times the ring strikes the side of the glass.
- If a woman leaves a diaper under a bed in another's house, a baby will soon be born in that house.
Boy or Girl?
- A baby conceived in the light of the Moon (from new Moon to full Moon) will be a boy; a baby conceived in the dark of the Moon (from full Moon to new Moon) will be a girl.
- If a woman has no morning sickness, she is carrying a boy.
- If the mother eats grapefruit before conceiving, the child will be a girl.
- To have a boy, a woman should hold a nickel in her mouth at the time of conception.
- A baby carried high is a boy; low, a girl.
- Labor pains can be eased by putting an axe under the bed.
- If a laboring woman wears her husband's hat, her pain will be lessened.
- To make a child grow tall, put manure inside the baby's shoes.
- To make a child grow faster, sweep the child's feet with a broom.
- Washing babies in urine makes them handsome.
- A woman frightened by fire during pregnancy will have a red-haired child.
- Heartburn during pregnancy signifies a child with lots of hair.
- The child will grow up with a disposition just like that of the first person who takes them outdoors.
- A child born in the light of the Moon will be intelligent.
- A child born on a stormy night will be nervous.
- A child born with a cowlick will be stubborn; a baby with two cowlicks will be bright.
- A baby who never falls out of bed during his first year will grow up a fool.
- On your first visit to a new baby, kiss the soles of her feet for good luck.
- Don't take the baby downhill on her first trip away from home. Her fortunes will sink.
- Rub the baby's tongue with a slice of apple immediately after birth, and he will have a good singing voice.
- A child born foot foremost can't be kept in jail.
- A child born with a caul will be able to tell fortunes.
Sickness and Health
- Burn the first dirty diaper, and the child will have no stomach cramps.
- If the child is croupy, mix a lock of her hair with the mortar in a new house.
- For croup, feed the baby jaybird soup.
- Lay a grunting child in the pigpen to make him stop.
- Letting a puppy lick the baby's face after eating prevents illness.
Things to Avoid
- The first time you dress your baby, use old clothes. New clothes will bring bad luck.
- Putting a baby on an ironing board is bad luck.
- Never keep the baby's shoes above his head.
- Don't cut the baby's hair in the first year, or the child will be tongue-tied.
- Never hand a baby over a fence or through a window; it brings bad luck.
Learning to Walk
- Set the baby behind the front door for nine mornings, and she will learn to walk sooner.
- If the baby is slow to walk, bury him naked in earth up to his waist with a string tied around his ankle.
- Run up and down stairs with an infant to make it spry.
- Tie a quail's toenail to a baby's ankle, and he will be quick on his feet.
- To ease teething, rub the baby's gums with fresh rabbit brains.
- Cut a sprig of greenery, name it after the baby, and hang it in a corner. When teething hurts the baby, point at the greenery, and the pain will stop.
- Don't let the baby wear his father's hat before he's a year old; this will make teething difficult.
- Hang a mole's paw around the baby's neck to ease soothing pains.
- If a baby slobbers, draw a live minnow through his mouth three times, then throw the minnow back into a stream.
Going to Sleep
- A fretful child can be calmed by holding her out in the rain for a few minutes.
- Blow smoke in a baby's ear to put him to sleep.
- Put a crying child in the doorway and sweep dust over her to calm her.
- A baby who smiled in his sleep is listening to angels.
Have an folklore or old sayings to share? Please post below.
The 1991 Old Farmer's Almanac