The Fussy Baby Site

Disturbing Vintage Baby Ads: Remedies for Colic, Gas and Other Baby Ailments

It’s hard to believe, but the following are real vintage ads for remedies for common baby ailments like colic, gas (wind), teething, rash and colds.

Disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe some of these.

It’s not colic, it’s insomnia!

vintage baby ad colic insomnia

“Colic, nothing! She has insomnia!”. Personally, Bill, I think she’s just the gay type – [she just loves the] night life! But keep up the good work, honey. The bottle’s almost ready!”.

Colic: The fault of ignorant mothers (1911)

vintage baby colic article

” Why, you ask? Simply because of the ignorance of its mother, and the faulty logic, following the observations of other children, of its grandmother. When the infant yells, “colic” nods the mother. She is apt then to do one of two things, either nurse it, making of the child a glutton, or dose if with comomile, fennel or other tea, or even a drug, which is worse. Some other mothers coddle or bounce the babe until he is either sick at the stomach [or] vomits, usually both.”

Using electricity to put the baby to sleep (1922)

Using electricity to put baby to sleep vintage ad

“When our baby arrived, he started off with a severe case of colic, which kept us up at all hours endeavouring to quiet him. We shortly discovered that gently shaking him up and down in his crib would induce him to be perfectly quiet – as long as we kept it up…so I decided to contrive a mechanical means to shake the baby…”

Failure to thrive? No problem!

Groves tasteless chill tonic

“Makes children and adults fat as pigs”. Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic: for Malaria and the resulting chills and fever.

Finally! A cure for my skin tortured, disfigured baby!

Cuticura soap vintage ad

A boon to nursing mothers

Malnutrine: Anheuser Busch

Recognize the manufacturer of Malt-Nutrine?

Baby need a little pick me up?

Blatz vintage baby ad

“A case of Blatz beer in your home means much to the young mother, and obviously baby participates in its benefits.”

All that’s needed is music and love (1989)

Stopping Baby's Colic Ted Ayllon

“Over one in five newborns suffer from infant colic and no one knows the cause. Because there’s no medical cure, available books on the subject simply offer trial-and-error suggestions to stop the crying. Now, there’s a proven, fast, early-learning program that works!

Over ten years ago Dr. Ted Ayllon, one of the world’s leading behavioral therapists, began using his approach but only recently applied his findings to treating colic-with remarkable results. Called Comfort Training, this unique, seven-step procedure “teaches” infants as young as two weeks old to stop their excessive crying by using music as therapy. All that’s needed is lots of love, a simple CD player, kitchen timer, and the musical selection of your choice.”

Why didn’t I think of cocaine for teething? (1885)

Cocaine for teething

Or morphine? (1849)

morphine for teething ad

This stuff was compounded by Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow and first marketed by her son-in-law Jeremiah Curtis and Benjamin A. Perkins in Bangor, Maine in 1849. It contained 65 mg morphine sulphate per fluid ounce (0.03 l), sodium carbonate, spritis foeniculi and aqua ammonia. 

Thanks for for this ad and commentary.

Want to try a replica colicky baby before trying the real thing?

yankee rubber baby

“Resembles life – for, like the real article, it coos at pleasure, yet screams awfully if smacked.”

Cough keeping her up? How about a little heroine? (1901)

Bayer heroine: vintage ad

Prescribe a sedative and hynoptic…it’s that simple! (1961)

distaval thalidomide vintage ad

“…yet it is simple enough to prescribe a sedative and hynoptic which is both highly effective…and outstandingly safe….Put your mind at rest. Depend on the safety of Distaval.”

Scott’s Emulsion: For skinny babies and weak mothers

Scotts emulsion for babies
“Babies ought to be fat and show their dimples when they laugh. Thin babies are rarely interesting simply because they don’t look well.”

“Shift baby’s wind” (1967)

Shift baby's wind: vintage baby ad

“Wind in the stomach is most painful for babies. No wonder they cry for ‘Milk of Magnesis’. Soothing, tasteless, comforting, it shifts the wind in no time. Laxative as well as antacid, it does more than bring up wind – it eases colic, quietens minor stomach upsets and keeps baby regular. Milk of magnisia: so sure – so safe – so gentle.”

Um, ya. I wouldn’t cry either if I had alcohol and POTASSIUM BROMIDE (a sedative)

Dr Hands TEething lotion


Dr Hands teething gel


Dr Hands teething lotion ingredients


Picky eater? Fresh up with Seven Up!

Vintage 7 Up ad

For that anxious period before and immediately after baby is born…

Pabst vintage baby tonic ad
“At that anxious period before and immediately after baby is born, when the mother must bear a double burden, it is doubly important that she take on double strength. Nourishing and strengthening food must be provided in plenty for both mother and child, while for the mother herself comes a time of suffering, the dread and realism of which will be greatly lessened if she will steadily prepare the way by the liberal use of Pabst Extract. This rich, wholesome food combining the nutritive and tonic properties of malt and hops in palatable and predigested form is welcomed by the weakest stomach and and quickly assimilated by the system…and furnishes nourishment in abundance for the growing child.”

And if all else fails, treat yourself!

Vintage Nervine ad

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