Old Wives’ Guide to Birthin’ Babies


Psssst! Guess what? I recently learned my sweet niece and her husband are having a baby. Woohoo! Now, I would not be a proper Southern auntie without sharing a few tidbits of valuable info. Who needs doctors and modern medicine? Long, long ago when I became a mom, I had the benefit of expert advice from women who had been there and done that.

With a wink and a knowing eye, they gave me the scoop on my baby’s sex, hair, and future without the help of ultrasounds, blood tests or bothersome modern technology. Nope. They had a better system—old wives’ tales developed from generations of . . . well, old wives.

Now I’m the old wife. So, it is only fitting that I pass on the wisdom. Here ya go . . . no charge.

How many children will you have? Boy or girl?

  • The number of bows you break while opening gifts during your wedding shower determine the number of children you have. Watch it!
  • Pluck out a strand of your hair. (Ouch! No one said seeing into the future was painless.) Tie it around your wedding ring and hold it above your palm. The ring will begin to mysteriously swing on its own. If the ring swings in an oval or circular motion that means you will have a girl. If it swings back and forth in a straight line, you will have a boy.
  • Cut an apple in half and count the seeds to determine how many kids you will have. (An apple is so sufficient. You can also determine the letter that begins the first name of your husband by saying the ABCs and twisting the stem until it breaks off at a certain letter.)
  • If your right eye twitches, there will soon be a birth in your family.
  • Conceive on a full moon for a girl, and a quarter moon for a boy.
  • If you carry the baby out front, you are having a girl. If the baby is mostly around your hips and bottom, it is a boy. If the baby rides high, it’s a girl. If it rides low, it’s a boy.
  • Pay attention to those cravings. If you have an appetite for the cheesy or sweet, watch out for a little girl. Salty means a boy controls your taste buds.
  • Acne problems? Are you moody? Get ready for a girl.
  • If someone asks to see your hands, beware. They are trying to make a prediction! If you show your hands palm up, you will have a boy. Palms down, a girl.
  • Indigestion? Hang in there, your baby will thank you for a full head of hair!

If you’ve sailed past your due date with no baby, here are a few ideas to speed things up:

  • Wait until the next full moon. Babies always come on a full moon.
  • Drink castor oil. Yuck!
  • This one takes the cake — have your husband tap you on the behind with a frying pan. Sounds like abuse to me.

Here’s a few of my favorite post-delivery nuggets of wisdom:

  • Solid foods as soon as possible will help the baby sleep through the night.
  • Wearing stiff shoes will make a baby walk sooner.
  • If a baby stands too soon, he will be bow-legged.

Old Wives’ Tales are certainly good for a giggle or two, but you and I know that we cannot leave the future of our children to chance or superstition.

Thankfully, we don’t have to. Turns out, kids DO come with a handbook! The Bible. In it, God has given us the guidelines to raise our children with morality and spiritual strength. Through Scripture and prayer, we can find all the answers we need. Whew . . . because I can tell you from experience that a few of those old wives tales do not work! Here’s some advice that is a little more foolproof:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6

“Do not withhold correction from a child.” –Proverbs 23:13

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” –Proverbs 20:7

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:1-4

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” –Colossians 3:17

“You shall therefore keep his statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” –Deuteronomy 4:40

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” –Proverbs 15:1