The curious history told in 19th and early 20th century mothering advice books is a mix of unreasonable demands and unfounded claims.
We run into many snags when we undertake to discipline the nervous baby. The first is that it will sometimes cry so hard that it will get black in the face and may even have a convulsion; occasionally a small blood vessel may be ruptured on some part of the body, usually the face. When you see the little one approaching this point, turn it over and administer a sound spanking and it will instantly catch its breath.
via 'Don't Think of Ugly People': How Parenting Advice Has Changed - The Atlantic.