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Infant Feeding And Management








It is of prime importance in feeding an infant to do this at regular
intervals, since during the first three months of its life the feeding
habits of the child should be established, and if care be used in this
regard the child will wake of its own accord at the proper time. The
last meal at night should be at 11 p. m., and if the child is healthy
and will sleep it need not be fed until 3 to 5 a. m. the following
morning. In both breast and artificial feeding the above applies, and
the same method should be employed; namely, the child should be held in
the arms during the meal, which should last from ten to fifteen minutes.


Both in breast and artificial feeding it is possible to overfeed the
child. Many infants are systematically overfed. The young mother should
understand how small an infant's stomach is. At birth it will hold a
little more than an ounce of fluid, or two tablespoonfuls, and at the
end of two months only three ounces. If, therefore, the mother persists
in trying to give the child four ounces of food, the child will suffer
from an excess. Many children during the first few mouths of life bring
up their food, and the mother fears that there is some inherited
tendency to weak digestion. It is wrong to feed a child simply because
it cries, as very frequently it is not a cry of hunger, but one caused
by indigestion from overfeeding.

If the child is being fed with the bottle it is important that the food
be given at a temperature of 100 deg. F., or as nearly that as possible;
never over; and if the child be fed out of doors in its carriage it is
well to have a flannel bag of some kind to slip over the bottle to keep
it at the same temperature until the meal is finished. Many cases of
colic are caused by inattention to this point.

It is a common mistake that when a child cries it needs additional food.
There are many cases where a little drink of water is the prime need of
the child, and great care should be taken that this is heated to the
proper temperature, and especially that no water be given to the child
except that which has been boiled. A few teaspoonfuls should be given to
the child, therefore, several times a day, but aside from that he should
have nothing but his regular food until he is at least a year old. For
the same reason, therefore, if a child be fed by the bottle, the water
used in preparing the food should have been previously boiled, and care
should be exercised not to expose the food to the air during or after
its preparation. It should be remembered that the food of a child must
be nutritious, and that in this food, especially when at the proper
temperature for the infant, bacteria from the air will flourish
wonderfully fast, and therefore the food should not be exposed to
possible contamination.

It is of very great importance that the feeding-bottles be always clean
and sweet. It is an advantage to have several bottles on hand, and also
two or three brushes for cleaning. Keep a special vessel, with water in
which there is a little bicarbonate of soda, so that the moment the
bottle is used it may be thoroughly washed and kept in the water. Do not
use a nipple with a rubber tube, but the short, black rubber nipples,
which fit over the mouth of the bottle. Do not enlarge the hole in the
nipple, so as to make it too easy for the baby to draw its food,
otherwise the food being taken so rapidly into the stomach will often
cause pain or vomiting. In washing the nipples turn them inside out and
see that they are as thoroughly cleaned as possible, and keep them for
use in a bottle filled with boiled water with a pinch of boric acid
added.


The First Nursing.

It is very important that the child should be put to the breast
immediately after it is washed. This is very necessary, both for the
mother and the child, and prevents subsequent troubles. The fluid
contained in the breast is at this stage called colostrum, and is
intended by Nature to act upon the child as a laxative. This first
nursing stimulates the secretion of the milk and causes uterine
contraction, which is very much needed at this time. It is well to wash
the infant's mouth out with sterilized water every time it feeds. For
this purpose use clean water which has been boiled and allowed to cool,
or a solution of boric acid in boiled water--5 grains to the ounce of
water.

Infants, as a rule, should be bathed once a day, but never immediately
after being nursed or fed. In very warm weather a child may be sponged
in the evening as well as in the morning. The water for the bath of a
young baby should be warm, and the temperature can be judged by testing
it with the elbow, which is more sensitive than the hand. Lay a small
blanket on the lap, cover the child with a flannel and sponge it under
the clothes. This prevents it from taking cold from exposure, The room
should not be cooler than 68 deg. F., and the door must be kept closed
to avoid drafts. Use only pure white soap, and a soft cloth is better
than a sponge. The body should be carefully dried and lightly powdered
to absorb any moisture that may remain.





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