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


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


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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