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If Nature has prepared milk for the young animal, it is quite obvious that milk is its natural diet, during the period in which it is provided. The fact that shows clearly and convincingly the splendid food value of milk is that during the period of most rapid growth, in the lives of mammals, milk is the sole food. So efficient is it as a food that a baby ordinarily will double its weight in 180 days with no other article of food. A calf or colt doubles its weight in sixty days and a pig in ten to fifteen days on milk alone. It is equally apparent that the milk of the species of which any young animal belongs is the one best adapted to it.
Certain it is that nature did not intend the baby to chew food until its teeth are sufficiently developed to perform this function. Since they reach this stage of development at from twenty to twenty-four months after birth, there seems to be no earlier need for "solid" foods. If earlier need of such foods exist why does nature not supply the needed chewing equipment at an earlier period?
The natural indications are for an exclusive milk diet for at least the first two years. We add fruit juices, not because there is any need for them in nature's scheme of things, but because in our unnatural life, we do not supply them with milk of proper quality. Soft fruits may be used before the teeth are fully developed, but only after they are sufficiently developed to enable the child to mash these up well.
No other food except milk and fruit juices should be given the child for the first two years of its life. At about eighteen months of age soft fruits may, however, be added to the diet. These should form all or part of one meal a day. If four feedings have been indulged in up to this time one of these should now be stopped. No starchy foods or cereals should be given under two years. Artificial sweets--candies, cakes, pies, sugar, etc.,--should never be fed to children. It goes without saying that all food fed to infants and children should be fresh and pure. But we do well to remember that the most wholesome food soon become poisonous if taken in excess.
Investigations made in Boston a few years ago, showed that a breast-fed baby has six times the chance of living through the first year as a bottle-fed baby. Elsewhere I have shown the great percentage of infant deaths from gastro-intestinal disorders. Less than ten percent of the cases of death from "diarrheal causes" occur in breast-fed babies, while ninety percent of all infantile deaths are in the bottle-fed babies.
Breast-fed babies have a better start in life. This can be given them by no other means. As a class they are more vigorous and healthy and are more resistant to disease than bottle-fed babies. They develop into better and stronger children.
Statistics show that only two breast-fed babies contract the so-called contagious diseases where five bottle-fed babies do so, and that where such diseases are contracted the chances for recovery are greatly increased in the breast-fed baby as compared to the chances of the bottle-fed ones. Adenoids and enlarged tonsils are also more common among bottle-fed than among breast-fed babies.
American and English mothers are fast losing the capacity to nurse their babies. Investigations have shown that only 12 per cent of American babies are entirely breast-fed, while 28 per cent are absolutely bottle-fed and the residue from both breast and bottle, but many of these insufficiently from the breast. These young citizens get a bad start in life and the results show up very plainly when the call for men comes, as in the recent war. Hardly more than fifty per cent of the young men of this nation were found physically fit. In New Zealand, where breast feeding is the rule, the infant death rate is only half of that in America. This is significant and should lead mothers to a more wholesome mode of living to enable them to suckle their own children.
Nurse your child as long as you can. So long as it is thriving well on your milk this should form its food. If it does not thrive well on this alone, give it an orange juice and grape juice feeding each day, in addition to your own milk. Indeed I believe that with the poor milk supply of modern women, these juices should be fed even if the child does seem to thrive well. See directions in this chapter.
Supplement your own milk with cow's milk or goat's milk, if you must, but do not do so, unless this becomes necessary. Let your child nurse as long as possible, even though it gets only a small amount of its food from you. Up to five years, if you can supply it milk, do so.
Dr. Tilden says: "I am compelled to compromise with most mothers, and permit four feeds a day, and then the majority will sneak in an extra feed at night, which, of course, the baby has to pay for with occasional sick spells."
The wet nurse, though now almost obsolete, has saved the lives of many children and deserves to be restored to her former position from which the cow has dislodged her. That the best food for an infant is that of its own mother is undoubted by those who are in a position to know. Next to this, is the milk of a healthy properly fed wet nurse. Indeed, where the mother's milk is defective, that of another woman will be best for the child.
Formerly, wet nurses were more plentiful than now, because there was more demand for them. Unnatural feeding had not then supplanted the natural method. Many babies can be saved if supplied with the milk of a wet nurse, who will be almost certain to die without it. Others that will eventually "pull through," in spite of artificial feeding, will be saved much illness and suffering and the parents will be spared much anxiety if a good wet-nurse is employed.
The qualifications for a wet-nurse are health and cleanliness. It makes no difference what her race, color or religion, or social status is. She imparts none of these to the child through her milk. In the South are many adults who were nursed at the breasts of "old negro mammies," and though we often hear the old mammies say "that boy sure must have some negro in him," it is not so. We do not become cows by drinking cow's milk.
The Wasserman test is unreliable clap-trap and syphilis is a frightful night-mare. Don't worry over this in choosing a wet nurse. See that she has good health and is cleanly. See that she is properly fed.
It does not hurt a child to be given milk from several women any more than it does to be given milk from several goats or cows. Breast milk, put on ice, will keep as well or better than cow's milk. It is also cleaner and more wholesome. Where a wet-nurse cannot be had, milk taken from more than one woman may be fed the child.
Hospitals, maternity homes, physicians and nurses can usually supply one with a wet nurse. In some of our larger cities, Boston for example, there is a directory for wet-nurses. One can usually be found if we seek diligently enough. An ad in the paper will often produce results.
Real hunger seldom appears for two or three days after birth as is evidenced by the fact that the baby will be satisfied by a water diet. During this period nature does not provide real milk, but a secretion called colostrum, which probably serves several needs of the child and does not behave merely as a laxative, as it is usually supposed to do.
We hear of a so-called "inanition fever" that is supposed to develop in rare cases during this period, when it becomes necessary to feed the baby artificially. This is a medical fallacy and need not be considered here.
Some ignorant and ill-advised nurses and mothers, thinking it necessary to feed the baby during this period, when nature has not supplied food, give it cow's milk or sugar in water, or other "food." This is a needless and pernicious practice. The baby need not be put to the breast during the first twenty-four hours after birth.
Feeding the baby at night prevents both mother and child from sleeping and teaches the child irregularity in sleep. Night feeding saps the mother in supplying the abnormal quantity of milk and in depriving her of sleep. When the mother's sleep is disturbed in this way, she is weakened and normal secretions are interfered with, resulting in an impairment of her milk. The impairment of the milk reacts unfavorably upon the child. Feeding at night is not only not necessary, it overfeeds and sickens the child.
Dr. Dewey says: "The last thing you should do before entering your beds at night is to nurse your child, and that should be the last nursing until the next morning." With the advice not to nurse the child during the night we fully agree, but the advice to nurse the child the last thing before retiring must be qualified. Women retire at different times of the night. Dr. Dewey adds: "As for night nursing it is entirely a matter of habit and a very bad one. There is absolutely no physiological need for food and a night of rest is no less important for the tender life than for the mother. If the habit has been formed it should always be broken and it will require only a short time in most cases."
Regularity in feeding quickly establishes the stuffing habit. It teaches the infant to eat at certain times as a mere matter of habit, and not because there is a real demand for food. It prevents the development and regulation of natural desire which, alone is a reliable guide to frequency in feeding.
If the child does not relish or desire food it is folly to force or persuade it to eat anyway. Never compel a child to eat. If the child is uncomfortable wait until comfort returns before feeding. Children fed in this way will grow up strong and healthy and miss the so-called children's diseases. Overfeeding and wrong food combinations are responsible for most of the diseases peculiar to children. A little intelligent attention to proper feeding will avoid all of these.
Three to four feedings in twenty-four hours are enough for any baby. Babies fed in this way develop faster than those stuffed in the old way. Over nutrition actually inhibits function and retards growth and development. No feeding should ever be done between meals. Every time a child cries it is not hungry. Dr. Dewey insisted that three feedings a day are preferable to more and added: "No infant can starve or fail to fully develop on three full daily meals."
An infant is nourished in proportion to its power to digest and assimilate the food supplied to it, and not in proportion to the quantity of nutriment it may be induced to swallow. Not the larger quantity swallowed, but the right quantity perfectly digested and perfectly assimilated can secure best results with infants as well as in children and adults.
In spite of the obviousness of this principle, it is almost an article of faith with many parents, nurses and doctors, a dogma so firmly fixed in their minds that they cannot be persuaded to the contrary, that the infant that is fed most thrives best. If the infant is losing weight it always suggests the need for a larger supply of food, while every cry means hunger and must be silenced with more food.
The cat, dog, cow, hog and all other animals, do not permit their young to suck as often nor as long as they desire. The cat often absents herself from her kittens for as long as six hours, while I have seen dogs deliberately get up from their resting places when their puppies attempted to nurse, and run away from them. On the plane of instinct there is no such folly as the stuff-them-to-kill-them practice, and the animals are more successful than we.
All around us are healthy-born children who are "starving to death under the eyes of parents who would pay a dollar a drop for food to restore them." Many of these children are surrounded with every requirement for a healthful life except one--namely, "the knowledge on the part of the attendants of the fact that the Creator did not design that a baby's stomach should be treated like a toy balloon!" They are famishing from too much feasting.
The chief cause of digestive disorders and of all those other complaints that grow out of these is everfeeding. The habit of feeding babies every two hours during the day and every time it wakes up and cries at night is a ruinous one. Such feeding overworks the baby's digestive organs and introduces an excess of food into the alimentary tract to ferment and poison the child. It weakens and sickens the child producing diarrhea, colic, skin eruptions and more serious disorders.
Dr. Oswald considers "involuntary cramming" among the chief causes of gluttony. "Fond mothers," he says, "often surfeit their babies till they sputter and spew, and it is not less wrong to force a child to eat any particular kind of food against his grain--in disregard of a natural antipathy. Such aversions are allied to the feeling of repletion by which Nature warns the eater to desist, and if this warning is persistently disregarded, the monitory instinct finally suspends its function; overeating becomes a morbid habit our system has adapted itself to the abnormal condition, and every deviation from the new routine produces the same feeling of distress which shackles the rum-drinker to his unnatural practice. Avoid pungent spices, do not cram your children against their will, and never fear that natural aliments will tempt them to excess. But I should add here that of absolutely innocuous food--ripe fruit and simple farinaceous preparations--a larger quantity than is commonly imagined can be habitually taken with perfect freedom from injurious consequences."--Physical Education, p. 58-59.
Over the earth many animal milks are used--mare's milk, camel's milk, reindeer's milk, ass's milk, goat's milk, cow's milk, etc., serve as human food although, in most parts of the world, the feeding of animal milks to children and infants is not a general practice. In this country cow's milk and goat's milk are about the only kinds used. Despite the many claims made for the superiorly of goat's milk over cow's milk, none of the claims have been substantiated. In my own experience cow's milk has served better in some cases and goat's milk in others. For growth and development animal milks serve better than soy milk and other artificial milks.
Cow's milk, when fed to babies, should be diluted. Equal parts of pure, whole, raw milk, and pure, preferably distilled water, should be given to the young child. Absolutely nothing but water is to be added to the milk. If goat's milk, mare's milk, or ass's milk is used, these same rules and regulations should apply.
Milk for babies should be half-and-half--half water and half milk--up to three months, after which time it may be increased to two-thirds milk and one-third water.
Until the child is six months old, milk feeding should be four to six ounce feedings.
At six months these may be increased to six ounce feedings. At nine months they may be increased to eight ounce feedings. Babies should never be given over eight ounces.
One is likely to get a more uniform standard of milk where the milk comes from a herd of cows, than if it is taken from only one cow. It does not injure a baby to have its milk come from several cows in this way.
Milk should be prepared as it is used and not prepared a day's supply at a time. Bottles and nipples should be thoroughly cleansed each time but the usual fuss over this thing is ridiculous and born of the fear engendered by the germ theory. All of this boiling and sterilizing of bottles, nipples and vessels belongs to the germ fetish. It is a lot of bothersome foolishness that is possessed of neither rhyme nor reason. Mothers patiently carry out such processes day after day and, then, when their over-fed, over-heated, over-excited, over-treated babies develop diarrhea or cholera infantum, they accept the doctor's verdict that the child is suffering because of some want of cleanliness on the part of the mother. She failed to boil the nipple long enough, or something. If these mothers could watch young pigs and see how they scoff at this thing called sterilization they would demand of the doctor's intelligent reasons for their babies illnesses.
"All milk-eating creatures are and should be sucklings," says Dr. Page. Quite right! Milk should never be drunk like water. Nature teaches us how milk should be taken. So long as your child is to have milk, up to five or six years, give it to him or her from a bottle and nipple. This will insure thorough insalivation and prevent the child from gulping it down.
The present method of keeping cows for producing certified milk, in sunless barns, feeding them dry food and tuberculin testing them at frequent intervals and force feeding them, assures us a milk of poor quality.
Attention has previously been called to the fact that when milk is boiled or subjected to prolonged heating its complex carbo-phosphates of calcium and magnesium, salts indispensible to the upbuilding of bone, are precipitated in the form of the quite insoluble salts, calcium-phosphate, magnesium-phosphate and calcium-carbonate. This greatly impairs the physiological usefulness of the salts of the milk.
Barnes, Hume, Hart, Steenbock, Hess, Ellis, Butcher and their collaborators have shown that the amount of vitamin C in cow's milk rises and falls with the season, being highest from May to July when plants are in their most vigorous stages of development, and lowest in winter, the decrease beginning when the hay is ripened. A single pasteurization of milk suffices to rob it of the little C it contains. Berg has pointed out that "it is owing to this scanty supply of C in the milk that bottle-fed infants sometimes become affected with scurvy. Of course the customary practice of diluting cow's milk for the hand-feeding of infants lowers the percentage of C in the food to a dangerous extent, seeing that the C content of cow's milk is already low in many cases."
It should be apparent that if raw cow's milk is fed to infants in diluted form, the vitamins and salts, in which the milk is deficient, must be supplied from some other source. This need is much greater in the case of pasteurized, boiled, condensed and dried or powdered milk; for, these milks are usually diluted, in addition to being heated. The mere addition of demineralized and devitaminized sugar or syrup, and insoluble lime to the milk will not compensate for these deficiencies. It only adds to the deficiencies.
It will be objected that most doctors now give orange juice, or tomato juice, or both. While this is true of many of them, it is alas! also true, that they give these for their vitamins only and, as only small quantities of vitamins are supposed to be needed, these juices are given in quantities too small to make up for the mineral deficiencies. Nor is any effort made to render the protein adequate.
Will it be replied that they feed potatoes and grains as early as possible? I answer: these should not be fed before the end of the second year, because of the absence of the starch-splitting enzymes in the child's digestive juices up to this time. There is barely enough ptyalin in the saliva of an infant to convert the sugar of milk into primary dextrose. Feeding these foods to infants and young children is a most prolific cause of gastro-intestinal disturbances. Not only are the starch-splitting enzymes absent, but even were they present, such foods would not excite the flow of saliva and its ptyalin, for they are habitually fed in the form of mush or gruel--boiled and soaked.
Lime water has been added to the milk of infants for several generations, because the doctors ordered it. The lime is not only of no value to the child, due to its crude form, but it is also an irritant as well as a nutritive evil. An excess of lime, even of the organic lime salts, interferes with the mineral balance in the body. This is of particular importance to young babies. Besides these considerations, cow's milk contains three times as much lime as human milk. The giving of lime salts to children produces acidosis.
Bicarbonate of soda added to the milk of an infant is an unjustifiable stab at the baby's digestion. It increases the alkalinity of the milk and calls for greater effort in digestion. It overworks and impairs the gastric glands. It also destroys some of the vitamins of the milk.
Milk with corn starch, or arrow root, or crackers, or rice, or barley water, or cereal water of any kind, or farina, or oatmeal is an abomination. Babies so fed suffer and die from wasting gastrointestinal disorders. These foods set up fermentation, diarrhea, etc.
Sugar should never be added to milk. It tends to produce fermentation and all of the resulting evils. A child may be given all the sugar it needs in fruit juices.
When medical men learned that cow's milk contains about twice as much protein as human milk, they began to dilute cow's milk with water when feeding it to infants. But diluting the proteins also dilutes the carbohydrates of milk, so they add sugar, karo syrup and other sweets to the milk. Diluting the milk fifty per cent, reduces its calcium by this same percentage. Lime water is added to make up the deficiency.
Due in part to its greater abundance in the indispensable amino-acid, tryptophan the protein of mother's milk is superior to cow's milk. The growing child needs fairly large amounts of tryptophan and when the protein supply contains only small quantities of this amino-acid, the growth of the organism runs, to an extent, parallel to the tryptophan content. Although the protein content of human milk is little more than half the protein content of cow's milk, the absolute tryptophan content is considerably more in human than in cow's milk. This partly explains why babies grow more rapidly on their mother's milk than on the milk of the cow. Diluting cow's milk reduces the tryptophan content.
As pointed out in a previous chapter, the amino-acids (lecin, lysin, cystin, tyrosin, tryptophan, etc.) are utilized by the body only in proportion to the amounts of other constituents in the diet, which enable the body to synthesize them into proteins peculiar to man. Every dilution of the salts of the milk, which is not made good from some source, renders the milk less adequate as food.
Cow's milk contains nearly four times as much lime as human milk and only about one-half as much iron. Yet, it is the practice, when diluting cow's milk for infants, to add lime and ignore the iron. Children need more iron than adults just as pregnant and lactating women require proportionately more iron than men. When milk is diluted all of its salts are diluted and not merely its lime.
Dr. Tilden says: "If we ever get on to a rational plan of eating, children up to two years of age will be fed on an exclusive milk diet, with orange or other fruit or vegetable juices."
Fruit juices supply minerals, vitamins and sugar. Grape juice, for example, rich in grape sugar, also supplies, in addition to other minerals iron that is so deficient in diluted milk.
Fruit sugar, or levulose, is predigested and ready for instant absorption and use in the body. It is this predigested sugar that instantly refreshes and revives the greatly fatigued man or woman. The best source of sugar for the infant is found in grapes. Take the required amount of fresh, ripe grapes and crush them in a vessel. Squeeze the juice out of these and strain it. Put it into a bottle and give it to the child just like it takes its milk. Do not dilute the grape juice. Small babies may have four ounces of this at a feeding; older babies, that is after six months, eight ounces. Never give bottled grape-juice. Never cook the grape juice.
When grapes are out of season, unsulphured figs, dates or prunes may be used instead. These should be soaked over night in the usual way, then crushed and the juice strained off. This juice should be fed in a bottle and may be given in the same amounts that the grape juice is given. These sweet fruit juices should not be given with the milk but should be given three or four hours after the milk feeding.
Orange Juice is one of the most delicious and attractive foods that can be fed to babies. It contains pre-digested food that is ready for absorption and utilization when taken. This, perhaps, explains why a glass of orange juice is so refreshing to the tired person or to the man who has been on a fast. The sweeter the orange, the more refreshing it is. Oranges are rich in lime and other alkaline salts and prevent or overcome acidosis. Ignorant doctors who decry oranges because they "make the blood acid" should be prohibited from practice.
The regular eating of orange juice results in the retention of calcium and phosphorus in the body, and in the assimilation of nitrogen (protein), out of all proportion to the amounts of these elements contained in the juice. The juice actually enables the body to utilize the elements better than it could otherwise do. Nothing can be more helpful to children, and particularly undernourished children than orange juice--not two or three spoonfuls a day, but from a glassful to three glasses full. Don't be stingy with the orange juice; stop kidding yourself and the child with teaspoonfuls of the juice.
Orange juice, grape juice, etc., may be given to infants from birth. The two week's old infant should be given the juice of one-half an orange, about two ounces, undiluted. By the time the child is three months old it should be taking four ounces at a feeding, of undiluted orange juice. At six months it should be taking eight ounces. Never add sugar or other substances to the orange juice.
Lemon juice, lime juice, tomato juice, grape fruit juice, melon juice or the juices of other fruits may also be used, but are not always to be had, as is orange juice. Most children will relish grapefruit juice, although many of them refuse tomato juice.
Never give canned or cooked fruit juices to infants and children. Never add sugar, oil or other substance to them.
If four milk feedings are given these juices should be given, not less than thirty minutes before the second milk feeding of the morning and afternoon, or three to four hours after the milk feeding.
Baby's feeding schedule should be about as follows:
6 A. M. Milk.
10 A. M. grape juice or other sweet fruit juice. (In the south fresh fig juice may be used in season.)
12 Noon, Milk.
3 P. M. to 4 p. M,, orange juice or tomato juice or grapefruit juice, or other juice.
6 P. M. Milk.
So artificial are we in our habits of thinking and acting and so afraid are we of food products as Nature prepares them, that it is becoming more and more the practice to feed infants on artificial food substances. Indeed it is now the practice of physicians to give mothers formulas for preparing artificial foods at once and not wait to see if they can nurse their babies. Booklets by the manufacturers of prepared baby foods or evaporated milks are supplied every mother when she leaves the hospital. The practice actually discourages breast feeding and causes women to distrust raw, fresh milk. Indeed, there are physicians who tell mothers that the evaporated milks are the only safe milks.
I once sat and listened to a physician explain to a young mother the procedures for preparing milk for the hand-feeding of her two-weeks old boy. He talked of Klim, Eskay's Food and other proprietary foods--dried, and condensed milk. When he was asked about raw whole milk, he thought this might be permissible if one was not near a drug store and could not get the dried and condensed varieties.
Doctors are the victims of the commercial exploiters of baby foods, and patent medicines (proprietary remedies), as often as the public. Only ignorance of nutritive science permits them to "fall" for the claims of the manufacturers of "proprietary foods" for infants. I frequently run across babies that are being fed on pasteurized and even boiled milk, upon the advice of the doctor.
Artificial infant foods are undesirable. Dr. Robert McCarrison of England, says that the "seeds" of diseases that inevitably kill their victims in middle life are often introduced into the body with the first bottle of cow's milk or artificial baby food--and he is not referring to germs, either. Dr. Page condemned the various artificial foods, advertised as "substitutes for mother's milk" and, although, "many infants manage to subsist on them, and in many cases thrive on them," he did not consider that such foods are good.
Some years ago Dr. Fischer, in his Infant Feeding, gave analyses of some of the powdered milks and infant foods then on the market. "Nestle's Food," "Horlick's Malted Milk," and "Milkine," were shown to be far inferior to mother's milk as food for infants.
Dr. Tilden says: "There are many brands of artificial foods on the market, and there are tons of these foods used in this country every year, but so far as being of real benefit is concerned, it is doubtful if they are beneficial when it comes to supplying a need that can't be supplied by something of greater food value.
"I do not say this from lack of experience, for I have had years of experience. I once believed that most of the better brands were really of great use, but I discovered after a thoughtful retrospection that I have gradually and unwittingly abandoned the use of all of these foods, and it has come about not because I love them less, but because I love natural foods more, and, of course, secure better results with them."
McCarrison says: "I would ask you to consider * * * the increasing tendency in modern times to rear infants artificially--on boiled, and dried milks, on proprietary foods which are all of them vastly inferior to healthy mother's milk in substances essential to the well being of the child--inferior not only in vitamins, but also in enzymes, thyroid derivatives and other essentials."
Mendel says:: "In the preparation of some of the present-day proprietary infant's foods--products so numerous and presented with such conflicting claims that the physician and mother alike are bewildered as to choice--there is considerable 'juggling' with facts in novel ways. Novelty should not be a bar to recognition; but are we on safe ground in the ready acceptance of the newest commercial tendencies?"
In U. S. Dept. of Labor Bulletin No. 8, Care of Children series, are these words about artificial baby foods: "The general concensus of opinion among authorities seems to be that one or another of these baby foods may be temporarily used if fresh cow's milk is not available, as in traveling or in the tropics, but their continued and exclusive use is to be condemned. All are expensive and many of them do not give the baby the required food elements, nor the proper proportion of these elements, while the use of some of them is known to be followed by various forms of illness."
Scurvy, rickets, anaemia and malnutrition are often the results of the use of artificial foods. Many children seem to thrive on them for a while, may actually appear to do better than those fed on their mother's milk, and then disaster overtakes them. Be not deceived by the advertisements of those who have infant foods to sell. These concerns exist for profit and not for baby's welfare.
Condensed milk, evaporated milk, dried milk and other artificial foods are unfit for the baby and no intelligent mother will ever feed these to her child.
Hot weather is accused of having much to do with the fearful slaughter of the human animal--a distinctly tropical animal and certainly well adapted to a hot climate.
Blaming hot weather for certain "diseases peculiar to children" and for the deaths in these conditions, is a very misleading way of saying, as Page puts it, that, "the excess of food that can be tolerated under the tonic and antiseptic influence of cold weather, engenders disease during the heated term."
Hot weather favors decomposition, cold weather retards it. But, on the whole, we are hurt almost, if not quite as much by food excess in the winter as in summer. We are more likely to have bowel diseases in summer, respiratory diseases in winter--this is the chief difference.
Adults usually instinctively eat less in hot weather than in cool or cold weather. They often miss a meal or two altogether. How often do we hear one say "it is too hot to eat!" We find the adult also, without any scientific knowledge of Trophology, living largely on green vegetables, fresh fruits, melons, etc. They consume bread, potatoes, meats, cereals, etc., in less liberal quantities. They frequently omit the noon-day meal.
How many parents exercise as much common sense in feeding their infants and children during the summer? How often do we see the suffering infant crammed with as much milk as during the winter? Then when the baby is made sick--there is diarrhea or fever--we see it dosed and drugged to drive the demon of disease out of its little body.
The feeding method in vogue is a hit and miss system. It is a case of "try this" and "try that" and then try something else. The mother, the nurse and the physician chase "from pillar to post" and tax themselves to the uttermost to find a suitable food. If they find a diet that fits they do not know why is fits. If the diet fails to fit, they are equally in the dark. So long as the child appears to do well on a given diet they are satisfied; but if it develops a diarrhea or an "upset stomach," a change is made and another food tried. This continues until all known foods have been tried out. The little victims of the guessing and abuse who are fortunate enough to survive in spite of such handicaps, finally arrive at the period when they are taken off the baby foods and then the death rate is lowered. Credit for the child's salvation is attributed to the baby food that chanced to be used last.
Much of the troubles in hand-fed infants, which apparently call for modification of the milk, are due to extra-feeding factors. They may be due to overfeeding, in which case the digestive tract requires a rest. They are frequently due to physical and psychological factors that demand attention. Too much noise, too much excitement, over heating, undue chilling, overclothing, lack of rest and sleep, "infection," congenital weakness, lack of fresh air, harsh care, too much bathing, etc., are factors that tend to upset the digestive systems of infants, as of adults.
The healthy, hungry infant can digest almost any sensibly modified milk mixture. The unhealthy infant often needs changes in its care and environment more than in its food. Regularity in feeding often leads to over-feeding and trouble. Mothers and physicians have developed the insane notion that babies should be fed regularly, whether or not there is any actual need for food. They do not allow for the normal from day to day variations in physiologic demands.
Mothers are cautioned to awaken the baby promptly at feeding time (as determined by the clock) and most of them are foolish enough to do so. This teaches the child to eat as a matter of habit and not to supply any existing need and also disturbs its sleep.
The present popular method of feeding is what really makes the problem of infant feeding a difficult one. There is no way to adapt even the most wholesome and easily digested food to an infant when it is fed in such quantities. With proper feeding it is but little trouble to find a food that will " agree" with the baby.
What is the great secret of success in feeding babies? Dr. Tilden well expresses it thus: "Fit children to the food and never attempt to fit the food to the children." How? Easy! Watch these few simple rules:
1. Feed the child natural, that is, uncooked, unprocessed, un-sterilized, unadulterated, undrugged, foods.
2. Do not stuff the child. Feed it three moderate meals a day.
3. Feed simple meals. Do not feed foods that are mixed in such a way as to cause fermentation.
4. Do not feed between meals, nor at night.
5. If the child is upset, or feels bad, or is excited or tired, or over heated, or chilled, or in pain or distress, or is sick, don't feed it. If there is fever, give no food.