"Give the baby water six times a day," was one of the most important messages ever sent over the telegraph wires to a young mother.
Ignorance bathes her baby on a full stomach, because she rinds it will go through the ordeal of dressing more quietly; Reason bathes hers two hours after feeding, knowing that the vital forces needed for digestion should not be drawn to the surface. Being constructed on the same general plan with its parents, the same principle that makes it dangerous for a man to go swimming immediately after eating, makes it equally so to put a baby in its tub after nursing.
Though Ignorance eats her own meals regularly and at stated times, she feeds her baby at all times and seasons. If the child has colic from overeating, or the improper diet of its mother, she trys to ally its suffering with additional feeding and vigorous trotting; not succeeding, she ends the drama with a spoonful of Mrs. Winslow's soothing syrup; having drugged the sentinel and silenced his guns, she imagines the citadel safe. Reason feeds ner baby regularly, by the clock, once in two or three hours, and gives the stomach some chance for rest. She prevents colic by regulating her own diet and habits of life, knowing that improper articles of food, and ill-nature or outbursts of passion in the mother, have cost many a baby its life.
Ignorance, having noticed that her baby sleeps longer with its head covered, uniformly excludes the air. Breathing the same air over a dozen times, it becomes stupefied with the carbonic-acid gas, is thrown into a profuse perspiration, and is sure to catch cold on emerging from the fetid atmosphere. Reason puts her child to sleep, with head uncovered, in a spacious chamber, bright with sunlight and fresh air; where, after a long nap, she will often find him (as soon as he is old enough to notice objects) looking at the shadows on the wall, or studying the anatomical wonders of his own hands and feet, the very picture of content.
"Seeing that the atmosphere is forty miles deep, all round the globe,'* says Horace Mann, "it is a useless piece of economy to breathe it more than once. If we were obliged to trundle it in the wheel-barrows, in order to fill our homes, churches, school-houses, railroad-cars, and steamboats, there might be some excuse for our seeming parsimony. But as it is we are prodigals of health, of which we have so little; and niggards of air, of which wo have so much." - Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York.
Great care should be given that children are not fed with milk that has been turned by a thunder-storm. The chemical change is rapid, and extra caution is necessary.
Ginger-bread made from oatmeal instead of flour is a good aperient for children.
Parents should teach their children to gargle their throats, for it may be the saving of their lives. It is easier to teach them this difficult and awkward feat in health than when prostrated by disease.
To prevent a child coughing at night, boil the strength out of ten cents worth of "seneca snake-root" in one quart of soft water; strain through a cloth, boil down to a pint, add one cup powdered sugar made into a thick molasses. Give one tea-spoonful on going to bed.
Children are often troubled with ulcers in the ears after scarlet fever and other children's diseases. Roast onions in ashes until done, wrap in a strong cloth, and squeeze out juice. To three parts juice, add one part laudanum and one part sweet-oil, and bottle for use. Wash ear out with warm water, shake bottle well, and drop a few drops into the ear.
For sore mouth in nursing babies, take a tea-spoon each of pulverized alum and borax, half a salt-spoon of pulverized nut-galls, a table-spoon of honey; mix, and pour on it half a tea-cup boiling water; let settle, and with a clean linen rag wash the mouth four or five times a day, using a fresh piece of linen every day; or simple borax water is equally good. Half an even tea-spoon powdered borax in two table-spoons soft water is strong enough.
A lump of sugar, saturated with vinegar, will stop hiccough when drinking water will not. For babies, a few grains of sugar will often suffice. Care must be taken in giving sugar to nursing babies, as it is constipating. Dio Lewis says feather pillows are death to children. Make them of straw or hair, and not too large.
To cure the earache, take a bit of cotton batting, put upon it a pinch of black pepper, gather it up and tie it, dip it in sweet-oil, and insert it into the ear. Put a flannel bandage over the head to keep it warm.
Probably nine children out of ten who die of croup might be saved by the timely application of roast onions, mashed, laid upon a folded napkin, and goose-oil, sweet-oil, or even lard, poured on and applied as warm as can be borne comfortably to the throat and upper part of the chest, and to the feet and hands, or the onions may be sliced, boiled soft in water until almost dry, grease added, and cooked in the grease until browned.
Let nature wake the children; she will not do it prematurely. Take care that they go to bed at an early hour - let it be earlier and earlier, until it is found that they wake up themselves in full time to dress for breakfast.
Just before each meal let a child have some ripe fruit or some fruit sauce. Apples and berries are wholesome. Oranges should never be given to children unless the skin and the thick white part underneath the skin and between the quarters is all carefully removed.
While the baby is down for a creep, draw little stocking legs over his arms, and secure them by a safety-pin.
See that a child's food is well cooked. Never give a child new bread. Always insist that a child thoroughly masticate his food. Avoid too nourishing a diet for a child of a violent, fretful temper. Give a nourishing diet to a pale, white-looking, delicate child. Both under-feeding and over-feeking are apt to produce scrofula or consumption. Carefully study a child's constitution, digestive powers, teeth, strength, and endeavor to proportion to these the kind and the quantity of its food. Sweetmeats and confectionery should ,only be given to children very sparingly, if at all. Never pamper or reward a child with them. A child should never be allowed to go to sleep with damp, cold feet. Neglect of this has often resulted in dangerous attacks of croup, diphtheria, or a fatal sore throat. Always on entering the house in rainy, muddy, or thawy weather, the child should remove its shoes, and the mother should herself ascertain whether the stockings are the least damp. If they are they should be taken off, the feet held before the fire, and rubbed with the hands until perfectly dry, and dry stockings and shoes put on.