When the first signs of the teeth appear, the salivary glands are so far developed that the secretion of saliva is large, and "drooling" is noticed. This saliva moistens the gums and softens them, so that the coming teeth make their way through with less difficulty. At this time an ivory coral or hard rubber ring is useful. There is a sensation in the gums which the child tries to relieve by biting. Later, when the gum is inflamed and sore, a soft substance is better than hard. If the gum is much swollen, and there are symptoms of thirst and fever and flushed cheeks, the child should be seen by a physician. There may be something more serious than teething.
If the case is mild, soothing applications such as honey of roses, borax and honey, and syrup of gum arabic will relieve. If bowels are constipated an injection may be given, or even a mild laxative, with a warm foot-bath at bed-time. Lancing of the gums is sometimes necessary, and is harmless and not painful if done skillfully and at the proper time. Rubbing the gums with a thimble is very harsh treatment.
When a child falls ill, a good many people charge the trouble to "worms." The real cause of the trouble is generally indigestion, which causes an increased secretion of mucus, and this makes a harbor for worms, which in themselves do not produce irritation, unless they exist in great numbers. Bottle-fed children oftener suffer from indigestion than others. The indications are pining, pevishness, constipation or diarrhea, a sour breath, etc. These may result from overfeeding or from unsuitable food. Overfeeding is most frequent. If the stomach is not able to digest the food it will irritate the bowels and produce diarrhea. The summer diarrhea of children begins with indigestion, which weakens the system, and makes it sensitive to hot weather. The proper color for passages from the bowels in infancy is yellow. In cases of indigestion the color is greenish, or. if yellow when passed, soon becomes green. In diarrhea they are offensive and greenish, or even a bright green. The point is to find out the cause of the trouble and correct it in the early stages of the disease.
The daily increase in weight of a healthy infant is from a quarter to three-quarters of an ounce.
Bathing ought not to be neglected for a single day. It ought to be regarded as a sacred maternal duty.
The hair should be kept short during infancy and childhood. No finer heads of hair are ever seen than those on girls whose hair has been cropped close, boy-fashion, until ten years old.
No more dangerous humbug was ever taught than that malt liquors or wine was necessary or healthful for a nursing woman.
Sugar should always be an addition to less palatable food, and never given alone.
A strict observance of the laws of health will strengthen a good const: tution and improve,a bad one.
Diarrhea in nursing children is always the result in a change in the. composition of the milk, from whatever cause.
The period of weaning should he fixed between twelve and twenty months, beginning by ceasing to give the breast at night.
Children should not sleep with sickly persons or with those of advanced age.
Where an infant sleeps, light and noise should be excluded.
A young child should not be wakened suddenly, nor by any rude motion or loud noise.
Pulling roughly, trotting, tossing-, swinging from side to side, and all rude play of this sort does no good and may do great harm.
A wise mother, who has a cheerful disposition herself and performs well her duties as nurse, will have no good reason to complain that her time is all occupied by day and her rest disturbed by night. 35
A young mother writes: "I have a little boy seven years old, and a little girl of four. I have never had the trouble of some young mothers, simply because 1 was regular with them from their birth. They never slept with me, but in a crib at the side of my bed. I had the crib lined so as to prevent a draught, and tucked their covers tightly over their feet and fastened them at the top with large safety pins to the pillow - then they can not throw them off to take cold. I never nursed my babies more than twice in the night, and often but once; they slept better being alone. In the morning I nursed baby, and once between breakfast and dinner, and again between dinner and supper, also right after dinner was over, at regular hours every day. If they got hungry between times, they were fed bread and milk. After supper, the little one was undressed, rubbed well, back and limbs, flannel nightgown put on, then nursed and put to bed, and they seldom awoke before twelve o'clock; so I had the evenings for reading and practicing. In the morning they were taken up, bathed in warm water, dressed, nursed, and given a nap of two hours. In the afternoon they were put to sleep at one o'clock, and they would sleep till three. I think no mother should nurse her baby after it is a year old; it breaks the mother down, and does baby no good. As my children grew out of babyhood I still kept them regular in their habits. They get up in the morning at seven o'clock, wash, dress, and eat breakfast, drinking milk instead of coffee, play all the morning, and eat a hearty dinner. At one o'clock they are put in a bath, their night clothes put on, and put to bed. They sleep till three or half-past, then are dressed cleanly. At half-past five they eat a light supper, and in summer time at eight, and in winter time at half-past six, are put to bed. Two healthier children will be hard to find; they never eat between meals, unless it is an apple, and never want any thing else, but eat heartily at the table. I think if some young mothers will try my plan they will say there is no need of half-sick and cross children, caused by eating at all hours and being up late at night."