Give a babe, one to four weeks old, two teanspoons saffron tea (made by simmering a teaspoon dry saffron in half a teacup water), once every other day.
If troubled with colic, give catnip tea (simmering half a tea cup of catnip in boiling water to cover, strain and sweeten) every night before the time for colic to come on. Catnip should always be gathered when in bloom, and before dog-days: then dry in the shade. When dried, place in a paper sack, and hang in a dry, cool place.
One teaspoon of pure castor oil given to a new-born babe is excellent to carry off the phlegm that usually troubles it.
Babes from one to six months old can safely be given two teaspoons of castor oil at a time, when suffering with a cold. Mixing a teaspoon of Orleans molasses with it will prevent griping.
A child ten months old, if choked with a bad cold, will be speedily relieved by taking three teaspoons of pure castor oil. Children are differently affected by the oil, so it is safe to begin with one teaspoon of castor oil, and increase if needed.
In scarlet fever, the first symptoms being like a severe cold, treat it in the same way; keep the bowels open with castor oil, grease the throat, breast, and back with pig's-feet oil, goose grease, lard, or smoked ham rinds, or the fryings of salt pork or bacon. Grease very thoroughly. If the throat is sore, chop fat salt pork and raw onions together, like hash, put them in a sack, warm a little, and tie round the throat. Change this poultice when needed, but keep it on until the throat is entirely well. This poultice is much better than those made of hot water, as there is no danger of taking cold in changing it.
To prevent catching contagious diseases, put a small lump each of camphor gum, brimstone, and assafetida in a little sack, and tie around the body with a tape.
An excellent cough remedy is made as follows: Take enough of horehound to till a three pint cup, pour soft water over it until full, let it simmer until all the strength is extracted (keep the tin full), then strain; to three pints of this tea add a pint of pure whisky and enough of loaf sugar to make a syrup; dose, tablespoon half hour before eating, and the last thing before retiring. This remedy and dose is for an adult.
A good remedy for colic is tincture of assafetida; take a lump the size of a hulled walnut, cover it with an ounce of pure whisky (in fourteen days it is tincture, but in a few days it will be strong enough to use). Begin with one drop in sweetened water, if the child is very young, and increase as required. Give this to the child an hour before the time for the colic to begin. If a child is given this, as it grows older, each morning a few drops, it will not be troubled with worms.
In croup, redden the throat and chest by rubbing with a mixture of one-half tablespoon each of camphor and turpentine and one tablespoon each of coal oil and sweet oil. Wet a warm flannel with this, and apply to the throat and neck for a few minutes, watching closely so as to remove it when the skin is well reddened. No time can be given, as some skins are more sensitive than others. This outward irritation tends to prevent croup.
For worms in children (these do not appear until after the child begins to eat other food than its mother's milk), give one-eighth of a teaspoonful of santonin mixed with a little sugar and a drop or two of water, once every three hours; continue for six doses. Follow with a dose of castor oil to which has been added five drops of spirit of turpentine. The above is a dose for a child of one year old; for older children, increase the dose somewhat. Pumpkin-seed tea is also a good remedy for worms, and entirely harmless. All remedies for worms must be taken on an empty stomach.
Luckily for the rising generation, fashion recognizes the necessity for protection of the neck and arms of infants, and while the infant wears long slips the feet are fairly well protected in the summer, but if they seem in the least cold to the hand, soft woolen-socks should be put on. When short clothes are put on, longer socks should take the place of the short ones. No pains should be spared to keep the legs and feet warm in both summer and winter. "Keep the feet warm and head cool," is an old but wise maxim. If the opposite condition exists, look out for serious illness. In winter let the baby wear warmly lined shoes, chosen for comfort and not for show. The care of the extremities is very important, and the baby should never be allowed to go with cold hands. The baby creeping about, and the children playing on the floor, are exposed to all the drafts that enter through the crevices of the walls. The cold air immediately seeks the floor, and a grown person has only to lie down on the carpet in the vicinity of a window or door to be convinced of the source of many a cold and sore throat. Weatherstrips, in rooms where children play much, are useful; in their absence, paste a strip of paper across where the lower sash fits into the casing, and get ventilation by the upper sash. If doors swing inward, a heavy rug may be placed against it outside, or an old garment. Add to all these precautions warm clothing. When children are large enough to play out of doors in cold weather, good woolen leggings should be worn. In rainy weather, the light gossamer rubber cloth, which may be bought by the yard and made at home, makes excellent protection from wet, and yet is not a burden. If replaced by a woolen garment in dry weather, no harm will result. Every school-girl should have a circular cape of this material. Let no desire to have your children in fashion induce you to send them out with less clothing for the feet and legs than would be required to make a grown person comfortable. The scanty clothing of the lower limbs brings on repeated attacks of croup and various diseases of the throat and lungs. Not only is this true, but the low temperature and imperfect circulation of the blood prevents the development of the parts exposed and brings on a race of fashionable, but spindle-shanked, children. Don't be deceived by the prevailing idea that children of the extremely poor, that are half cared for, and of parents who habitually neglect them, are "healthy." Among this very class Death makes the heaviest harvest; and those who live are stunted by neglect, in spite of extra hardiness of constitution. Of course, to remove the ordinary clothing and substitute lighter for a party or a heated audience-room, is the height of imprudence. At the close of such an occasion, plenty of wraps should be provided against the exposure to the cold air when overheated. Young children had best wear flannel underclothing the whole year. When sudden changes take place to colder weather, see that the children have additional protection before they take cold.
A warm suit for the first short clothes of the baby during the first winter, is made upas follows: A knit flannel shirt, a loose flannel bandage about the body, over the bowels (an excellent protection against summer complaints, if continued through the next summer), a skirt of opera flannel with a muslin waist, with two rows of buttons (four in each row), about an inch apart, one to support the skirt and the other for the diaper drapers, which are made of the same flannel as the skirt. The accompanying cuts will explain clearly the manner in which these are made. This useful garment, either in flannel or muslin, may and should be worn from the time short clothes are put on until diapers are left off or even longer. The cut on left hand of page gives the form of garment, when taken off. The one on the right, the same garment when put on and buttoned up. The dress should be of the same material, and color as the skirt and drawers, and cut in Gabrieile style, with long sleeves. Over this wear a white dress of Nainsook, made plain or elaborate, as may be desired. In summer, this suit of skirt, drawers, and dress, made in Silicia, with the overdress of white, is a safe and comfortable dress for a child, and not easily soiled.
A proper dress for an infant, the first time it is dressed, is a bandage of soft flannel, put on loosely about the body, a knit woolen shirt, a pinning-blanket, made of a piece of soft white flannel, three-fourths of a yard square, and taken up about one-fourth of a yard at the top by a single box-pleat, three inches wide, and caught together on the wrong side for about three inches from the top, On each side of the box-pleat make a small pleat, to be let out as the infant grows. The flannel should be bound with silk binding before pleating, pinned on with safety pins next the flannel shirt, a waist with arm-holes but no sleeves, buttoned behind with a small flat button, and having on the bottom one button in front, one on each side, one in center of back, and one an inch and a half on each side of the last-named. The skirt is fastened to these buttons. The three buttons behind serve this purpose. When child is small, each end is carried past the center button to the ones an inch and a half beyond it, but as the child grows and needs more room, the ends are brought together at the center button. The skirt is made of flannel, seven-eighths of a yard long. The dress, which should be about one yard long, may be made of any white material. Add to this a pair of soft knit socks, and the dress is complete. A modest wardrobe should comprise: two knit shirts, three pinning blankets, four bandages of different sizes, three flannel skirts, three waists, six muslin slips, six dresses of different patterns but about the same in regard to warmth, or better, of same material, checked or striped goods, and differently trimmed, two finer dresses, which may be made a little longer for style, though the weight is objectionable as a burden to the child, two pairs of short socks, and as the child grows older, two pairs of knit boots, and two dozen diapers (cotton are best, having more absorbing capacity than linen), one yard long, and for the first, about five-eighths of a yard wide. Fold the inside one once, end to end, then again from corner to corner; the outside, fold once from end to end, and pin one side with safety pins to the flannel band, allowing it to hang down to protect the legs. When short clothes are put on, fold the outside diaper as directed above, and use one of lighter material, or an old thin one, for the inside. Fold the latter, end to end once, and then once more in the same direction. The outside one is now in three-cornered shape; lay it down with point toward you, lay the other over it, as represented in diagram, and they are ready to put on. For night use, wear a bandage, a pinning blanket, and a flannel night dress, made with sleeves long enough to gather in with a gathering-string over the hands. Of course, no garment should be worn at night that has been worn during the day.