By Mrs. F. Lessels Mather, Central Midwives' Board, A.r.san.i.
If baby is to thrive and be healthy and rosy, it must be taken out of doors as much as possible. As a rule this is not done until it is about a fortnight old, especially if born during spring or winter. Up to that time it is usually exercised in the nurse's arms, by being taken from one well-ventilated room to another or in front of an open window.
The importance of the daily open-air outing cannot be too much emphasised, and it should on no account be missed, unless by doctor's orders, or if the day be very wet or foggy or a cold wind be blowing. A fresh-air baby digests better, sleeps better, and looks better than one "coddled" up in a hot nursery.
For the first few weeks baby is usually carried, but as it gets older is taken out in a perambulator, where it should always rest in the recumbent, or lying-down, position, till at least five months old.
If baby is to derive benefit, and not harm, from its outing it must be suitably clothed.
When purchasing or making outdoor clothes for baby the great point to be remembered is that these are required for protection from cold and chill in winter, and from the sun's rays in summer. Practical utility must not be sacrificed to mere pretti-ness or show. Baby's first outdoor clothes consist of:
Long carrying cloak, with hood to match.
Veil of fine Shetland wool or fine silk.
Woollen under-jacket, with sleeves.
Walking coat, or knitted coat for a boy.
Hood, or a hat for a boy.
Woollen overall garment.
The long cloak usually has a cape which is deep enough to cover the arms. This and the first hood supplied to match are generally made of cashmere, silk poplin, white alpaca, or Bengaline silk. (See illustration, page 483.) A little woollen jacket, with sleeves, should always be worn under the cloak, which generally has no sleeves, and is often more ornamental than useful.
Fig. 2. Walking coat, with sleeves and deep collar
When baby is short-coated, the cloak gives place to a shorter garment with sleeves and furnished with a cape. This is usually made up in fine cashmere, alpaca, silk poplin,
Bengaline silk, fine cream cloth, or even white corduroy (Fig. 1).
The upper part is fitted with a yoke, and the capes are lined. The fronts and lower edge can be ornamented with rows of machine stitching. During very warm mornings, for the garden or grounds, a little matinee coat may sometimes be worn, instead of the pelisse.
When baby begins to toddle the pelisse is superseded by a little walking coat, sleeved, and with a short cape or large collar (Fig. 2). These little garments are made up in all kinds of light woollen stuffs, such as cashmere, cream cloth, alpaca, etc., and require 2 1/2 to 3 yards of 44-inch-wide material, according to the child's age.
For a tiny girl a very useful garment is a Red Riding Hood cape. Made in soft scarlet ripple cloth, with hood complete, it is at once pretty and cosy looking, and is made in very much the same way as the head flannel.
A very comfortable outdoor garment for an older baby boy is a knitted or woven coat in scarlet or white wool, the edges bound in silk braid to match (Fig. 3).
In choosing this it should be remembered that the anterior fontanel, or space between the bones of the skull, does not properly close till the baby is nearly eighteen months old. Also that the bones of the skull are extremely thin. The head, therefore, needs protection, not so much from cold, though it is important that the little ears are kept warm when outside, as from the sun's rays.
Fig. 3. A knitted coat for a boy, bound with silk braid
Figs. 4 and 5. Cosy hoods give the required protection to the head
Then, too, baby's eyes are in a state of active development, and also need protection from glare.
Warm, soft, and cosy hoods are generally worn in winter, and light, shady hats summer.
For baby boys, wool hats may be obtained.
Fig. 6. A close-fitting hood
Fig. 7. A shady, light hat
These being light, shady, and soft, are very comfortable when the child is lying in the pram (Fig. 7).
Light felt or pith hats also are excellent, and protect the eyes and front of the head from the sun.
The headgear chosen should on no account have any flapping frills or drapery in front. These are very irritating to baby's eyes, and are said to be one cause of strabismus, or squint, in young children. Hats and hoods should always be tied on with soft washing ribbon or silk; on no account should elastic be used.
No wires or hard material should be employed in making baby's millinery, and no starch should be used in laundering these items.
In choosing hats for baby boys care should be exercised not to have them heavy or ill-fitting. If so, they may rest on the little ears, and push them away from the head, giving rise to the unsightly outstanding ears so dreaded by careful mothers.
Thus the combination garment, or overall, put on when baby's outing is taken, is absolutely necessary and safe (Fig. 8).
The tiny hands should be protected by soft woollen "baby" gloves, without separate fingers, and as baby is apt to shake them off it is a good plan to secure them with a safety-pin to the sleeve of the pelisse.
Fig. 8. Woollen combination or overall