The Necessity for Pure Milk - How to Safeguard Milk from Contamination - An Excellent Continental System - Type of Bottle to Use - The Necessity for Boiling Bottles and Other Utensils The Baby's Tray and What it Should Hold

The importance of a mother nursing her child has been so much emphasised by the medical profession of recent years that the majority of mothers are quite ready to nurse their babies when they can.

The lazy, selfish mother is an exception, an abnormal person who, fortunately, is not so common as the alarmist would like us to believe. The average mother is only too anxious to do her duty to her child; but in many cases the naturally nursed baby is insufficiently nourished from deficient quality or quantity of milk, and the bottle has to be resorted to. The baby runs more risk of contracting digestive disorders when bottle-fed, and, in summer-time especially, a large number of children die from infantile diarrhoea due to microbic infection of the milk. It is said that 200 deaths per week occur in London alone during the hot months.

The Milk Danger

The first thing, therefore, if baby has to be put on the bottle, is to make stringent inquiries about the milk supply, and the doctor should always be consulted on this matter. In most large towns nowadays one can find a pure milk depot, or dairy, where special care is taken to obtain milk from healthy cows, to ensure hygienic conditions on the farm, and in transit to the dairy, and to deliver milk to customers in sterilised glass bottles adequately corked. In country districts, where the household has the luxury of a cow to itself, the wisest thing is to have the cow tested for tubercle, as there is no doubt that tubercular disease is contracted by children from the milk of tubercular cows. The public is beginning to realise the dangers of impure milk, and within a few years public opinion will demand legislative control of all milk, the food of the children.

A Continental Idea

It is the housewife's duty to see that the milk is safeguarded from dust, flies, and other contamination. The best plan is for the mother to sterilise or pasteurise the milk whenever it arrives morning and evening, after which she can keep it in a covered jug which has been cleaned with boiling water. All necessary jugs, saucepans, etc., must be reserved for baby's use.

There is an excellent system in vogue on the Continent for ensuring clean milk. Supposing the child between breakfast and supper is to have six feeds. Then the milk, after it has been pasteurised, is divided into six bottles, and these are stopped with cotton-wool, which effectually prevents the entrance of germs, and the bottles, filled with milk, are boiled. The bottles are then placed in a special stand, and, as the milk is diluted to the proper strength, all the nurse has to do is to use one bottle after another as the meal is clue. Thus, if the mother, morning and evening, prepares her baby's food herself, and places it ready in the bottles, she can, with every feeling of security, leave even a young nursemaid to feed baby at the fixed hours. All she has to do is to warm the food by placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water, removing the cotton-wool, put on the teat, and feed the child.

The Type Of Bottle

The old-fashioned bottle with a long rubber teat is rapidly disappearing from the nurseries of the better class mothers. Unfortunately, the newer bottle, with teat and valve, is more expensive, and many poor mothers therefore prefer the cheaper bottle. It is impossible to clean the long tube thoroughly. The result is that decomposed milk adheres to the interior, and germs reach the child's stomach, causing regular attacks of vomiting and diarrhoea. The best bottle is boat-shaped, graduated in tablespoonfuls and ounces by marks, so that accurate measurement of the amount of food given to the baby is ensured.

There is a valve at one end of the bottle, and at the other a broad teat, which can be turned inside out, thoroughly cleaned and boiled. The bottle also can be cleaned from end to end with a brush, and every morning bottles, valves, and teats ought to be boiled in a clean saucepan reserved for the purpose. The valves and teats may wear out a little sooner, but boiling is the only way to make certain that any microbe infection is destroyed.

These bottles cost one shilling complete, and if they are put into cold water, gradually brought to boiling point, and left in the water until it is cool, there is no danger of them cracking.

It is surprising how few even educated mothers seem to know the necessity for boiling baby's bottles. The best way to keep a baby healthy, free from sickness and diarrhoea, the commonest ailments of infant life, is to give him clean food at regular intervals, and to keep all bottles, jugs, etc., absolutely clean. Let every mother try the following plan, and she will find, instead of causing increased work and trouble, it will keep things going much more smoothly in the nursery.

A Sound System

Have a rather large square tray, on which keep baby's large jug full of the day's allowance of milk, a smaller white jug to hold about half a pint, which is used for filling the bottle, a white enamel basin holding water and a pinch of borax, into which are placed two bottles, two valves, and two teats. These bottles should be used alternately, washed thoroughly before being put back into the water, and scalded, with the teats, valves, and jugs, at night. Then in the morning the bottles, after being brushed, the valve teats, and the little white jug, are all to be put in a large enamel saucepan and boiled on the kitchen range. The enamel basin is washed in boiling water, and filled with fresh clean water. The tray is wiped over; the jug which has been used for the night milk is washed and scalded by filling it to the brim with boiling water. Two large white jugs must be in use - one for day and one for night. The one that has been used by night is washed and scalded in the morning, and put aside to be filled with the evening milk.

This plan is a very good one for young mothers who cannot afford the expense of buying the six bottles and stand mentioned above. When these are used, the array of bottles must be boiled, and strict cleanliness with regard to any utensils holding milk enforced.