'But some allege another objection. It is maintained that cooked milk is less nutritious than raw milk. I admit that there is an element of truth in this. Milk is a fluid having a biological character; it is living fluid, and this character is destroyed by boiling or sterilisation. From the purely scientific point of view it is most desirable to bear this in mind, but in its practical aspect it is well to remember that the slight diminution in nutritive value which cooking brings about in milk cannot be named side by side with the immense gain in freedom from the risk of infectious disease and death which is thus insured. . . .' He ends by saying:
'The need for educating the public of this country as to the risks involved in the use of raw cows' milk, and as to the simple methods by which these risks can be effectually avoided, is a pressing one, and it can only be met by enlisting the active services of my own profession. Our influence in such matters is necessarily considerable; our responsibility is correspondingly a heavy one.'
I should like to know the opinion of the Faculty on the dangers of butter, cream, and eese, which I have never seen mentioned. Butter, however, is now often made from boiled milk.
Here is a receipt for boiling milk for butter or keeping: Let the milk stand for twelve hours in an open tin, then put it on the stove, and let it just bubble round the edges. Take it off, let it stand another twelve hours, and then make the butter.
The popular impression is that separated milk is useless as human food. Yet I believe it is now acknowledged by scientific investigators that the nourishing and life-giving properties of milk remain when the cream is taken off, the cream containing nothing but the fat. Of course, to children and many people fat is desirable, but can be obtained in many other ways.
The newspapers of the last few months have been so full of this most interesting question of tuberculosis in cows that it seems almost superfluous to allude to it. Yet nurseries are so under the power of women who, however good and devoted, are uneducated, and therefore bigoted in their opinions, that it is as well to caution young mothers not to yield to what might seem to them the greater experience of the nurse. I did it myself, having as my nurse one of the best of women, who had brought up several babies. All the same, I think now I was wrong; but in my youth the rules of health were in the dark ages compared to what they are now. To-day every young mother should learn for herself what is the last and the most approved theory as regards food and fresh air. On one subject science and Nature go hand in hand, and lead more and more to the belief that the only really right nourishment for a baby is what Nature provides. In the 'upper classes' it has become in my life-time rarer and rarer for young mothers to nurse their own children. When I was young the only women who were supposed to be good wet-nurses were the Irish; and why was this? Because they were poorly fed; they came, too, of generations of poor feeders, and before the days when they could obtain either meat or tea except in very small quantities. In France and Germany the wet-nurses always came from the poor districts, where as a rule meat-eating was unknown; and of late years these women are more and more difficult to procure, though this may, of course, be from many reasons other than Nature failing to supply what is required. I believe that if young mothers were greatly to reduce their ordinary food during the time before the birth of their children, they would not only greatly reduce the common suffering which Nature has had to resort to, so as to lessen the food taken, but the chances of the baby's health after its birth would be infinitely greater. A large heavy baby often loses weight after its birth, especially when the mother cannot give it natural nourishment. This should not be; they should increase in weight during the first month. I was always under the impression when young that a delicate mother, and especially one threatened with consumption, ought on no account to nurse her child. In the lecture from which I quoted before, Sir Richard Thorne Thorne says that 'there is no sterilising apparatus that can give results comparable with those provided by Nature in the healthy female breast, and that tuberculosis in the human milk glands is a disease so rare that it hardly needs consideration in connection with the feeding of infants. At the child-bearing age it is all but unknown.' I extract this because I think it will help many a young mother to fight the opposition of perhaps both her husband and the doctor, who may be thinking, as is natural, more of what they consider good for her than for the child.
I heard yesterday in our village an excellent lecture by a young mother on what she called the 'New Education.' I agreed with every word, and had myself tried to carry it out many years ago. It is sad that what she propounded has made so little way these five-and-twenty or thirty years. Her recommendations were much on the lines of a book first published in 1868, called 'Essays on Educational Reformers,' by Robert Herbert Quick. I only did not mention this book before, much as it interested me years ago, and much as I admire it still, because I thought it was out of print and not to be got.
Now it is republished by Longmans, Green & Co. in a cheap edition (2s. 3d.) and arranged on a clearer plan.
Get it, you young mothers, and read it. It is the most comprehensive and illuminating book that I have ever seen on the all-important subject. It is far better known in America than in England. The chapter on Pestalozzi is perhaps especially excellent. Nature should be helped by art, and art should come to the assistance of Nature.
After showing how children can only learn in their own way he ends with 'Of course I do not mean there is no education for children, however young; but the school is the mother's knee, and the lessons learnt there are other and more valuable than object lessons.' He goes on to say: 'The mother is qualified, and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child . . . and what is demanded of her is a thinking love. . . .' Is it not almost fearful how many children grow up without any thinking love at all?