Always test the temperature of the water by dipping the elbow in it. A dear old Irishwoman was in my room one day when I was about to wash my first baby. She thought the water was too hot, and it proved so to be. Then she told me of this never-failing test. Many a tender babe has been almost burned by a bath in water that would feel only comfortably warm to the hand of the nurse so accustomed to heat that an added degree would be scarcely perceptible.
When milk has been set aside for the baby, use the upper third. The curd or cheesy part falls to the bottom. The upper is more easily digested.
Let me persuade mothers to discard the tubes that come with nursing-bottles. They are a fruitful source of infantile troubles. Many a baby has gone to its grave through their use. No matter how particularly they are cleansed, particles of sour milk will adhere to some parts of the rubber. Our best physicians are now advising against them. This is so serious a matter that it cannot be argued too strongly A rubber nipple placed over the mouth of the bottle is very convenient and comparatively safe. It should be kept in cold water when not in use, and the bottle should be filled with water.
Buy five cents' worth of shot and put into the bottle with a little water and shake it well. Every bit of sour milk or curd will come off readily. Pour out the shot, rinse the bottle, and keep the shot in a dish on the stove-shelf or near the stove to dry, and it is ready for use the next time. This is the easiest way possible to clean a bottle.
After an infant has slept for a couple of hours or more, turn it over on the other side, and it will sleep just about as long again.
I wish to urge upon every young mother the plan of putting babies to bed without rocking them. If there were but one child in the family, and it were known to a certainty that it would be the last of that line, there might be sufficient excuse to devote one's time to rocking it to sleep. But when the first steps aside for the second, and the second is followed by the third, and so on, the mother's time is too valuable to spend two or three hours a day in forming a habit which will be but an injury to the little one afterwards. If it has been put to sleep at the breast during the period of nursing, then let the plan be formed when it is weaned. Feed it, and when it is time for its nap fondle and kiss it as much as you like, but lay it down, cover it up, turn and leave it. It will sob and cry, and perhaps sit bolt upright or slide out of bed, but put it back, if for twenty times. It will not take very many of these persistencies until the habit of going to sleep alone and quietly will be formed, and all parties to the proceeding will pronounce themselves the better for it. Pray do not think your child an exception. Children are very much alike, after all. Of course, it takes longer to conquer some than it does others, and strong wills are very perceptible, even in babies of a few months old. Our aim is not to break the will, only to bend it in a direction to benefit itself.
To Mothers. And now a word to mothers - those of you who do your own work. Women who keep servants may skip this chapter. Save yourself. Save yourself.