The baby that is healthy at birth possesses the power and ability to digest and assimilate, easily and continuously, an amount of food necessary to produce normal growth. This rate of growth cannot be exceeded, although it may be and often is retarded, by feeding the child excessively for as many children have their growth checked by too much food as by a deficiency.

Most people have a mania for fat babies; they like to be able to say the baby gains a pound a week. This gives rise to excessive feeding. Most cases of gastro-intestinal disorders in infants are due solely to too much nursing and can be remedied simply by giving the digestive organs a much needed rest.

When a baby is increasing in weight during the first three months after birth from a half to a pound a week it is merely a rolling on of fat--disease--and is not healthy growth. It is always abnormal and is a snare and a delusion. Fat children do not have great resistance to disease.

From time immemorial it has been thought necessary to keep babies stuffed with something, to keep them growing and fat--they must be fat. From the time they are born until they die, the greatest anxiety has been to keep their little bodies full of something. During the first year of their lives, infants are, as a rule, stuffed early and late. This is the chief cause of the great mortality at this time .

After the first year they are allowed more time between meals and hence a less proportion of them die. About one-third of the deaths are in children under one year and only about one-fifth between the ages of one and five. After the age of five children are fed on something like a three-meal plan and comparatively few die between the ages of five and twenty. is true, as Dr. Page says, that those children who reach five years are, as a rule, the toughest and therefore the "fittest" to survive.

Dr. Page says:

"The farmer who wants to raise the best possible animal from the calf, lets the creature suckle in the morning at milking-time, and again at night. He is wise enough to feed his calf only twice and the result is, the calf thrives from birth, and sickness is unknown.

"The same farmer has a baby born, and a contrary course is pursued, with a contrary result. Even before nature supplies the food--before the mother's milk comes--the ignorant nurse undertakes to supply the seeming defficiency, and doses the baby with sweetened water, cow's milk, safron, or the like, instead of giving nothing but what nature supplies, which for the first few days at least is sufficient.

"The dosing referred to results in stomach-ache, and the cries of pain being mistaken for cries of hunger, down goes another dose, until finally, when the mother's milk does come, the child's stomach often is in a condition to revolt at anything. If the little victim goes along for a few weeks or months, it is generally fed every hour or oftener, unless it happens to be, as is often the case, in a lethargic state for several hours, sleeping off the surfeit as an adult sleeps off a 'drunk.'

"It is often the case that an infant is eating and vomiting, alternately, from morning till night; indeed, so common is this that it is regarded as altogether natural. It is expected that the child will 'throw up' continually, at least after being fed, and the nurse declares that 'it is all right--nature takes care of all of that.'

"It is not all right; it is all wrong. Nature indeed revolts at this barbarious treatment of the baby's stomach. Early and late, often during the night, as through the day, the stomach is kept; full and distended, every hiccough is an attempt of the stomach to eject its overload, or evidence of an undigested residue, and the habitual vomiting is simply the result of cramming, until the little, helpless babe has become a confirmed dyspeptic. The mother or nurse habitually flies to the sugar-bowl to relieve the infant's hiccough. But the remedy is worse than the disease and although the hiccough may disappear, it will, if the habit be continued, be succeeded sooner or later by symptoms of deeper disease in the form of so-called cold, feverishness, etc., the result of the excess of food and excess of saccharine maker."

Happily such gross feeding has disappeared among the better informed classes with a consequent improvement in the health of our babies. But it is still all too true that babies are greatly overfed and are frequency dosed. There are no reasons for doubting that dyspepsia which Page calls "the parent of nearly all our ills," is the result of overfeeding in infancy, confirmed by continued over-indulgence through life.