Infant feeding, as at present practiced, is a crime and it will someday be recognized as such. Anyone who will take the trouble to read through the confusion on infant feeding, in books upon pediatry, will soon realize that specialists in the care of infants do not have the slightest comprehension of the requirements of a natural diet. They almost wholly ignore many physiological facts, and stubbornly refuse to conform to others. It may truthfully be said of them, as of the average parent, that they are better fitted for feeding hogs than for feeding children.
The feeding method in vogue is a hit and miss system. It is a case of "try this" and "try that" and then try something else. The mother, the nurse and the physician chase "from pillar to post" and tax themselves to the uttermost, in a vain effort to find a suitable food. Dr. Tilden says, of his efforts with this kind of a system, with which, he says he was as successful as that of other physicians of the guessing schools, "when the guess hit it hit, and when it missed it missed, and I knew the reason for the one just as well as I knew the reason for the other."
It would really be amusing, were it not so tragic, to watch the jumping from food to food that occurs under present feeding methods. A food is tried and continued so long as the child appears to do well; but if the child develops a diarrhea or an "upset" stomach, a change is made; another food is tried. This process goes on until all the known foods, and many drugs, have been tried out. The little victims of this guessing and abuse, who are fortunate enough to live in spite of such handicaps, finally arrive at the period when they are taken off the baby foods and then the death rate is lowered. Credit for the child's salvation is attributed to the baby food that chanced to be used last.
This infantile abuse precedes from a number of sources, not the least of which is ignorance. Parents and physicians are afraid of natural foods. Everything must be cooked and sterilized changed and drugged before it is fit for use by the baby. One listens to their grave warnings about the dangers of natural foods and wonders how man, who was "made upright" ever managed to survive the long period that elapsed before he "sought out many inventions."
Here are some of the drugs with which they habitually dope the hand-fed baby's milk: milk-sugar, cane-sugar, maltose, lime-water, cereal-diluents, bicarbonate of soda, citrate of soda, pepsin and milk abumen.
There are a lot of proprietary baby foods on the market also, such as condensed milks, malted foods, sugar and starch foods, dry milk, and the like.
These foods are poured into children until they develop stomach trouble or diarrhea and then constipation, and then the children are drugged with castor oil, milk of magnesia, paregoric, etc., until neither their stomachs nor bowels are capable of normal function.
Whether breast-fed or fed unnaturally, the stuffing process is the vogue. The wonder is not that so many children suffer, but that as many pull through, in spite of such abuse, as do.
The medical feeding of infants calls for weaning at the age of nine to ten months. They are supposed to begin having whole cow's milk, with or without the addition of one of the cereal waters, before this age. At about nine months, and sometimes, much earlier, cereals are added to the child's diet. Salt is usually added to this. At about this time, beef juice and beef broths are given. These things are fed at the same meal with the milk, a dietetic sin that the child pays for.
At ten or eleven months bread crumbs or zwieback are added to the beef and a little later boiled (polished) rice and plain, boiled macaroni (a thoroughly denatured food) are fed to the child. Zwieback, stale bread (white), "plain white crackers" are given "in its hand" to eat at this time. Baked apple and apple sauce are also given.
Then we come to the second year. Morse-Wyman-Hill say: "the beginning of the second year the baby will usually be taking five feedings at three hour intervals or four feedings at four hour intervals." They also say:--"During the first half of the second year the breakfast should consist of milk, cereal, and bread toast zwieback, or cracker. The orange juice is usually given about an hour before lunch. The dinner consists of broth or beef juice, with bread, zwieback, rice or macaroni. It may have milk or a plain desert, such as junket, plain blanc mange, cornstarch pudding, prune juice, baked apple, or apple sauce. It's supper is the same as breakfast, except that, if it is constipated (and it will be, if it doesn't have diarrhea. H. M. S.), and needs prune juice, baked apple, or apple sauce, they may be given with the supper instead of the dinner. The bread may be given in the form of milk-toast, that is, toast bread soaked in hot milk without thickening."
The parent, nurse or doctor never lived who could produce a healthy, well-developed child on such an unholy abomination for a diet. What wonder that they say "have your doctor and your dentist to examine the child frequently."