However well intentioned mothers and nurses may be, the almost universal custom of constantly feeding infants is extremely cruel, and we may be sure that were such mothers and nurses compelled to take food as often and in the same excessive quantities that it is forced upon the baby, night and day, the abuse would soon be ended. The cruelty of the practice would soon be apparent.

Children thus punished sooner or later arrive at a condition where their digestive organs are unable to function efficiently. The constant overwork will impair and cripple them. Then it is that we see children literally starving to death on five, six and even more meals a day. As paradoxical as it may seem, many children starve because of being over-fed, just as many adults do.

Dr. Tilden well says:-- "If mothers could be made to see the fearful price they pay for keeping their babies fat they would hasten to learn a better plan of feeding. Children who are overweight are more susceptible to disease influences than are smaller and lighter children. The fat, chubby baby, everything else being equal, is always the one to take the croup, tonsilitis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, and when a few years older, pneumonia, rheumatism, and other forms of common diseases."

In his In a Nut Shell, Dr. Dio Lewis relates the following experience of his:

"When I was a boy my sympathies were awakened by what I thought the crud starving of the calves. They were fed only twice a day, morning and evening. Eating all day myself, I thought it very cruel to tie up these poor, hapless things, and give them no food or drink from morning till night.

"Each of my brothers had a calf, my sister had a calf, and I had a calf. The others were satisfied with John's assurance that twice a day was enough. I knew better and made such a fuss about their starving my poor little Sam, that the 'powers that be,' ordained that the feeding in the case of young Samuel should be as his owner directed. Upon the procalamation of this ukase I determined to show 'em what's what, and to make sure I fed Samuel myself, and gave him all he wanted once in two hours.

"At the end of six weeks how the rest of 'em did crow over me. It was true, as they said that at the beginning of my sausage-stuffing system, as they called it, Samuel was the biggest calf in the lot, but at the end of six weeks what a fall there my countrymen. Even my smallest brother's little Fan could give Samuel odds. To cap the climax, when we untied and turned them all out together, little spotted Fan went at my Sam, upon whom my hopes had centered as the bully of the yard, and walloped him in no time. For a long time they wouldn't stop plaguing me about that good-for-nothing calf. My little sister asked me one morning at the breakfast table, 'howls 'ep'opher Sam'el this morning.'

"From that day to this I have never advocated the frequent feeding of calves. They do best on two meals a day, and now I have no doubt that some calves I wot of would do vastly better on two meals a day."

At my father's dairy we fed the calves twice a day and they thrived well. I do not recall that we ever had a calf to die and only one or two to ever be sick. I recall an occasion or two when a calf escaped from the pen and got too much milk, whereupon it would develop a severe diarrhea known among farmers and dairymen as the "scours." In our home the babies were fed every two hours during the day and every time they cried at night. Colic, constipation, diarrhea, hives, feverishness, croup, colds, and more severe types of disease were as frequent among the children as they were rare among the calves.

In those days the medical profession urged two hour feedings and night feedings as well. Many older people have not gotten away from this view yet. They still think that children should be gorged until they are surfeited and sickened or else they are not fed enough.

Long prior to this time, however, Dr. Page and others had proven that three meals a day are enough for a baby. Asserting that no infant can thrive unless well fed and assuming that a well fed baby is one that secures the minimum amount of suitable food that will suffice to produce a comfortable, happy, thriving baby, with body and limbs well-rounded with flesh, not fat, and whose growth shall be uniform throughout its whole life, and until the frame is fully developed, he declared: "It is my belief, verified by experience in the case of my own infant, and from other substantial proof, that three meals a day, with sufficient restriction at each, will accomplish this end, and are all that should be permitted from birth, and the intervals should be at least five or six hours between meals."

He assumed, and probably correctly, that the rate of growth of the infant after birth should correspond with its rate of growth before birth. In the case of his own child, he says:-- "Our three-meal infant has doubled in weight at nine months, verifying, to that extent, my theory that the normal growth of infants corresponds to the (normal) foetal growth. She is taller than the average child at this age, and though less heavy than most children, she is more muscular, and, had I permitted it would have become fat, for she has given abundant evidence of the ability to fatten rapidly on three meals."