A patient of mine, a native of Macedonia, informs me that in his country mothers nurse their babies two to three years and even longer. A cousin of his was nursed for six full years. I may add that since I started my investigations I have met three American women who nursed their children for more than two years. A Hebrew patient, who was born and reared in Turkey, tells me that Turkish women nurse their children two years and longer.

Prof. Sherman, of Columbia University, says: "In China nursing is continued for two full years and not rarely for three full years. The child thus has ample time to become adjusted to the consumption of a variety of vegetable foods before its maternal milk supply is entirely cut off."

Westermark calls us (History of Human Marriage); "Very commonly, in a state of savage and barbarous life, the husband must not cohabit with his wife till the child is weaned. And this prohibition is all the more severe, as the suckling-time generally lasts for two, three, four years, or even more."

He mentions a number of such people and attributes the long suckling time, not to the natural needs of the child, which nature has provided for, in the same manner that she has provided for a supply of milk from the maternal breast, for as long as needed in the case of the lower animals, but "chiefly to the want of soft food and animal milk."

However, Westermark points out that this is not always the case saying: "But when the milk can be obtained, and even when the people have domesticated animals able to supply them with it, this kind of food is often avoided." He gives, as an example, "the Chinese who "entirely eschew the use of milk."

The Macedonian, previously referred to, assures me that, athough his native people have and use goat's and sheep's milk, they would never think of feeding it to an infant, providing the mother could nurse it, or of voluntarily cutting short the nursing period because these milks could be substituted for the mother's milk.

Wm. J. Robinson, M. D., in Woman: Her Sex and Love Life, tells us that in Egypt and other Oriental countries "it is no rare sight to see a child three or four years old interrupting his work or his play and running up to suckle his mother's breast." I have seen two year old children suckling their mother's breasts in this country. Dr. Robinson attributes the long nursing period among Orientals to the desire to prevent conception. This assumpeion has no biological basis.

Catlin says:--"It is a very rare occurrence for an Indian woman to be 'blessed' with more than four or five children during her life; and, generally speaking, they seem to be contented with two or three." Westermark tells us that "this statement is confirmed by the evidence of several other authorities; and it holds good not only for the North American Indians, but, upon thc whole, for a great many uncivilized peoples."

Catlin also says, in combatting the charge, made by some half-informed people, that there was an enormous infant mortality mong the Indians, "Amongst the North American Indians, at all events, where two or three children are generally the utmost results of a marriage, such a rate of mortality could not exist without soon depopulating the country."

Replying to the charge made by some that the "slight degree of prolificness" observed among the North American Indians, and some other savage tribes, was due to "hard labour, or to unfavorable conditions of life in general," Westermark says:-- "That it is partly due to the long period of suckling is highly probable, not only because a woman less easily becomes pregnant during the time of lactation, but also on account of the continence in which she often has to live during that period."

I hold, then, that the normal or natural suckling-period of the human infant is from three to five years; that the healthy, well fed woman can nurse her child for this period without harm to herself or child; and that, during this period, her own milk, if normal, is better for her child than that of any cow, gone, mare, camel, sheep, ass, or other milk animal used by man. I hold that it is the duty of every healthy mother to nurse her child during the whole of this period and that for her to lay down on the job is to rob her child of its birth right.

I do not mean that the child should exist exclusively upon milk during this whole period. It, like the sucklings of other animals, should gradually include more of other foods in its diet as the maternal supply diminishes.