If the labor has been hard--if the mother has been in labor from six to twenty-four hours, and is quite worn out the baby should be anointed with some bland oil, like olive or cottonseed oil, wrapped in cotton, and laid away where it can be perfectly quiet and warm for twenty-four hours. Babies, under such circumstances, are pretty well worn out, and they should not be handled enough to bathe and dress them soon after birth, as is common. Pay no attention to feeding--rest is all that is necessary. In twenty-four hours the child should be bathed in warm water--soft water, if possible--using the best castile soap, or a toilet soap that is known to be mild. If everyone connected with the case will be better satisfied to have a bandage on the child, put one on. I always acquiesce in this superstition--in fact, I acquiesce in all superstitions that are innocent; slight variations without a difference that do not amount to anything; anything to keep people from worry and anxiety. After the child is dressed, it may be put to the breast.
Concerning the wearing apparel: If wool is used, it should be very soft. Linen is better, and soft cotton will do. I do not believe in dresses. A long, soft, cotton-flannel or linen gown is about all that is necessary to put on a child. A change of gowns can be made without tiring the child. When gowns are used, they can be changed as often as is necessary without much trouble.
If the child has come into the world tired because of the mother's long or hard labor, it is perfectly natural for its body to be a little sore. This causes it to be restless, and it needs its position changed often. After the washing, the body should be anointed with oil, and gently rubbed with a soft hand from head to foot to rest it Aside from slipping on a gown, nothing but changing the position or giving it the breast is necessary, night or day. Feeding at night should never be started.
It is a very great mistake to put a newborn baby on exhibition, because handling it, throwing a strong natural or artificial light into its face, so people may inspect it, loud talking, laughing, etc., in the same room where the baby is, use up its nerve-energy and creates more or less enervation.
Do not feel that it is necessary to entertain babies. They should be left alone, to learn how to entertain themselves. Babies and children who have entertainment furnished them make very dependent grown people--the kind who are lonesome and homesick when a time comes, which it will, for them to take a rest cure. Children brought up without education in self-entertainment and self-control break all laws of man and nature, and end in hospitals, penitentiaries, and premature death. Every child should be allowed enough time to become acquainted with, and learn to entertain, itself. All that is necessary until a child is able to turn itself over in bed is to change its position. Eternal attention builds an egotism that is ruinous.