This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
1. Too frequent feeding is a very common practice, and is one of the most active causes of colic and various other forms of indigestion in children. Many mothers wonder why the children do not grow fleshy notwithstanding they have a voracious appetite and eat nearly all the time, when the simple reason is that the food taken is not digested and assimilated on account of the weakened and disordered state of the digestive organs. Frequent feeding at night is not only unnecessary, but exceedingly harmful. After the first month or two, infants require no food at night. If they are properly educated upon the matter of diet from the start, they can be managed without any difficulty.
In order to break children of the habit of eating in the night when the mothers have been in the habit of nursing them at all hours of the night as well as the daytime, a little warm water may be given in the nursing bottle instead of allowing food. This will often satisfy the child's cravings so that it will go to sleep.
2. Overfeeding is a much more frequent error than the opposite. Very frequently children are allowed to take too much at a time. This is the most common cause of vomiting in infants. Fortunately their stomachs are so constructed that the surplus of food may be easily expelled; but sometimes this is not the case, and often very serious disorders of digestion result. The child should be removed from the breast when its hunger has been satisfied, and should not be urged to take more when it is evidently satisfied.
3. The child should never be allowed to sleep at the breast, or with a nursing bottle to its mouth.
4. The child should never be put to the breast to stop its crying. Children cry in consequence of disturbances of the stomach much more often than from hunger. The child will often nurse as though hungry when the stomach is already full of undigested food, being permitted to do so by the pain or discomfort which it suffers. Children often cry in consequence of the irritation of pins, but no matter whether any other cause for crying should be found or not, the child should not be nursed except at its regular hours.
5. No other food but milk, except such fluids as are used to dilute cow's milk, should be used until after several teeth have made their appearance. As a general rule, bread and other farinaceous food cannot be digested before the age of seven or eight months. Meat should never be given to children until after they have acquired a sufficient number of teeth to masticate it thoroughly, and then should be allowed only in very small quantities once a day. Young children are very much better off without meat as a general rule.
6. Children should never be given sugar-teats, candies, 3weetmeats cheese, nor pastry. The habit many nurses have of feeding an infant sugar and water every hour or two, during the first one or two days of its life, is a practice which cannot be condemned too strongly. The same may be said to be the cause of colic and other disturbances. Catnip tea and similar other decoctions used at this time, are exceedingly harmful, not only disturbing the stomach and giving the child discomfort, but preventing the natural desire for food and depriving the mother of the benefit to be derived from suckling the child. Placing the child early to the breast is one of the best means of preventing "gathered breast" and securing a plentiful supply of milk. The practice that many people have of taking young children to the table and feeding them bits of almost everything on the table cannot be too strongly discountenanced. It is one of the most prolific causes of digestive disturbances in children.
8. As a general rule, menstruation and pregnancy, either of which may occur during nursing, are likely to affect the child injuriously, and it requires weaning. As a general rule, a woman should discontinue nursing upon the occurrence of conception or pregnancy. Three lives may be affected injuriously by a neglect of this rule.
9. Special care must be taken in the warm season of the year of children that have been weaned or that have been raised on the bottle, to avoid feeding sour milk or milk that has become slightly changed by standing. In very hot weather, milk sometimes begins to sour in a very short time. This is especially the case when milk pans or cans have not been cleansed as thoroughly as they should be. If either the mother or nurse in charge of an infant would obtain a "test paper," which can be found at any drug store, and always test the child's milk when there is any possibility of its being sour, many cases of illness and death would be avoided. The process of testing is a very simple one, it only being necessary to observe that when the milk is acid the blue paper will be turned red, and when it is sweet, no change will occur.
10. Another danger to which children are exposed is the use of milk which has been poisoned by standing in pans made of tin adulterated with lead. This danger is now becoming quite a serious one. Infants are more susceptible to injury than adults on account of their weakness and little vitality.
11. Many mothers have sacrificed their children by attempting to rear them upon the various patented baby foods sold in the stores. A majority of these foods are starchy preparations which contain little or no nourishment valuable for infants. Some of them, particularly the various preparations made according to the directions of the eminent German chemist, Prof. Liebig, are useful, but not more so than well boiled oatmeal or graham gruel with the addition of cow's milk. Directions for feeding infants whose digestive organs are very badly disordered, are considered in connection with the diseases in the treatment of which they are specially necessary.
12. Sexual excesses have a very damaging influence upon the nursing infant.
13. A nursing mother should never give way to fits of anger or depressing emotions of any sort, but endeavor to improve and sustain her general health in every possible way by proper diet, daily exercise in the open air, abundance of sleep, avoidance of overwork, etc.