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.
Carefully collected statistics show beyond room for reasonable doubt that the most active cause of infantile disease is improper feeding. This cause is particularly active during the warm season of the year, which occasions the immense number of deaths from various digestive disorders at this period. The careful observance of the following suggestions will rarely fail to secure immunity from disorders of the digestive organs:
1. Milk is the natural and proper food for children from infancy to the age of twelve or eighteen months. Starchy foods cannot be digested, owing to the fact that the digestive element of the salivary secretion is not formed in sufficient quantity during the first few months of life to render the child able to digest farinaceous foods, such as potatoes, rice, fine-flour bread, and the like.
2. As a general rule, an infant should be fed once in two or three hours during the daytime and once at night until one month old. After this time it should not be fed at night, and it should take its food no more frequently than once in three hours during the daytime until four months of age. Between four and eight months, the intervals should be gradually prolonged to four hours. After this time the fourth meal should be gradually dropped off, so that at twelve months the child will take its food but three times a day.
3. If the child is deprived of its natural food, a healthy wet-nurse should if possible be secured,-at least until the child is two or three months old. When a suitable wet-nurse cannot be secured, milk from a healthy cow constitutes the best food. Care should be taken in the selection of cow's milk, that being preferred which is obtained from a cow which has calved two or three months previously. The health and care of the cow, particularly the character of her food, are matters of importance which should receive attention, as there is no doubt but that consumption is frequently communicated to infants from cows whose lungs have become diseased through confinement in close stalls with foul odors, and deficient and improper food. Cows milk should be diluted at first to one-half, the proportion being gradually increased as the child's stomach is strong enough to bear it. Pure water, lime-water, barley-water, and thin well-boiled and strained oatmeal gruel, may be used to dilute the milk. The object of the dilution is, first, to render it more nearly like mother's milk in the proportion of nutriment which it contains, and second, to render it less liable to form hard curds in the stomach, which are very likely to occur when the milk is taken undiluted.
4. Cow's milk, or other fluid food, is best given to an infant with a proper nursing bottle. The best forms of nursing bottles are those which are furnished with rubber caps. The cap should be removed and well cleansed with warm water in which soda or saleratus has been dissolved in proportion of a teaspoonful to a pint each time the bottle is used. Both the nursing bottle and the rubber nipple should be kept immersed in a weak solution of soda when not in use.
They should also be cleansed the second time just before the child is fed. Neglect to observe this precaution is one of the most common causes of stomach disturbances.
5. The diet of the mother while nursing is of very great importance, as anything that will disturb the system of the mother will affect that of the nursing infant more or less. Her food should be nourishing, simple, and wholesome. Stimulants of all kinds, whether in the form of alcoholic drinks or irritable condiments, should be carefully avoided. Pastry, desserts, ice-cream and confectionery, and all similar articles, should be wholly avoided. Oatmeal porridge or milk and the various whole-grain preparations, eggs, and, with those accustomed to its use, a moderate allowance of meat, together with an abundance of ripe fruits, constitute the best diet. With reference to increasing and diminishing the supply of milk by regulation of the diet, see paragraph on this subject elsewhere. Vegetables, such as cabbage, turnips, and carrots, together with peas, beans, and onions. which are very likely to produce colic in the child should be carefully avoided.
6. Feeble infants, especially those who are born prematurely, will need to be fed a little more frequently than others, and will require extra care.
7. The interior of a child's mouth, as well as its lips, should be carefully wiped free from milk or other food after feeding, a moist cloth being used for the purpose.