By many the only test employed as to the success of the diet is the gain in weight. This is too limited a view. An infant may be gaining in weight but may not be thriving. Fat in infancy is easily produced by an excessive amount of carbo-hydrate in the diet, but the nutrition usually suffers. To estimate correctly the progress of a child under a given diet several things have to be noted. The signs of success are :
(1) A steady increase in weight, combined with firmness of the muscles and active movements of the limbs.
(2) A regular and good appetite, and satisfaction after a meal.
(4) Regular actions of the bowels, with healthy stools.
(5) A condition of comfort and happiness in the infant when awake, and regular periods of unbroken sleep.
If these conditions exist and persist one may usually conclude that the diet is satisfactory, and that illness, near or remote, is not to be feared as a consequence of the food employed. The weighing machine is a curse in many nurseries. The anxious parents hang around to hear the weekly report, and if it is an ounce short of what was expected gloom settles over the household. Probably the nurse has made a mistake in the weighing. The infant's digestive powers may next be overtaxed in the effort to make up lost ground. As a rule, therefore, it is better to avoid weighing machines in private work, and to judge by the appearance of the infant, which will be a sufficient guide to any one with a little experience. The steady gain which is desirable amounts on an average to about 4 oz. per week during the first six months of life.