The period for weaning varies considerably, according to the health and vigour of both mother and infant. As a rule, it should be between the tenth and eighteenth month, ordinarily not before the tenth or twelfth month has been passed. Many infants are nursed for fifteen months, but after, if not before the eighteenth month the mother's milk deteriorates, and the child's needs will be better met by bottle feeding. There can be no fixed rule about this, however, and much depends upon the nationality and social position of the mother. The poor, for reasons of economy, sometimes nurse their children longer than is good for them, and many foreigners in this country seem able to nurse their infants longer than native Americans.

The eruption of the eight incisor teeth, which should be complete by the end of the first year, is often regarded as an indication for weaning. At this time the digestive organs become stronger, the saliva becomes more abundant, and the appearance of the anterior molar teeth is a sign that the child is gradually preparing for solid food.

Usually, even though the anterior molar teeth are cut, the child, if weaned, should still be fed chiefly upon milk until the eighteenth month. It is best not to wean a child during very hot weather, but when this is imperative milk only should be given, otherwise a small quantity of beef juice, egg, etc., may be allowed by degrees.

An infant may be weaned at any time, and occasion may require its being done suddenly, but ordinarily the process should occupy at least one or two months. When the child is nine or ten months of age the bottle may be given once a day in place of the breast; later two or three times, and so on, until at the end of a year the weaning is completed. This, however, is a very general rule, subject to modifications necessitated by the ill health of mother or child, or by hot weather, etc.

The circumstances which necessitate earlier weaning than the period after the twelfth month may be due to the condition of the infant, who may have malformation of the mouth or be congenitally too feeble to suckle, or rendered so by some disease, such as rickets or hereditary syphilis, or the condition of the mother may be at fault, either from constitutional disease, such as tuberculosis or syphilis, from local disease, abscess, or malformation of the nipples, from insufficient or poor milk, or from the recurrence of menstruation or pregnancy.

If an infant be nursed after the mother's milk has grown poor in quality it may acquire rickets and digestive disorders.

The following directions for weaning an infant from the bottle and for feeding during the second year are concisely given by Holt in his admirable brochure on The Care and Feeding of Infants. They summarise concisely a very large experience:

" At ten months the bottle or breast milk may be supplemented by a little beef juice or a portion of a soft-boiled egg. If the bottle is given, arrowroot or farina may be added to one feeding each day....

"A child should always be weaned as early as eighteen or twenty months, but it can be easily done at twelve or fifteen months.... During the second year a healthy child never requires more than five, and some do better with four, meals during the latter half of the year....

"If five meals are given, the best hours are 7 a. m., 10 a. m., 1 p. m., 4 p. m., 7 p. m., with nothing whatever during the night. It is better to make the 10 a. m. and 4 p. m. meals rather smaller than the others".

Starr gives the following mixture in commencing weaning at the tenth month:

Weaning Mixture At Ten Months (Starr)

Cream.................................................... f...................℥ ss.

Milk...................................................... f ℥ iv.

Sugar of milk.............................................. ℥ j.

Water..................................................... f ℥ jss.

If disorder of digestion occurs, return temporarily to the breast.

Holt presents the following table, based on the measurement of forty infant stomachs and the weighing of infants immediately before and after nursing. The table gives the averages computed from such data, but the robust will require a little more, and the feeble will take less food. The measurements are in ounces:

Age.

Quantity suckled at one feeding.

Number of feedings.

Total daily amount.

2 weeks

2

8

16

1 month

3

8

24

2 months

4

7

28

4 months

5

6

30

6 months

5-6

6

33-36

9 months

7-7

5

35-38

12 months

8-9

5

40-45

After the twelfth month three pints is the limit of digestive capacity for food for the stomach for one day. If the child seems to need more nourishment, the strength of the food, but not its bulk, may be increased.

Quantity of Food required in the First Year of Infancy (Rotch)

At each feeding.

Number of daily feedings.

Total daily amount.

During the 1st week

1 OZ.

10

10 OZ.

At the 3d week

I

10

15 "

At the 6th week

2 "

8

16 "

At the 3d month

3 "

8

24 "

At the 4th month

4 "

7

28 "

At the 6th month

6 "

6

30 "

At the 10th or 12th month

8 "

5

40 "

Holt's " Schedule for Feeding an Average Child in Health " for the First

Year

Age.

Number of meals.

Interval by day between meals.

Night feedings, 10 P. M. to 6 a. m.

Quantity for each meal.

Quantity for 24 hours.

1 week

10

2 hours.

2

I OZ.

10 OZ.

2 to 3weeks

10

2 "

2

1 "

15 "

4 weeks

9

2 "

I

2 "

20 "

6 " ............

8

2 "

I

3 "

24 "

3 months

7

3

I

4 "

28 "

5 " ..........

6

3

5 "

33 "

6 " ..........

6

3

6 "

36 "

9 " ..........

5

3

7 "

37 "

12 " ..........

5

3

8 "

40 "

Note

A large child may be given a few ounces more in the 24 hours than the quantity above specified, a small child a little less. A large child may pass from one formula to the next a little more rapidly than at the time specified, but a small child, or one with feeble digestion, will have to proceed more slowly. The hours for feeding should in all cases be observed with regularity.

Chryslie's Table for Infant Feeding.

Age.

Interval.

Number of feedings in

24 hours.

Amount of food at each feeding.

Total amount in 24 hours.

1st week

2 hours.

10

1 OZ.

10 OZ.

2d to 4th week

2 "

9

1 "

13 "

2d to 3d month

3 "

6

3 "

18 "

3d t0 4th month

3 "

6

4 "

24

4th to 5th month

3 "

6

4-4 "

24-27 "

6th month

3 "

6

5 "

30 "

8th month

3 "

6

6 "

36 "

10th month

3 "

5

8 "

40 "

The foregoing tables differ only in a few unimportant details - less, in fact, than the digestive powers of infants differ from each other.

Dr. Louis Starr's Table of the Ingredients, Hours, and Intervals of Feeding, and Total Quantity of Food from Birth to the

End of the Seventh Month

Age.

Cream.

Whey.

Milk.

Water.

Milk sugar.

Salt.

A non-starchy infant's food.

Hours of feeding.

Intervals of feeding.

Total quantity.

Remarks.

During 1st week

fƷij.

f 3 iij-

f3 iij.

Gr. xx.

5 A. M. to

II P. M.; occasionally once or twice at night.

2 hours.

f℥ xij.

Water must be hot.

From 2d to 6th week..

fƷij.

....

f℥ss.

f℥j.

Gr. xx.

A pinch.

5 A. m. to II P.M.

2 hours.

f ℥xvij.

From 6th week to end of 2d month.

f℥ss.

....

fƷx.

fƷx.

Ʒ ss.

A pinch.

5 A. M. to II P.M.

2 hours.

f ℥ xxx.

From 3d month to 6th month.

f℥ss.

....

f ℥ijss.

f℥j.

Ʒj-

A pinch.

5 A. M. to 10.30 P. M.

2 hours.

f ℥xxxij.

During the 6th month:

Other bottle"

morning....

f ℥ss.

....

f ℥ ivss.

f℥ i-

......

......

Ʒj

7 A. M. to 10 P. M.

3 hours.

f ℥xxxvj.

Water must be hot to dissolve food.

and

midday

f ℥ss.

....

f℥ivss.

f℥J.

3j-

....

During 7th month

Same.

....

Same.

Same.

Same.

Ʒij-

Same.

Same.

Same.

Same.

From 8 th to end of 9th month.

f℥ss.

f℥ vjss.

f℥ j

3jat.

7 A. M.

and.

10 P. M.

only.

3j at 10.30

A. M., and 2 and 6 p. M.

only.

7, 10.30 A. M., and 2, 6,

10 P. M.

3i and 4 hours.

f℥xl.

For 10th and nth months.

f℥ss.

f ℥ viijss.

℥ss. of a Liebig food, or barley jelly Ʒ ij, at 7 A. M. and 6 p. M. only.

Same.

Same.

Second meal 10.30 A. M.. and fifth meal 10 P. M., a breakfastcupful of warm milk, viij. Third meal 2 p. M., yolk of egg, lightly boiled with stale bread crumbs; or beef tea, vj, on alternate days.