Happy indeed is the child who, during the first period of its existence, is fed upon no other aliment than the milk of its mother, or that of a healthy nurse. If other food becomes necessary before the child has acquired teeth, it ought to be of a liquid form: for instance, biscuits or stale bread boiled in an equal mixture of milk and water, to the consistence of a thick soup; but by no means even this in the first week of its life.
1053. Flour or meal ought never to be used for soup, as it produces viscid humours, instead of wholesome nutricious chyle.
1054. After the first six months weak veal or chicken broth may be given, and also, progressively, vegetables that are not very flatulent; for in-stance, carrots, endive, spinach, parsnips, with broth and boiled fruit, such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries.
1055. When the infant is weaned, and has acquired its proper teeth, it is advisable to let it have small portions of meat and other vegetables; as well as dishes prepared of flour, etc., so that it may gradually become accustomed to every kind of strong and wholesomo food.
1056. We ought, however, to be cautious, and not upon any account to allow a child pastry, confectionery-cheese, heavy dishes made of boiled or baked flours, onions, horse-radish, must tard, smoked and salted meat, especially pork, and all compound dishes; for the most simple food is the most salubrious.
1057. Potatoes should be allowed only in moderation, and not to be eaten with butter, but rather with other vegetables, either mashed up or in broth.
1058. The time of taking food is not a matter of indifference: very young infants make an exception; for, as their consumption of vital power is more rapid, they may be more frequently indulged with aliment.
1059. It is, however, advisable to accustom even them to a certain regularity, so as to allow them their victuals at stated periods of the day; for it has been observed, that those children which were fed indiscriminately through the whole day, were subject to debility and disease. The stomach should be allowed to recover its tone, and to collect the juices necessary for digestion, before it is supplied with a new portion of food.
1060. The following order of giving food to children has been found proper, and conducive to their health:-After rising in the morning, suppose about six o'clock, a moderate portion of lukewarm milk, with well-baked bread, which should by no means be new; at nine o'clock, bread with some fruit, or, if fruit be scarce, a small quantity of fresh butter; about twelve o'clock, the dinner, of a sufficient quantity; between four and five o'clock, some bread with fruit, or, in winter, the jam of plums, as a substitute for fruit.
1061. On this occasion, children should be allowed to eat till they are satisfied, without surfeiting themselves, that they may not crave for a heavy supper, which disturbs their rest, and is productive of bad humours: lastly, about seven o'clock, they may be permitted a light supper, consisting either of milk, soup, fruit, or boiled vegetables and the like, but neither meat nor mealy dishes, nor any article of food which produces flatulency; in short, they ought then to eat but little, and remain awake at least for one hour after it.
1062. It has often been contended that bread is hurtful to children; but this applies only to new bread, or such as is not sufficiently baked; for instance, our rolls, muffins, and crumpets, than which nothing can be more hurtful and oppressive. Good wheaten bread is extremely proper during the first years of infancy; but that made of rye, or a mixture of wheat and rye, would be more conducive to health after the age of childhood.
1063. With respect to drink, physicians are decidedly against giving it to children in large quantities, and at irregular periods, whether it consists of the mother's milk, or any other equally mild liquor.
1064. It is improper and pernicious to keep infants continually at the breast; and it would be less hurtful, nay even judicious, to let them cry for a few nights, rather than to fill them incessantly with milk, which readily turns sour on the stomach, weakens the digestive organs, and ultimately generates scrofulous affections.
1065. In the latter part of the first year, pure water may occasion ally be given; and if this cannot be procured, a light and well-fermented table-beer might be substituted. Those parents who accustom their children to drink water only, bestow on them a fortune, the value and importance of which will be sensibly felt through life.
1066. Many children, however, acquire a habit of drinking during their meals: it would be more conducive to digestion, if they were accustomed to drink only after having made a meal. This useful rule is too often neglected, though it be certain that inundations of the stomach, during the mastication and maceration of the food, not only vitiate digestion, but they may be attended with other bad consequences; as cold drink when brought in contact with the teeth previously heated, mav easily occasion cracks or chinks lr these useful bones, and pave the way for their carious dissolution.
1067. If we inquire into the causes, which produce the crying of infants, we find that it seldom originates from pain or uncomfortable sensations; for those who are apt to imagine that such causes must always operate on the body of an infant, are egregiously mistaken; inasmuch as they conceive that the physical condition, together with the method of expressing sensations, is the same in infants and adults.
1068. It requires, however, no demonstration that the state of the former is essentially different from that of the latter.