Infant Nursing

Sources: Papers On Health

A mother who has had strength to bear a child is, as a

rule, quite strong enough to nurse it. Suckling is natural, and usually

most beneficial to health. Many women have better health and appetite

at such a time than at any other. Every mother ought, therefore, unless

her health forbids it, to nurse her own child; no other food is so good

for it as that which nature provides. We cannot too strongly condemn

the mother who from indolence or love of pleasure shirks this sacred

duty. By so doing she violates the laws of nature, which can never be

done with impunity. Many troubles follow, and her constitution is

seriously injured. Alas that we should ever have to say, with Jeremiah:

"Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their

young ones; the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the

ostriches in the wilderness."

If a wet-nurse must be employed, great care should be exercised in

choosing a healthy person with a child as near as possible to the age

of the infant.

Let mothers remember that there is great variety in milk. Not only

does one mother's milk differ from another, but the same mother's milk

varies from time to time. Variation in health and diet affects the milk

very much. Many cases of infant trouble are traceable to the mother's

milk, which should not be overlooked as a possible cause.

Again, an abundance of milk is not always good. An infant may thrive

better on a scanty supply of good milk than on an abundance of bad

milk. Milk derived from drinking ale, porter, or alcoholic drinks of

any kind, though abundant, is very far indeed from good, that produced

by plain and simple diet is always best.

Again, the state of the mother's mind has a great deal to do with the

quality of her milk. A fright, or continued worry, may transform good

milk into most injurious food for the child.

There need be no fear caused by these ideas: it is only in exceptional

cases that nursing need be given up; the natural way is always the

best. But where necessary there need be no hesitation in putting an

infant on the bottle. The milk of a healthy cow, or condensed milk of

first-rate brand, is much to be preferred to that of a wearied,

worn-out, and worried mother.