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Infant Nursing

Source: 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.

Next: Infants' Food

Previous: Indigestion

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