Infants' Food

Sources: Papers On Health

For infants who cannot be nursed at the breast, cows'

milk in the "bottle" is the best substitute. But all milk used from the

cow should be sterilised and cooled before use. That is unless it is

found on trial that the child thrives better on unsterilised milk. It

is not necessary to have "one cow's milk;" but it is important to have

the milk adapted in strength to the infant's need. If the milk be too

rich, the infant will often break out into spots, or will vomit. A

little more boiling water in the bottle mixture will remedy this, and

often prevent serious trouble. The same proportion of water and milk

will not always do. One dairy's milk, and even one cow's milk, differs

from another; and so does the digestive power of infants. We have to

find out that strength of milk to suit our own baby, and not be led

astray by the advice of other mothers. In health the young infant does

not require food oftener than every two hours, sometimes even every

three. It may cry because of cold, wet, or discomfort, not from want of

food. To overload the stomach with food is harmful and leads to serious

disorders. Its food requires a certain time for digestion, even in an

infant, and as the child grows, the intervals between meals ought to be


A good mixture is two parts of cow's milk to one of water. To every

pint of this add four teaspoonfuls of sugar, and a tablespoonful of

cream. Barley water may be used instead of common water. The water

should be boiling, and should be poured into the milk. The bottle

should be thoroughly cleansed, and boiled in boiling water before

re-filling. It must be remembered that the saliva does not possess the

property of turning starch into sugar till the child is six months old;

therefore starchy food, such as bread, arrowroot, etc., should on no

account be given before that age. Preparations for weaning may then

begin, by giving the child small quantities of oatmeal jelly and

milk, or even of porridge and milk, so that the weaning comes on

gradually. The time of nursing should not exceed nine months. If,

however, a child afterwards be ill, there is no harm in going back for

a time to the bottle, even at two years old. Common sense must guide,

and not hard-and-fast rule. Easily assimilated food must ever be

chosen; and as a food for children, oatmeal porridge, well boiled,

holds the first place--far before bread sops. If porridge be not easily

digested, try oatmeal jelly. Most of the infant foods so largely

advertised cannot be recommended.

* * * * *

It is now suspected that tuberculosis is transmitted to children mainly

from the milk of cows affected with this disease. Cows are exceedingly

liable to tuberculous disease of the udder. It is therefore very

difficult to get milk guaranteed free from the tubercle bacillus, and

recent examinations of that coming into Manchester and Liverpool showed

that from 18 to 29 per cent. contained this deadly germ. (Strange to

say, tubercular disease of the mother's breast is practically unknown,

and children never derive the disease from their mother's milk.) It is

therefore of the greatest importance that only the milk of cows proved

free from this disease should be used. The disease is easily detected,

and if a demand were created for milk guaranteed free from the germs,

dairymen would soon supply it.

Unless it is absolutely certain the cows supplying the milk are free

from disease, the milk should be sterilised by heating to near boiling

point, and then cooling rapidly. If kept twelve hours, the boiled

taste goes off it, and children soon get to like it. Though sterilised

milk will keep for some time without getting sour, it should be

sterilised each day, specially if for infant use.

This treatment makes the milk keep without the use of preservatives,

such as boric acid. We regret to say the use of these is not illegal,

and they are largely used in preserving milk, butter, hams, etc. We

have seen very serious illnesses produced in children (and adults too)

by the heavy doses they have got when both the farmer and milk vendor

have added these preservatives. This they often do at the season when

the milk easily turns sour. Every care should therefore be taken to get

milk guaranteed free from these noxious drugs; and if this is

impossible, condensed milk should be used instead. As there is a great

variety of brands of condensed milk in the market, always choose one

which guarantees that the milk taken has been whole milk, and also