The needs of the infant so far as nutrition and growth are concerned, are fulfilled by the milk it drinks. Whether that milk be mother’s milk or an artificial formula of cow’s milk, sugar and water, the infant needs certain other substances in order to remain perfectly healthy. These substances are the Vitamins C and D.
Mother’s milk contains these substances, provided the mother’s diet is rich in green vegetables and fruits, and she exposes herself to sunlight. Even with a breast fed infant it is advisable to add them to the diet on the chance that the mother’s milk does not contain sufficient amounts of them.
In the case of artificially prepared feedings of cow’s milk, since it is recommended that the milk be boiled, this will certainly destroy all the Vitamin C. We cannot be sure that Vitamin D is present in cow’s milk. And since it does no harm to add these substances to the infant’s dietary, it should be done with the very first feedings.
Vitamin C is obtained in fresh vegetables and fruits. The easiest available sources are orange juice and tomato juice. A new-born infant should have two tablespoons of one or the other of these a day. They can be given with the feedings or separate from them.
Vitamin D is obtained from fish livers, the most readily available of which is cod liver oil (although halibut liver oil and salmon liver oil are both on the market). It can also be obtained in the form of viosterol, which is a vegetable oil that has been subjected to the equivalent of sunlight.
The dose of cod liver oil is half a teaspoon three times a day. It should not be added to the milk because the oil clings to the side of the milk bottle and is not ingested by the baby. It should be dropped on the tongue, a drop at a time, until a half teaspoon is swallowed, at 9:30 a. m., 12:30 p. m. and 3:30 p. m.
There is a form of milk which is exposed to the equivalent of sunshine, called “Vitamin D Milk.” It has not yet been proved certainly that this is as valuable as the use of cod liver oil. Much time and expense is given to manufacturing it, but the cod liver oil procedure is so certain and so simple as to make this largely an economic waste of time.
After six months the infant will also require pigment, which can be obtained in the leafy vegetables such as spinach or in carrots, or in both.