A Baby should be weaned at the end of the first year unless it is very ill from tooth cutting or the time occurs during very hot weather, when it is better to defer weaning until the teeth have come or the weather is cooler.
Milk as it exists in the udder of a is free from any poisonous or dangerous healthy cow substance but during milking and subsequent handling it acquires particles of manure and dirt which may set up a fermentation or other injurious change.
Sterilization destroys the activity and possibility for harm of these organic impurities. In order to sterilize the milk it is necessary to submit it to an intense heat under pressure. Very simple implements may be had at a small cost by the aid of which mothers who are away from cities and towns where sterilized milk is so easily procured nowadays can superintend the process perfectly and at present the nursery sterilizer happily bids fair to be as common in households where there are little children, as the sewing machine or clothes wringer.
The best sterilizer of simple apparatus is Arnold’s.
BATHING AND DRESSING THE BABY
Bathing the baby has always been a source of much interest in most households. Scarcely any other rite connected with His Majesty. is as much enjoyed and appreci ated as his bath. And perhaps there is one mother in ten who knows how to give the bath properly. Of course the bath is a daily performance.
She who has studied carefully this morning ceremony, before the bath begins, gathers all the articles which will be needed -a low table-on which the small tub reposes; pure hygienic soap, two wash cloths, needle, linen thread, scissors, vaseline, clean clothing, small thermometer, etc.
The temperature of the room must register about 70 degrees, Fahr., and the bath should be always at 98 degrees. These are two things which she is particularly careful to observe. Baby is disrobed and placed in the nurse’s or mother’s lap on a warm flannel apron which she wears. He must be covered well with part of the flannel to prevent expo sure, while mamma lathers his little body thoroughly with a dripping, soapy cloth. After he is well soaped he is plunged up to his neck in a tub of clean, warm water, another cloth is substituted for the soapy one, and a good rinsing is given him. Before the water has had time to become chilled the baby is lifted out of the tub and wrapped from crown to toe in a warm flannel blanket which has a soft linen towel for its lining. Then he is gently patted (not rubbed) until every vestige of moisture disappears.
Great care must be devoted to dressing baby: He must wear the plainest clothing, and its thickness must be evenly distributed, so that no part of his body will be come overheated. Even the charming, little, silk bootees are tabooed by the wise mother and long, woolen stockings substituted, or baby revels in barefooted freedom.
The old-fashioned method of pinning a young child’s clothes, or even fastening them with tapes, has been abandoned, and the trained nursemaid now sews baby into his garments. Pins make cruel indentions on the delicate skin, and tapes are apt to become hard and knotted.
It is important to know just how to carry a baby. Improper handling may result in lifelong invalidism for the child. It would seem in these enlightened days that ignorance is a poor excuse for unwise treatment of babies, yet it is quite common to see a young matron carrying or allowing her baby to be carried in a manner which causes pain to the average on-looker.
Never, when carrying a child, or at any other time, allow it to bear the weight of its own head. The head must be supported, for it is liable to fall over with a jerk and dislocate the neck. The head and shoulder blades should be supported with one hand, while the other grasps the child’s feet, or end of his clothing. This forms a perfect hammock and allows no undue pressure on the delicate organs of his body. Never grasp a baby about the waist, as the pressure, no matter how slight, is harmful.
It is considered unwise to rock a child to sleep. He is placed in his little, white, iron crib, roomy and firm, a mosquito netting keeps away the flies, and he is left to fall asleep. The old-fashioned cradle, with its narrow, wooden walls and soft mattresses of unhygienic feathers, is a great contrast to the woven wire crib of today, and certainly the crib is an improvement.
A great doctor once remarked that bad ventilation deforms more children and destroys more health than accident or plague. Baby should never be put to sleep in bed or perambulator with the head under the bed clothing, to inhale the air already breathed and further contaminated by exhalations from the skin. As well give the little one to drink the water first used for a bath.
Powder no longer has a place in the baby’s toilet. It dries and cuts the delicate skin and is actually a torture when applied to the chapped places, whereas vaseline or cold cream are healing and nourish the cuticle. I made the discovery when caring for my first baby that the more powder I put upon her tender little body the redder and sorer the chafed spots were when the powder was washed away, so I tried something I thought would be healing. It happened to be vaseline, and proved entirely successful. I never allowed powder to be used with my other children.
In dressing an infant great care should be taken not to lift or twist his little body. It should be rolled from side to side as need be, when putting on the garments, but never lifted or turned.
Although the dietary suggested for babies brought up by hand has been greatly improved of late years by the various systems for securing pure milk and foods con taining the proper amount of gluten, it is many times not the easiest thing in the world to find which one of these best suits the idiosyncracies of your baby’s stomach. For this reason the “bottle-fed” baby may not gain as rapidly as the one that is nursed for the first two or three months. After that the gain should be quite as regular. By the time the ” bottle-fed ” baby is a year old he has a decided advantage of his nursing friend, that about this time the entire household is busy weaning. “Bottle-fed” baby is tucked down in his crib with his favorite, nice, warm tipple on the pillow beside him, quietly laughing in his sleeve at the baby that has to go through the process of being weaned.
It is claimed, and justly, too, that the old-time tube nursing bottle is responsible for the deaths of thousands of infants. No matter how careful one may be, these tubes and arrangements cannot be kept perfectly sweet and pure. The model nursing bottle has a plain, wellfitting nipple with a very small hole. It is better to buy them without holes and puncture with a fine needle, heated. If the bottle be held so that the neck is always full of milk, air cannot be sucked into the stomach.
A BABY’S WEIGHT AND MEASUREMENTS
Nothing tells so accurately how the baby is thriving as its gain in weight from week to week. Scientific men have given such thorough study to the “bottle-fed” baby that this tiny development of our modern civilization now stands almost as good a chance as his “mother’s milk” competitor in the matter of adding a desirable number of ounces from week to week to his weight.
At birth the average boy baby weighs 7 1/2 pounds; is 20 1/2 inches high; chest 13J inches; head 14 inches. Girls weigh about a pound less. They are about the same height. At one year a baby should weigh about twenty and a half pounds, at two, twenty-six and a half, at three, thirty-one, at four, thirty-five, at five, forty-one.
During the first six months weigh your baby (without clothes) every week. During the next six months, at least every two weeks. At first baby will probably lose from four to eight ounces, after which he should steadily gain from four to eight ounces a week up to the time he is six months old. Now baby will begin the troublesome job of cutting his teeth, which will cut his gaining in two in the middle. But in spite of teeth he should take on from two to four ounces of weight each week. If he does not do this there is something wrong with his food, his airings or bathings.
We are all of us prone to discourse on the beauties of childhood, and truly there is nothing more charming than the features of lovely infancy.
We recall instantly the little child with eyes so gentle, so fearless and affectionate, and that reflect our every emotion. We smile at the dimpled faces, the chubby lit tle forms of the babies whom we know, but occasionally we see a little child who is a positive distortion of infancy, and perhaps we wonder only that babyhood can be so unattractive.
I happen to know a little child may be physically trained into great beauty, even with the most meager equipment, and every time I see a little tot with hideously outstanding ears, I long to reach its mother and beg her to make sightly features of these almost monstrous and unnecessary deformities.
There is no sense in permitting a child to grow up with aural appenda looking like oyster shells rudely attached to the sides of the head.
Nothing destroys the symmetry of the head as these outstanding and distorted ears. No girl can grow up to be a beautiful maiden, no boy can ever be at his best, whose ears are literally deformities.
Beginning with the day of its birth a baby’s ears should receive attention. If the nurse understand her profession, she will take care always to see that the little ear is folded back against the side of the head, when the infant reclines upon one side. When the baby lies upon its back she will see that even the softest pillow does not press the ear out from the side of the head.
Such care as this will always result in a prettily formed ear lying close to the head, as nature intended. Where the child has been neglected in infancy it takes more time, and it takes more skill to coax the ear into the habit of lying close to the head.
For this purpose the skeleton earcap was devised about fifteen years ago, and is in almost universal use in England.
This little cap may be purchased for a trifle, or an ingenious mother may make one of straps of linen tape held together by bits of elastic tape which allows the necessary flexibility. It is conceded that a straight nose comes nearer to the accepted standard of beauty than any other, and a flat pug nose is certainly very ugly. If mothers and nurses will but take heed, there need be no pug-nosed children.
It is a curious fact, but one which will be corroborated by all who pay attention to the matter, that persons with upturned noses invariably use their handkerchiefs with an upward flourish, whenever they have occasion to use them at all, and that those with turned down noses cultivate the very opposite manner of handkerchief etiquette. Now nothing can be much uglier than the first mentioned habit, also nothing so potent in helping the pug to do its worst.