Simplicity Of Infant Feeding

Article #1: Simplicity of Infant Feeding by William L. Esser

Infants are submitted to a shocking array of foodstuffs and formulary in an effort to find just the right thing to make them fatter and supposedly healthier. Apprehensive parents and physicians are wont to rush from one “formula” to another, from one baby food to another, from one “lacto” something or other to another, in the desperate hope that they will find the magic panacea that will quiet the wailing babe and make it grow with rosy cheek and gurgling happiness.

The amount of money spent on expensive patented and prepared “baby foods” is vast. Nothing is too good for baby (or is nothing too “bad” for baby?) What a roundabout and torturous way to have a healthy baby. The farmer’s wife will travel long miles to the big city to see her child specialist and to buy her baby’s’ formula in the drug and grocery stores while she has all the essentials within and around her for a healthy child.

We have frequently mentioned the importance of the pregnant woman’s eating and living correctly to ensure normal birth and the ability to have rich, nourishing milk for her infant. We have also stressed the wisdom of having the baby at home at the hands of a midwife or an intelligent understanding doctor versed in the Hygienic method of delivery who avoids the use of drugs anesthetics, etc., not conducive to the health of mother and child and deleterious to the function of lactation.

It is pitiful to see well-built comparatively fit mothers unable to nurse their children, feeding them unwholesome, devitalized, demineralized substances deceitfully called foods. The female of each species of animal is best suited by nature to supply its young with the most perfect food for its normal and vigorous growth. No other animal can supply an equally good substitute. The young of the human animal have not as yet evolved to such a doubtfully happy position that they can thrive as well on substitutes whether they be of cows, goats, donkeys, or some unappetizing vegetable strewed to death in the snow white kitchen of a pickle factory or a chemist’s scientific laboratory.

Dr. H. M. Shelton, in The Hygienic Care of Children quotes an eminent woman specialist as saving: “The finest and most important duty of motherhood is the breastfeeding of her baby. Next to the right of every child to be well born comes the right to his best food, his own mother’s breast milk. Mother’s milk is the perfect infant food; it cannot be imitated; and anyone who advises a mother differently is guilty of a serious crime against a helpless baby. When a baby is denied his mother’s milk and put upon a bottle, he loses half his chance to be kept alive and nine-tenths of his chances to grow up into a normal healthy man or woman.”

A mother who deprives her baby of this most vital link to a joyously vibrant life is to be pitied and shamed for her selfishness or ignorance. Nursing should be carried on for two years or more, not three weeks. Three weeks is the extent to which most hospital mothers can nurse their children. Then the milk dwindles away. They should fear hospitalization if they wish to nurse their baby and avoid disease, plus the pains of sleepless nights and worry.

Mothers should nurse their babies, but should prepare for it throughout pregnancy. An adequate diet of fruits, nuts, and vegetables properly balanced and combined will supply the needs of her own body as well as for the making of good nutritious milk.

If a nursing baby does not have a slow, gradual increase in growth and general aptitude, it is an indication that the mother’s and child’s health is being undermined because of an inadequate diet. The proper nourishment must immediately be introduced to the mother, otherwise the baby will have to be removed from the breast.

There are “students” of various health movements and reforms, who, having brushed against the skirts of Hygienic philosophy, seem to be of the impression that they have thereby become lay authorities on health and its laws. Frequently children and friends are made to suffer from nutritional deficiencies because of their half information. Mother’s milk is the finest, the most perfect food for children—if—mother is in good health. If she is in very poor health, baby should be removed from the breast.

The baby may and should have supplemental feedings of undiluted orange or grapefruit juice within several weeks after its birth. Given two ounces at first the amount should gradually be increased over the following months until it may be given from six to eight ounces by the time it is eight months old. Oranges selected should be ripe and sweet. Sugar or other things should never be added to any fruit juices.

No more should be given regardless of generous feedings incited by baby’s smiles or cries. Young puppies are constantly seeking out the mother to suckle, but the female dog only permits them to eat when instinct allows, otherwise they must exercise firm control throughout the infancy and youth of her children, else they will easily develop the glutton habit.

Baby should be permitted to empty both breasts at each feeding. It should require only ten minutes to accomplish this. Complete emptying ensures full meals at each feeding. If the mother’s milk is unfit for her baby, the next best food adapted to the young digestion is goat’s milk taken from a group of healthy animals. Three-, four-, or five-ounce feedings for the baby will be enough. At the sixth month, the quantity may be gradually increased six to eight ounces by the ninth month. When goat’s milk is not to be had, clean cow’s milk may be used. Milk should be diluted with equal parts of distilled water until the sixth month. Thereafter, one part water to two parts milk.

The controversy over raw or pasteurized milk goes on and on between the phantoms of the laboratory and the naturalists, but the facts remain the same. Recently a test was conducted in New York on a group of babies. One group was subjected to pasteurized human milk and the other to raw cow’s milk. The ones given the raw cow’s milk were superior in growth and I.Q.s to those who were given pasteurized human milk. Had the human milk been raw and from healthy mothers the result would have been the reverse.

Pasteurization is a process which submits the milk to a temperature of from 130° Fahrenheit to 160° Fahrenheit for a period of from ten to thirty minutes reputedly to destroy all harmful organisms. In destroying the organisms, it also destroys the vitamins and nutritive qualities of the milk.

After the first few months other fresh fruit juices such as grapes, figs, berries, etc., may be given in the same amounts as the orange and grapefruit juices.

Milk or fruit juices should be prepared immediately previous to feeding and not for the whole day’s schedule. Food quickly loses nutritional value when prepared in advance. Room temperature is best for all foods given to the baby. Fruits should be left out of the refrigerator for a time previous to the feeding. Milk in the bottle should be immersed in a utensil filled with warm water to remove the chill, not poured into a pan and heated over a flame.

Nipples and bottles should be well cleaned after use but the superstition-inspired measures of sterilization are unneccessary.

So often repeated that mentioning should be unnecessary, we wish to stress the importance of not feeding the baby at night and of not awakening it at any time for a feeding. This will cause restlessness, rob the baby of sleep, and promote gluttony.

How adults love to watch baby’s reaction when they offer it a foreign food! The digestions of most children suffer one outrage after another as fond papa, uncles, aunt and friends offer the helpless little life anything from drumsticks to pickles, cigarettes to coffee, and beer to salted peanuts. No doubt it is “cute” to watch the little one’s face distort into amusing expressions but in addition to being “cute” it is also stupid, poisonous, and criminal,. Infant’s arid children do not crave or desire these things. Adults seem to believe that the little innocents are born with the depraved habits which are theirs. Their bodies are still clean, pure, and undefiled. They are potentially strong, vigorous, and noble. Why offer them candies and ice cream? Why give them spoonful of the food from your own plate? Why coax them into eating rubbish that will destroy the beautiful handiwork of nature? If a man purchased a thoroughbred dog, horse, or livestock he would be most cautious about every ounce of food given to the animal and would sue the man that fed him otherwise. He would no more think of offering the creature beer to drink or spaghetti to eat than he would to feed him a dose of poison. Yet his own child, which should be far more precious to him, he treats as badly as a little boy does a grasshopper or fly as he plucks out wings and pushes needles through the squirming body.

Infants should not be fed if they do not take the feedings willingly and eagerly, they are sated or indisposed and the meal should be omitted. If a fever is evident, nothing but water should be given for a day or two. Every time a baby cries it is not hungry. Look for other causes.

Infant feeding is simple and must be kept so, otherwise the usual diseases of children will be developed. Forget the cereals, the drugstore pictures of fat, adenoidal babies, the strained vegetables, and feed the newborn babe the natural, wholesome, effortless, simple way which nature outlined far back in the dim recesses of time. It is a famous and proven recipe!

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