Correct Attitudes for the Nursing Mother. --The best food for the infant is
the food that nature provides. Of this it should not be needlessly deprived. It
is a heartless thing for a mother, for the sake of convenience or social
enjoyment, to seek to free herself from the tender office of nursing her little
The period in which the infant receives its nourishment from the mother is
critical. Many mothers, while nursing their infants, have been permitted to
overlabour and to heat their blood in cooking; and the nursling has been
seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother's breast,
but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthy diet of the mother, which has
fevered her whole system, thereby affecting the food of the infant. The infant
will also be affected by the condition of the mother's mind. If she is unhappy,
easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment
the infant receives from its mother will be inflamed, often producing colic,
spasms, and in some instances causing convulsions and fits.
The character also of the child is more or less affected by the nature of the
nourishment received from the mother. How important then that the mother, while
nursing her infant, should preserve a happy state of mind, having the perfect
control of her own spirit. By thus doing, the food of the child is not injured,
and the calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her
child has very much to do in moulding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous
and easily agitated, the mother's careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing
and correcting influence, and the health of the infant can be very much improved.
The more quiet and simple the life of the child, the more favourable it will
be to both physical and mental development. At all times the mother should
endeavour to be quiet, calm, and self-possessed.
Food Is Not a Substitute for Attention. --Infants have been greatly abused by
improper treatment. If fretful, they have generally been fed to keep them quiet,
when, in most cases, the very reason of their fretfulness was because of their
having received too much food, made injurious by the wrong habits of the mother.
More food only made the matter worse, for their stomachs were already
Children are generally brought up from the cradle to indulge the appetite and
are taught that they live to eat. The mother does much toward the formation of
the character of her children in their childhood. She can teach them to control
the appetite, or she can teach them to indulge the appetite and become gluttons.
The mother often arranges her plans to accomplish a certain amount through the
day; and when the children trouble her, instead of taking time to soothe their
little sorrows and divert them, something is given them to eat to keep them
still, which answers the purpose for a short time but eventually makes things
worse. The children's stomachs have been pressed with food, when they had not
the least want of it. All that was required was a little of the mother's time
and attention. But she regarded her time as altogether too precious to devote to
the amusement of her children. Perhaps the arrangement of her house in a
tasteful manner for visitors to praise, and to have her food cooked in a
fashionable style, are with her higher considerations than the happiness and health of her children.
Food to Be Wholesome and Inviting, but Simple. -- Food should be so simple
that its preparation will not absorb all the time of the mother. It is true,
care should be taken to furnish the table with healthful food prepared in a
wholesome and inviting manner. Do not think that anything you can carelessly
throw together to serve as food is good enough for the children. But less time
should be devoted to the preparation of unhealthful dishes for the table, to
please a perverted taste, and more time to the education and training of the
Preparing the Baby's Layette. --In the preparation of the baby's wardrobe,
convenience, comfort, and health should be sought before fashion or a desire to
excite admiration. The mother should not spend time in embroidery and fancywork
to make the little garments beautiful, thus taxing herself with unnecessary
labour at the expense of her own health and the health of her child. She should
not bend over sewing that severely taxes eyes and nerves, at a time when she
needs much rest and pleasant exercise. She should realise her obligation to
cherish her strength, that she may be able to meet the demands that will be made
Insure Cleanliness, Warmth, Fresh Air. --Babies require warmth, but a serious
error is often committed in keeping them in overheated rooms, deprived to a
great degree of fresh air. . . .
The baby should be kept free from every influence that would tend to weaken
or to poison the system. The most scrupulous care should be taken to have
everything about it sweet and clean. While it may be necessary to protect the little ones from
sudden or too great changes of temperature, care should be taken that, sleeping
or waking, day or night, they breathe a pure, invigorating atmosphere.
The Care of Children in Sickness. --In many cases the sickness of children
can be traced to errors in management. Irregularities in eating, insufficient
clothing in the chilly evening, lack of vigorous exercise to keep the blood in
healthy circulation, or lack of abundance of air for its purification, may be
the cause of the trouble. Let the parents study to find the causes of the
sickness and then remedy the wrong conditions as soon as possible.
All parents have it in their power to learn much concerning the care and
prevention, and even the treatment, of disease. Especially ought the mother to
know what to do in common cases of illness in her family. She should know how to
minister to her sick child. Her love and insight should fit her to perform
services for it which could not so well be trusted to a stranger's hand.