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Every mother should nurse her child--if she can. There is no perfect
substitute for mother's milk. There is only one excuse for a mother
not nursing--that is when she has no milk, or when the quality of the
milk is so poor that the child does not thrive on it, or when the
mother is run down, is threatened with or is suffering with
tuberculosis, etc. In such cases the nursing would prove injurious to
both mother and child.
When the mother cannot nurse the child, it should be brought up
artificially on modified cow's milk. Formulas for modified milk have
been worked out for every month of the child's life, and if the
formulas are carefully followed, and the bottle and nipples are
properly sterilized, the child should have no trouble, but should
thrive and grow like on good mother's milk. If the child is sickly or
delicate and does not thrive on modified cow's milk or on the other
artificial foods, such as Horlick's malted milk, or Nestle's food,
then a wet nurse may become necessary. But before engaging a wet nurse
great care should be taken to make sure that she is healthy, that the
age of her child is approximately the same as the age of the child
which she is about to nurse, and particularly that she is free from
any syphilitic taint. One, two or more Wassermann tests should be made
to settle the question definitely.
Mothers should bear in mind that suckling the child is good not only
for the child, but for the mother as well. Lactation helps the
_involution_ of the uterus: the uterus of a nursing mother returns
more quickly and more perfectly to its normal ante-pregnant condition
than the uterus of the mother who cannot or will not nurse her child.
It is asserted that the reciprocal affection between mother and child
is greater in cases in which the child suckled its mother's breast.
This is quite likely. It is also asserted that the nursing mother
transmits certain traits to its child, which the non-nursing mother
cannot. This is merely a hypothesis without any scientific proof.
On the other hand, the statement that many women experience decidedly
pleasurable sexual feelings while nursing seems to be well
That the mother who nurses her child should partake of sufficient
nourishment goes without saying. But the advice often given to nursing
mothers to partake of beer, ale or wine is a bad one. It is a question
if a mother partaking of considerable quantities of alcoholic
beverages may not transmit the taste for alcohol to her children. No,
alcoholics should be left alone, but milk, eggs, meat, fruit and
vegetables should be partaken of in abundance.
=Preparing the Nipples.= For the infant to be able to nurse properly
the nipples of the breast must be in good condition. If the nipples
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