Breast feeding usually affords an infant the best chance for normal growth and development and confers a relatively high degree of immunity against the infectious diseases of childhood. This immunity persists for several months after nursing is discontinued.
Proper nutrition during pregnancy is important in helping to form a normal, vigorous infant and in preparing for successful lactation. Routine medication during the period of gestation is to be condemned and this includes calcium tablets, hormones, vitamin pills and laxative drugs.
The emphasis should be placed upon hygienic living and a healthful and adequate diet.
Avoidance of emotional conflicts during pregnancy and lactation is of extreme importance. Violent emotional disturbances are certain to impress the exceedingly sensitive nervous mechanism of the unborn child. Every member of an expectant household should be informed of his responsibility by the attending physician or obstetrician and then govern himself accordingly.
One or more rest periods each day from the beginning of pregnancy until the end of lactation will be beneficial for both mother and child. Another essential is an adequate amount of out-door life. Stress the importance of the fresh air and sunlight and tell the mother to forget about “enriched” bread and “Irradiated Vitamin D Milk”.
A very liberal diet will prove inadequate unless it includes a wide variety and liberal amounts of living foods–raw fruits, raw vegetables and freshly-squeezed juices. Tea, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, alcohol and all other commercial beverages should be discontinued for the duration, not only of pregnancy but of lactation as well. Candy should be avoided as it is a stimulant, an irritant and a very poor food. Its liberal use will even rob the teeth and bones of calcium by the formation of calcium sucrate which the kidneys excrete. The use of white flour products should be radically restricted in order to avoid the insidiously detrimental effects of nitrogen trichloride.
Every prospective mother who is fortunate enough to discover a well-qualified homoeopathic physician should have her case taken and her constitutional remedy prescribed as early in pregnancy as possible. There is no better health insurance for both mother and child than Homoeopathy.
A real, but largely unsuspected need in the world today, is for an ever-increasing number of homoeopathically trained obstetricians. How much this would mean in the reduction of suffering and risk in childbirth is beyond estimation. Modern obstetrical techniques are by no means all on the credit side of the ledger as far as the safety factor is concerned. The prevailing idea seems to be that the mother should suffer no pain and the obstetrician no inconvenience. If Homoeopathy were more generally available there would be fewer complications during and following parturition and a far greater number of mothers would be able successfully to nurse their children.
If the mother is in good health and her milk supply adequate there should be no difficulty in nourishing her child.
Trouble is apt to begin with the use of poorly-selected accessory foods and after weaning. The only addition to breast feeding during the early months of life should be scraped raw apple and freshly-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, undiluted. These are valuable additions to any infant dietary. The sweeter the fruit the better and the citrous fruits especially should contain no bad or soft spots.
Begin as soon as mother and child come home from the hospital giving orange or grapefruit juice between nursing periods in the forenoon and scraped apple in the afternoon. An ounce of citrus fruit juice and a teaspoonful of the apple will be about the right amounts with which to start. Increase the quantity as the weeks go by. Other fresh, raw juices may be added around three months of age. Carrot juice is especially valuable.
Regularity as regards the time of nursing, while important, is somewhat less so than with formula feeding. Each case must be considered as an individual problem. The condition of the breasts, the rate at which they fill and the comfort of the mother must all be taken into consideration.
A four-hour nursing schedule is often satisfactory with longer intervals during the night. A three-four schedule proves better in some cases. A two-hour interval, or what is worse, nursing an infant every time it cries is likely to cause colic or other form of indigestion. Moreover, too frequent or too prolonged nursing tends to make the mother nervous and consequently reduce her milk supply.
Breast feeding should be continued, unless contra- indicated, until the child is nine or ten months old, longer in some cases.
Sometimes the mothers milk is found to be insufficient in quantity or inadequate in quality and fails properly to nourish the child. The routine prescription of calcium tablets during pregnancy is sometimes a cause of imperfect lactation. Caudal anesthesia and other forms of obstetric analgesia often prove a hindrance to successful breast feeding.
Many people are the opinion that drinking freely of milk will stimulate the lacteal glands. The effect is frequently the exact opposite. Plenty of the leafy green vegetables, both raw and lightly cooked, and liberal amounts of raw fruits and fresh juices will in moist instances bring about the desired result.
When the mothers milk appears to agree but the infant fails to gain, correct the diet, if faulty, but do not allow her to force foods against an unwilling appetite. Next prescribe the indicated homoeopathic remedy. The really correct medicine will prove almost magical in its effect in many cases.
Consult the rubrics under CHEST in the repertory. “Milk absent, disappearing, suppressed, thin, blue, watery,” etc. These rubrics will give one a lead but do not forget the PATIENT while focusing attention on the particular problem of lactation.
Follow a similar procedure when the breast milk fails to agree. Here we find such rubrics as, “Milk bad, bitter, bloody, cheesy, stringy, salty, thick and tastes bad.” Again the homoeopathic remedy will quite likely correct the trouble.
The average weight gain for a normal, healthy infant is about a quarter of a pound a week. However, as in everything else, what is normal for one individual or one type of constitution is not exactly so far another. There is a tendency to stress weight to the neglect of other important factors, such as the general appearance of the child, the relative firmness or flabbiness of the arms and legs, contour of the abdomen, the appearance and condition of the skin and whether the occiput is flat and distorted or well rounded and normal. Note the abilities of the child in relation to his age, also his alertness and the apparent state of his nervous system.
In general if an infant loses weight in a weeks time or fails to gain over a two week period a check-up is indicated. Determine the cause of the trouble and correct it by means of the homoeopathic remedy, dietary modification, or both if necessary. In the case of nursing children either the mother or the child may need the remedy. In any case allow the symptoms to govern the treatment. If the mother needs a certain remedy prescribe it. If the child requires another remedy give it by all means. With breast feeding, if the same remedy is indicated for both patients, the child will be satisfactorily medicated through the mothers milk.
FORMULA FEEDING becomes essential whenever breast feeding is impossible or contra-indicated. Intelligently managed, it can be very successful. It should encourage the physician or pediatrician to recall that infants have been successfully nourished on whole, unmodified milk in some cases and on no milk whatsoever in others.
The objection to whole, unmodified milk is too large a curd formation and a relatively low carbohydrate content. The objection to milkless formulas is that the infant is deprived of its most natural food, a food which the digestive tract is particularly prepared to receive.
It is true that some infants will apparently thrive on pasteurized, homogenized, evaporated, condensed or even dried milk suitably modified.
However their resistance to colds and infections in general is apt to be less than when raw milk is used. The best long term results are secured as a rule when the formulas are prepared with unpasteurized milk. It has been noted beyond all possible coincidence that a switch from any of the processed milks to raw milk is usually followed by definite improvement in the childs health and vitality.
Certified Raw Milk is the best milk the market affords. Unfortunately in some localities it may be obtained only on a physicians prescription. Always be sure to specify Certified Raw as there is also Certified Pasteurized. In rural communities a little inquiry will usually enable one to obtain raw milk of good quality direct from a dairy farm.
For commercial reasons the public and even the medical profession have been advertised into an extreme fear of unpasteurized milk. It is well to remember that milk may become contaminated after, as well as before, pasteurization. It should also calm ones fears carefully to observe a child that is old enough to creep around the house or yard. Give him free rein for an hour and he will make the great Pasteur look like the original bogie man.
Pasteurized and homogenized milk should never be allowed to stand for any length of time out of the refrigerator as it is apt to spoil and spoiled milk is anything but a health food. Raw milk on the other hand will sour and formulas made with sour milk are perfectly safe and will rarely be refused by the child.
The liberal use of the fresh fruits and raw juices is more essential with formula feeding than in breast feeding. If any of the processed milks are used these vital foods become of immense importance and may determine the difference between success and failure of the feeding plan.
The best carbohydrate addition to a milk formula is raw cane sugar, sometimes called natural brown sugar. This is distinctly different from the ordinary brown sugar sold in grocery stores. Most Health Food Stores carry it in stock. However satisfactory results can be had by using a Dextrin- Maltose combination in powder form. This is usually supplied in three ways: (a) plain, (b) with the addition of 2 percent sodium chloride and (c) with the addition of 3 percent potassium bicarbonate for constipated infants. The plain is much to be preferred to either of the others as we do not approve of the addition of any drugs even in low potency to the feeding formulas.
Water is the third and last ingredient of the formula. If the water has been chlorinated or otherwise chemically treated, or is from a doubtful source, it is best to boil it. Pure spring water, bottled water and that from drilled wells need not be boiled.
In preparing the formula dissolve the sugar or the dextrin-maltose preparation in warm water. Stir until it dissolves completely, then add the milk and mix thoroughly. Fill each nursing bottle to the required level. The entire quantity for twenty-four hours to be made up at one time and kept under refrigeration until needed. Warm the mixture in the nursing bottle before feeding. Do not over-heat. A temperature of about ninety degrees is satisfactory until the child is several months old when the temperature may be gradually reduced.
SUGGESTED FORMULA FOR UNDER A WEEK OLD:
Certified Raw Milk 7 ounces.
Raw Cane Sugar or plain Dextri- 2 level
Water 7 ounces.
2 ounces at a time 7 feedings in 24 hours.
SUGGESTED FORMULA FOR TWO WEEKS OLD:
Certified Raw milk 10 ounces.
Raw Cane Sugar or plain Dextri- 3 level.
Water 8 ounces.
3 ounces at a time. 6 feedings in 24.
Forenoon 2 to 1 ounce fresh orange juice (undiluted.).
Afternoon 2 to a teaspoonful of scraped apple.
SUGGESTED FORMULA FOR ONE MONTH OLD:
Certified Raw Milk 12 ounces.
Raw Cane Sugar or plain Dextri-Maltose 3 level.
Water 8 ounces.
4 ounces at a time. 5 feedings in 24 hours.
Forenoon 1 ounce or more of orange or grapefruit juice.
Afternoon 1 rounded teaspoonful of scraped apple.
SUGGESTED FORMULA FOR TWO MONTH OLD:
Certified Raw Milk 18 ounces.
Raw Cane Sugar or plain Dextri-Maltose 3 level.
Water 7 ounces.
5 ounces at a time, 5 feeding in 24 hours.
Forenoon all the orange or grapefruit juice child will.
Afternoon as much scraped apple or desired.
From this point on the only changes necessary are to reduce the amount of water and increase the milk content of the formula. This is largely controlled by weight gain and general condition of the child.
It would be a serious mistake to regard formulas such as the above as anything more than suggestive. Each baby is an individual problem and the physician must use his best judgment in the light of his own knowledge and experience. Some infants will do better on stronger mixtures, others on weaker, even the hours of feeding may require modification to suit individual requirements.
After the child is a month old the most satisfactory schedule is every four hours and five feedings in twenty-four hours. Convenient hours are frequently 6-10-2-6 and 10. This leaves the night entirely free. At least ninety percent of all infants will easily conform to this routine.
If wakefulness and crying occurs during the night try a little larger quantity of the 10 P.M. feeding. If the crying persists a few teaspoonfuls of warm water should have the desired effect. To give any milk at this time will tend to perpetuate the waking habit.
After five months the last bottle in the evening should be omitted. Orange or grapefruit juice may be substituted temporarily. The omission will require that a larger quantity be given at each of the four remaining times. Here again no inflexible rule should be followed. If the baby is healthy and in a good state of nutrition his organism will possess an amazing amount of adaptability and there should be no difficulty in making any sensible modification in his routine of eating and living.
After six months it is well to broaden the diet. Add only one food at a time and see how it agrees. Finely-chopped raw vegetables may be given without hesitation. If broken or ground up there is no vegetable that will not digest more easily raw than cooked.
The heavier foods should be given at meal time so the new member of the household can sit up in his high chair and join in with the rest of the family so that a good time will be had by all. Baked white or sweet potato with butter (no salt or pepper) is a good substantial food, far better than bread.
Thin, cooked cereals may be allowed after six months, yellow corn meal, whole wheat cereal or oatmeal. Cook only five minutes and serve with a little cream, honey or raw cane sugar.
The very best grade of meat, ground or finely-chopped, may be allowed sparingly at an occasional meal after six or seven months. Egg yolk may be given once or twice a week, more often if really craved or desired.
If anything should be especially stressed, it is variety in the diet from day to day and week to week. Avoid, however, too complicated a meal at any one time. It is also of the utmost importance to see that the child is given a large portion of natural, wholesome, fresh and unprocessed foods.
Habits and preference in respect to food and drink can be given a healthful and hygienic direction during the early months and years of life. Why not give the children the best things in life, the best in food to build strong bodies, intelligent and sympathetic training to insure emotional stability, careful instruction and good literature to enlighten the mind.