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Ten sex talks to girls (14 years and older) online

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all seen attractive advertisements of various so-called
infants' foods. I advise you not even to waste your
time reading these, but to pass on. Either for the
normal baby or the abnormal feeding case, most of
these foods are of little if any use. Sometimes, if
the baby is constipated, one may use a little malted
food for a while under the orders of the doctor ; but
even here a short course of treatment with a reliable
milk of magnesia preparation will often suffice.




Bear in mind that fat babies are not necessarily
healthy ones, nor lean babies unhealthy. The doctor
will judge whether the baby is getting the right kind
of food, be it breast- or a bottle-fed infant, by noting
if the baby increases in weight a certain number of
oimces a week; by the general aspect of the baby,
whether it is happy and comfortable as a baby ought
to be, or peevish and restless as a baby ought not
to be ; by the character of the urine as judged by the
odor of the diaper and the condition of the skin
around the urinary opening ; and by the baby's bowel

These latter give much information to him
who can read them, for it is true that in in-
fant feeding every movement has a meaning of its
own. I will say just a few words regarding the
stools. In a breast-fed baby who is digesting its
food well the normal stool will be smooth, and about
the color and consistency of not too loosely
scrambled eggs. The movements of a bottle-fed
baby will not be quite so yellow, but they also should
be free from curds or other particles of food. Green
stools are never normal unless caused by certain
kinds of medicine. Loose stools are abnormal un-
less a laxative has been given, and stools which are
hard and solid in consistency, and very dry, are
abnormal also. Blood or mucus in the stools is never
normal. Constipation is, of course, not natural,




but mcwe than two movements a day must be re-
garded with suspicion.

It may surprise you to learn that even young in-
fants can be taught regularity in bowel movements
if the mother is patient. It is to her interest to be
so, for it will save much washing of diapers. The
key-note is observation. If the mother will notice the
time when her baby usually soils the diaper, and will
seat the child on a commode a little while before,
and show it how to strain a little to have a bowel
movement, she will be surprised to see how quickly
the baby will learn this first lesson in establishing a
daily habit of the bowels, and abide by it It is the
same in regard to the wetting of diapers, which can
practically be done away with. The length of time it
will take the baby to learn this will depend upon its
intelligence and the patience of the mother. Control
of the bowels will be mastered first, as it takes a little
longer to teach the child to hold the urine and to ask
for the commode, owing to the greater number of
times the urine is passed.

Babies usually receive two baths a day, one in
the morning and one just before the evening feed-
ing. They certainly should have at least one bath a
day unless sickness prevents. Cleanliness is most
necessary in the life of a baby and for this reason
diapers should be changed immediately on being wet
or soiled. This adds much to baby^s comfort. A




baby's clothes are usually changed daily. The baby's
bath should never be a hot one, nor should the baby
be kept in it too long. It should be given in a warm
room, and the baby wrapped up in a big bath towel
immediately upon being taken from the water.
Never rub a young baby dry — ^pat it dry.

Babies should be weighed at least twice a week,
but never immediately after a feeding, because there
is an increase in weight at this time. This is one way
to estimate how much milk a baby who is breast-
fed gets at a nursing; weigh him before and after.
The difference in weight is the amount of milk the
baby took at the nursing.

During the first few weeks of life the main busi-
ness of the baby is eating and sleeping, and the less
handling and other attention it receives the better.
Subsequently there will be times when the baby is
neither eating nor sleeping, and it may then with
advantage be carried about a little; but never pick
it up when it is crying to be taken up or to hush its
crying, for just as soon as a baby learns that it can
have what it wants by crying for it you have a
spoiled child on your hands. Baby must be willing
to lie quiet when you want him to or later to sit in
a chair, to amuse himself, and to be happy if you
walk about with him when you can.

Coming back to the question of food, I will say
that when the baby attains the dignity of seven or




eight months of age, fresh orange juice can be given
him about an hour and a half after the first morning
feeding; of course the juice must be sweet. The
amount should at first be about two teaspoonfuls
and this can be gradually increased. At about eight
to nine months of age, a baby is usually given beef
juice, not beef tea, and strained oat-meal, at first
in small quantities, to be gradually increased, and
given on alternate days immediately before the mid-
day feeding. Do not increase too quickly. It is not
the quantity that you give a baby that counts, but
what it digests.

From about the sixth to the eighth month, baby
usually cuts some teeth, and the two lower middle
incisors make their bow to the world in the baby's
mouth. Now the fact that the baby has a few teeth
does not mean that it is ready to join the family at
table and to eat everything and anything that the
others do. Far from it ! The feedings must be just
as carefully regulated as before. I am never in a
hurry to give a baby solid food. " Make haste
slowly" is a good rule in infant feeding. Soon
after the baby becomes accustomed to beef juice, I
permit mutton broth and chicken broth. At present I
shall limit my talks to the first year of the baby's life.

Food for the baby must always be of the freshest
and best. When in doubt as to whether it is good or
bad, throw it away or, at any rate, do not give it




to the baby; this is the safest plan. Test the con-
tents of the bottle, and later of the cup, before every
feeding. Be sure that the food is good by actually
tasting it. Do not, however, put the nipple of the
bottle to your own mouth, nor the bottle, nor the cup
itself, but pour a little into a spoon and taste this.
Your mouth may be clean, but the chances are that
it is not so from a medical standpoint, and, besides,
you would not like to use the unwashed fork of
another. Do you see the point?

The bottles in which the baby's milk is kept must
be washed clean every day, and then boiled for
fifteen minutes after the water has come to a
boil. The nipples for the bottles, after a pre-
liminary boiling, must be kept in boric acid solu-
tion when not in use. When the mother nurses
her baby, her nipples should be gently bathed
with boric acid solution before each feeding, and the
baby's mouth also washed out very gently with a
swab soaked in boric acid solution; this should not
be so wet as to drip liquid into the baby's throat In
summer, particularly, must great care be given to the
baby's food and its containers. If flies get on food
for babies or anybody else, it is dangerous to health.
The best time to be careful is every day, whether it
be spring, summer, autumn or winter.

Bottle-fed babies should have fresh boiled water
which has been cooled, or stone-filtered water, sev-




eral times a day between feedings. Fresh air is good
for babies as well as for grown-up folks, by night as
well as by day, and they should have plenty of it;
but I see no sense in exposing them to extreme
weather of any kind with the idea of toughening
them, for they sometimes may succumb to, and die
during, the hardening process.

Be moderate. Do not overdress nor underdress
babies. Keep them warm and comfortable, and pro-
tect the extremities, but do not muffle up their
throats. Do not take them here, there, and every-
where; you may enjoy it, but the baby will not
thrive on it. Do not continually jolt the child or toss
it about ; the baby is not a toy, nor yet a medicine bot-
tle with a " shake well " label on it. Excitement and
shodcs are bad for the developing nervous system of
the child. Never scream at a child in great anger,
nor scold it for trivial, or even great things. There
is no sense in wredcing a child's nervous system in
order to coirect it.

So far as possible keep your babies out of crowds
and badly ventilated places, such as stores, factories,
etc. Strange as it n^ay seem, babies do not enjoy
moving picture shows and like entertainments, and
a carriage ride in the fresh air is far more beneficial
to the health and gives them an appetite.

Babies thrive on love and the right kind of at-
tention, but may pine and fade away without it.


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They were made to be loved, hugged, and kissed in
a nice, quiet way, without getting them unduly ex-
cited, but should never be kissed on the mouth. Babies
were not given to their mothers to be turned over to
the care of nurse-maids of more or less experience
so that the mothers can attend to their so-called
social duties — such a misuse of the word duty, by
the way — or suffragette campaigns. The real wife
and mother can exert a greater political influence
than our would-be female voters.

I cannot understand how a mother can be willing
to entrust to a perfect stranger the " mother-duty "
of her child, a duty that should be to her both a
pleasure and joy. I cannot understand how she can
be willing that a strange woman should receive most
of the baby love and caresses of the little human
flower with which God has blessed her husband and
herself. I cannot see how she can be willing that
this part of herself should be reared, practically, by
a stranger ; but, then, I suppose I am hopelessly old-
fashioned, and it was my good fortune to marry a
wife who is also old-fashioned in this regard. My
babies have had the mother-love that was their right,
and were not cheated out of it by " social and politi-
cal" engagements.

It IS noble to be a club-woman working for some
good purpose, but the proper care of her own chil-
dren should be a purpose high enough for any




woman. It is not, of course, a work which will make
your name appear in the newspapers in double-
leaded type, or your pictiu-e (for a price) in the
periodicals, but it is of real importance to your hus-
band, your children, our nation, and the world at
large. After the children have received daily atten-
tion and are properly trained, any spare time the
mother has can be devoted to her own pursuits.

If each and every mother would give her sons
and daughters proper home training many of the
evils that the women's clubs are seeking to redress
would cease to exist, because of the highmindedness
of their sons and daughters, and the generally im-
proved character of the coming generation. Re-
form, like charity, should begin at home. Let the
mothers learn where their sons spend their even-
ings and other spare hours, who are their men and
women companions, and how the time is spent. Let
them exercise the same careful supervision over their
daughters. The lot of the working girl can be made
better by better pay with shorter working hours, by
decent places to work in and better people to work
for, just as well as by working girls' clubs, supported
as a hobby, by women whose husbands may be bad
employers in more ways than one, so far as consid-
eration for their employees goes.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not condemning
worthy and commendable social work, but merely




cx)nimenting on some phases of the situation. Can-
not the wives of these men do better reform work
in their homes by endeavoring to elevate their own
husbands' standards concerning humanity, and also
by cultivating in their own children higher ideals in
this respect?

The same applies to the poor mother so far as
making her home a centre goes. Instead of being
a neighborhood gossip, with her home the meeting
place for the neighborhood scandal-mongers, let her
efforts be to help her husband, and to stimulate him
to rise from baser surroundings and thoughts to
higher levels. Let her make her home attractive
to him and to his friends. Let her efforts be to make
her growing children real men and women, instead
of mere people, as so many are. In her efforts to
aid and elevate her husband and their children, she
cannot but elevate herself.

Mothers should dress their little children in such
a way that there can be no accidental exposure of
their persons while at play in their homes or on the
street, and the child can be taught very early to be
modest in behavior, and to allow no one but its
mother ever to touch the private parts of its body.

Sometimes, a little girl who is unconscious of
wrong in exposing her person, may also be unaware
that it is wrong to allow her sexual parts to be han-
dled by men or boys or other girls or women. This




is important, not merely because of the handling, but
because among a certain foreign part of our popula-
tion there is a dangerous superstition that if a male
suffering from gonorrhoea tampers with a virgin his
gonorrhoea will be cured, and the virgin most easily
secured for such a purpose is the unsuspecting little

Guard the little ones in early life, and try to
strengthen them morally by training them to modest
behavior. Do not think that I exaggerate when I
speak of this tampering with little girls. If you ask
any physician about gonorrhoea in little girls you will
be surprised to learn how much of it there is.


I. When should the management of a child begin, and why?
II. What are the usual intervals b^ween feedings for a
new-born baby ?

III. How can the hours for sleep be arranged?

IV. As the baby grows older how must the feeding and

sleeping schedules be changed?

V. Upon what do these changes depend?

VI. WTiat is the only proper food for the infant? What
should be avoided?

VII. Under what conditions might breast milk be injurious

for the baby? Explain fully.

VIII. By what does the doctor judge as to whether the child

is getting proper food?

IX. Discuss the importance of cleanliness in all that pertains
to the care of the baby.

X. Discuss the importance of early training in modest be-



Continuing our talk in the last chapter, we shall
again discuss the infant. Baby's sleeping quarters
should be the best in the house, the room moderately
c(X)l and well aired both night and day. Baby should
always sleep alone — ^never under any circumstances
in the same bed with the mother or father. Baby,
like yourself, should never occupy a bed which has
been used by another without an entire change of
linen. Venereal and other diseases can be con-
tracted from soiled bedding.

The fewer the people who kiss or handle the baby
the better, and I have already told you that it should
never be kissed on the mouth. Infants are best se-
cluded from too close association with other chil-
dren, because they are apt to " catch '* catarrhal and
other infectious diseases from them.

Such things as pacifiers, mouth rings, and other
instruments for baby to suck are uncomfortable, in-
jurious to the health, and must positively not be al-
lowed. I know that advertisements of these various
devices, made principally for the financial benefit of
the manufacturer, set forth in glowing terms all that
they will do for the baby, most of which they do not
do, but here are a few things for which I give them
12 177




unlimited credit: They help the development of ade-
noids, upset the digestion, and are great carriers of
germs to the baby's mouth.

I have already advised you not to use infant
foods, and I want to urge you, still more emphat-
ically, never to give so-called "soothing syrups,"
for after a dose of one of these poisonous concoc-
tions or mixtures there is always the chance that the
little one may sleep on forever in that deep eternal
sleep that knows no awakening in this world. They
are wo fully misnamed ; they should be called " baby-
killers." Babies do not need soothing syrups, be-
cause, if they are not spoiled, they do not fret or cry
hard imless something is wrong with them, and
this should be corrected instead of giving " poison "
to the baby. Spoiled babies, too, do not need
poisonous drugs to quiet them, but proper training
to correct their peevishness. No soothing S3nrups
are harmless ; for unless they contain certain drugs,
they cannot stupefy the baby into quietness.

Do not give the little one tea, coffee, soda water,
seltzer, vichy, beer, ale, porter, or liquor of any kind
with the idea that you are strengthening the child;
for you are not only doing the reverse, but are actu-
ally harming it. Milk is the best and proper food
for any baby first, last, and all the time.

Do not try to force the baby's development for
the sake of having him outdo the neighbor's baby.




Observations extending over many years have shown
that at certain ages babies do certain things or de-
velop certain abiHties, and if any baby advances
along these lines the parents need not worry. Even
if the baby fails to develop normally do not worry,
but consult your family physician, and he will rectify
the defect if it be one that comes within the powers
of medicine.

Do not, under any circumstances, try to be your
own doctor, and experiment on the baby with home-
made remedies or the so-called patent medicines to
be found in such profusion at the corner drug store.
If it were so easy to treat sick babies, doctors would
not have to make a life study of their profession in
order to keep abreast of the medical world. You
know that good doctors are continual students of
medicine, for to stop studying is to be unworthy of
the trust reposed in them by their patients. More-
over, if it were easy for untrained persons and
patent medicine manufacturers to understand and
treat the baby's ailments, the death-rate among
babies would not be so disgracefully high as it now
is. Rest assured that, when the child of the corner
druggist or of the patent medicine manufacturer is
ill, the doctor is consulted. Such men want skilled
advice, and not home-made or ready-made cure-alls.

It is a matter of regret that some doctors know
so little about babies, for babies and children are the




most intelligent and interesting patients a doctor can
have; at least I think so, and my work in the chil-
dren's clinics has always been a source of great pleas-
ure to me. To those who study them even the vari-
ous cries of the baby are significant, some indicating
pain, some himger, some temper, etc.

Remember that cutting teeth is a normal func-
tion, and rarely disturbs a baby much ; so, if the baby
is not well at about the time he is getting teeth, do
not just say " teeth," and let it go at that. There is
usually something wrong which should have prompt
attention. And, speaking of teeth, I want to say
here that it is very essential for the first teeth of
children to be taken care of. The use of a tooth-
brush and powder must be taught to a child as early
as possible. It is never too early to start ; but imtil
the child is old enough to clean his teeth, it is the
duty of the mother to do it for him.

Do not let the baby be constipated. Serious re-
sults may follow constipation, not the least serious
of which are convulsions. The use of the rectal
syringe, or of glycerine suppositories daily, is in-
jurious. The bowels are best regulated by proper
food, and until the daily habit is firmly established,
the use of a good preparation of milk of magnesia in
suitable doses is allowable, but it should be stopped
as soon as possible. Castor oil is good for a gen-
eral cleaning out, in both adults and babies, but used




habitually it causes constipation. Small doses of
calomel can also be used in children for a general
cleansing of the bowels.

In the summer time, care must be taken not to
overclothe the baby, nor to expose the child unneces-
sarily to the direct rays of the sim or to extreme heat.
Remember that frequent cool sponging is very ac-
ceptable even to small infants when the thermom-
eter is approaching the boiling point. If the baby,
at its regular feeding times, shows an inclination to
leave some of its food, do not urge it upon the child.
You know that when it is hot you do not always
feel like eating your usual meals. Give the baby
plenty of cool boiled water to drink, however, be-
tween the feeding hours. Keep him out in the fresh
air as much as you can, both in winter and summer,
but whereas during the winter you seek sunny spots
protected from the wind, in the summer you seek
shade and cooling breezes for the baby.

Have I already told you to be particularly care-
ful about baby's food in the summer? Well, this
truth will bear much repeating, so I will tell you it
again. Before any food, whether liquid or solid,
be given to an infant or young child, let it be thor-
oughly examined and tasted to ascertain that it is
perfectly good. It is so easy to prevent diarrhceal
disease in babies and young children in the summer,
so much easier than to cure them, that it is worth




while to take all preventive measures. Remember
" an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Many a household, whose sunshine vanished
when the baby died, would still have been happy had
some simple precautions been taken instead of leav-
ing things to chance. Unfortunately, even doctors
must sometimes fail in their efforts. Vain regrets
and broken hearts do not bring back the little ones
who have passed into the " Great Beyond." When
you attain the dignity and honor of motherhood, pro-
tect your baby. In case of diarrhoea or indigestion
stop all food at once, administer either castor oil or
calomel, preferably the former, and send for the
doctor. One visit early may save many visits later.

When babies begin to crawl, they should not be
allowed to indulge in this healthful pleasure on the
bare floor or even a covered one. A large mat, pref-
erably of washable material, should be put on the
floor, and their activities in the crawling line should
be limited to this specially covered place. The rea-
sons for this are very simple. All floors, covered
and uncovered, are dirty and full of germs. They
could not be otherwise, even in the cleanest of homes,
since every one walks over them, no matter where
they have been. Some of this dirt and its germ con-
tents will ultimately find their way into the baby's
mouth if it crawls oVer the floor. You can readily
see, therefore, how liable the baby is to get some


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disease if it is allowed to crawl around indiscrimi-
nately. Moreover, with its own special mat to crawl
on, there is no danger of baby finding some stray
article, such as a pin or a nail, to put into its mouth
and swallow before the mother can see what it is

As regards the putting of things into the mouth,
including its own thumbs and fingers, this habit can
be checked in children quite early by constant effort
on the part of the mother or the one who has the
baby in charge. Teach the baby that all things, in-
cluding its own fingers, were not meant for the
mouth, by removing the fingers promptly if they are
found there, and by stopping anything else from get-
ting there if you see it on the way. Constant, patient
repetition finally convinces baby that this is wrong,
and the habit is checked. It is much easier to break
up the baby's habit of putting other things than its
own fingers in its mouth. As the consequences of
this habit are sometimes serious, it is well to break
it up as soon as is possible.

Another habit of babies which must be stopped
promptly is the one which most of them have of

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Online LibraryIrving David SteinhardtTen sex talks to girls (14 years and older) → online text (page 10 of 11)