It is very often seen and is due simply to the small amount of residue in the intestine. Under these circumstances, if the bowels move once every day, one should not be disturbed even when the movements are small and somewhat dry. As the food is gradually strengthened, this constipation soon passes off; while if injections, suppositories, or cathartics are used to produce freer movements, the functions of the bowels are likely to be disturbed.
Under what circumstances should the food be reduced?
Whenever the child becomes ill from any cause whatever, or whenever any marked symptoms of indigestion arise.
How may this be done?
If the disturbance is only a moderate one and the food has been made up for the day, one third may be poured off from the top of each bottle just before it is given, and this quantity of food replaced by the same amount of boiled water.
If the disturbance is more severe, the food should be immediately diluted by at least one half and at the same time the quantity given should be reduced.
For a severe acute attack of indigestion the regular food should be omitted altogether and only water given until the doctor has been called.
If the food has been reduced for a disturbance of digestion, how should one return to the original formula?
While the reduction of the food should be immediate and considerable, the increase should be very gradual. After a serious attack of acute indigestion, when beginning with milk again, it should not be made more than one fifth the original strength, and from ten days to two weeks should pass before the child is brought back to his original food, which should be done very gradually. It is surprising how long a time is required with young infants before they completely recover from an attack of acute indigestion, even though it did not seem to be very severe. The second disturbance always comes from a slighter cause than the first one.
THE ADDITION OF OTHER FOODS TO MILK
How long should modified milk be continued without the addition of other food?
This depends upon circumstances; usually, for about six months; but if the infant is thriving satisfactorily the milk may be used alone for ten or eleven months; with some infants who have especial difficulty in digesting cow’s milk, it is advisable to begin the use of other food at three or four months or even from the outset.
What is the first thing to be used with milk?
Farinaceous food in some form, usually as a gruel.
How are these gruels made?
They may be made directly from the grains or from some of the prepared flours (page 149). The flours are usually to be preferred as being more simple of preparation.
How should they be used in making the food?
They should be cooked separately, rather than with the milk; when the food is mixed, they take the place of a portion of the water in the formulas given on pages 70 and 71.