How much of the gruel should be used?
If it is prepared as recommended on page 149, it may make according to circumstances from one sixth to one half the total quantity of food.
Which of the farinaceous foods are to be preferred?
Those most used are barley, oatmeal, arrowroot, and farina. There is not much difference in their nutritive value; oatmeal gruel is somewhat more laxative.
What value do these substances possess as infant foods?
Some of the starch is digested and absorbed; but the chief value of gruels is believed to be that when added to milk they render the curd more easily digested by preventing it from coagulating in the stomach in large tough masses. This is certainly true with many infants, but there are others who are not at all benefited, and not a few young infants whose digestion is made distinctly worse by the use of farinaceous food, particularly when employed in considerable quantity. The addition of gruels to milk for all infants is not to be recommended.
What further additions may be made to the diet of healthy infants during the first year?
Beef juice, the white of egg, and orange juice.
How and when may beef juice be used?
With infants who are strong and thriving satisfactorily it may be begun at ten or eleven months; two teaspoonfuls may be given daily, diluted with the same quantity of water, fifteen minutes before the midday feeding; in two weeks the quantity may be doubled; and in four weeks six teaspoonfuls may be given. The maximum quantity at one year should not be more than two or three tablespoonfuls.
With delicate infants who are pale and anaemic, beef juice is more important, and it may often be wisely begun at five or six months in half the quantities mentioned.
When should white of egg be used?
Under the same conditions as beef juice, particularly with infants who have difficulty in digesting the proteins (curd) of milk. At six months half the white of one egg may be given at one time, and soon after this the entire white of one egg. The best in manner of cooking is the “coddled”, egg (see page 151).
When should orange juice be begun?
Usually about the eleventh or twelfth month; it should be given about one hour before the feeding; two teaspoonfuls at first, then one tablespoonful at a time, and later three or four tablespoonfuls. It is particularly useful when there is constipation. It should always be strained, and care should be taken that it is sweet and fresh.
What is meant by overfeeding?
Giving an infant too much food; either too much at one time or too frequently. Overfeeding is sometimes practised during the day, but is chiefly done at night.
Is not an infant’s natural desire for food a proper guide as to the quantity given?