The Care and Feeding of Children eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 97 pages of information about The Care and Feeding of Children.

PART IV

MISCELLANEOUS

THE BOWELS

How many movements daily should an infant have during the first few weeks of life?

Usually two or three a day for the first week, and then one or two each day.

How many after a child is a month old?

A healthy child should have at least one movement each day; many have two and some more than two; but it is the character of the stools rather than their number which is to be taken as the evidence of perfect digestion.

What is the appearance of a healthy movement of a child who is taking nothing but milk?

It is soft, yellow, and smooth, containing no lumps.

When are the stools dark brown or black?

While taking bismuth, iron, and sometimes when taking much meat or beef juice; also while taking many of the prepared foods.  They may be dark brown or black from blood.  This last is a condition which may indicate serious illness.

How may a child be trained to be regular in the action of its bowels?

By endeavouring to have them move at exactly the same time every day.

At what age may an infant be trained in this way?

Usually by the second month if training is begun early.

What is the best method of training?

A small chamber, about the size of a pint bowl, is placed between the nurse’s knees, and upon this the infant is held, its back being against the nurse’s chest and its body firmly supported.  This should be done twice a day, after the morning and afternoon feedings, and always at the same hour.  At first there may be necessary some local irritation, like that produced by tickling the anus or introducing just inside the rectum a small cone of oiled paper or a piece of soap, as a suggestion of the purpose for which the baby is placed upon the chamber; but in a surprisingly short time the position is all that is required.  With most infants, after a few weeks the bowels will move as soon as the infant is placed on the chamber.

What advantage has such training?

It forms the habit of having the bowels move regularly at the same hour, which is a matter of great importance in infancy and makes regularity in childhood much easier.  It also saves the nurse much trouble and labour.

SLEEP

Should a child sleep in the same bed with its mother or nurse?

Under no circumstances, if this can possibly be avoided.  Very young infants have often been smothered by their mothers, by overlying during sleep.  If the infant sleeps with the mother, there is always the temptation to frequent nursing at night, which is injurious to both mother and child.  Older children also should, if possible, have separate beds; many contagious diseases and bad habits are contracted by children sleeping together.

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The Care and Feeding of Children from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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