The Care and Feeding of Children eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 114 pages of information about The Care and Feeding of Children.

5.  Chronic pains or frequently recurring night pains may be causes of disordered sleep, when a child wakes with a sudden sharp cry.  In infants this is most often due to scurvy, sometimes to syphilis.  In older children it may be the earliest symptom of disease of the hip or spine.

6.  Sleeplessness and disturbed sleep are frequent whenever the general condition falls much below a healthy standard; e.g., in infants who are not thriving and in children suffering from marked anaemia.

How are children who sleep too little, or whose sleep is constantly disturbed, to be treated?

Never by the use of soothing sirups or other medicines.  Successful treatment consists in the discovery and removal of the cause.

Do children ever sleep too much?

It is doubtful if healthy children ever do.  Excessive sleep is an important symptom of some diseases of the brain.  Otherwise it seldom if ever occurs unless soothing sirups or other drugs have been given.


Is exercise important for infants?

It is as necessary for them as for older children.

How is it obtained?

A young baby gets its exercise by screaming, waving its arms, kicking, etc.  The clothing should not be so tight as to make these movements impossible.  At least twice a day the infant should be allowed for fifteen or twenty minutes the free use of its limbs by permitting it to lie upon a bed in a warm room, with all clothing except the shirt, stockings, and napkin removed.  Later, when in short clothes, the baby may be put upon a thick blanket or quilt laid upon the floor, and be allowed to tumble about at will.  A nursery fence two feet high, made to surround a mattress, is an excellent device and makes a convenient box stall for the young animal, where it can learn to use both its arms and legs without the danger of injury.  Only by exercise such as this do the muscles have an opportunity to develop properly.


When is crying useful?

In the newly born infant the cry expands the lungs, and it is necessary that it should be repeated for a few minutes every day in order to keep them well expanded.

How much crying is normal for a very young baby?

From fifteen to thirty minutes a day is not too much.

What is the nature of this cry?

It is loud and strong.  Infants get red in the face with it; in fact, it is a scream.  This is necessary for health.  It is the baby’s exercise.

When is a cry abnormal?

When it is too long or too frequent.  The abnormal cry is rarely strong, often it is a moaning or a worrying cry, sometimes only a feeble whine.

What are the causes of such crying?

Pain, temper, hunger, illness, and habit.

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