The bowels of an infant in health should be relieved two, three, or four times in the twenty-four hours. 

The stools should be of the consistence of thin mustard, and of a lightish yellow colour, having little smell, free from lumps or white curdy matter, and passed without pain, or any considerable quantity of wind. And a parent is only justified in giving aperient medicine, when any deviation from these conditions exists; and only then, when what may be called healthy costiveness is present, viz. either the stools less frequent than they ought to be, or lumpy and partially solid. Then, the only purgative medicines that can be given with safely to an infant, without medical sanction, are, Castor oil, manna, rhubarb, and magnesia; the application of the lavement, and the aperient liniment.


This is one of the mildest aperients, prompt in its action, and effective in clearing out the contents of the bowels; it is a medicine, therefore, particularly applicable to infants.

During teething there is generally much torpor of the bowels; here, then, castor oil is a very appropriate and useful artificial means of increasing the frequency of the alvine discharges.

Then, again, no purgative can be so much relied on for overcoming habitual costiveness as castor oil; it may for this purpose be given daily for some weeks, gradually reducing the dose until only a few drops be taken; after which the bowels generally continue to act without further artificial assistance. Even its occasional administration leaves the bowels in a relaxed state; a great advantage over other purgatives, which generally cause, after their action is passed off, a confined state.

The proper dose will depend upon the age, and the known effect of aperients medicine upon the child some requiring more, others less:

Under ten years and upwards, a table spoonful. The quantity being more or less according to the facility with which the bowels are purged.

It may be given in various ways; poured upon a little mint water, or blended with a little moist sugar or if the stomach is unusually delicate, the oil may be made into an emulsion with some aromatic water, by the intervention of the yolk of an egg and a little syrup of roses or sugar combined with it. The following proportions make an elegant and not at all a disagreeable mixture, of which a desert-spoonful (or more, according to the age,) may be repeated every hour until it operate:

Note: this article is written in good faith. Please always consult your doctor before taking any action.

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