Another common mistake is too heavy feeding at the time of an attack of indigestion; even the usual feeding may be too heavy during this time of indisposition. It is not at all uncommon for us to dilute baby’s food to one-third its strength at the time of an acute illness.
Still another trouble maker is dirt–dirt on the dish-towel, dirt on the nipple, dirt in the milk, dirt on the mother’s hands. Dirt is an ever present evil and an endless trouble maker, as evidenced by stool disturbances, indigestion, fretful days, and sleepless nights. A dirty refrigerator is another factor which has been responsible for much illness and distress.
Indigestion is often brought on because a nurse, caretaker, or possibly the mother, not wishing to go down to the refrigerator in the middle of the night, brings up the food early in the evening and allows it to become warm–to remain in a thermos bottle–and we are sure that had they been able to see the enormous multiplication of germs because of this warm temperature, they would never have given occasion for such an increase in bacteria just to save themselves a trifle of inconvenience.
Still another common mistake is to use one formula too long; a feeding mixture which was good for four or possibly six weeks, must be changed as the child grows older and his requirements become greater. Let the weight, stools, general disposition and sleep of the child be your guides, and with these in mind errors in feeding can be quickly detected and minor mistakes speedily rectified.
SYMPTOMS OF DISSATISFACTION
Some of the pointed questions which are put to a young mother who brings her child into the office of the baby specialist, are the following:
- Does the baby seem satisfied after his feeding?
- Does he suck his fist?
- How much does he gain each week in weight?
- Does he sleep well?
- Does the baby vomit?
- What do his bowel movements look like?
- Will you please send a stool to the office?
With the intelligent answers to these questions–after knowing the birth weight and the age of the child and its general nervous disposition–the physician can formulate some conclusion as to the babe’s general condition and can usually find a feeding formula that will make him grow.
Vomiting, restlessness, sleeplessness and the condition of the bowels, are the telltales which indicate whether or not the food is being assimilated; and the stools may vary all the way from hard bullet-like lumps to a green diarrhea.
Babies do not thrive well in large institutions where the food is so often made up in a wholesale manner, for the simple reason that the food elements are not suited to the need of each individual baby. Some infants are unable to digest raw milk, and for them sterilized or boiled milk should be tried; others require a fat-free mixture such as skimmed milk, while still others may need buttermilk for a short time.
Babies require individual care, particularly in their food, and the good or bad results are plainly shown in the stools, weight, sleep, etc.
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