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( Originally Published Mid 1800s )
A mother is a mother still The holiest thing alive. - Coieredge.
My CHILD has a right to be born well and strong mentally and physically.
This should be the constant thought of every pregnant woman.
To bear children is the holiest mission of our sex.
To bring beautiful, noble sons and daughters into the world we must live beautiful and noble lives ourselves, for it is as true of men and women as of plants and trees, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
To the woman who has a good constitution and has learned how to take care of her own mental and physical health, maternity has no terrors; on the contrary, she looks forward with pride and joy to the advent of the babe, beloved from its conception.
Such a woman, when she learns that she is to bring an immortal soul into the world, will consecrate herself anew to all that is highest and best within her reach, and will observe morally and physically such a high standard of mental and physical health that her power of resisting all bodily ailments, as well as those of a mental order, will be immensely increased and will be imparted to her child.
The first thing to be done for a newborn baby, when it has left the physician's or midwife's hands, is to give it a bath.
The baby's first bath differs from the succeeding ablutions for this reason:
Newborn babies are more or less covered with a thick, white wax-like material that is easier removed by an emollient than by soap and water.
Therefore the little one's first toilet should consist of an oil bath, olive oil may be used, or vaseline is equally effective.
Apply the oil or vaseline with a bit of old flannel, keeping the baby well covered during the process.
Recollect that an infant is very sensitive to cold.
The Vernix Caseosa, which is the technical name for the white substance, will yield to the unguent, and the baby, when entirely clean, may be very gently rubbed all over with a bit of old, soft linen to remove any superfluous oil.
The navel is best dressed with antiseptic absorbent cotton in this fashion: Take a bit of cotton about three inches square and place it on the left side of the abdomen just above the navel. Lay the remnant of the navel cord upon it with its cut end pointing upward and to the left.
Arrange it so that the absorbent cotton comes under the base of the cord, and put another bit of cotton the same size over the cord.
Keep the whole in place by a soft flannel bellyband. Flannel bands are better than linen because they maintain an equal temperature, absorb the secretions and emit less of the disagreeable odor which accompanies the dressing of the navel.
The cord also comes off sooner, frequently as early as the fourth day.
After the cord separates dress the navel with a little vaseline, apply more cotton and a fresh band.
If the navel should form a sort of pouch and protrude do not be alarmed.
Cut a thin slice of cork two inches in diameter, or even a piece of pasteboard if you have no cork convenient.
Wrap it with several thicknesses of old linen or bandage, lay it over the protruding navel and keep it in place with the flannel band.
Newborn babies require only very simple clothing. Don't weigh the little stranger down with furbelows and frills.
Knitted silk and wool shirts, barrow coats or foot blankets, flannel skirts, plenty of napkins and slips, and a soft, light cloak and cap are all the little one requires be he the child of wealth or humble means, for the first few months.
Fortunately the long, useless dresses and petticoats that formerly were such a burden to mother as well as a hindrance and discomfort to the baby have been abandoned.
I hope it is a long good-bye as well to the low necks and short sleeves that in our mothers' days were fashionable and left the poor little baby with its shoulders and arms as bare as a modish mother at the end of the century in her opera box.
Newborn babies need no artificial food.
Nature provides for the baby and it needs nothing but the laxative secretion which the mother's breast will yield at the first invitation from the precious little mouth.
Nurses frequently insist upon feeding a newborn baby, but it is a mistake to do so, for when the delivery is natural and the mother doing well the baby will get its proper nourishment from the breast.
If for any cause the mother fail to be able to nurse the babe a wet nurse is the best substitute.
The choice of a wet nurse is a serious matter.
The woman who is to enjoy the privilege of nourishing your child should be young, healthy, of good repute and habits, and cleanly.
She should be willing to submit to a thorough examination by a good physician and also by a dentist. It is an outrage to put a poor little defenseless child into the arms of a woman with a foul breath and a crime to permit it to be nourished by a foster mother whose habits are not chaste and self-respecting.
The best artificial milk seems to be cream reduced and sweetened with sugar and milk. No exact rule can be given for this reduction, most mothers leave it too rich and the child's stomach is soon out of order in consequence.
The best plan is to let new milk stand from five to six hours.
Take off from the top; this is what is meant by the "top milk." Dilute the top milk one half with hot water, which should be filtered; to each pint add one teaspoonful of sugar of milk, and one grain of phosphate of lime. Microscopical examination has proved that many of the infant's prepared foods contain too much starch and too little gluten to make them fit for babies, for children have not enough saliva to convert starch into sugar.