|La Belle Assemblée 1830|
Early Care of Infants. Among the first precautions are the following:-Every symptom of approaching disease should be watched and reported to the parents or medical attendant of the family; and, in this respect nothing should be concealed or deferred till remedies are too late.
In the daily washings, the state of the skin should be examined and noticed, as well as the tongue, and the appetite, and spirits; and, above all things, all chances of accident, or juvenile mischief, should be guarded against and removed.
Windows should be fenced with bars, or the lower sashes nailed down; knives and sharp instruments should be kept out of reach; scalding water and dangerous ingredients secured from access; ponds and rivers fenced in; ladders removed; and fireplaces guarded by well-fastened wire fenders.
The water for washing the infant, the first month after its birth, should be tepid; its being quite cold is improper, except in very warm weather. It should be free from brandy, or any ardent spirit, which nurses are generally accustomed to use: pure water only should be allowed, as spirits have quite the opposite effect of producing warmth. An infant should never be allowed to get chilled before it is washed.
No part of the management of the infant can produce the same good effect, as its having a due portion of sleep: this is in compliance with Nature's laws. Infants should never be laid down on their backs after going to sleep; the superfluous quantity of saliva in the mouth, while cutting the teeth, is so considerably increased, that it cannot be discharged when they are in that situation, but must necessarily fall into the stomach so as to cause disease. The best plan is to lay them down on their side alternately.
The frequent use of soothing medicines, as American Soothing Syrup, Godfrey's Cordial,* or Dalby's Carminative,* should be guarded against. Opium, in every form, weakens the infant, and brings on the most distressing diseases.
*See here (1835) and here (1970)