Monday, June 24, 2013

Infant Care in 1831

Monday, June 24, 2013
La Belle Assemblée 1830
Loretta reports: 


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.
Dalby's Carminative

Godfrey's Cordial
The Servant's Guide and Family Manual, 1831

*See here (1835) and here (1970)


Melanie said...

It never ceases to amaze me how far the world has grown when you read old medical books or stories such as this one. This post is a great one !

Regency Romance Author, Donna Hatch said...

These are all very sensible bits of advice that are applicable today. It's funny how cyclic many things are. When I was a baby, doctors recommended laying babies on their tummies to prevent choking, then they said lay them on their backs to prevent SIDS, then they said to lay them on their back but elevate their heads, and now they say to lay them on their sides--so we're back to 1830's advice. I wonder what the next 20 years will bring.

Liv Rancourt said...

Yep, keeping brandy or other ardent spirits out of the bathwater is definitely still a good idea!
Fascinating post...

best infant car seat said...

It's been awhile since i last read old books and stories, this one just filled with that atmosphere. The way you design your blog is also perfect! Very good story to think about and please...keep this up in the future!

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