Imagens das páginas
PDF
[table]

With these facts before us, which are sufficient to prove the extent of the influence exercised by education or hygiene on man and animals, it may be asked, if it is possible that the human species can have so little regard for their preservation, as not to put in force, on their own account, the means which they employ for the preservation and improvement of the animal race. We are astonished at not observing the art of bringing up children, cultivated in a special manner, similar to that of rearing domestic animals. We are, moreover, surprised at finding how little is known concerning the hygiene of infants, and how much the precepts relating to their education are neglected by medical * B

[graphic]

A PRACTICAL TREATISE

THE DISEASES OF NEW-BORN INFANTS

AND

CHILDREN AT THE BREAST.

$art I.

ON THE HYGIENE AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION OF YOUNG CHILDREN.

We daily observe men, very skilful in the art of rearing domestic animals, who can at will, so to speak, improve their breed and constitution, with the aim of obtaining from them products as numerous as they are varied, and services which they would be- incapable of rendering without a special preparation. Some they train for draught, and the race; some for the chase, and defence; some for the labour, milk, and flesh, which they supply; and, lastly, certain others for fighting. Men even, urged by the love of gain, train themselves, at their pleasure, either for boxing or running; and all these results, so opposite and varied, are effected by a gradual and complete modification of the organism, under the influence of regimen, exercise, place of abode, and, in a word, of all those circumstances that a system of hygiene, well understood, enables them to turn to advantage.

With these facts before us, which are sufficient to prove the extent of the influence exercised by education or hygiene on man and animals, it may be asked, if it is possible that the human species can have so little regard for their preservation, as not to put in force, on their own account, the means which they employ for the preservation and improvement of the animal race. We are astonished at not observing the art of bringing up children, cultivated in a special manner, similar to that of rearing domestic animals. We are, moreover, surprised at finding how little is known concerning the hygiene of infants, and how much the precepts relating to their education are neglected by medical * B

men, who, in this respect, perhaps, are less informed than a great number of mothers of families, or of nurses.

The physical education of children is, then, a most interesting subject of study to the medical man. From the cradle man must be taken in order to make him a robust and vigorous citizen, and to modify his constitution, if, perchance, it is vitiated in its origin. It is during infancy, especially, that strict attention to the laws of hygiene is necessary, whether it be to preserve the health, or to reestablish it when disease has interrupted its course. The knowledge of these laws is the more important, inasmuch as we have often to contend against established errors in the method of bringing up children. How can we successfully accomplish this, if we do not possess a profound knowledge of the subject under consideration?

This study, moreover, is necessary to the medical treatment of children, which depends almost entirely on their physical education. It is often sufficient to regulate the regimen, or to prescribe the observance of certain laws of hygiene, to cause some morbid symptoms to disappear, which we should treat in vain by the use of therapeutic means. Thus, more than once, by properly regulating the hours of lactation in young children, I have caused the cessation of the vomitings, and the green diarrhoea, which resulted from a too abundant alimentation, and from the breast being given too frequently. It is in consequence of an improper regimen, that the nutrition of some children is so altered j that their bones soften, and they become rickety. In many circumstances, analagous influences act in the same manner in the production of other diseases. To these we shall refer at a suitable opportunity.

The knowledge of the precepts relating to the physical education of children is, then, indispensable to the practitioner who would treat the diseases of this tender age; on this account we feel ourselves compelled to refer to them in this treatise, before considering the pathology of infancy. Our work would be incomplete did it not contain the substance of our knowledge on this subject.

We shall successively study—

1. The care which women ought to take during pregnancy with respect to their infant.

2. The attention to be given after birth.

3. The alimentation of children; choice of the nurse; the milk— its qualities and changes; the regimen of children; and weaning.

4. Habits, games, exercise, and sleep.

5. Clothing.

6. - Attention to cleanliness.

7. The influence of antecedent and actual diseases of mothers and nurses on the health of children.

CHAPTER I.

ON THE CARE WHICH WOMEN OUGHT TO TAKE, DURING PREGNANCY, WITH RESPECT TO THEIR INFANT.

All treatises on midwifery include a detail of the precautions which should be taken by women during pregnancy for the management of their health; but there is, in general, too little notice taken of the influence which the errors of regimen and the imprudences of pregnant women may exercise on the state of the foetus. It is to be desired, for the sake of science, that a good monograph could be had, which would indicate the action of the different maladies of the pregnant female on the product of conception. "We do not yet know, in- a positive manner, what injury is sustained by the foetus— first, under the single influence of some serious affection of the mother, and, afterwards, under that of the therapeutic agents employed against that affection.

Pregnant women ought to take great precautions, and to submit to a particular mode of life, out of regard to their health, and in order to prevent abortion and the serious affections which sometimes occur after it. They ought to discontinue running and dancing, and forbid themselves exercise in a vehicle that is badly hung; in a word, they should avoid all violent movements which shake the viscera, and which might be the cause of the accident of which we have just spoken. They should have clothes sufficiently large, so as not to hinder the increase of the abdomen, and they should wear woollen drawers, in order that the abdomen, which pushes out the dress, and the lower part of which is then exposed to the cold air, may not be injuriously acted upon by that agent. They should, also, banish from their food all aliments too much seasoned, or of an exciting nature; and use with moderation all alcoholic or stimulating beverages, such as tea, coffee, and wine, which accelerate the circulation in a manner which is dangerous to the foetus.

"Women should be directed in these matters by an experienced person, who would regulate their diet in a suitable manner, and instruct them with respect to their clothing, as to the danger which results to the infant, and to the development of the nipples, from the constriction of the abdomen and breasts by tight stays. The practitioner ought to advise them to take exercise in the open air in all seasons, but especially when it is sunny, and to forbid walking to such an extent as to induce fatigue. In this manner, women are not captives and kept in absolute repose, as is sometimes directed:

« AnteriorContinuar »