IS CRYING INJURIOUS?
This is a question asked by many mothers. Crying is not
nearly so injurious as its causes. And what are the
causes? Too much attention, too much coddling; educating the
child into believing that it can buy anything and everything if it will only
cry hard enough. Then, again, crying is brought about by pain or
discomfort in the stomach and bowels, due to indigestion. Mothers feed children
too much. This brings on indigestion, following which there is always gas
distention in the bowels; and when the bowels are distended with gas, hard
crying means severe straining on the abdominal walls,
and this is liable to produce a hernia at the navel.
The above hints concerning crying indicate the cure to
people of good judgment. But those who bring children into this state are not
people of good judgment; hence it is necessary to say that the first cause
referred to can be overcome by proper discipline. However, is it possible for a
mother who spoils a child to be able to turn around and give it just the
opposite treatment? Because that means to stop coddling the child, to stop dancing
attendance, to refuse absolutely to give it what it wants until it ceases
crying. Many mothers will answer this by saying that it will cry itself to
death, or it will bring on hernia, etc. A nurse should be substituted for such
a mother as that, until the child is disciplined out of its bad habits.
Those children who cry because they are uncomfortable
can soon be brought to a state of comfort by watching the stools. If there is
any evidence at all--and there always will be--of indigestion, feeding must be
reduced in quantity at least one-half, and perhaps a fast of one or two days
will be best. Then start in and feed one-third the quantity that the child was
taking before the fast. One or two days later increase to one-half the amount.
From that time on gradually increase to the child's digestive limitations. The
stools must always be watched. If there are any flakes or small white curds,
the amount of food must be cut down. The very worst feeding habit that people
practice with children in this condition is to change food. Because the food is
not agreeing, they think there should be a change, and in a few days another
change. This sort of floundering works mischief, and too often is the cause of
a child's death. Overfeeding is the cause of the indigestion in the child
ninety-nine times out of every hundred; so the bugaboo of food not agreeing
must explode when people really understand the cause of indigestion. When the
food is given within the proper limitations, there will be no more distention
of the bowels from gas, and no more constipation. Then, if the child is not
coddled, it will spend most of its young life playing with its fingers and
toes, and cooing itself to sleep.