Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine,  7 (1858–59), 115–18.

A Surgeon's Advice to Mothers: On the Rearing Management and Diseases of Children  [2/9]



Essay, Serial


Medical Treatment, Human Development, Gender, Health, Class, Physiology, Medical Practitioners, Disease, Natural Theology, Natural Economy

    Denies that social class affects a child's constitution (115). Outlines, with physiological explanations, the practical procedures for dealing with infants who cannot cry audibly or who suffer from the lung disorder associated with 'mute births' (116). Attempts to reassure mothers who accept reluctantly their nurses' apparently unfounded judgement that a crying baby is not necessarily ill. Explains that 'the voice or cry in childhood' is a 'wise provision of Nature to enlarge and keep in health so vital an organisation as that of the lungs', and adds a description of how crying gives way to speech and song (117). Warns that a child often cries through pain or thirst and urges nurses and mothers to distinguish these utterances. Argues that mothers should make themselves 'acquainted with the nature and wants of their child' so that they can better undertake their maternal 'duties' once the nurse has departed, and guard against the 'nefarious practices of unprincipled nurses' who devise cunning and 'inhuman' methods of stopping infants from crying and sending them into a 'troubled sleep'. Warns mothers of the dangers of nurses who sleep close to babies—notably, the possibility of babies suffocating from the bad air given off by sleeping humans. (118)

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