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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2115

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1905
THE WET NURSE

in readiness, in the order in which they are to put on ; as well as scissors, thread, a few pieces of soft linen rag, and two or three flannel squares. If a berceaunette is to be used immediately, the nurse should ascertain that the mattresses, pillow, etc., are all well aired; and if not already completed before she arrives, she should assist in covering and trimming it, ready for the little occupant. A monthly nurse should be handy at her needle, as, if she is in the house some time before the baby is born, she will require some work of this sort to occupy her time.

Cleanliness and Neatness. A nurse should endeavour to keep the sick-room as cheerful as possible, and always see that it is clean and tidy. All utensils must be taken away and emptied as soon as used. Soiled baby's napkins must be rolled up and taken away, and put into a pan, when they should be washed out every morning and hung out to dry; they are then in a fit state to be sent to the laundress; on no account must they be left dirty, but dealt with every morning in this way. The bedroom should be kept of a regular temperature, well ventilated, free from draughts, and free also from unpleasant smells every cause of offence being removed at once.

The infant during the month must not be exposed to strong light, or much air; and in carrying it about the passages, stairs, etc., the nurse should always have its head flannel on, to protect the eyes and ears from the currents of air. A good nurse should understand the symptoms of ailments incident to this period, as, in all cases, prevention is better than cure. As young mothers with their first baby are very often much troubled at first with their breasts, the nurse should understand how to deal with retracted nipples, and the prevention of cracked nipples by carefully washing them and drying with a soft linen rag after the infant has fed, and then anointing them with a little glycerine of borax.

The importance of preventing sore or cracked nipples by cleanliness in this respect is emphasized by the fact that abscess of the breast is almost always due to septic organisms entering the breast by way of these cracks, or less commonly along the milk ducts.

THE WET NURSE

Duty of the Mother.—Unless prevented by illness or inability, a mother should nurse her child herself. A woman with health, strength, and time to devote to her child, should not shrink from performing this most natural of maternal functions, no matter to what rank she belongs, for by not doing so she certainly risks the child's health, and perhaps her own. If, however, she is unable to nurse her child, it is usual to bring it up on some preparation of cow's milk, which has been so altered as to correspond in its composition to human milk, many children thriving as well on this as on their natural food. It is seldom that doctors think it necessary in these days to advise the employment