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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/171

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167
FACTS CONCERNING MILK

It has been shown that as the result of vexation, disappointment, grief and kindred emotions certain highly organized chemical products are elaborated within the economy which find their way into the blood stream and thus into the mother's milk, rendering it more or less harmful to the infant receiving it. Hence, if it were possible during the period of lactation to transmute all women representative of the classes above indicated into wholesome, phlegmatic German peasant mothers, our milk problem in its multiform aspects would be wonderfully simplified. The present social order not only makes impossible such conditions, but we must calmly face a future in which maternal inefficiency in this regard will be even accentuated.

Some of us believe the solution of the vexed question of the overpopulation of the earth is resident in this problem of artificial feeding, particularly as certain statistical relationships seem to be springing up between the notorious modern birth rate and inefficient maternal nourishment, and we are learning that unsatisfactory as is artificial feeding at its best and perilous as it may become, it is, in any event, much more likely to be productive of good results than the attempt to nourish an infant on the milk of the mother physically, occupationally and temperamentally unfit.

Again, our apprehension must not be transformed into despair, for unremitting educational endeavors will ultimately insure a better milk supply and greater intelligence in its use. So while milk is regarded the most perfect of all foods for the young or old, in sickness or in health, the milk problem is virtually the children's problem, for cows' milk, modified in accordance with the requirements of each particular case, has been found to be the only practical method by which nature's plans for early nourishment of the human infant may be successfully imitated. Any attempt" at the solution of this question, therefore, which fails to emphasize our guardianship of the interests of the child would be calamitous.

Surgeon-General Walter Wyman of the Public Health Service says:

The steady decrease in general mortality does not apply to infants. It is recognized that gastro-intestinal disease is the largest single factor determining infant mortality. This enormous loss of potential wealth is of grave concern to the state and worthy of most careful consideration.

Further he says:

Dr. Eager gives figures to prove that the high infant mortality may be attributed almost entirely to impure milk.

Inasmuch as one child in every twenty in our large centers of population dies before five years of age of maladies traceable directly or indirectly to contaminated cows' milk, it may be well to outline very briefly some of the properties of this indispensable food and a few of the problems associated with its production and supply.