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Premature Children

child, months and milk


It is only necessary to say a word or two about the extra care required for children born before full time. The more near the infants are to the full period of nine months, the greater is the likelihood of careful nursing enabling them to survive. It is a vulgar notion that a seven months' child has a better chance of continued existence than an eight months' child. This is not so. A child that has passed eight months within the womb is in every way more developed than one that has passed only seven months, and its chance of survival is consequently proportionately in creased. The chance of a child born before the seventh month is comparatively small. Never theless there are numerous cases on record of infants, born between the sixth and seventh month of intrauterine life, surviving and thriv ing satisfactorily. The two difficulties are those of feeding and keeping warm. The child is often too feeble to suck, and artificial feeding is necessary, because the mother has no milk.

If the child can be made to suck, milk prepared as directed on p. 565 should be given from a feeding-bottle. To aid the child a small teat should be used, and the nurse should see that the milk can be drawn easily. The child should take from two to four table-spoonfuls at one time, and should get a drink at intervals of an hour and a half to two hours, and more fre quently if a less quantity is taken at each time. If the child cannot suck, the milk must be given with the spoon, and it is better to give Small quantities at frequent intervals, one to two table-spoonfuls every hour, than to attempt to give larger quantities less frequently. With premature children the difficulty of maintain ing the bodily heat is great. To secure this it is sometimes necessary to surround the child, face excepted, with cotton-wool. Care must also be taken with the skin, which is very tender, easily ruffled and inflamed.