The feeding of small children is almost as delicate a problem as that of the sick, and one more frequently neglected, especially after the first year of life. Yet, until the middle of the third year, children should have a diet differing from that of their elders ; and even after that period they should not be allowed to take highly spiced or seasoned foods. When graduating from the breast or the bottle, healthy children may begin to take soups, eggs, bread, and zwieback, or some hard biscuits especially manufactured for this purpose, and also mashed potatoes and other vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, and asparagus tips. They may also be gradually introduced to beef, mutton, chicken, etc. Home-made fruit juices, prepared from fresh fruit, with the addition of a little sugar and water from an unimpeachable source, may be enjoyed from the end of the second year ; but tea and coffee had best be omitted, although many use them after the fourth year without detriment if diluted with milk to a degree which prac tically leaves nothing of the tea or coffee but the idea. It is hardly necessary to insist upon the avoidance of alcoholic drinks of any sort for children. For a suitable bill of fare for young children, see HEALTH-CARE OF CHILDREN.
Some rules for the preparation of foods for the sick are appended here, as such a list may prove useful both to physician and to nurse. The former, when anxiously asked, " But, doctor, what shall I give her to eat ? " is often at a loss to answer save in the most general terms, whereas with the suggestions here at hand he could, in a few moments, prescribe the proper diet.
Milk probably heads the list as an important food for invalids, although in some diseases it is distinctly contra-indicated. It is readily and almost entirely absorbable ; and, in mild cases of exhaustion, it is well administered by boiling it with an equal quantity of water and giving it slowly. Milk should always be given slowly, and not gulped down, as it ceases to he a liquid when taken into the stomach ; and the curd which forms there, if very bulky, is difficult for a weak stomach to manage. In case of nausea, also, it is less apt to be rejected if given slowly—a spoonful at a time. The addition of lime-water or bicarbonate of soda tends to prevent the formation of curd, and may be of assistance in some cases. The preparation of the milk, and the amount to be given, are determined by the physician in charge of the case, but in general he will deem it safest, where the patient is depending largely on milk, to have it Pasteurised or sterilised.
Sterilised Milk.—nlk is sterilised by being poured into clean bottles, which are plugged with absorbent cotton, and placed in a boiler holding sufficient cold water to come three-fourths of the way up on the bottles.
The bottles, which must not touch each other, may be placed in a wire basket divided into compartments and made to fit into the boiler, so that the bottles can he readily lifted out. The water must be brought to a boil and kept at a temperature of 17o° F. for ten minutes. Rubber stoppers are then substituted for the cotton plugs, and the bottles kept in a cool place until used. Any milk taken from a bottle and not used should be discarded.
Pasteurised Milk.—This is prepared by a process similar to sterilisation, except that the water is not brought to as high a temperature. See NURSLING, NOURISHING OF.
Peptonised Milk.—Thirty grains of bicarbonate of soda and ten grains of pancreatic extract are thoroughly mixed in two tablespoonfuls of water, added to one quart of fresh milk, and kept warm in a covered jar for thirty minutes, then chilled. This tastes slightly bitter, and, if the patient complains of this, it may be sweetened.
Albuminised Milk.—A cup of milk, the whites of two eggs, and a pinch of salt, shaken together thoroughly, and then chilled.
Milk Punch.—To one cup of milk add a little sherry, brandy, rum, or whisky (usually about a tablespoonful), and grate in a little nutmeg. Sweeten to suit, and shake well together. This may be given either hot or cold.
Bonnyelabber.—This is simply milk ‘vhich is allowed to stand undisturbed until it has curdled to the consistency of custard. It is sometimes much relished, and is decidedly beneficial. It must be " set " in a small and attractive dish, as it is eaten from the same dish ; and whipped cream or the beaten white of an egg makes a pleasant addition.
Kephir and Kumiss.—See special article under this heading.
Junket.—For junket, the milk must be lukewarm, sweetened to taste, and flavoured. To this are added junket tablets dissolved in cold water, in the proportions of one tablet in a tablespoonful of water to a quart of milk. Like bonnyclabher,. junket should be set in the mould from which it is to be eaten, as serving it from a large dish detracts from its appearance and consistency. A little brandy may be used in place of flavouring.
Custard.—Use one egg to a cup of milk, and about two tablespoonful; of sugar, as desired. Beat the egg well before adding it to the milk. and see that the sugar is quite dissolved. Pour into individual moulds, and cook in a steamer until of the desired consistency. Grate a dusting of nutmeg on the tops, and cool.