From a 1894 book titled The Care and Feeding of Children
written by Dr L. Emmett Holt
I am not playing doctor. Any advice you read on this blog cannot be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are experiencing a health condition please reach out to a qualified healthcare professional. I repeat, do not use this blog as medical advice to treat yourself or others.
Are we feeding our children unhealthy foods, way too young?
In the year 1894, when life, times and food were much simpler than the present-day A Pediatrician Dr. L. Emmett Holt M.D., L.L.D. wrote a book called The Care and Feeding of Children. This book was a perennial bestseller for over 50 years.
Dr Holt was the Professor of Diseases of Children in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
And it looks like if you follow this blog, you will be hearing a lot more from this wise old Doc. Because for the most part his advice holds the test of time, more than 125 years later.
Enter Dr L. Emmett. Holt
What desserts may be given to young children?
Mistakes are more often made here than in any other part of the child’s diet. Up to six or seven years, only junket, plain rice pudding without raisins, plain custard and, not more than once a week, a small amount of ice cream.
What should be especially forbidden?
All pies, tarts and pastry of every description, jam, syrups and preserved fruits; nuts, candy and dried fruits.
Does not the child’s instinctive craving for sweets indicate his need of them?
That a child likes or craves sweets is the usual excuse of an indulgent parent. Every child likes his own way, but that is no reason why he should not be trained to obedience and self-control; a child’s fondness for sweets can hardly be considered a normal instinct. As a matter of fact, supported by everyday experience, no causes are productive of more disorders of digestion than the free indulgence in desserts and sweets by young children. It is a constantly increasing tendency, not easily controlled as a child grows older; and in early childhood, the only safe rule is to give none at all.
Are fruits an essential or important part of the diet?
They are a very important part and should be begun in infancy. They are particularly useful for the effect they have upon the bowels. It is important that they should be selected with care and given with much discretion, especially in cities. In the country where fruit is absolutely fresh, a somewhat greater latitude may be allowed than is given below.
What fruits may safely be given to children up to five years old?
As a general rule, only cooked fruits and the juices of fresh fruits.
What fruit juices may be used?
That from sweet oranges is the best, but the fresh juice of grape fruit, peaches, strawberries and raspberries may also be used.
What stewed fruits may be given?
Stewed or baked apples, prunes, pears, peaches and apricots.
What raw fruits are to be particularly avoided with young children?
The pulp of oranges or grape fruit, also cherries, berries, bananas and pineapple.
What precautions should be emphasized regarding the use of fruits?
That they should be used with greater care in hot weather and with children who are prone to attacks of intestinal indigestion.
What symptoms indicate that fruits should be avoided?
A tendency to looseness of the bowels with the discharge of mucus, or frequent attacks of abdominal pain or stomach ache.
Is there any special choice of meals at which fruit should be given for feeding our children?
The fruit juice given early in the morning, upon an empty stomach, works more actively upon the bowels than if it is given later in the day.
It is not, as a rule, wise to give cream or milk with sour fruits. Usually the fruit is best given at the mid-day meal, as a dessert, at a time when no milk is taken. It is in all cases important that the quantity of fruit should be moderate.
What besides water and milk should a child be allowed to drink and what should be forbidden?
Tea, coffee, wine, beer and cider in all quantities and in all forms should be forbidden to young children below puberty. Cocoa which is made very weak, i.e., almost all milk, is often useful as a hot drink. Lemonade, soda-water, etc., should if possible be deferred until the tenth year. A free indulgence in things of this kind should never be permitted with children of seven or eight years.
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