If the mother is healthy and giving all the food the child needs, and if the child is showing a wholesome condition, it should continue to nurse until about one year of age. If an ideal child is desired, nothing will be given but the mother's milk, with the exception of about once a day a little orange juice; and this should help keep the child in full health and thriving. I do not mean a big, fat, roly-poly baby; for that does not mean a normal condition. Strong and well proportioned is all that any one should desire a child to be.
At the beginning of the tenth month, nursing of the breast may be preceded by giving two ounces of "fifty-fifty"--half milk and half water (one ounce of milk and one ounce of water); then let the baby finish, or satisfy its desire, with the mother's breast. For about a week the above amount of fifty-fifty will be given. Then increase to four ounces of fifty-fifty preceding the breast nursing. This may be continued for two weeks longer. At the beginning of the fourth week increase the fifty-fifty to six ounces. This is to be continued to the beginning of the sixth week, when it may be increased to eight ounces. Continue this amount until the child is one year of age; then use the tables for artificial feeding for that age.
If the mother's milk begins to fail, as many do the third or fourth month, a mixture in the proportion of about one-third milk and two-thirds water may be given after the child has taken all it can get from the mother's breast. It may have all of the milk-and-water mixture it desires, but the stools should be watched. When white curds appear, it would indicate that a little much of the artificial mixture of milk and water is given. Cut down the proportion of milk in the mixture, using more water than called for, until the curds disappear. Then increase again to the mixture as first given. As the mother's milk appears to decrease, feed according to the schedule outlined for artificial feeding for that age.
A great many people have the idea that the child should be weaned when menstruation appears. This should not be an arbitrary rule if the mother is normal and the child is normal. If, however, there are symptoms that the child is not thriving, it can be weaned and put on regular schedule for that particular age.