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These illustrations, although conveyed in him as the culminating point of his disorder. homely language, are literally correct, as the At present I have two patients who appear author can testify by actual observation.—to inherit a tendency to unhealthy action of The observation of other medical men in our the brain from mothers addicted to drinking; manufacturing towns is conclusive of the and another, an idiot, whose father was a same fact.
drunkard." The influence of intemperance on the off- Dr. Farre observes, “that he has seen an spring of drunken parents has been con-over-stimulated nurse injure the body and sidered in a previous section. (p. 202.) the intellect of a child.”ť Thousands of children exist, in the present It is a common but erroneous notion that day, miserable martyrs to disease, enfeebled females during the months of pregnancy both in mind and body, the result of their require more generous diet, in other words, parents' unlawful indulgence. The subject that at this period there is a drain upon the is of vast importance in several points of constitution which demands a proportionate view, and admits of extended investigation. amount of nutritious supply. This popular Dr. Brown makes the following important fallacy frequently leads to the use of alcoremarks: “ The drunkard injures and en-holic drinks, and its correspondent evils. feebles his own nervous system, and entails Nature herself
, however, provides for these mental disease upon his family. His extra occasions, and it is seldom necessary daughters are nervous and hysterical ; his for pregnant females to depart from their sons are weak, wayward, eccentric, and sink usual moderate diet. Nothing,” says insane under the pressure of excitement, of Dr. Combe,“ but harm can result from atsome unforeseen exigency, or of the ordinary tempting to support the strength' by too calls of duty. This heritage may be the nutritious a diet." I result of a ruined and diseased constitution, The influence of stimulants on the mother but is much more likely to proceed from during pregnancy, as regards the consethat long-continued nervous excitement, in quences to herself, is a subject of considerwhich pleasure was sought in the alternate able importance. Multitudes of females exaltation of sentiment and oblivion, which have to attribute their ill health during this exhausted and wore out the mental powers, period to the use of strong drink. Women and ultimately produced imbecility and who reside in the country, who breathe paralysis, both attributable to disease of the pure air, are subject to daily and moderate substance of the brain. How far the mon exercise, and abstain altogether from rich mania of inebriety is itself a disease, and food and alcoholic liquors, not only enjoy may be more the development, the consum- better health than those who live in crowded mation, than the commencement of an here- districts and partake of rich food, but have ditary tendency to derangement, this is not easier confinements, in addition to freedom the place to point out ; but there is every from many of those unfavourable after-conreason to believe that it not only acts upon, sequences which perplex and annoy the and renders it more deleterious, whatever medical attendant. latent taint may exist, but vitiates or im- Dr. Eberle, an experienced and judicious pairs the sources of health for several gene- writer, remarks that the pregnant female, rations. That the effects of drunkenness who observes a suitable regimen, will, are highly inimical to a permanent healthy cæteris paribus, always enjoy more transtate of the brain, is often proved at a great quillity, both of mind and body, and incur distance of time from the course of intem- much less risk of injury to herself and child, perance, and long after the adoption of than she who, giving a free rein to her apregular habits. Some time since, I was petite, indulges it to excess, or in the use called upon to treat a remarkably fine boy, of improper articles of food.”|| about sixteen years old, among whose rela- Dr. Combe makes the following sensible tions no cause of derangement could be remarks : " There is no period of life at pointed out, and for whose sudden malady which it is of so much consequence to obno cause could be assigned, except puberty serve moderation and simplicity of diet, and and a single glass of spirits. His father, avoid the use of heating food and stimulants, however, had been a confirmed drunkard, as during pregnancy; not only is the gewas subject to the delirium and depression neral system then unusually susceptible of following inebriety, and died of delirium impressions, and apt to be disordered from tremens. The boy recovered. His case the slightest causes, but, in nervous constipresented many points of interest. His tutions, the stomach is the seat of a peculiar head increased rapidly, and the two hemi- irritability, accompanied by a craving and spheres were of unequal size. The disease capricious appetite, to which it requires was intermittent; the patient passing a week much good sense and self-denial on the part in furious incoherent madness, and the succeeding week in perfect tranquillity and consciousness. These states were separated sanity.
* Dr. Brown on Hereditary Tendency to Inor connected by a short and profound sleep † Parliamentary Evidence, p. 102. or lethargy, differing altogether from the Management of Infancy, p. 87. patient's ordinary sleep, and recognized by Cincinnati, 1833.
!! Diseases and Physical Education of Children.
of the parent to refrain from giving way, medical writers recommend a similar pracand wbich sometimes leads inconsiderate tice. persons to much excess in both wine and
The use of inebriating liquors after confood. I have known young females hurt finement is a common source of intempethemselves by wine, taken in consequence rance. of this craving, and their imaginary weak- In the Annual Report of the Directors of
the Lunatic Asylum, Glasgow, for 1829, The consequences of injudicious diet, among other causes of insanity we are told, during pregnancy, usually exhibit them- that " not a few females came to that conselves soon after confinement. The calls dition through the use of palatable cordials upon nature are, at this period, very great. administered to them remedially, and espeMuch, therefore, depends on the constitu- cially, during in-lying, by kind but injudition and health of the patient. A well re- cious friends." The evil consequences regulated previous regimen is best calculated sulting from this practice are unfortunately to secure a safe and speedy recovery. but too common.
The practice of administering stimulating Dr. Leake remarks: “I have seen, with liquors to females, immediately after con- the deepest concern, several instances of finement, is fraught with the most serious women, otherwise amiable, who have fallen consequences. At this period the body victims to the slow consuming poison of labours under considerable excitement. The spirituous liquors, secretly conveyed by usual symptoms of febrile disturbance, ac- nurses into the lying-in bed chamber of the companied in most cases with extreme phy- patient, on the pretence of their being sical prostration, indicate the want of per- cordials."* fect quiet, and a regimen suited to the irri- “ It is high time,” says Dr. Bell, of table state of the system. Hence the in- America, editor of the Journal of Health, iurious influence of alcoholic stimulants. "- for every intelligent physician to pointedly
The use of stimulants after confinement, set his face against the introduction of has been interdicted from the earliest period. spirituous liquors into a house, and, above Pliny prohibits the administration of wine all, into the nursery, under any pretext at this period under any ordinary circum- whatever. Failing to do so, he becomes, in stances.f
a great measure, responsible for the drunkDr. Burns, Regius Professor of Surgery, enness of nurses, the fevers and inflammaGlasgow, remarks on this subject: “ Ano- tions of mothers by hot caudles, and the ther bad practice is, the administration of deaths of infants by the addition of ardent stimulants, such as brandy, wine, or cordial spirits into their food; for even to this pitch waters. I do not deny, that these, in certain of folly and barbarity have some nurses and cases of (he evidently refers to extreme) mothers reached before now.”+ exhaustion are salutary ; but I certainly 3. Hysteria, &c., and diseases incident to maintain, that generally they are both un- peculiar periods natural to the sex. - Many necessary and hurtful, tending to prevent diseases, in the present day, peculiar to fesleep, to promote hæmorrhage, and excite males, may be attributed to the use of infever and inflammation.". Professor Burns toxicating liquors, and in particular those then gives direction for the employment of which are found among the poor. These a suitable aqueous diet, and adds, “but malt evils, however, are not unknown among the liquor should be avoided.” In reference higher ranks of society. Hysterical affecto this subject, Dr. Hamilton observes : tions are among the most common of those “When the great sensibility of the stomach, induced by female wine-bibbing. This class and the extensive influence which it has of disorders exists to an extent not contemover the whole body, are attentively consi- plated by the non-professional portion of dered, the impropriety of exhibiting stimu- the community. Females,” remarks Dr. lating substances in the irritable state of a Cheyne, “affected with hysteria, with female after confinement, will be very strik- scarcely an exception, consume, three, four, ing. If it be evident, by the flushing of the or five glasses of wine in the day, their inface, &c., that a glass of spirits, even in considerate fathers, husbands, or brothers, women in health, increases the velocity of ever pressing them to take wine. When Í the blood, it must be obvious that more vio- prescribe a regimen for such patients, I lent effects will be produced by the same generally prohibit the use of wine, and this nause when the body is weakened and irri- promotes their recovery more than ammotable.” When thirst exists, Dr. Hamilton dia, valerian, assafætida, or any of those rerecommends the use of gruel, toast and medies which are thought to act powerfully water, cow milk, whey, lemonade, tamarind on the nerves, and which certainly do act and apple tea, barley water, and other simi- powerfully on the first pair Colfactory). lar diluents. In summer to be taken cold, Very often will the patient ask if she must and in winter slightly warmed. Other of necessity drink wine, as her friends seem
anxious to make her a drunkard; and when * Management of Infancy, p. 91-2. † Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. xxiii., cap. 1.
* Chronic Diseases of Women, 1777. * Principles of Midwifery, p. 410.
† Journal of Health, vol. iii., p. 172, 1832
I reply, that she must not have wine, nor harassing excitement, produce a wear and any kind of strong liquor, she expresses the tear of the system which requires a suitable utmost gratification, declaring that she had and nutritious diet. all along felt that wine disagreed with her It has been shown in previous sections, stomach, causing flushing, and a degree of that intoxicating liquors do not add to the feverish irritability, and aggravating every strength of the system. They act merely distressing symptom of her complaint, and as stimulants, and exhaust the animal that it will be the greatest relief to her powers in proportion to the strength and possible to be allowed to give it up.” “Be quantity in which they are taken. As it remembered also,” adds the same expe- sources of strength therefore, they are of no rienced physician, " that in men, and more value. They cannot supply that nutrition especially in studious men, that species of which alone forms the source of natural and nervousness, which so much resembles permanent strength. Alcoholic liquors prohysteria, is often maintained by the daily pel the organs of nutrition and lactation to use of fermented liquors, even in a moderate increased action, but it is an action unnaquantity.'
tural and injurious in its effects.
The orDr. Beddoes observes: “The quantity of gans employed in these important functions wine, small as it may appear, which many are regulated by laws, on the due performwomen allow themselves, deserves separate ance of which depends the fulfilment of namention, as it is probably not without its ture's intentions. Thus, for example, nuinfluence in rendering them dyspeptic and tritious food forms the only natural stimulant low-spirited. If it be, in any case, true for the healthy action of the stomach, and that the effect of intoxicating fluids is not is the sole fountain of pure blood. Pure to be estimated by measure only, but also milk, which is essential to the health of the by the state of the person who takes it, it child, depends upon proper digestion. If must be true in regard to inactive, delicate, the functions of the stomach act imperfectly, and nervous females. In them the digestive the secretion of milk must, as a necessary organs may be as much injured by a glass consequence, be defective. Hence, whatever of wine, as in a robust man by a pint. 1 deranges the functions of the stomach, have repeatedly known the head, in such interferes with the healthy lactation. females, to be most disagreeably affected by The influence of alcoholic liquors on laca small glass of port wine and water. The tation may be considered in several points operation of the mixture has been completely of view. In the first place, they interfere narcotic, as much so as that of opium or with healthy digestion. In this way the digitalis ever is, not the slightest exhilara-quality of the milk secreted becomes deteriotion having preceded the sense of heaviness rated in exact proportion to the amount of and stupefaction. The parties thus affected injury inflicted on the organs of nutrition. have always found themselves better under In the second place, they influence the quana course of total abstinence from vinous tity of the secretion. The vessels employed liquors.”+
in this function, urged on by an alien imThese remarks are confirmed by the every- pulse, produce an unusual and enlarged day experience of medical men.
supply. It does not follow, however, that The class of diseases incident to peculiar an increase in the amount of secretion is atperiods natural to the sex are not unfre-tended with a proportionate increase in the quently aggravated to a serious extent by quantum of nutriment. The contrary is the use of intoxicating liquors. Restless often the case. Milk may be secreted in hours and indescribable torture, in unnum- large quantities ill calculated to supply the bered instances, result from the too common ends of nature. Hence numbers of puny practice of administering stimulants to re-emaciated children, the offspring of parents lieve the pain occasioned by suppressed se- who indulge in strong drink. cretions. Many females have to date con- The milk of cows fed with the refuse wash firmed ill-health to this ill-judged and per- of the London distilleries, which contains a nicious practice. These remarks apply to small portion of spirit left, even after the the moderate use of alcoholic drinks. most careful distillation, exhibits evident
Dr. Trotter observes, that “irregular signs of the deterioration in question. The menstruation, with all its evils, and abortion, object of the dairyman, however, is attained. in the early months of pregnancy, are the The wash stimulates the lactatory vessels to frequent consequences of inebriation in the inordinate action, but, as a necessary confair sex.”ť
sequence, the milk is proportionably less 4. The use of strong drink during lactation. fitted for nutrition; the flesh of the animals During lactation the demands upon nature, is less wholesome, and they are remarkably both by day and by night, are sometimes most short-lived, being worn out in two or three exhausting. Sleepless nights, and days of years.
Alcoholic stimulants are commonly ad
ministered in cases where the functions of * Letter on Wines and Spirits, p. 6.
the stomach from some cause or other flag, † Hygeia, or Essays Moral and Medical, by Thomas Beddoes, M.D., 1802.
or when the vessels employed in lactation # Essay on Drunkenness. p. 117.
lindolently perform their office. Experience
shows that, under such circumstances, in- digestive powers should give way, and the ebriating liquors in all their combinations bowels become disordered, the general are, as remedial agents, inefficient and in- system deranged, and the secretion of milk jurious. Remedies may be administered, either deteriorated in quality, or altogewhether in the form of stimulants or other-ther stopped ? Or, rather, could human wise, which will produce the object in view ingenuity devise a more likely means to imwith equal if not better effect, and without pair it, were such the aim we had in view ? those unpleasant consequences which follow If any mother, who may happen to read the administration of alcoholic liquors. these pages, should still remain unconvinced
Imperfect lactation in most cases, depends of the propriety of adhering to a simple on improper diet. The stomach of the and unstimulating diet while acting as a invalid is often loaded with rich and indi- nurse, I would earnestly direct her attengestible food. As a natural consequence, tion to the unquestionable fact, that the disordered digestion, with all its attendant best and healthiest nurses are to be found evils, ensues. Many mothers,” remarks among women belonging to the agricultuDr. Combe, “in their very anxiety to keep ral population, who, although actively up a copious secretion of milk, put an entire employed, and much in the open air, stop to it. Imagining that a rich diet must scarcely ever taste solid animal food, or fernecessarily furnish the best supply, because mented liquors of any kind, but live princiit contains a greater quantity of the ele- pally on soups, tea, and vegetable and mentary materials from which milk is farinaceous food. Among mothers so cirformed, they live so fully as to induce an cumstanced, it is rare to meet with one inflammatory state of the system which is who experiences any difficulty in nursing highly adverse to this in common with all her child; and many of them have milk other secretions."* Other sources of ill- enough for a second infant. This result is health are often in action at the same time, of itself sufficient to prove that the best and produce similar results. Among these supply of healthy milk is to be derived, not we may include mental perturbation, the from a concentrated and highly nutritious absence of pure air, appropriate exercise, diet, but rather from one consisting of a inattention to the state of the bowels, irre-due proportion of mild vegetable, farinagular hours, and confinement in close rooms, ceous, and liquid food, with a moderate aland numerous other springs of mental and lowance of meat, without either wine or bodily ailments. Under such circumstances porter. Even as regards the quality of the it is obvious that proper digestion, and, as a milk, there can be no doubt that a mild necessary, consequence, proper lactation, diet is of great advantage. The milk cannot take place. The proper secretion of derived from the use of concentrated food milk then depends upon a due performance is too thick, rich, and stimulating for most of the bodily functions. Attention to the infants." common requisites of health is essential to The common use of stimulants during healthy lactation; and a parent, who is lactation implies a doubt in the wisdom of anxious to possess a supply of nutriment the Divine architect
, who provides by nafitted to maintain her infant in health and tural means for those extra drains on the strength, must determine to regulate her system which suckling calls into exercise. mode of life and diet in accordance with the This extra expenditure is met by an addictates of reason and common sense. mirable provision of nature.
Dr. Combe strikingly corroborates tomary monthly discharge is not only supthese views. “It is from overlooking," he pressed during this period, but an increase remarks, "the necessity, on the part of the of appetite ensues, the demands of which mother, of a rigid observance of the laws should be supplied with plain and wholeof health, that the flow of milk is often some food. These and other equally potent greatly lessened, or even arrested, in a coun-facts convince us that women are naturally try nurse suddenly transplanted into town. endowed with those requisite resources Accustomed to open doors, a constant free which maternal duties demand. It is a circulation of air, much bodily activity, libel on the God of nature to suppose and the healthy digestion of a moderate otherwise. meal, the nurse is suddenly transferred to a Facts, however, and experience, deterwarm house, whose well-fitted windows and mine this question beyond all controversy. doors exclude the fresh air, and where, al- If we take an equal number of females who though she has no longer any direct call to suckle children without the aid of intoxiactive exertion to excite a natural appetite cating liquors, and compare them with the for food, she is nevertheless encouraged to same number who indulge, however moeat largely and frequently, and often to in- derately, in alcoholic stimulants, it will be dulge in the use of stimulants to which she found that the former possess considerable has never been accustomed. Is it wonder- advantage over the latter, whether we reful that, under such circumstances, the gard the quantity or quality of the secre
tion. A comparison of females, as we have * Physical and Moral Management of Infancy, by A, Combe, M.D., 1841, p. 207.
* Ibid., p. 210-11.
seen, who reside in the country and subsist patients to drink only milk, or gruel, or on plain, unstimulating diet, with those barley water, he had been successful in prowho reside in towns, and partake of rich ducing much comfort and a speedy restorafood, places this fact in a still stronger tion to health. The fever, the pain, the light. "Multitudes of rustic females in our anxiety, and the restlessness so often comown country, and whole tribes or nations plained of, arose, in almost all instances, in foreign climes, who never, on any oc- from the use of ardent spirits; and mothers casion, indulge in stimulating drinks, suckle should be very cautious what kind of nurse their children without any inconvenience. they engaged. Dr. Anderson, a very able The habits and condition of the brute crea- and experienced lecturer on midwifery, used tion presents no inapt or unprofitable il- to say to the students, Whatever you do, lustration.
never recommend a nurse that smokes toA great abundance of additional facts and bacco; for if she smokes she will be sure to arguments might be adduced in corrobora- drink; and if she drinks she will not fail tion of these views. A few illustrations, to recommend it to her mistress.' He behowever, will suffice to substantiate the lieved that the evils done to females by inabove statements.
toxicating liquors were greater than those Dr. Trotter, whose experience on profes- done to males by the same practices.” sional matters was, perhaps, inferior to Mr. Higginbottom, of Nottingham, surnone, observes: “The food of women, who geon, at a meeting held in London, in the suckle their own children, is often very im- course of an excellent speech, remarked: properly selected. The quantity of the “ He begged, in conclusion, to say a word milk, not the quality of it, is studied. It is to females. It was very common for them, a well-known fact, that this secretion par- when urged to join this society, to say, takes very much of the nature of the diet | What are we to do about suckling? We that is used, that is to say, certain particles are then obliged to take ale.' Perhaps nopass through the breast unassimilated. All thing could be more preposterous than such driuks containing ardent spirit, such as an idea. Did the various suckling animals wine, punch, caudle, ale and porter, must ever take such things? What would be impregnate the milk ; and thus the diges- thought of an old woman who should give tive organs of the babe must be quickly in- her cow a gallon of ale, under the idea that jured. These must suffer in proportion to it would then be better able to suckle its the delicacy of their texture ; and the calf? One of his most respectable patients diseases which flow from this source are had given up the use of all fermented drinks, certainly not uncommon. Physicians who and one consequence was, that not a single have prescribed a diet and regimen for dose of physic was put down to her account nursing mothers, have not sufficiently at-in his day-book. She had a very fine child, tended to the hurtful effects of wine and and the mother and child were both doing malt liquors. Porter is generally permitted remarkably well. • But what, then, are we in large quantities on these occasions, a to suckle with ? it would be said. beverage highly improper and dangerous."* ply was, “With good beef and mutton to be
Dr. Macnish remarks: “Women, espe- sure. If they would have puny, weak, pecially in a low station, who act as nurses, sickly children, let them drink ale, and are strongly addicted to the practice of other drinks containing alcohol, and, accorddrinking porter and ale, for the purpose of ing to the usual plan, give the children a augmenting their milk.
very common portion also. He met with a woman, aged practice cannot be sufficiently deprecated. 93, who, in the course of her life, had It is often pernicious to both parties, and suckled twenty-four children, of her own or may lay the foundation of a multitude of other people’s, some of the principal families diseases in the infant. The milk, which of the place. He found that she had not ought to be bland and unirritating, acquires used any fermented drinks. He asked her certain healing qualities, and becomes dete- what she had taken ? Her reply was, riorated to a degree of which those unac-Broth, or whey, or milk.' She was a fine, customed to investigate such matters have tall, stout, healthy, old woman, and bid fair little conception." “The properties of to live one hundred years. He had often opium, tobacco, and other narcotics,” re-greatly regretted to find females who, acmarks Dr. Macnish, “ are communicated to cording to their age, ought to be in the very the child in the same way.”+
prime of life, worn out, in consequence of Dr. Oxley, of London, a meeting held their taking stimulants so freely, to assist in the metropolis, made the following re- them, as they supposed, in suckling their marks : “ He had seen the greatest evils children. He earnestly advised them not to result from the use of ardent spirits and take another drop: they might feel a little other liquors, while nursing. He had been low at first, but a little barley broth, and in extensive practice as an accoucheur, and good beef and mutton, would prove most in all cases where he could prevail on his effectual restoratives.”
Mr. Samuel Courtney, surgeon, R.N., of * Essay on Drunkenness, p. 150.
Ramsgate, remarks: “ At our last meeting, † Anatomy of Drunkenness, p. 241. .
eleven nursing mothers presented themselves