Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/170

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166
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
FACTS CONCERNING MILK
By A. E. P. ROCKWELL, M.D.
WORCESTER, MASS.

THE cow is the foster mother of our civilization. And fortunate are we in being able to secure the services of this humble animal in our endeavors to arrest the most important cause of race suicide. For our greatest menace in this direction resides in the fact that an alarming proportion of infants must be vicariously nourished at some period of their development by the cow.

Owing, on the one hand, to that sinister development of our industrial system which compels many women to engage in competitive factory labor, and the invasion by women of almost every field of human activity; and, on the other hand, to the unwholesome influences surrounding those immersed in the fatuitous struggle for social supremacy, we find that each year rewards us with a larger percentage of women who are unable to nurse their children.

One way, then, of registering the progress of civilization is in noting the constantly increasing proportion of infants in the rearing of which artificial feeding plays an important part.

It may, with some truth, be urged that owing to the educational influence of mothers' clubs and the like, and the entreaties of physicians, there is among a certain class of women possibly a greater desire to nurse their little ones; but of what avail is this inclination if their previous condition of servitude to a life not in consonance with this result, renders them physically unable to perform this important function? And it must be noted that this physical unfitness is not necessarily due to a failure on the part of the glands to which the duty of supplying lacteal fluid is assigned.

Many mothers are able to furnish for their children a fluid, but it can scarcely be designated as milk, owing to the fact that the blighting effects of unhappy or unwholesome emotions so common among wage earners, the over-worked housewife and the social aspirant render the milk entirely unfit for food.

To-day we live under high-pressure conditions, with accompanying wide fluctuations in emotional experiences, developing resultant temperamental effects notably prejudicial to the manufacture of a wholesome milk in the nursing mother. The chemistry of the emotions plays an important part in the welfare of the child.