The attitude of mind of a woman toward her milk supply is important,

as the flow of milk is closely subject to mental influence. The

presence of the child and the consequent exercise of maternal instinct

does more to bring about the prompt, healthy flow of milk than

anything else. Sometimes women in the later months of their first

pregnancy upon seeing a mother nursing her child have felt the flow of

milk to their breasts not rarely with such painful overdistention of

the milk ducts as to require artificial relief. On the other hand, a

fright may stop the flow of milk or make it scanty and a mother's

aversion to a child may prevent her being able to nurse it. The sight

of the father of the child in a state of intoxication may have a

similar result.

How much milk supply may be dependent on the state of mind, or at

least the state of the nervous system, can be realized from the

animals from which we obtain milk. Any serious disturbance is likely

to interfere with the milk supply. When a cow's calf is taken away the

animal will often refuse for a time to give milk. If a cow is scared,

as by the attack of a wild animal, or by being hit though only

slightly injured by an engine, it will often not have milk for several

days or even longer. There is an impression prevalent among farmers

that if a cow takes a dislike to a particular person they are not

likely to "give down" as much milk as would otherwise be the case.

This may be only a curious farmer tradition, that has no basis in

fact, although it is supported by so many observations reported from

many different countries that it is apparently to be taken as of

scientific value.

In modern times many fashionable women do not nurse their children

because they have not the proper supply of milk. It is easy to see how

this can be brought about through suggestion from many sources and the

sight of others neglecting their duty in this matter. Most fashionable

women would rather not nurse their children, and yet many of them feel

a bounden duty in the matter. Some of these, however, having heard

that many mothers of the better class are not capable of nursing their

children, easily persuade themselves that they come in this category,

and so their whole attitude of mind toward nursing is one of extreme

doubt. Knowing as we do how the mental state influences nursing we are

not surprised when these women prove not to have sufficient milk in

the early days of the nursing. If they are to have it they must look

forward with confidence to nursing their children and they must be

ready and willing to take such food and secure such fresh air as will

put them in the best possible condition for this function, always with

the thought that nothing can be better for a child than to be nursed

by its own mother. Nature has made exactly the form of food suited for

the particular child, and it matters not how healthy a wet nurse may

be, her milk is not likely to be so suitable. Much depends on the

nutrition of the child during this early susceptible period of its

life and there is more that passes over with the milk than merely the

food elements. It is well recognized now that the reason why nurslings

are protected from most of the so-called children's diseases and the

contagious diseases generally, is that, as a rule, their mothers

have had these diseases, have acquired an immunity to them and this

immunity is transferred to the child so long as the nursing process is

continued. This has been shown to be true over and over again in

animals and holds good for human beings.

Professor Von Leyden, the distinguished professor of medicine at the

University of Berlin, points out that we are not quite sure as yet

just what may happen to the human race from the very general refusal

of mothers to nurse their children and the almost universal

substitution of the bovine mother; whether in times to come certain

bovine traits, at least as regards susceptibility to disease, may not

be stamped upon the human race, cannot be determined until this

experiment in ethnology, now being conducted on so large a scale, has

been carried to some definite conclusion.

Perhaps this view is groundless, but there is no doubt that milk is

more than merely a food and that during the period after birth when

the child's nervous system is being formed, the perfectly adapted

mother's milk is more likely to be the proper food than anything that

human ingenuity can elaborate. We have heard much in recent years of

the tendency of education and civilization to lower the birth-rate and

to make women less fitted for maternity and for such maternal duties

as nursing, but stronger than any deterioration of the physical

constitution by the mental development is the unfortunate unfavorable

effect of mental suggestion upon such functions, by which the

preparation of the organism for their fulfillment is greatly

influenced. It is in this respect that the women of to-day differ from

the woman of the past much more than in mere physical development.

Nostrums And The Healing Power Of Suggestion Obesity facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail