Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 61—63.29 
therefore likely to give a fairly correct picture of the absolute or 
primary incapacity for suckling on the mother’s part; absolute 
incapacity does not of course mean that the mother could not produce 
a single drop of milk, but that she does not produce enough 10 
satisfy the child, and therefore must resort to artificial feeding. As 
a period of 39 weeks’ feeding, even if only partial, points to a good 
capacity, the lower curve may also be taken as an expression of 
feeding ability. A comparison of both figures illustrates that the 
milk production after the first birth is smaller than after the following 
ones, and that beyond the eighth birth, it decreases materially and 
continuously, probably in consequence of the exhaustion of the 
maternal organism. ’ ’ 
The habit of breast-feeding as running in families and infant q 52 
mortality. With this goes the following explanation * “ The two 
figures illustrate the proportion of mortality of the infants in 
143 bottle-feeding families and 376 breast-feeding families of the 
first order. As the line could not be drawn very sharply, 
and as in the bottle-feeding families there had to be included 
those in which as an exception one or other child was suckled for a 
few days or perhaps for a week, one can see in these groups only the 
expression of the habit, but not the power of suckling. Both figures 
illustrate the largely avoidable sacrifice in young lives which still 
goes on through a want of knowledge and of feeling of responsibility 
towards the coming race. With the absence of breast-feeding the 
unfavourable influence of a very large number of children becomes 
much more apparent; whereas in breast-feeding families the 
difference in the mortality between medium-sized families (four to 
six children) and very large families (above ten children) amounts 
to only x.39%, it reaches 12.90% with the non-suckling families. 
Here, if the number of children surpasses ten, nearly every second 
child dies in the suckling age, and amongst thirteen families there is 
not a single one which has not lost a child in that period, whereas 
in breast-feeding families of the first order, with the same large 
number of children, only every thirteenth child died in infancy, 
and of sixteen families seven ( = 43.75%) lost no infant.” The 
same material is treated in a different way by Dr. Marie Baum, of 
Düsseldorf, in Figures C 63-66. 
As the length of the period ot suckling of the preceding child increases. 
there is a constant and rapid decrease in the number of children who are born ^ **3 
at intervals of less than one year. If the preceding child was not breast-fed 
a new birth occurred before the expiration of one year in 9.6 cases out of 
100. With a suckling period of one-half to three-quarters of a year of the preceding 
child, this figure is reduced to 1.8 per cent., and after a still longer suckling period 
to 1 per cent. Out of one hundred mothers who have only partly or not at all suckled 
the preceding child, seventy must count on a fresh birth within a period of if years. 
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