Full text: Problems in eugenics

32Exhibit C 72—78. 
C 72 & 73 
C 74-78“ These two figures deal with the influence of the length of 
suckling on the birth-rate, the longer the duration of the suckling 
period, i.e., the higher the number of children breast-fed for 
six months or more, the lower the birth-rate. This only holds 
good for the country (Curve B) not for towns (Curve A). This cir­ 
cumstance is explained by the fact that the voluntary restriction of 
births is much more frequent in towns than in the country, where 
consequently the influence of the length of the period of suckling on 
the birth frequency can find much stronger expression than in towns, 
where, as Curve A shows, it is entirely extinguished by artificial birth 
preventatives. From both tables it results that, to prevent the 
senseless waste of human life, the interval between every two births 
must be more than two years; further, that it is possible to increase it 
by breast-feeding; the number of births in a district is based in the 
main on the larger or smaller intervals at which the women of 
reproductive age have children, and it may, therefore, at the 
same time, be taken as an expression of these intervals. Keeping 
these two facts in view, and considering the influence of the mode 
of infant feeding on infant mortality, it appears to be in the interest 
of the race that by means of the long duration of breast-feeding, the 
birth intervals should be extended to at least two years. The facts 
established in these two tables have a considerable bearing on race- 
hygiene, especially in reference to the Neomalthusian contentions of 
the necessary inferiority of the later born, and as a confirmation of 
the utility of breast-feeding for the reduction of birth frequency. 
Extremely great appears the influence of breast-feeding on infant 
mortality. This importance of breast-feeding is further illustrated by Figure 
C 74—duration of breast-feeding and infant mortality, after Dietrich; 
by Figure C 75—average number of carious teeth, after Bunge ; and by 
the three figures, C 76, 77, and 78—“average duration of breast- 
feeding and physical development, duration of breast-feeding and 
average school reports, and duration of breast-feeding and frequency 
of rachitic disturbances of development, ” after the extensive and 
valuable researches by Rose. 
It must be pointed out that a far more direct connection exists 
between breast-feeding, duration of suckling, infant mortality and 
physical development than through the mere provision of suitable 
nourishment for the child. A good suckling capacity is a symptom 
of a strong constitution which is transmitted from mother to child. 
Examination of Rose’s table offers this suggestion.

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