Many mothers in the 1840s read a manual on child care written by Dr. J. W. Holman who was both a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society and of The Boston Medical Association. This is what Dr. Holman told his readers about infant teething.1
Beside the general febrile symptoms attendant upon the teething of children, many other troublesome and sometimes fatal complaints follow. Much may be done for the safety and comfort of children at this critical period, by mothers and nurses.
If at this period the child is disposed to looseness, as is often the case, all kinds of food, and the various drinks that are calculated to increase this dependent or secondary trouble, should be carefully avoided; cold water, or mild before it is boiled, cider, spruce beer, and the like should not be allowed. Vegetables, such as beets, turnips, apples, potatoes, and fruits should be withheld. On the contrary, let the drink be prepared from some bark or herb that is gently astringent or binding and let the food be boiled milk thickened with wheat flour, dry crackers, and of such articles as will not tend to augment the diarrhea. But if there be no inclination to looseness, but symptoms of fever and nervous irritation, let acid and laxative drinks be given, and the food may be of a spare and loosening character.
Rice, with milk or molasses, tapioca, sago, arrow root, jellies, etc., are good articles of food, if the child be weaned. If the child is at the breast, the nourishment received from the mother is perhaps the best that can be given.