A Jewish Wet Nurse

1 1) The overall education of a child begins at birth; therefore they should not suckle the milk of a gentile woman following the law cited in Shulchan Aruch:2 “In any case, a child should not be allowed to suckle from an Egyptian woman … for the milk of an idolateress fouls the heart and engenders a wicked nature in [the child]. Similarly, the wet nurse (even if she is Jewish) must not eat forbidden foods, and so also the child himself, for all this will cause him harm in his later life.” This is the child’s training that the father and mother must be careful about to take care that his food and drink shall all be kosher.

Lighting an Additional Shabbos Candle

2) Some have the custom to add an additional candle after a child is born; [the purpose of this is] to illuminate everyone’s fortunes.3

Modeh Ani

3) Reciting Modeh Ani is something that pertains to every individual, whether great or small; even to an infant who cannot speak yet. It is the custom of women to recite Modeh Ani on behalf of (and with) the child.4

Making the Child’s Room into a Mikdash Me’at

5 4) A suggestion, and a double entreaty to each one of the Jewish boys and girls that they make there room (their bed, their desk, etc.) into a mikdash me’at,6 a “house” of Torah, prayer, and charity: where they study torah each day, recite a prayer to G‑d, deposit charity in the charity box7 (except on Shabbos or Yom Tov), etc. Each should have his own Siddur for prayer, a Chumash (or other Torah sefer) of his own, and also his own charity box. On the page preceding the beginning of the Siddur or other sefer, he should write the words לה' הארץ ומלואה (“To G‑d belongs the earth and all that fills it”)8 or at least the abbreviation לה"ו and his name, in keeping with Jewish custom. If possible, [this should be written] also on the charity box.

These instructions pertain even to a very small child who has not yet begun to speak, since he has a space of four cubits dedicated to him by his parents (or his siblings) having hung near him the verses of Shir HaMaalos9 or the like (Torah), they study a Torah subject in his behalf, they pray and recite blessings (in his Siddur) in his behalf,10 and they give charity for his merit (in his charity box).

A Letter in a Torah Scroll

5) It is proper to see to it that every boy and girl member of Tzivos HaShem even the youngest should have a letter in a Torah scroll.11