Would you nurse another woman's baby? We hear stories of heroic women during disasters breastfeeding two, three or even up to eight babies so they won't starve. Would you do it?
If, for some reason, you could not nurse your own baby, would you hire another woman to do it if you were financially capable of doing so? The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and it seems that they continue to discover more good things about it every day.
With all the issues surrounding formula feeding like contaminants in the formula, recalls and other problems, wet nursing almost seems like a dream come true. Generations ago, wet nursing was popular. As described in Gabrielle Palmer's "The Politics of Breastfeeding," noblewomen used wet nurses because their families dictated that they must be ready to breed again and produce more heirs. Some women made a good living for their own families by wet nursing.
How many of you would sign up to be a wet nurse if you could still nurse your own child at the same time? I freely admit that I would. I've nursed eight children of my own. They are all healthy and have grown well. If I could help support my family by providing the best baby food on earth to someone's child, I'd do it.
Maybe we should form a wet nursing co-op. Those of us who are confident in our nursing abilities could offer to nurse the children of those who for one reason or another cannot. Who benefits the most? The baby! Who suffers? The formula companies! They promise nutrition they cannot deliver, especially to those babies most at risk. If only we could figure out how to be paid for our efforts, everyone would benefit. Our families would have more income. Babies would be fed more nutritious food. Other parents could rest easy knowing their babies were getting the best even though they could not provide it themselves.
I know someone will bring up the problem of contagion. Any woman interested in wet nursing would have to have a health screen, of course. This should be a no-brainer. From what I read, some companies in California that offer nannies are also starting to offer wet nursing services. Is the wet nurse making a comeback?
What do you think? Please post comments below.