Letting Another Woman Breastfeed Your Baby Is Totally Bizarre

breastfeedingLast night I was watching Bravo's Pregnant in Heels. In case you haven't seen it, it's all about how pregnancy concierge Rosie Pope caters to the ridiculous demands of super rich, expecting women in New York City.

Well, her latest client had a request that even surprised Rosie. This woman wanted a wet nurse. At first I thought I had heard wrong. She wanted Rosie to find some stranger to nurse her soon-to-be-born child. What century is this? All I could think was, "Yuck." Then I wondered how many people in this day and age actually seek out wet nurses and the answer shocked me.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about organized milk sharing programs. That is a great option for women who can't produce enough milk on their own. That milk goes in a bottle. This is completely different. The thought of letting your child suck on a random woman’s boobs was just too weird for me, but lots of women do it. 

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The job is actually making a comeback. L.A. based agency Certified Household Staffing provides a wet nurse registry filled with over 1,000 women who breastfeed professionally. Most of these women will spend a year or more with a family. The cost? $1,000 a week.

There are also message boards dedicated to helping women find wet nurses and for lactating women who want to provide that service. There are dangers, warned Pope during the show -- you have no idea about this woman's diet, health, habits, communicable diseases. All of those things will affect a nursing baby. But I assume any parent who hires a wet nurse will look into the person's medical history -- at least I hope so.

I certainly understand the desperation that comes from wanting to breastfeed a child but not being able to. I wasn't a very good "producer" either. And this society is not very understanding about moms who do not breastfeed or give it up too quickly. You can almost feel vilified. For some people, formula is just not acceptable. But having someone nurse for you just feels so bizarre. Breastfeeding is not only about nutrients, it's about bonding with your child. Why in the world would you want some stranger to have that intimate connection with your newborn baby?

Would you pay someone to nurse your baby?


Image via sdminor81/Flickr

breastfeeding, formula


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Sabri... Sabrinamama4806

I've been breastfeeding for 16 months. The bond me and my child share is amazing. I could NEVER imagine her having that bond with someone other then me. Also, won't the baby automatically want the "wet nurse" if that is who supplies him/her with milk? And I agree my baby sucking on a random boob, freaks me out !

MIA0223 MIA0223

I actually had one lined up in case I couldn't nurse DD. better than giving her formula!

takes... takes_a_village

I have no problem with it. It has been done for hundreds of years. It is a much better option for women who work or are unable to produce enough milk than formula is. My grandfather's mother died when he was just a few months old and his father hired a wet nurse so he would not die of starvation.

nonmember avatar Alexa

I'm a CLC so I know the importance of breast milk. If someone close to me couldn't produce milk I would be a wet nurse if they wanted me to. A random stranger thou, not so sure. Would I want someone else breastfeeding my child? No pumping and bottle feeding, yes if necessary, but actually latching on is too weird for me.

MomLi... MomLily67

This is totally a nice option to have,  for some moms, it is better a stanger's milk, from a bottle or  breast, than formula. 

Have no issues with formula feeding and respect those who choose to go one way or the other.

randh... randhferedinos

Of course I would. If I had the money and couldn't breastfeed for whatever reason then I would most definitely try to give my baby the right kind of milk for a human.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

My issue with this is if you can produce enough milk and there are no problems in the way why would you give up the chance to breastfeed your own child? What could you possibly have to do that would be more important?

lalab... lalaboosh

Three women other than myself have nursed my daughter. First it was my XSIL and her friend (also a LLL coach in training) and they did it to help me stop being scared to feed DD. We had a bad latch and it caused a lot of damage and pain and then she'd bite my nipple out of frustration, so they latched her on to show me that she wasn't biting anymore. Then I had my dear friend help watch DD on my wedding night. She nursed DD back to sleep so DH and I could have our first night alone together since DD was born.

Senia... Seniahmom

I'd do it - both to provide breastmilk for my child or to provide breastmilk for other children. My friend and I have an agreement to nurse each other's babies as needed. It's the good stuff - I'd pursue all avenues of breastmilk before turning to formula.

tyrel... tyrelsmom

Absolutely. I think feeding a baby processed milk from an animal is a lot more bizarre. (And I have given my children formula because I had no other choice. My second was actually raised on goat's milk. You do what you have to do.)

My 1st option would be to breastfeed or pump myself. Second option would be donor milk in a bottle. Wet nursing would be third. That's as their complete nutrition. Once in a while is different. If my friend was babysitting and didn't mind, I would have no problem with her nursing DD. Her baby was born a mere few hours before DD.

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