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Last 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?
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