Bunty Rowe, 26, and Kyle Aldridge, 30, are sisters, both of whom have babies and both of whom are nursing. Yesterday they went on British television to reveal that they are nursing one another's babies. "It's normal," they assure detractors and, sure enough, they are correct that, historically, wet nursing was very "normal," indeed?
But is it safe?
As a nursing mom, the thought of anyone else nursing my son (who I nursed for three years) or my daughter (who I nursed for one) made me sick, but now? I am not sure whether it's the hormones or the time passing, but I have had a change of heart. Wet nursing is a beautiful gift to give a child and something more people should be taking advantage of.
There is something beautiful in the act of taking another child to your breast. It speaks to the whole concept that it takes a village to raise a child. I only wish I had people close enough to me in my life who I would trust to nurse my children back when they were still nursing.
The idea of a stranger doing so, though, is a little less appealing. It's true that diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, and herpes among other things can be transmitted via breast milk and that a clean bill of health is vital before I would consider wet nursing.
Human breast milk is what is best for babies, and if mom has to be away at work or she can't breastfeed for whatever reason, a wet nurse and other means of breast milk sharing are the next best thing.
Now, obviously, a mom's breast milk is specially made for her baby and has the nutrients HER baby needs, so ideally every mom could feed her own baby. But I love the idea of a nanny or sitter who could also breastfeed my baby as needed. I wouldn't have to pump and make bottles while I am out doing things. I wouldn't have to worry about my baby having something I don't necessarily want him or her to have. It's sort of an ideal scenario.
For me, this is a real 180 from the way I used to feel about the issue. But that's motherhood, right? We grow. We evolve. And we change our views as we change. I wish I had a sister with whom I could share breastfeeding. Even the Kardashian sisters have said they would breastfeed for one another. Why not?
Would you ever do this?
Image via Beatrice Murch/Flickr