Wet-Nursing and Breastfeeding Another Woman’s Child

As a mother who has nursed quite a few other babies during my 33 months of lactating, I can attest that there is nothing more gratifying than seeing and feeling the difference you’re making. Two of the babies actually tandem nursed alongside my daughter and those experiences brought tears to my eyes. I felt like Mother Earth giving life to TWO children at once- one my own, and one a 3 month old foster child with a broken arm due to abuse and neglect. So here’s to us modern day wet nurses- don’t let the nay-sayers get you down!!! Are you kidding me? That doesn’t sound like the kind of mom group she should want to be associated with anyway. This is an amazing story. It is sad that the other members of the mother group didn’t see the milk sharing as the sweet and helpful act that it was.


A wet nurse is a woman who breastfeeds a baby who is not her own. The practice became common in Europe starting about C. Wet nurses nourished orphaned infants or fed babies whose mothers were too ill to do so.

CrossRef citations to date She introduces her readers to the Indian “dhye” or wet nurse, highlighting the entry of this figure This essay examines representations of the wet nurse in India to consider how shifting depictions.

When breastfeeding becomes marginalized in a culture, maternal behavior that was considered normal in times when people grew up seeing breastfeeding women around them comes to be viewed as socially unacceptable. Shared nursing and wet-nursing are examples of behaviors that have been common all over the world in nonurbanized societies. Unfortunately, when bottle-feeding of artificial milks becomes the primary mode of infant feeding, how people used to relate to one another can rather quickly be forgotten, and many begin to think that breastfeeding is—and should remain—an essentially private experience between each mother and her baby.

The first summer we settled on our land in Tennessee, we were presented with our first nursing challenge: One hundred of the three hundred of us came down with hepatitis A—probably from eating uncooked watercress that had been put in the store. Two pregnant women, Linda and Lisa, had their babies prematurely because of contracting the disease.

Both babies were too small to maintain their body temperature, even in the August heat, so each spent some weeks in incubators at our local hospital. Breast-pump technology was in its infancy in the early s; we had some manual pumps of the old bicycle-horn type, but nothing like the electric pumps of today.

Wet Nursing – When a Baby is Breastfed by Another Woman

This study examined the best practices with regard to infant and young child feeding in emergency IYCF-E program. Information on demographics, IYCF-E knowledge, wet nursing support, type of constraints faced, and possible ways to overcome such constraints was collected through face-to-face interviews with 24 conveniently selected wet nurses.

Linear regression was used to analyze the associations. Mean age of wet nurses was

Keywords: infant, breastfeeding, wet nurse, feeding bottle, infant formula Vessels of all shapes and sizes have been found, dating back thousands of years BC.

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‘Nine different women wet-nursed my son and I couldn’t be more grateful’

In the days before baby formula, new mothers had far fewer options for food for their babies. Because of rampant childhood diseases and absence of many other options of sustenance for infants, breastmilk played a vitally important role in the development of society and families. Many slaveholding women designated enslaved women to be wet nurses for the newly born white children. As Robert Mallard describes in his memoir, As a babe, I drew a part at least of my nourishment from the generous breasts of a colored foster mother.

Wet-nursing was a common feature of life in ancient civilizations such as Babylon​, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Sumeria, according to several references dating.

In certain periods of history and among some social levels, wet-nursing was a paid profession. The history of wet-nursing is ancient dating to perhaps bce and widespread. It continued as a practice into the 21st century, though in many parts of the world knowledge of its potential dangers has made it more of a practice of necessity than of convenience or prestige. Reasons for employing a wet nurse have not varied over the millennia. Until the improvement of infant bottles and their sterilization and the production of infant formula, it was the safest, simplest, and best option for keeping infants, who require the nutrients found in breast milk, alive.

If, because of her own illness, death, or inadequate or failed lactation , a mother was unable to feed her newborn infant, a wet nurse would be employed. As childbirth, motherhood, and child rearing became medicalized, the once-common practice of wet-nursing began to decline. In most developed countries—because drugs , alcohol , and viruses such as HIV and other potentially damaging matter can be passed to an infant through breast milk—the practice of wet-nursing has been largely replaced by the use of infant formula.

In regions where other alternatives are scarce, wet-nursing continues to be common. The practice of cross-nursing, where a woman breast-feeds both her child and another, is sometimes employed, most commonly for purposes of child care or babysitting. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.

A review of wet nursing experiences, motivations, facilitators and barriers

The historical evolution of infant feeding includes wet nursing, the feeding bottle, and formula use. Before the invention of bottles and formula, wet nursing was the safest and most common alternative to the natural mother’s breastmilk. Society’s negative view of wet nursing, combined with improvements of the feeding bottle, the availability of animal’s milk, and advances in formula development, gradually led to the substitution of artificial feeding for wet nursing.

In addition, the advertising and safety of formula products increased their popularity and use among society. Currently, infant formula-feeding is widely practiced in the United States and appears to contribute to the development of several common childhood illnesses, including atopy, diabetes mellitus, and childhood obesity. The historical evolution of feeding practices for a full-term infant immediately after birth includes wet nursing, the feeding bottle, and formula use.

Date: April 27, ; Source: Pediatric Academic Societies; Summary: A Wet nursing was considered the safest and most popular alternative form of nutrition.

Social, cultural, and legal contexts in which the papyrus contracts were drawn, together with the particular fiscal and economic considerations that often lie behind the service agreements, caution against the Egyptian cases having universal relevance to the practice as it is documented in non-Egyptian and non-papyrological sources Bradley , This paper presents the extant evidence for nurses in papyri of Ptolemaic date and indicates the ways in which the hiring of wet nurses in Roman Egypt is markedly different from the practice documented for Italy and other parts of the empire.

Tax-registers P. Count from the Fayum include about fifty papyri. They preserve lists of adults, organized by village, occupation and social group, and by household, together with the taxes paid on their persons, livestock and trades. The evidence of the households derived from these registers document differences in marriage patterns, household size and composition Clarysse and Thompson Twelve nurses trophoi in Greek, mn-iry. To judge from names, most nurses were Egyptian and most worked in Greek families, but the tax documents are silent about their status.

Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

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Date(s): to Location(s): Many slaveholding women designated enslaved women to be wet nurses for the newly born white children. As Robert.

This image inspired “restitute” in my series Mother Culture. In my mind, I could imagine the building pain and resentment a woman might feel in captivity, nursing the captors children. Breastfeeding her own child probably came second and as any nursing woman will tell you, nursing one baby on demand is a pretty…. This website is for sale! From general topics to more of what you would expect to find here, atoast2wealth. We hope you find what you are searching for!

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Wet Nursing