In the August 2007 issue of Marie Claire (Australia) there is an article about wet nursing. For those who are not familiar with the term, wet nursing is when a mother breastfeeds another child.

Wet nursing is often associated with a bygone era, before formula and freezer bags; but Marie Claire say that wet nursing is making a comeback in Hollywood.

With so many new mummies adopting babies and others simply do not have the time to breastfeed, the wet nurse is the latest must have accessory.

It seems that no-one disputes that breast milk is better for baby than formula but am I missing something here? Isn’t mother’s breast milk perfect for her baby, not all babies in general?

The Australian Breastfeeding Association says, “As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to meet his developing needs – your breast milk is always the right food for your baby.”

Is breast milk, any breast milk, better than formula?

As the Marie Claire article points out, there are health issues to consider when looking for a wet nurse, but could any of you ladies out there wet nurse for a living?

I’ve wet nurse once. Not for money. A friend of mine had a scheduled all day conference coming up and in preparation was expressing milk and feeding her baby with a bottle for weeks leading up to the conference. About a week before the conference, the baby started to reject the bottle and only wanted the breast.

On the morning of my friend’s conference she rang me and asked if I could wet nurse the baby if the baby rejected the bottle again. My friend felt awkward asking and I felt awkward being asked. But when it came down to it, her feelings or my feelings of awkwardness didn’t matter, this baby needed to be fed. So I said yes.

Just after lunch I got the call from the grandmother and over I went. When I got there I tried to ‘act cool’ but I was very nervous. Even though I knew this baby, this baby wasn’t mine. But when I sat down and the baby latched onto my breast it felt quite natural; not strange like I expected.

The feed was over, the baby was happy and I went home. On the drive home I realized that wet nursing is quite an easy thing to do; it’s before and after the feed when my thoughts are racing through my head that’s difficult.

This post was first published on my other Mum’s Word blog “Wet Nursing – Would You Do It?”

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