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To think that 'wet nursing' should not cause a public outcry.

(56 Posts)
Tweenangst Tue 06-Aug-13 15:19:53

I don't know how to put a link up but there is an article on daily mail (sorry!) about a French nurse offering her services for a hundred euros a day. Surely this is just a supply/demand thing and if she is fit and healthy and the parents are happy, why do people think its gross? The comments on the article have to be seen to be believed .

Isildur Tue 06-Aug-13 15:23:45

Yes, but it's the Daily Mail, so not exactly reflecting the opinions of most reasonable people.

I would have thought that most people would find it interesting for as long as it takes to read the story, and then put it to the back of their minds.

I've not heard the story mentioned by anyone at all, much less a national outcry.

Tweenangst Tue 06-Aug-13 15:25:35

I may has slightly exaggerated with the "public outcry" isildur!! I must stop reading that bloody stupid website.

CustardOmlet Tue 06-Aug-13 15:55:46

I must stop reading it too, but I find the comments entertaining!

WorraLiberty England Tue 06-Aug-13 15:57:42

Did you comment on the article OP?

Mia4 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:02:28

Wet nursing isn't anything new, so i don't get why they'd be an outcry that it's gross but on article regarding things like excess breast milk, blood etc, I have seen an outcry of 'why not give it for free', breast milk for preemie babies' for example.

The comments seem to be more anti-gay which isn't all that surprising for the Daily fail, rather then breastfeeding = gross.

ComposHat Belgium Tue 06-Aug-13 16:18:27

Ahh.... this is my PhD topic and I could bore for Scotland on this.

Wet nursing has a long history and in ancient Egypt was considered a religious duty. It has been practised in the UK since the middle ages at least and was the 'norm' for the wives of middle class shopkeepers.

It was facilitated throughout the C19th by organisations such as the Foundling Hospital and Queen's Charlotte's hospital who would arrange for the children of unmarried mothers to be dry nursed, whilst their mothers were employed as wet nursed by the upper middle classes. The consequence of this was that their off-spring died in large as safe formula milk was unavailable and the dry nurse would feed them all sorts of unsuitable foodstuffs.

Certain reactionaries got very het up as they argued that this gave women a perverse incentive to get pregnant. Wet nurses were amongst the highest paid female servants. Much as similar reactionaries today rave on about teenage mothers getting pregnant to get a council house.

The point of this.... that aside from the fact I am a boring turd, is that wet nursing is nothing new or frightening.

Fakebook Tue 06-Aug-13 16:21:44

Without reading the article, I still find it weird. I don't think I'd like anyone else breastfeeding my baby, even a relative. I'll probably be labelled as selfish, but I wouldn't even consider it if I couldn't breastfeed due to health reasons.

It's not really a new concept either, I'm sure it was quite popular before formula milk and bottles were invented.

NatashaBee Tue 06-Aug-13 16:30:26

Just out of interest... does a wet nurse respond in the same way to the baby's need for certain antibodies (I believe triggered by the baby's saliva), milk content and supply that a mother would?

Personally I would rather my baby have breast milk (anyone's breast milk) than formula, as long as there were stringent health checks on the person who supplied it.

PeriodMath Tue 06-Aug-13 16:35:07

Fakebook, I would find it weird too. But if we lived a hundred years ago when it was common practice we probably wouldn't find it weird at all.

I find the dry nursing of unmarried mothers' babies a very sad story. They were less important than rich people's babies?

SofiaVagueara Tue 06-Aug-13 16:46:36

I know for certain that HIV and AIDS can be transmitted via breastmilk as can Lyme disease and other serious infections. I would want to know for certain that the person breast feeding my child had been fully health screened.

Also there is the difficulty that it you bring money into it you may end up with the same problems they had in the states re paid blood donors.

If people are being paid to donate a bodily substance it makes them much more likely to be deceitful about the safety of it even if they know it has been compromised because they want to protect their cash flow.

Also, presumably she would be doing it for payment for people who didn't want to do it (at 100 euros a day most likely women going back to work) rather than those who couldn't. And it that case it would be much better for the mothers to express their own milk which is tailor made for their babies immune systems rather than paying other people to do it.

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 06-Aug-13 16:49:14

I don't think it's gross but I really wouldn't want another woman BF my children, not for one minute. It's far too intimate IMO

Tweenangst Tue 06-Aug-13 16:50:48

Worria, no didn't comment, just found the whole tone of the article off. I have breast fed both my children but don't have an opinion on people who choose not to/can't. But I find it astounding that people who choose to go down this road are critiqued. And yes, I can see that the being paid for it element is somewhat off putting, and I know that there is a breast milk donation bank available to prems. But if people are not in the position to BF but can afford and are happy to pay someone, where is the issue?

SofiaVagueara Tue 06-Aug-13 16:54:19

NatashaBee nobody can be conclusively tested as HIV negative to wet nurse because it takes 3 weeks to 3 months for a test to show as positive and someone could have a negative test whilst they were already positive and then pass on the infection to the baby. They could also become infected whilst in the process of wet nursing.

Hepatitis can be passed on too.

If you are nursing your own child you are aware of your own sexual history and how you are behaving sexually at the time.

I think you would have to be pretty brave to trust a paid employee not to take any risks.

Lavidaenrosa Tue 06-Aug-13 17:34:06

I would be happy to be a wet nurse (for free). I've got plenty of milk. I am healthy and I wanted to donate my milk, but I do not have a big enough freezer to store the milk. Shame.

EBearhug Tue 06-Aug-13 17:57:35

nobody can be conclusively tested as HIV negative to wet nurse because it takes 3 weeks to 3 months for a test to show as positive and someone could have a negative test whilst they were already positive and then pass on the infection to the baby. They could also become infected whilst in the process of wet nursing.
Yes, but you'd at least cut out people who are already infected, just as they do with blood donations. (Not quite the same, as they check every time you donate, and that wouldn't be feasible with milk. But you should still pick up preexisting infections.)

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 06-Aug-13 18:06:53

The idea doesn't bother me but I wouldn't do it myself, I don't like bf enough to bf someone roses child.

Unless I had a very prem baby I wouldn't bother with a wet nurse, id just ff

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 06-Aug-13 18:09:10

Elses, not roses!

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 18:24:32

I'm not enjoying BFing my newborn. I'd love a wet nurse!

Mrchip Tue 06-Aug-13 19:01:37

Composhat that's really interesting.
Any references as I'd be really interested to read further on the history of wet nursing.

Mrchip Tue 06-Aug-13 19:02:26

I'd happily be a daytime wet-nurse. Would want at least double time for nights though!

Shrugged Tue 06-Aug-13 19:25:54

I was intrigued to discover when I lived in the ME that in Islam, a man and woman who have both been breastfed by the same woman may not marry, because they are counted as 'milk siblings', even if they are not biological siblings. So a friend's son that your mother happened to breastfeed as a baby for some reason would be counted as your brother and haram (forbidden) to marry you. (He also couldn't marry the unrelated woman who breastfed him, because she counts the same as his mother.)

It has the corollary that because he counts as ypur brother, you don't have to be covered/wear a headscarf in front of him and can mix freely with him, so sometimes women have deliberately breastfed one another's children in order that their families can mix like siblings when they are older.

The reason this came up was that some Saudi imam issued a fatwah when we were living in the UAE suggesting that women who mixed in the workplace with unrelated men should breastfeed them in order to make them members of their immediate family in the eyes of Sharia law and remove impropriety.

My mind did a fair bit of boggling at the idea of whipping out a breast in the photocopy room...

mrsjay Tue 06-Aug-13 19:34:04

But it is the Daily mail dearie of course they are clutching pearls about it, but tbh wet nursing was usually done by women who needed the money it was never a glamour maternal career choice, she usually had either lost a baby or kept lactating to feed her family

mrsjay Tue 06-Aug-13 19:35:43

compos that wasnt boring that was interesting smile

Composhat, very interesting!

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