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Other than social stigma, are there reasons not to feed someone else's baby?

(8 Posts)
Anglepoise Sun 26-Oct-08 13:21:56

Specifically I'm wondering:

1. whether it would confuse the baby (apparently they can recognise their own mum's milk from a day old)

2. whether it would mess with mum's supply and

3. whether it would cause havoc with co-feeder's nips if the baby's latch is bad

or anything else I haven't thought of?

I'm talking about very young babies and mum still feeding them too. Sorry for bad phrasing, DD clamped to breast and making it hard to type!

a11 Sun 26-Oct-08 13:40:09

Transmission of infections eg HIV & hepatitis are the main worries. Milk donated to SCBUs is pasturised and the donors are tested for infections which removes risk. Even though you may feel confident that a relative or friend could not possibly have one of these infections there is nothing to say that her partner has not acquired them which puts her at risk of infection. No-one knows for certain about someone else's sexual behaviour in any case.

Anglepoise Sun 26-Oct-08 16:25:12

Ah, I hadn't thought of that. I've been screened for HIV etc as part of my pregnancy blood tests and DH hasn't been out of my sight for months (plus I trust him wink) so I reckon I'm probably clean

Spidermama Sun 26-Oct-08 16:33:52

I've done it with no problems Anglepoise. My sister left her baby with me while she went out on a much needed night out. He was exclusively breast fed and woke up crying at one point. I called sis but she didn't answer so I just fed him. Five mins later he was asleep again no probs.

I've also fed a toddler and a newborn at the same time on many occasions. Actually at one time I was feeding three. (I have four kids all fairly close in age.) I can honestly say there were no problems at all.

Anglepoise Sun 26-Oct-08 16:38:26

Thanks, that's good to know

This would be probably for a week or so rather than a few days, hence me worrying about the babies getting confused. I know my cousins and I were swapped around between aunts as necessity dictated!

NotQuiteCockney Sun 26-Oct-08 17:08:49

It could probably cause some wibbles with supply - if one mum were to feed both her baby and another baby full-time for a week (rather than just a aone-off feed), she might end up with oversupply, and be at risk for blocked ducts, for the few days after she went back to feeding only one baby.

Some babies, from what I know, just refuse to feed off someone else - friends of mine, back home, did babysitting with wetnursing for each other. One of the girls was happy with the new norkage, the other girl just refused. I think they only had the spare baby for an evening - presumably she would have given in and had some if she was properly hungry?

NotQuiteCockney Sun 26-Oct-08 17:09:39

(I think this sort of thing is actually not that rare - my sister has done it for one of her friends, too. And I gather, in our local Bengali community, that aunts or grandmothers feeding babies is not that unusual, if the mum is ill.)

AuntyViCtimoftheZombies Sun 26-Oct-08 23:04:18

Do you mean the mum would not feed for a week or so? If so obv she would need to express regularly to maintain supply, so it would depend how well she got on with expressing (if she didn't manage to express as much as baby usually drinks then presumably her supply could reduce). Also co-feeder could end up with excess milk if it was going on for a while, as NQC said. I suppose baby would also get different antibodies from what their mum would give them, but not sure that would be a bad thing, it might actually be a good thing as they could end up with protection against a wider range of bugs! And anyway as a short-term thing probably not much difference either way.
I found out recently my gran BF a random lady's baby when they were in maternity hospital together (many many years ago obviously!). She had really good supply and the other lady was having problems and couldn't feed for some reason, and of course you didn't get formula then, so she offered to help by feeding both babies until they were both out of hospital. Not exactly the same situation though of course as the other mum wasn't able to feed at all, so no issues with confusion etc! But it didn't cause any problems and was surely much better for the other baby than cow's milk with sugar or whatever they would have had to try instead..

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