Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Modern-Day Wet Nurse

In days gone by mothers who had trouble breastfeeding their babies would turn to other women to step up and lend a hand, or more to the point, a boob, to ensure the baby thrived.

It's common knowledge that many wealthy women of history did not feed their babies themselves but employed wet nurses, women who had usually recently had a baby of their own and who was judged to have ample supply. In more traditional cultures it was not out of place for women to cross-feed each other's babies and young children. After all, the old saying it takes a village to raise a child had to come from somewhere!

But in today's world of individuals, consumerism, marketing and media what options are there for women who can't breastfeed? The most obvious answer is formula (or artificial baby milk) but are there other options? Yes!!!

The World Health Organisation has developed a preferential list of different ways to feed a baby. I think many people would be surprised to see where artificial baby milk comes on the list - 4th! 4th!!!

1st - mother breastfeeding her own baby
2nd - mother expressing her own milk to feed baby
3rd - mother using donor milk from other mothers
4th - artificial baby milk

 Expressed and frozen breast milk waiting collection

I have been donating milk over the past few months to a family not far away and I've been getting some mixed reactions. Most people are surprised ("Isn't it illegal?"), some are impressed ("Wow, what a nice thing to do for someone") and many are curious ("But why?").

This is one organisation that facilitates peer-to-peer milk sharing however there are others.

If you are interested in reading more about the risks and dangers of artificial baby milk there are links here, here, here just to list a few.

1 comment:

  1. I can only imagine how confronting this could be to some poor peeps who haven't managed to extend their heads 'out of the box' so to speak. Reactions I've had just to nursing my boys at all were surprising and saddening. It's commendable what you're doing Vik and an exciting movement to witness!