I know, strange question. Back in the Victorian era people hired wet nurses to feed their children, but now it is considered a taboo. Why?
I saw a story yesterday about a woman who was taken ill and sent out a plea for someone to breastfeed her baby. When I read it, I couldn’t believe it. As a midwife I promote that breast is best, but honestly, I hadn’t really thought about someone breastfeeding someone else’s baby. I can imagine there was a time people would be worried about passing on diseases, such as HIV etc, but now that isn’t a prevalent issue.*
What I thought was really beautiful about the article is just how much support the mum got from the breastfeeding community. A 1000 women offered to come and help her feed her baby. A 1000! I haven’t heard of many situations recently where a 1000 mums came to one baby’s aid.
In the end she had 5 mums breastfeed for her, a couple even taking her son home to feed him and help her out. I think that is incredible. The photos show one lovely lady feeding her own daughter on one breast and the lady’s son on the other. All of the photos show the breastfeeding mums smiling and clearly happy to help.
Mums should support each other more in life and this is such a shining example of how, when we stick together, amazing things can happen! I suppose some may think that breastfeeding someone else’s child is “abnormal” or “gross”, but if they were doing so in public, how would you know it was someone else’s baby? Adoptive mothers can sometimes take tablets to stimulate milk production to breastfeed their new baby, is that weird as well? After all, they are the parents to that child, albeit not the biological ones.
If you read around the internet there is so much friction for every aspect of motherhood: breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, baby-led weaning, purées, co-sleeping… you know the drill. It’s such a shame parents can’t just support each other and help each other out. I’ve been to too many baby groups which are full of cliques I wasn’t privy to. Why can’t we all just talk and ride the rollercoaster of motherhood together?
It’d be great to think the tide is turning with mum-to-mum animosity; although I think that battle is a little bigger than one article can solve. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!