IT’S the picture that’s got everyone talking and split opinion on social media – but is it REALLY such a big deal?
When American mum Jessica Anne Colletti posted a picture of her tandem breastfeeding her son and her friend’s son, everyone had an opinion ranging from outrage to support to sheer surprise that a modern mum would want to wet nurse someone else’s child.
But is it really that unusual? While it maybe in the West, in many cultures around the world, wet nursing is commonplace. Indeed giving a new baby artificial formula made from ultra-processed cow’s milk and other non-human ingredients would be seen as far stranger.
In India, wet nurses are often know as ‘dhatri’ which translates loosely – but beautifully – as ‘mother earth’. In Islamic cultures, non-related children fed by the same wet nurse are known as ‘milk siblings’ and are believed to have a bond for life.
In these societies wet nurses are cherished and seen as performing a valuable service for when the biological mother is too ill or unable to feed for any other reason.
And it could be that opinion is slowly changing here too. A new survey by Netmums has found 46 per cent of breastfeeding mums would consider feeding a friend or family member’s child, in a practice known as ‘cross nursing’.
But even if you’re not comfortable with someone nursing your own child – and many mums aren’t – there are still ways to help out other mothers.
Here at Freyda’s Pantry we are strong supporters milksharing and milk donation, where mums donate their extra breastmilk for free to families in need.
If you’d like to donate to your local hospital milk bank, visit http://www.ukamb.org for information on how to do it. Or if you’d prefer to share milk more informally, have a chat with the team at Human Milk 4 Human Babies, which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/HM4HBUK
But whether you choose to wet nurse, donate or milkshare – it’s the ultimate in the milk of human kindness and your action will give a baby in need the very breast start in life.
With love, Sharon.