Lucky Mom

Jul. 5, 2006

Wet Nurses

Everyday I read another article about the benefits of breast milk.

A couple of today’s articles reference:

1. Reduced bedwetting in breastfed babies (there is strong evidence that in many cases bed-wetting can "result from delayed neurodevelopment," said the report) and

2. Premature infants doing better on tests of mental development later in life (the tiniest premature infants fed with breast milk in the hospital did better on tests of mental development later in life than did others fed only formula, a new study has found.)

I also just read about the case of a poor mother from the Chinese countryside hired to breastfeed an affluent city-dweller's baby which stoked controversy over the ethics of the ancient practice of wet nursing.

Professional wet nurses have appeared in major cities across China, fueled by rising incomes and a demand for healthy milk.

China has been dogged by a number of health scares regarding bogus baby milk formula. In 2004, at least 13 babies died from malnutrition in the country's impoverished eastern province of Anhui after being fed fake baby milk.

It’s worth noting that the World Health Organization apparently lists formula as the fourth choice of infant feeding methods, following, in order, a mother breastfeeding her own baby, another woman wet-nursing the baby, and feeding human breast milk acquired from a milk bank.

What do you think? If you had to return to work and couldn't pump or otherwise just couldn’t breastfeed (assuming you wanted to that is) and the breast milk of another woman was available for hire - would you consider the option? What about milk banks? It’s expensive, but if you could easily afford it, would you?

(by the way, it’s allegedly amazing any of us born in the 60’s are even alive today. Powdered milk, pregnant mothers who drank/smoked and did whatever else they claim they didn’t know was bad then, etc.. But, with all this additional knowledge and diligence, it will be interesting to see if our children really turn out that much smarter, healthier and with drier beds than we had.)

6 Comments Posted (Add Yours)


Another interesting fact is the benefits of breast milk for cancer patients and people recovering from chemotherapy. I offered my Dad some but,thankfully he declined.


I am nursing my daughter, but was unable to nurse my son. Despite all of the reports, he was a healthy & happy child...who knows if this will continue according to all of the news reports?

Now they offer so many varities in formula- organic, anyone? Pumped with lipils & iron? There are many varities to choose from and more research than ever...

If I had a premature child or a child with lots of health problems, getting milk from someone else would be a priority (if I could not offer this myself), but we have never had to explore this.

That is an interesting fact though, regarding cancer patients...I never knew that!


When my son was born premature and I was pumping milk for him to drink, I produced way more than he was drinking. I did not want the milk to go to waste so I gave it to my older children to drink, as milk for their cereal, and even frozen as a treat. If I would not have produced as much milk I would have definantly bought milk from a bank. Also, if I had a family member who was nursing and willing to provide milk for my baby I would gladly accept it. I don't think I would just go let my child nurse from just anyone though. Too many diseases out there, the person would definantly have to be screened by a professional. Also, I would give my milk to a family member or close friend if they needed it. Why not, people donate blood, kidneys, bone marrow, why not milk. As long as the person and/or the milk has been screened, I think it is a great option to those willing to explore it.


Amy & Anonymous - thanks for your comments.


I Hate My Mother


I just read on that there are almost a million white blood cells in one drop of breast milk! I wonder if that is why it helps cancer patients...

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