What Is Wet Nursing

What Is Wet Nursing? | 2023 Guide

(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

What Is Wet Nursing? Cross-nursing, also known as wet nursing, is when you breastfeed another person’s child. A wet nurse might have a healthy supply of breastmilk from breastfeeding her child or may be able to stimulate breast milk for another woman’s baby.

Women who want to make strong breast milk supplies for their babies, but are too sick or premature to nurse, can also use wet nursing.

A healthy baby will nurse at the breast. Women who want to breastfeed an adoptive child may cross-nurse to increase their breast milk supply.

It is a great option, provided you take proper precautions to avoid infection. Cross-nursing mothers should be well-nourished and healthy. She must not be ill, not take any medication, and not smoke.

ReadMore: What are the nursing implications? | 2023 Guide

The History of Wet Nursing

While cultural norms and social expectations may have influenced the use of wet nurses, the practice of a lactating mother feeding another woman’s infant is an age-old practice that has been life-saving for some infants. Wet nursing can be traced back as far back as ancient times.

The paper continues to show how wet nurses have been around throughout history. Wet nursing has evolved from an alternative to need (2000 BC) to an alternative of choice (1500 AD to 950 BC). It evolved into a professional with well-organized contracts and laws to regulate its practice.

Are Wet Nurses Still A Thing?

Although wet nurses are no longer as common as they were in the past, Kristin Gourley, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), says they still exist. They can also be found here in America.

Although wet nurses are still around, not many people speak about them. When it does occur, it isn’t as well-paid as it was in centuries past, Gourley states. Cross nursing, or wet nursing, is more common today.

Gourley says it’s more common for a friend to breastfeed her friend’s child while her friend is at work.

Wet nursing has advanced once more. Gourley tells Romper that informal milk sharing is more common for those who require breastmilk long-term and in greater quantities. It’s not something that is encouraged or discouraged in the lactation community.

O’Connor explains that human milk was created for human babies and is perfectly acceptable to share. O’Connor warns women to be cautious when hiring wet nurses. She says, “I want to ensure the person has had a baby and is in good health.” I recommend that anyone looking for milk for their baby should source it from an accredited human milk bank.

Wet-Nursing and Infectious Disease

In the past, breastfeeding another person’s baby required that the mother be healthy, have no infections and not take any medication. With the introduction of HIV, things have drastically changed.

Potential Risks

  • The following should be taken into consideration, as with any intimate decision such as this:
  • Breast milk composition will differ if babies are at different ages or stages of development.
  • If the baby is older than four months, it may not be able to nurse.
  • Wet mothers may experience problems with their let-down reflexes.
  • Infections can always occur in a woman or baby.
  • Mothers may experience an interruption in their breast milk supply.
  • Wet nursing can be viewed negatively by siblings or other household members.

Read More: How to Get Someone Admitted To a Nursing Home | 2022

Alternatives

There are many other options for feeding your baby if you are unable or unable to breastfeed.

  • You can give your child breast milk in a bottle if you can pump.
  • Your baby can be given infant formula, breast milk or both.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting a prescription from a human milk bank for breast milk.

Conclusions

The study shows that wet nursing is an accepted practice in society. It is clear that a trend, phenomenon, or practice within society exists and is supported. Wet nursing research and other related issues should be continued to make society more positive.

FAQs | What Is Wet Nursing

What Does It Mean to Wet Nurse Someone?

Definition of wet-nurse

  • To breastfeed and care
  • To act as a wet nurse.
  • To provide constant, often excessive care.

How Long Can A Woman Be A Wet Nurse?

Normally, milk production stops 14-21 days after birth if there is no suckling. PRL-mediated milk production and secretion may continue for as long as breasts are stimulated (16).

How Does A Woman Wet Nurse?

Cross-nursing, also known as wet nursing, is when someone else’s child is breastfed. A wet nurse might have breast milk from her baby or may be able to stimulate breast milk for another child.

Can You Produce Milk Without Being Pregnant?

Is it possible to lactate even if you aren’t pregnant? It is possible to lactate even if you are not pregnant. It is often complicated and requires hormone-mimicking drugs over several months to induce lactation. Second, you will need to express the milk through your nipple.

How Common Are Wet Nurses?

Although wet nurses are still around, not many people speak about them. When it does occur, it isn’t as well-paid as it was in centuries past, Gourley states. Cross nursing, or wet nursing, is more common today.

How Much Is A Wet Nurse?

Wet-nursing nanny agencies exist. Wet nurses are usually in-home nannies who charge at least $1,000 per week for wet nursing services.

Can A Woman Breastfeed A Child That Is Not Hers?

Yes, it is possible to breastfeed a child you didn’t give birth to. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding an adopted child. Even if you are not pregnant or have entered menopause, breastfeeding is possible.

Do You Get Paid to Be A Wet Nurse?

Comparably, which shows market compensation as contributed by real employees, reports that wet nursing in the U.S. pays an annual average salary of $57.123.

When Did Wet Nurses Stop?

Wet nursing was established as early as 2000 BC and continued to the 20th Century. Wet nursing has evolved from an alternative to need (2000 BC) to an alternative of choice (1500 AD to 1800 AD). It was a professionally organized profession with contracts and laws to govern its practice.

Why Did Royals Use Wet Nurses?

The Royal Nursery: Life as a Child

Wetnurses weren’t to be distracted by their primary duty of providing milk and care for the infant princess or prince. They probably hired wet nurses to care for their babies and comfort them.

Did Queen Victoria Breast Feed Her Babies?

Queen Victoria, in the 19th Century, was one of those who refused to breastfeed and instead used a wet nurse. She was adamantly against maternal breastfeeding, believing it was unsuitable for aristocratic women. Her daughters were horrified that she decided to breastfeed.

Scroll to Top