Monday, February 04, 2008

Documentary on wet nursing

Please forward this information to anyone who might be interested in participating:

Ever thought of hiring a wet nurse?

Channel 4 is making a documentary called Wet Nurse. It's a fascinating subject and we aim to make an informative, compassionate and fair documentary exploring the need of a wet nurse in today’s modern society.

Wet nursing is back in fashion and this is because of health scares about formula milk, increase in plastic surgery and women making a lifestyle choice: they don’t want to breastfeed nor want to use formula milk. This added with gay couples – especially since the law changed allowing them to adopt – could a wet nurse make a comeback? I’m particularly keen to speak to women who want to hire or are currently using a wet nurse or women who are cross feeding for this documentary. We want to know as much as possible about this complicated issue so get in touch and tell us your thoughts!

You can email or call directly on 0044 - 20 7261 3375.


  1. I'll have to pass this along on Myspace, I've always found wet nursing fascinating. Guess it's the tribal mentality in me. ;)

  2. Wet nursing sounds great, if somewhat quaint.
    Around the time my babies started crawling at seven months and go on a nursing strike of sorts because they can't be bothered to sit still long enough to eat and I can't pump much and so my milk supply plummets, I always wish I could just wet nurse a newborn... There's gotta be a baby out there who would work with me LOL like "No, you're not excused until you finish at least one breast, there are starving babies in Africa who would be grateful for this!" :-)

    Since I haven't been pumping at work, we're down to 'dry-nursing' at night. No more milk. I visited a friend with a two day old baby on Sunday, her milk wasn't even in yet and I found myself intensely jealous that she gets to do it from the very start and here I am, done for life! :( Breastfeeding was such a gift. I can't believe it's over. Sobs...

    But I was pleasantly surprised that at least I am able to dispense helpful breastfeeding advice! While we talked, the baby fell asleep and I had to go before he woke up... but not before mom lay down for a nap and I put a sling on dad and stuck the sleeping baby in it. I remembered figuring out babywearing with my own husband: my friend was just as awkward with this whole newborn thing as my dh back then. Ah, I feel so old now!

  3. I guess that people used to wet nurse all the time before commercial formulas were readily available! My paternal grandma wet nursed 5 preemies at the hospital when my dad was born because she had SO much milk and their moms' milk hadn't come in yet! After she went home from the hospital (they used to stay 10 days at that time) she would drive into town so that they could pump her breasts and feed the milk to the babies. And my great-grandma also wet nursed another baby when my grandma was a baby because his mother didn't have enough milk. It's interesting to hear that it's coming back in fashion.

  4. Interesting that you brought this up.I was reading an article about it the other day. The first time (and only) I came across it was with a Maori family. The sister was helping out while the woman recovered from very sore nipples. It was very effective and the woman went back to successfully feeding once she'd healed. It was challenging for me and taught me a very valuable midwifery lesson about my attitudes. cheers Sarah

  5. I offered to feed a friend's baby.

    Hers was just three weeks younger than my boy and at two weeks she started formula feeding saying she didn't have enough milk. She also wanted to return to work part time, and wasn't wanting to continue...
    Anyway, she didn't take me seriously and I offered to pump when her baby was having some serious tummy trouble with the formula. She dismissed it saying she would tell me if they didn't get the formula figured out. I think I was more bothered by the whole situation than she was, but I guess we were coming from very different perspectives.

    I really would have been glad to feed her baby.

  6. It bothers me, actually, from a feminist standpoint. I have no problem with people from the same "tribe" (i.e. people close to you) helping each other out, or for it to be done in situations of great need. But I think that is different than what is being talked about here, right?

    We all know that bonding occurs while nursing, and even while just caring for dependents in a non-clinical way, for that matter. To me it's abominable that someone would pay to have someone expendable to the family do it just because the mother is too busy or wants to keep her figure or considers it beneath her or some such nonsense. In my mind it's not at all different than hiring out for what some consider "wifely" activities (such as housecleaning or caring for children or sex.) It's a form of prostitution, essentially. It's entirely about classism, sexism, and the devaluing of motherhood and the link between care and love. The fact that people accept it as normal and okay just boggles my mind.

  7. I wonder if informal milk donation is considered wet nursing. If so, then that's what I did the last year. I pumped milk and then gave it to a friend whose baby was not being breastfed. That little girl was breastfed for a year and I'm very proud that I was able to make that possible.

  8. Linda is mistaken in assuming motives for mothers seeking wet nurses. Due to the structure of our society, many women may struggle finding a willing wet nurse in their "tribe" leading them to seek outside their typical social network.

    If she's going to compare it hiring out for wifely duties, then let's compare it to the inappropriateness of hiring midwives and doctors to interfere in the birth process which is also inherently sexual. Similarly assinine comparisons.

  9. Good Job! :)


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