Why Is Wet-Nursing So Derided When Feeding Babies Cows Milk Is So Widely Accepted?

Kate Garraway has written a fascinating and thought-provoking article that raises the question “Would you let another woman breast-feed your baby?”


  1. Aliciasweets85 says

    okay, so MY question….is all breast milk the same? it is my understanding that the baby is getting particular nutrients from it’s mother because of just that fact….she is the mother of THAT specific baby.
    So if a bunch of lactating women just gave birth, they could all (in theory) switch their babies around between themselves, and the breast milk would be the EXACT same all around??!?!
    I think that a mother should breastfeed HER OWN child…wet nursing creeps me out. One woman should mill out her t*ts to a bunch of different babies. Those babies need the specific milk from THEIR OWN mother.
    (is that woman in the photo NURSING the animal?? My God!)

  2. Jen says

    I am currently pumping for a mom who has breast cancer and isn’t able to fully nurse due to having one breast removed. So there are other options than cows milk. I would DEFINITELY allow someone else to nurse my baby before I’d give her formula. Cow’s milk for baby cows. Human’s milk for baby humans.

  3. 2teens says

    No, I haven’t heard from J x 2 and I have no way to get in touch with her. I don’t know if she posts on other boards or not. I was out of town when the whole incident occured, and I really don’t know what happened either. But I gathered from the few posts I read that she was permanently banned. That’s too bad. She sure did liven up the place, though some would not agree with me. Sooooooo, the name has been guessed has it? Interesting 😀

  4. says

    Awww…2teens I did notice that you don’t post there anymore…so I was hoping to convince you to come back! Even though you don’t necessarily have good feelings towards everyone (yes, I remember the situation that drove you away), I know some of us there would like to hear from you. Have you heard from J*x*2 recently?….she was on a mad search for Mia all over the internet about two months ago; I’m not sure if she ever found her. I was gone when she was banned, so I never really knew the full story.

    Thanks for the name suggestions, everyone! But I’d have to say “STOP, STOP, STOP!!” LOL..your name suggestions are getting too close for comfort…one of them has basically been guessed! 🙂

  5. 2teens says

    Hey Kx3’s mama! I don’t post on Hellorazzi anymore (I don’t even remember what my password is) but I do read some of the posts there occasionally.
    You know I have to put my vote in for KIRA, 🙂
    I also vote for Kennedy and Kobi.

  6. Sheila says

    #37 still nurses her 5 yr old son???
    He’ll have some major Oedipus complex. I say if it’s not for the nutritional value of the milk, then it needs to be stopped. It’s an unhealthy situation you’re creating there. It’s not what normal 5 yr old boys do… hang from their mama’s nipple? I don’t think so. Let him live a normal life.

  7. says

    I agree with you, 2teens! Great to see you on here; I’d love to talk with you on hellorazzi sometime.

    Well, I suppose my answer to the would I allow another mother to breastfeed my baby would be “yes,” and I suppose my answer to the would I ever breastfeed another woman’s baby would also be “yes.” I’ve breastfed my niece Keyana while I was babysitting her, and her mother (my husband’s sister), has done the same for Kajanae. Granted, we’re a close-knit family.

    Just a question…did you posters actually READ the article from the provided link?? Some of the comments sound the article wasn’t read, or failed to be comprehended.

  8. Liza says

    Heather, that’s great that you have had such a wonderful breastfeeding experience, but saying the bond is “much deeper” is false, because you can’t speak for every family. For you, it has obviously made a substantial difference, but there is no proof that the bond is any deeper or different from a formular fed baby.

    As for the brain development, there have been studies that have shown a 5-10 point difference in the IQ’s between breastfed and formula fed babies, but those studies have often been criticized because of poor control.

    Breastfeeding is best, yes, and it would be great if it was possible for every woman and every baby, but it’s not. And for people to say that women should try harder or that they gave up too easily is unfair and judgemental. It’s a choice and it’s up to each mother to decide what is best for her baby, herself, and her family. Not for any of us.

  9. 2teens says

    Yes, I would consider allowing another woman to breastfeed a child of mine. And I would also willingly nurse another womans infant if it was necessary.
    With my own two kids, my eldest was not breast fed. But my youngest was. Sometimes I wish I would have tried harder to get my first baby to nurse, but that was more than 16 years ago and there were no advocates or nursing coaches available to me at that time. But, I also believe that it should be a personal choice and those who choose not to breastfeed should not be vilified or harassed.

  10. Emma says

    I breastfed my son and had to give him a mixed feed (bottle)at 3 months so my husband could help out as i got a bad infection. My son is 4 now and is far healthy then my friends two children who were breastfeed for 1 year. .My son went on to have formula from 4 months as i was really struggling to get him to latch on and in a lot of pain ( breastmilk dried up) . He is extremely forward and bright for his age and we have a wonderfull close relationship . I wouldn’t rule out breastfeeding again, but this time im not going to make myself feel like im a bad mother if i cant do it, because at times that is how i felt by certain health visitor’s.Do what is best for you and your baby..

  11. Joyce says

    The feeding your baby cow’s milk (or milk from another species) is wrong because breast milk is designed for them doesn’t hold much weight for me because humans unlike other species usually drink milk their entire lives while other species don’t. If they really feel that way then we should never stop drinking breast milk even as adults because it is the milk designed for us, or just stop drinking milk altogether once we are weaned from our mothers.

  12. ciara says

    Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work and sometimes babies have health issues where they need very specific formulas…but for everyone else…human milk is for humans.

    I would have a friend nurse my baby before turning to artificial baby milk/cows milk formula. Species specific milk is just common sense, its sad when cultural norms take our common sense away.

  13. Heather says

    I would nurse some one else’s baby in a heartbeat! It’s not about me, to me it’s about nurturing that baby as if it were my own. They are just the most precious, purest little beings!
    My daughter is almost 10 months old and is still nursing and I’m pregnant with #2. I don’t see any end in sight to stop nursing my daughter. I don’t see any good reason to stop.
    Scientific research has shown that breastfed babies have much more enhanced brain development.
    But that doesn’t mean bottle fed babies aren’t going to grow up dumb. I’m very biased about breastfeeding, but honestly it’s not a perfect world, and I think some women don’t try hard enough to try nursing. There is such a much deeper bond when you breastfeed your baby.
    I feel sorry for the women that physically can’t do it when they have every intention of doing so. It breaks my heart, but it doesn’t mean they’re a bad mom. Everybody has to do what is best for them, regardless of their selfishness!

  14. theresa says

    my kid is 5 and still nurses in the morning when he wakes up. not necessarily a lot. it’s mostly a comfort thing. if i don’t want to do it, we don’t do it. i have an 8 month old too, and sometimes i tell my older child that they are too sore from his little brother. be shocked or not be shocked… there’s a lot of older nurslings out there and they are very happy children

  15. Jessa says

    I think that even though it’s not the most common practice to have a wet nurse, if I was having trouble breastfeeding I would at least consider it as an option. I think my biggest concern would be losing out on that bonding time and another woman bonding with my baby. That would be difficult for me. But, if it’s the difference between my child getting breast milk or not then I would deal.

  16. Samsmom says

    Wet-nursing does seem like a strange concept these days, but it was quite common many years ago.
    Also remember that in ancient history, breastfeeding was the only way to feed a child. So if something happened to the mother, it would only be natural for another nursing woman to feed the child.
    Even in the animal kingdom it happens. There have been cases of an orphaned kitten or some other animal being nursed by a dog, etc. If there is no human intervention, then the baby animal would die unless it is taken in by another nursing animal. I believe that females are hardwired to nurture.

  17. TDot says

    Wasnt the question “would you let someone lese brestfeed your child?” the answer, for me…and you’re gonna freak is..wait for it…YES!!!

    When my eldest son was aproximatley four months old, my appendix ruptured and was septic, to the point of emergency surgery, and two weeks in hospital for infection issued…

    My son, to this point had never, ever had a bottle, and the little man just owuld not take it, no matter how often my sister tried..she was trying to give him pumped, frozen milk I had put away, thru a syring, to no avail…anyone held a four month old still to squirt six onces worth of milk??? so, she called and talked to the pediatiriacian at my hospital and mentioned that she was still nursing her 7 month old…”would you do it?” he asked her, and the answer, or course was yes…she fed him and her son for the entire two weeks, still trying daily to get him on a bottle, unitl I was well enough and off the meds enough for me to safely feed him again…

    He’s ten now, and has had NO psychological problems due to being fed, and ultimatlely saved during these two weeks…with out her feeding him, who knows what would have happened!!

  18. L.Lodhi says

    I def think every women should try and breastfeed. At least if it doesnt work out then you’ve tried to give ur baby sometihng.
    All my sons I breastfeed for a short time and im glad im passed something good on. It doesnt work for everyone though.
    I personally wouldnt let another women feed my kids that just makes me feel sick. If ur a mother its ur duty to feed ur baby not someone else.

  19. MOMX3 says

    i think marilu henner had a point when she was on the regis show and said that it’s odd that people are squicked out by other human being’s milk, but have no problem consuming dairy products from a cow they don’t know.

    i’m nursing now and if i could no longer nurse i would seek out human milk before resorting to formula.

    sorry, but people who think formula is OK obviously have never compared the contents to say….powdered coffee creamer. you’d be amazed.

  20. Analise says

    I really hate breastmilk vs. formula threads. Fortunately, aside from post # 1, the responses have been civil for a change.

  21. Jenna M. (UK) says

    The pic isn’t that disturbing, you can’t actually see her breast so its probably actually covered up. Has anyone here seen that picture of Tori Amos breastfeeding a piglet? Now THAT is disturbing.

    Back to topic… If a woman chooses to bottle feed, fine. If she chooses to breastfeed, better. But its always her choice and she shouldn’t be made to feel pressured. Personally I’d choose to breastfeed if I could (don’t know if I would be able to though cause of nipple piercings!).

    People who criticise mothers who bottle-feed should realise that its not always possible. The mother might not be producing milk, she might find it too painful (and being bottle-fed isn’t as bad as being brestfed by a mother thats always too cranky and sore to enjoy being with her baby). Also, women with HIV aren’t supposed to breastfeed, and some women have lost their breasts for one reason or another.

  22. Lauren says

    I believe it’s a personal choice. My aunt breast-fed her first son until he was 2 but when she had her second son she couldn’t breast-feed at all. Literally, couldn’t do it. He’s big and healthy having been bottle-fed.

    Ok…ew! That picture is so creepy!

  23. Cynthia says

    I was having a difficult time learning to breastfeed my baby and was almost willing to give up when my sister placed her 9 month old breastfeeding veteran (my niece) to my breast. I felt no pain while she fed, nothing at all – it seemed very natural. My sister had proved her point; it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it I just need to teach my baby to latch on. That was a breakthrough moment for me.

    Another day, I left my baby with my sis and took longer than expected to return. By the time I came home, my sister had breastfed my baby. I was grateful and I’m sure my baby was too! It’s my sister – it didn’t feel unnatural for her to feed my child.

    And if there was any situation where a child needed to be fed and I was breastfeeding, I do it for them too.

  24. says

    People on this site must be very young. I remember they has wet nurses in the hospital and their job was to nurse babies.

  25. Christina says

    Woman pump and donate breast milk all the time. It’s an incredibly selfless thing to do if you can.

    I agree with #22, the point is about drinking dairy milk.

  26. kf says

    Zbella, where do you think formula comes from?!

    It’s usually from cow’s milk, unless it’s soya.

  27. Julie says

    You know, I was unable to breastfeed my twins. They were always bottle fed with a mix of expressed milk and formula. We were visiting over at a very dear friend’s house and my daughter was still hungry after her bottle, so my friend offered up her frozen breastmilk for my little girl. We gave it to her, she was satisfied, I was happy that she just got a meal of breastmilk. I wish I could’ve breastfed my babies, but I would certainly without a doubt in my mind have my dear friend do it if she offered. My point is, I think it’s a good idea for a woman who cannot breastfeed to be open to having someone else nurse her child, but I personally would have to know that person VERY well. They would have to be a good friend.

  28. kf says

    I think the picture is trying to say how strange it would be to feed human milk to another species, therefore how strange to feed human babies milk from another species, ie cows!

    She’s not really feeding him by the way. i read the original article. (i’m in the UK)

  29. Zbella says

    Bizarre photo, I agree, but it doesn’t give me the creeps.

    I breastfeed, but agree 100% that there are many ways to raise a child and what works for me doesn’t work for other people. My baby just turned 2 and nurses in the morning. Some people probably think that’s sick.

    I’m very thankful my mom nursed me, and I’m so glad I was able to breastfeed my 3 kids. Studies show it’s generally the best choice, but when you weigh other factors, it is not the best choice for every woman and child.

    Would I let another woman nurse my child? Depends on the situation. It would not be my first choice. If I was separated from my infant or deathly ill, and I had a close friend who was nursing her own child and volunteered to nurse mine, I would consider it.

  30. Lorie says

    Who can concentrate on any statement this picture is trying to make. I feel icky just looking at this photo. I feel like it in no way relates at all to breastfeeding a child.

  31. Sheila says

    I know she did the photo to make a point about having another woman breastfeed your baby, etc. but the photo is in very, very, very poor taste and I think she should be ashamed of herself for insinuating such warped behavior in the photo.

  32. Nikki says


  33. piper says

    There are some babies, very rare, who have allergies to breast milk. i am a big supporter of breast feeding and believe that it is best, but i also believe babies should be fed. period!

  34. Liza says

    My friend’s son has a genetic disorder called galactos*emia. It affects the body’s ability to metabolize and utilize galactose. When taken in by the body, lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose. So people with this disease can not have ANY lactose whatsoever (breastmilk has a high percentage of lactose). Ingesting lactose in these infants leads to kidney and liver failure, mental retardation, and in close to 75% of cases, death before the age of 1 if lactose ingestion is not stopped.

    It IS scary, and very rare, my friend and her husband had no preparation for this and had never even heard of the disease before their son was diagnosed.

  35. Sandra says

    No I wouldn’t let some other woman breastfeed my baby, afterall that was the real question that started this article, not who is better for doing what and how.

    Liza you have my curosity why would the son die if she continued to breastfeed? That sounds scary!!

  36. Abigail says

    I breast feed all four of my children till they were about six months. I think its totally fine to give a kid a bottle ,but I prefer breastfeeding!

  37. Liza says

    Hey, #1, not every woman who doesn’t breastfeed makes the decision based on how her breasts will look when she is finished breastfeeding. To imply that is ridiculous and implies that every woman who doesn’t breastfeed is shallow and selfish, a lot of different factors go into the decision to not breastfeed. Your judgemental and rude attitude towards that decision doesn’t make you any allies and steers people away from breastfeeding. You want more women to breastfeed? Find a way to support them and not judge them.

    BTW, a friend of mine has a baby who would slowly die if she continued to breastfeed him. But I’ll pass along your words about her being self.

  38. no name says

    I used to work for Kate as her housekeeper, she is the most kindest,honest ,loveliest person you could ever meet, so please look deeper into the add, knowing her , she would not go out of her way to affend anyone.

  39. Could it be says

    I certainly think that every woman who can should try to breastfeed. It IS better for the mother and for the child.
    That being said, I think part of the problem is that a lot of breastfeeding advocates tout how it is the most natural thing in the world (which is true ) but very few people talk about how difficult it can be. I think this has done a huge disservice to women and babies. Women who struggle to get breastfeeding established (and that is a great many of them) end up feeling like they failed. Just because it is natural, doesn’t make it easy and I think there needs to be more support out there for women. It is a huge adjustment for a woman to have a baby and I think we all should have more compassion for one another.

  40. Anon27 says

    I would never let another woman breastfeed my kids. That’s sick and disturbing! If you want them to have breastmilk and you can’t produce, then go to a milk bank and bottlefeed.

  41. JennH says

    Yeah! This picture is just too strange… CREEPY!!! And #1, breastfeeding does not a healthier baby make! I breastfed my son and bottle fed my daughter, and still to this day my daughter is wayyyyyy healthier then my son. She has ZERO problems, and my son has GI issues, asthma, allergies, is sick atleast 8 times a year (my daughter maybe 1x every 2 yrs). So get over yourself already! Get off that high horse you put yourself on, and come back down to earth and realize that eiter bottle or breast is just fine, and stop judging people!

  42. Jill says

    First of all #1- have some compassion. What if a woman had breast cancer and had to have a masectomy or had another illness where she couldn’t breast feed?How about a couple who adopts? I can’t stand people like you that think a baby can’t have a healthy life if he/she is not breast fed. Try arguing with a pediatrician about that. Mine has been one for 30+ years and he supports it 100%. I was born 8 lbs 13 oz and my mom bottle fed me from the day I was born. I NEVER had any sickness-not even congestion or a cold! to this day, I’m 31 and (knock on wood) all of my blood results, paps, etc.. have been normal. My baby is right on target too. You need to watch what you say.

  43. says

    Honestly that picture kinda creeps me out…ha ha.
    Bottom line is Mommies should breast feed! It is the best thing for the babies development and the healthiest thing you can do for your child…
    If your worried about what will happen to your boobs when you breast feed then seriously DON’T HAVE KIDS! You are obviously to selfish to take care of them, go buy a puppy. Cuz when we have kids sorry to say kids COME FIRST. Why wouldn’t a mother give thier kids the best start in life?
    It bugs me when they throw kids on the bottle from birth…


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