Wet Nurse Controversy? Two Moms Won't Back Down From Breastfeeding Each Others' Kids
Wet nursing is when one woman breastfeeds another woman's child. The practice is fairly rare these days, which explains why two Connecticut women have made headlines (particularly in British papers, for some reason) for engaging in it.
Stefani Tatavitto and Chrystal Klein, two Connecticut moms who met via Facebook, take turns breastfeeding each other's kids, and brush off criticism of the practice.
“If someone told me that it was unnatural to feed another woman’s child, I’d ask them how unnatural it is to have a cow feeding their child,” Tatavitto told the UK Daily Mirror. “I mean, human milk is meant for us. Cow milk isn’t.”
Klein says that two days a week while she’s at work, Tatavitto cares for and nurses her daughter, 19-month-old Ariana, throughout the day. Tatavitto also nurses her own 2-year-old son, Gage.
Likewise, Tatavitto relies on Klein to nurse Gage when she cannot be present to breastfeed him herself.
“Because of Stefani wet-nursing I don't need to pump milk for my daughter or worry about her not having any milk,” Klein said, speaking to the Daily Mail. “It also makes me feel better to know that my daughter still has that comfort even while I am away from her.”
The only problem the two cite is that Tatavitto's son occasionally expresses jealousy when he sees the other child being nursed by his mother.
“I am not worried about my daughter becoming too attached to Stefani,” Klein told the Daily Mail. “I believe my daughter realizes that I'm mommy and Stefani is just offering her milk. Whenever we are both with her and she wants milk, typically she will ask me to nurse. I would say there are no drawbacks. I only see positive from this.”
Wet nursing has been common historically throughout the world. In the United States, the practice was common in the South, as black slaves often wet-nursed the white babies they cared for. Black maids continued to wet nurse their white employers’ babies into the 20th century. The practice fell out of favor post-World War II, when infant formula and other artificial breast milk stand-ins were developed.