Strange BFing Question... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-22-2003, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a question that may be a bit off the wall, so bear with me...

An aquaintance of mine is considering having me watch her 3 m/o while she returns to work, about 14 hrs per week. I was discussing it with my husband, weighing the pros & cons. DH asks me if I will nurse her baby while I have him. I am nursing our DD, so I guess he thought what's one more mouth to feed! He didn't think this would be anything weird, he actually thought that lots of moms would appreciate the offer.

So I pose the question, would you think this was a weird offer for someone to make? Would you want your child care provider to also be a wet nurse for you? I have mixed feelings about the whole idea, but I was hoping you could give me some clarity.

Please don't flame me if you think this is a bad idea. It was just a thought I need some help deciding if it is right or wrong and the reasons why.

Thanks for your help...
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#2 of 11 Old 01-22-2003, 10:58 PM
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I think it's safe to say that many people would be taken aback by the suggestion. Wet nursing is still a touchy subject among commited breastfeeders. Most polls I've read on the subject have moms saying they would be comfortable only with a close friend or family member.

I knew a mother once who had a daughter with awful digestive problems. She was going through different formulas and things were getting worse. I offered my milk using humour, so that she could accept it if she wanted, or laugh it off as a joke if she felt uncomfortable. I think I said something like, "I have so much milk I could supply a milk bank. Let me know if you ever need some!"

I think its cool that your dh was so comfortable with the idea.
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#3 of 11 Old 01-22-2003, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
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That's just one of the many reasons I love him so much. He would just think that idea was being a good caretaker. He is so laid back, and totally supportive of BFing. I actually catch him telling other people the benefits of breastmilk. He makes me proud...
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#4 of 11 Old 01-23-2003, 12:09 AM
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I would tread very carefully, depending on how well you know this woman. She might be taken aback at your suggestion, or she might be really touched, but unless you know how she might react I wouldn't bring the subject up if you think her decision to employ you might be affected, KWIM?

Also, if she's planning to keep on breastfeeding as much as she is now, she'll have to pump and have you feed the baby her expressed breastmilk, so your nursing her baby would interfere with that.

Still, I think it's a very generous thought and I wish our society were more open to the idea of nursing each other's babies when necessary.

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#5 of 11 Old 01-23-2003, 03:50 AM
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A woman I used to know, back when she was having her babies, babysat for a friend's baby who was also being nursed. She asked her friend if she could just nurse the baby along with hers as that would make caring for both easier for her. Friend said yes.

Now this was a generation ago, and the woman was a native of Norway....but, FWIW your idea is not new or unique.

I don't think it's a weird offer to make. I made the same offer when we were camping with friends and both of us were nursing our sons. If she hadn't returned to camp and the little guy got hungry I was willing to help. They accepted the offer in spirit it was intended--if there was a need...

If you can word your offer in such a manner then I see no reason not to. Just make it clear that you're not the least bit offended if she's not comfortable with the idea.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#6 of 11 Old 01-23-2003, 05:28 PM
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I agree with the others, I would be very careful about how you put that. She may wonder if she says no, if you'd do it anyway (?) but maybe not.
I know it's silly and all- but if my babysitter offered to bf Aidan, I think I would have a hard time with that. I think because I look at breastfeeding as such a bonding experience that I'd be jealous of another woman if she were providing that comfort too. I'm kinda proud that I'm the only one that DS can get that from, especially since I work outside of the home. I feel I partially make up for not being there during the day by nursing him at night.

Like I said, I know that it's silly and that wet nursing used to be very common. However, if for some reason I was unable to nurse and DS was ill, I'd probably reconsider.

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#7 of 11 Old 01-23-2003, 05:57 PM
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My mom and a close friend of hers used to bf each others babes while babysitting for each other. It seemed like a pretty natural thing to do at the time--hungry baby who needed feeding got fed.

I think i'd have to know someone pretty well before i'd let them bf my son though. And i'd want to know their complete medical history. I think i'd worry too much about catching thrush to do it, honestly. I'm such a germ-o-phobe.
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#8 of 11 Old 01-23-2003, 06:08 PM
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You could always use humour to bring it up. Ex: "guess what my husband said...". Once the topic is out there you might be able to find out her feelings (and yours if you're not sure..)
Good Luck!

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#9 of 11 Old 01-24-2003, 07:47 PM
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Like Laura and Beck I would phrase it like a joke and see how she reacts... when my neighbor had a preemie and a csection and her milk wasn't coming in I told her my ds could nurse to bring in her milk but I said it likeI was kidding. I figured that way she could say yes with no pressure but if she didn't want to or thought that was gross we could just laugh about it.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#10 of 11 Old 01-25-2003, 09:13 PM
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Hi there.

I supply milk to a friend - I don't actually nurse her daughter, although I would in a heartbeat.

Anyway - you could maybe find out how she feels about artificial baby milk. Such as "So - you are going to give me bottles of EBM, but what should I do if I run out. Would you like me to express milk for your little one?".

I know that nursing is easier, but this way you could find out how she feels about her baby getting someone elses milk first (which is normally viewed as less wierd than actually nursing).

If that is working out, but you would prefer to be nursing, after a while say "you know, it is getting really hard to pump...if we run out of your EBM - do you want me to just nurse your little one?"

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#11 of 11 Old 02-01-2003, 04:13 AM
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I don't find your question strange at all. I do find it strange though that an acquiantance would ask you to watch her child. I wouldn't let anyone watch my child unless I knew them and knew them very, very well KWIM? But...back to the subject on hand...

I would be careful posing it as a joke. If someone said to me in a joking manner that they could nurse my dd, it would make me more uncomfortable then if they just came out and asked. I'd wonder if they really meant it and if they didn't and I responded with a "yes" then I'd feel foolish KWIM? Hope that makes sense.

I guess since she isn't a good friend, I wouldn't bring it up either. More than likely there won't be a need but I think it's great that you'd entertain the thought and that your dh is so supportive!

I have mixed feelings about it too but wish I didn't.
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