Strange proposition indeed but something that might happen more than you might think. Without any significant health problems and just out of plain convenience, would you let another woman breastfeed your child?
Anita Jebet* is a 30-something professional with a busy job, but still keeps to the general 8 to 5 working hour limits. She works some weekends but for the most part spends time with her family. She also happens to let her sister nurse her child, “She has milk and I don’t have the time. Plus I trust her so it’s not like the milk is coming from an unknown source.”
Anita’s sister, Rose* is almost a decade younger than she is, does not have a steady job and is taking care of a child of her own. She works as an attendant at Anita’s home and seems to be glad to do her part. “I don’t mind doing it. The child is getting what she needs and I don’t think there’s any real harm,” she says.
Are there any actual risks to doing this or is the major problem that it is very weird?
Some instances do require surrogate breastfeeding. Such as in the case of an adopted baby, avoiding HIV transmission to a child, if drug and alcohol addiction are an issue or even if the mother is suffering from anaemia. But what if you just don’t have time for it despite suffering from engorged breasts due to not breastfeeding?
Wouldn’t it be safer to use formula? Maybe, but Milk Sharing is something that has always existed and might have just dwindled in popularity in modern times. Experts seem to agree that breast milk is winning against formula. For one antibodies in breast-milk help babies fight off bacteria and viruses and two, breastfeeding is an essential part of the bonding process between mother and baby. Believe it or not research has shown that physical contact between and infant and mother actually aids a baby’s emotional and brain development.
So if you do want a happy healthy baby, breast-milk might be number one but letting another woman breastfeed you child carries a multitude of risks. Most of them have to do with infection. It might be a solution for a woman who cannot produce milk or effectively breastfeed her own child, but you really do not know where the other woman has been.
*Not their real names
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