Wet Nurses: An Old Profession Is New Again

Unrecognizable Caucasian mother holds her newborn baby girl. Breastfeeding supplies are blurred in the foreground. The baby is sleeping in her mother's arms.

We all know about the importance of breastfeeding. But many mothers who want to breastfeed just can’t make it work, whether it’s because they’re not producing enough milk, or because they have to take prescription meds that interfere with the milk supply or enter the milkstream, or because they have to go back to work and their jobs don’t accomodate pumping. It’s frustrating for mommy and spells an end to breastfeeding for the child.

Enter the wet nurse, a woman who is producing enough milk to feed her own child as well as another’s. Moms who can’t breastfeed are employing moms who can. It’s an old profession made new again thanks to the Breast Is Best movement.

A recent article on AOL Jobs says this “older” profession is becoming popular again due to our high focus on the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as possible and some moms’ demanding lives. According to the article, many times when a celebrity is photographed with a so called “nanny”, the nany is actually a wet nurse.

Looking for a job? Here’s the nitty-gritty:

1,000 women are listed as wet nurses on Certified Household Staffing’s registry in LA.
Wet nurses typically spend a year or more living with the family. Of course, it’s the nurse and not the mom who has to get up for middle-of-the-night feeds.
Salary: According to a source at Certified staffing, approximately $1,000 a week.
Women who decide to take up wet nursing generally do so discreetly. Many will not give out their full names. After all, the idea of breastfeeding another woman’s child for money makes some people uncomfortable. Yet, despite the ick factor, it’s a job that’s growing in popularity.

How do you feel about women getting paid to breastfeed another child for money? Do you see this as a positive way to keep infants on breast?