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How Do You Feel About Cross Nursing?

Most of you had an emotional response to our post about the grandmother who tried to nurse her grandson. Users were incensed, sickened and left speechless by her actions. A few people also mentioned they'd be worried about nipple confusion.

And, while the grandmother's milk supply had clearly run dry long ago, there are women who have a steady flow and decide to cross nurse. Some lactating women breastfeed each other's children to accommodate work schedules or allow one another to have a bit of freedom while knowing their tot is well fed.

How do you feel about these arrangements?

Join The Conversation
wasabigizmobunny wasabigizmobunny 9 years
I'm sure in other cultures it's really common. Since formulas was so popular till recently with the Breast is Best campaign, we have lost our breastfeeding history. It's mostly a mental thing since breastmilk is really quite safe and much much better than formula (especially in the first 6 months)
ckilpatrick1986 ckilpatrick1986 9 years
I'm not completely against the idea of cross-nursing... mainly because wet nurses have existed for a really long time. But i don't know if i would nurse someone else's child or let someone nurse mine (well when i get around to having one).
cherrygirl143 cherrygirl143 9 years
I hated every minute of breast feeding but I knew breast milk was best and I had plenty of it! So I just pumped and put it in bottles. That way my husband was able to help and we could leave our baby with family for short periods of time. I would never give my baby another women's breast milk since so much of what you eat effects the milk and there would be no way I could know everything she ate. I would rather give my baby formula, there are some good ones out there. Sorry, having someone else breast feed my baby that is just waaaaaaay to creepy, weird and not necessary.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I voted "The more bosoms the better", but I think now I should've voted "Other". I mentioned in the previous post that my mom and a few of her close friends cross nursed all the time when I was a baby (their infants were all of similar age). I think in that instance it's fine, no nipple confusion happened, no child was negatively affected by it. They didn't sit around in their happy little hippie circle swapping infants, but if one was babysitting the rest, they didn't have to worry about what happened when the infant got hungry. But I certainly wouldn't think it's fine for the MIL to just pop out her boob and start trying to breast feed the child. That crosses all types of boundaries.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
The situation in the story is just weird. I am thinking Grandma is a little loopy perhaps? I would probably be inclined to never see her again without supervision. What else is she going to do in the name of bonding? I have heard of breast milk donation services but not of the women actually breastfeeding another woman's baby. I think we have moved beyond the wet nurse phase.
CathyMcG CathyMcG 9 years
breast feeding was never my thing... But to each his own.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I also really dislike that the only two real options in this poll are "The more bosoms the better!" and "Just me." Why not an in-between? A few of us in the other thread mentioned emergency situations, I believe. So needless to say, I voted other.
moderngal moderngal 9 years
If something were to (heaven forbid) ever happen to me, I would want my child to be nursed because nursing is so much healthier and better than formula. But other than some sort of tragedy, nope- my kid gets my boobs only.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I'd rather give my son a bottle of formula. In an emergency where all formula was deemed poisonous I would be more OK with him being fed a bottle of breast milk. I don't think I would want him taking it from the teet. I'm Mom, he got that from me and me alone.
prestopink prestopink 9 years
I am definitely in full agreement about nursing your own child but i dont know, when my milk came in I had so much! I would nurse my daughter and still pump three to four bottles after her. And my supply stayed that way. My mother in law took care of my daughter when I worked tuesday through saturday straight, and I was able to always pump enough for the whole weeks worth of feeding. I thought about donating milk, and I could of if i was more proactive about it. But I am still lactating and my daughter is a year old. Of course not as much as i used to be however it can be triggered. And if someone came to me with a desperate plea I would sincerely consider it however it has to be dire. I am not totally for nursing sharing. I really dont know, this whole situation is really eerie to me.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I would love to donate my milk, but I've always had a hard time pumping enough just for us, much less others. This time I'll probably have a lot more frozen since I'm only working for a month but I'll keep pumping for times we go out, but by the time we'll know for sure if we don't need it it'll be too late to donate it. I'd absolutely give my child a bottle of a trusted friend's breastmilk, probably before I gave them formula. We also use pumped milk for making some foods for the nursing child, like in place of cow's milk for their pancakes, as well as for medical needs like relieving itch and curing pink eye.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
Oh yeah and my niece was very hungry while my sister and I were on a road trip (my niece and daughter are 3 months apart) and my sister ran out of formula, so I gave her a bag of my breast milk, I did not actually feed her daughter I just gave her the milk. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
Yes I believe in my breasts are for my baby, and my baby only. But at our hospital if your baby is born before a certain time the first milk they are given is breast milk, whether its yours or donated. Yes I have donated my breast milk. I had so much frozen for my daughter's first month and she couldn't drink it cause she was sensitive to dairy, so I donated it. I just couldn't bear to throw it away it's liquid gold!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
In an emergency, I'd breastfeed a friend's or family member's baby and I'd allow them to breastfeed mine. Anyone I'm in that situation with would already be close enough for me to know any health issues, medications, etc. But it would only be in an emergency and it would be with permission only - I'd never assume a friend or family member would be ok with it, and they'd never assume I would. Even if I'd done it once I wouldn't assume they'd be ok with it next time, we'd ask each time. It's never happened, but I do have friends and family members where this conversation has come up. Even with different antibodies, you'd still pick up ones that specific baby needed. Every time a lactacting woman is exposed to germs, she starts producing antibodies against them. So if I pick up my friend's baby, I'm going to produce antibodies they need whether I feed them or not. Of course it's not immediate, but if I were regularly wet nursing a child not my own, I'd still be passing along antibodies specific to what they're exposed to.
blooditsnotfunny blooditsnotfunny 9 years
Healthwise, I think this would be a good decision. The main advantage of breastfeeding is that it passes antibodies from mother to baby... and since different people have different antibodies, this would probably make the baby even healthier.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
I don't know if I would want another woman nursing my child if I was capable of doing it myself. But if for some reason I couldn't nurse my baby, I see nothing wrong with her receiving another woman's breast milk, from a breast milk bank for example. It is after all better than formula, right? But I wouldn't feel comfortable having another woman actually nurse my baby.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
Umm wow no for me
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I wouldn't be first in line, and I would never allow it with someone whom I didn't know close enough to trust their dietary habits. Other than that, in a pinch I'd absolutely prefer another woman's (clean and safe!) breastmilk to formula and have no problem with it. No different than a wet nurse I suppose. Did anyone see that police officer breastfeeding the orphaned babies (I think it was after the earthquake in China)? I applaud that lady.
peepshow peepshow 9 years
Eh, I dunno. I think if a breastfeeding friend that I trusted was babysitting my Baby Boy, and I didn't leave enough milk then I'd want her to feed him. I mean, I would let it happen under certain situations. I'm not going to suggest it for a Saturday afternoon b/c I'm bored. Or with someone I don't trust/know.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I, too, am with Kimpossible. You can't monitor what goes into the other woman's body 100% of the time so you have no guarantee that what your child is getting is healthy. What about diseases?! Besides that I think breastfeeding should be an act between the mother and the child not some other woman and your child...(but that's just me!)
luckyme luckyme 9 years
There is no way. In my book, it's a mother-child thing only. And Kimpossible, I'm with you...I'm so anal about what I eat, medications I will take, etc. I wouldn't be able to trust someone else to be as careful.
MeggyPoodles MeggyPoodles 9 years
I'm not even a mom, but this just seems gross to me. seriously, ew.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I wouldn't like it at all. I don't like having to trust another person to ensure that my infant is getting the proper nutrition it needs. What about any illnesses, diseases, or whatever kind of diet the other woman has or has had? The baby should be getting the mother's antibodies not the antibodies from some other woman. How can I be sure that this other woman isn't taking medications that I'm not aware of? etc? This is definitely not for me.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I don't think I'd be willing to enter into a nursing swap myself. For those comfortable with such a situation I think It's great way to bond with other moms and to keep baby 100% breastfed. It probably saves a lot of money for the moms.
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