I had about two Humnoy-free hours this morning and Daddy brought him in to work until I came to wrangle him up. Humnoy is generally the shop entertainment because he crawls everywhere and sticks his fingers into the air vent. It’s a very good idea to always hold him to keep the kid out of trouble. The boss’ wife was in doing some work and held him for a good amount of time.
I show up right around his coveted mid-day nap where the shop is buzzing with lunch break traffic. He, of course, smells milk and fusses 10 times more than before my face shows up. I sit down to nurse on the lounge couch and he latches on feverishly and zonks out even faster. A woman customer that had been in the shop before I arrived notices me with Humnoy on the boob. She makes the “Oh, that’s strange” face. I hope, for her sake, that she wasn’t bothered by the fact I was nursing in public because I have my lactivist supporters that will quickly defend my boob honor. They include my husband, the boss, and his wife who has a breastfed baby herself!
Since my kid looks very Caucasian and he’s held by a woman, the woman customer thought that I was breastfeeding the wife’s baby! In the normal flow of the going-ons of the all-male bike shop, there are some snickers and giggles at the thought of someone else breastfeeding someone else’s baby. I was surprised that the word “wet nurse” was brought up in the conversation with the boys because it’s an awkward topic for our society.
My husband questions the idea that Humnoy would latch on to anybody else other than me because he is always shirtless and Humnoy has never showed the slightest interest in Daddy nipples. My husband then riddles me with if, for whatever reason, the shop owners’ baby girl had issues with breastfeeding with her mother and they wanted to keep her on breastmilk and if I could, would I nurse their baby girl? I answer, “Yes, if they wanted me to.” I quickly defend myself with cultural norms in other cultures where it’s tradition for another nursing mom in the village/tribe to nurse the newborn baby until the new mother’s milk “came in” or for the mother to rest after childbirth.
I would totally be a wet nurse because a baby is a baby is a baby. I am such a boob(breastfeeding)-snob that I will go to those lengths to provide the perfect nourishment for a child. In those cultures, it’s not seen as an extreme task at all. Isn’t it strange how America loves breasts (sex sells!) until a baby is attached to them, then it is seen as obscene? I was never great on pumping and had donated the last of my frozen stash just recently to a local mom, all of the hefty 19 ounces of it! 😉 Now before you think I am going off on one of my crazy hippie-wannabe tangents, please consider the hierarchy of infant feeding choices set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) and taken from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom:
As summarized by IBCLC Diane Wiessinger, the hierarchy is (1) breastfeeding; (2) mother’s own milk expressed and given to her child in some other way; (3) milk of another human mother; and (4) artificial milk feed.
If there were an incident where Humnoy and our breastfeeding/milk relationship were compromised, I would very much appreciate any offer of wet nursing my baby boy. It is a beautiful gift that I am providing my child and any child would benefit from the amazing body of a mother.
Have you ever heard of wet nurses? What are your thoughts on the hierarchy?