Earlier this week, popular breastfeeding support Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk posted this picture of a mom breastfeeding. Not so strange, right? But after reading the caption on the image, the photo quickly went viral, with many commenters voicing their distaste.
“In some weird chain of events today I ended up breast feeding my sisters son while she was away, because he would not take the bottle his momma pumped him,” reads the caption on the post. “In return because my son won’t latch and is strictly fed bottles I pump, my sister was able to feed my son her perfectly good pumped milk. Which made for two very happy and content babies.”
That’s right, this is actually a picture of a woman breastfeeding her sister’s kid.
While the Facebook group prides itself on being, “a peaceful parenting page for mommies all over the world to get support, education and advice in breastfeeding and their mommy journey,” that support quickly went sour when other moms realized that this was a case of wet nursing.
“My boobs and milk are for my children only and I wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing another woman feed my child either,” wrote one commenter.
Another addressed the safety of such a practice saying, “I don’t know if I could let another mom breastfeed my child because I don’t 100 per cent trust anyone else’s blood.”
Let’s keep in mind these two are sisters.
Page moderator Kristy Kemp quickly stepped in, blocking a number of commenters with unsupportive and hurtful things to say. Some users were even banned from the group.
“Doris has been banned,” Kemp writes after a user reported abuse for posting her own picture in solidarity with the sisters. “Everyone is welcome to post breastfeeding pictures here and anywhere.”
The La Leche League (LLL) of Canada, a supporter of human milk for babies points out that mothers in many cultures have been informally sharing breast milk since the beginning of time. In Canada, there are currently four human milk banks operating out of Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. While Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society don’t officially support the use of donor human milk (DHM), they do recognize that there are reasons a mother may require DHM and recommend Canadians speak to their health care professional before seeking an alternative source for breast milk.
As for Kemp, she’s most disappointed by the reaction to the photo.
“I’m not sure where on the post opinions were asked for,” she writes in the comments. “Wet nursing is supported and encouraged here just like any other form of breastfeeding.”
Kemp plans to air a live Facebook video on Sept. 21 to discuss the photo and the reactions in greater detail.
“I find it disturbing all the misinformation there is about wet-nursing,” she says. “Moms get flak over breastfeeding their own child and apparently it’s ten times worse when it’s someone else’s child. If all parties involved are consenting, no one should have a damn thing to say about it. It’s as if people cannot comprehend it.”
“Let me dumb it down for you. Woman have breast. Breast make milk. Baby need milk. Woman feed milk to baby. Baby happy & healthy. The End.”
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