Mom strives to normalize wet nursing
A former nanny from Fort Worth, Texas is doing her part to banish the taboo regarding wet nursing. She’s breastfed 14 children, only two of which are her own.
Lacey Dangerstone is a 27-year-old mom who began feeding other people’s kids just a few months after her first daughter was born. She told The Daily Mail, “Wet nursing is considered a taboo subject but isn’t it just one mother helping out another and, more importantly, the child or baby? Breastfeeding other babies and toddlers has changed my life.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 24, 2016
Lacey first attempted to breastfeed someone else’s child when a couple she knew needed to go away for the weekend and had a breastfeeding nine-month-old. “My little one was four months old (Luna) and I was producing more milk than they needed,” she said. “I fed Luna first and then I fed the other baby. My milk supply got a boost as well, it was a really natural feeding experience.”
Lacey was breastfed by a wet nurse when she was a child, so she never had any negative feelings about the action: “I was raised to know wet nursing and moms helping other moms get the milk only a mother can produce is normal. It was never taboo for me.”
Dangerstone started chatting with other mothers online about her experiences being a wet nurse and quickly found that other mothers were interested in it, too. The 12 babies she has wet nursed include her nephew, friends children and friends of friends. She says her whole motivation for starting to offer this to women was that she never wants a woman to be in a position to feel like she’s forced to wean her child, when there are other women around who can provide that child with breastmilk: “My view of wet nursing is that it feels right and is a natural important thing for the child. I could express milk into a bottle, the mother could express milk into the bottle but that is a lot of fuss when you have a breast available and milk literally at the ready.”
“Kings and queens of England have been wet nursed as have princes and princesses. It’s normal and has happened throughout history so for me posting images on my Instagram account and sharing the message and helping mothers globally is most natural thing to do,” says Dangerstone.
Well, it may be “natural,” but it’s not something you see or hear about with any kind of regularity, so it’s understandable that people would be turned off by the idea. No woman should feel like she’s been “forced” to wean, but there have been a lot of advances since wet nursing was a common practice: namely formula and breast milk banks. Formula allows women who can not produce milk to provide their children with a healthy alternative. And breast milk banks screen donated milk so moms can feed their children with confidence that they aren’t passing on any disease. Breast milk is a bodily fluid, after all.
It’s certainly admirable that she’s selflessly donating her time and body to help other parents. Most of us barely had enough energy to breastfeed our own children, let alone anyone else’s. Any discomfort is admittedly a product of a society that regards this practice as taboo.
Years ago we’d probably never think it would be en vogue to throw our own placentas into a smoothie and drink it. Who knows? Maybe this is going to be the next trend for crunchy moms, everywhere.