Wet Nurses Are on the Rise -- Would You Ever Make Breastfeeding Your Job?

Remember when Salma Hayek nursed a hungry baby in Africa? (If not, you can watch it below.) Milk-sharing has been making a comeback in recent years as the many health benefits of breastfeeding have become widely known, and now an AOL jobs article says that the professional wet nurse is the latest nursing trend. 

In "The Return of Wet Nursing" AOL reports that the Los Angeles employment agency Certified Household Services has registered more than 1000 women to breastfeed other mothers' babies. Nursing women from across the country can apply for these live-in jobs, which pay an average of $1000 per week.

Some parents can't get past the "ick" factor of a baby drinking another mother's breast milk, but let's be honest, most are pretty comfortable feeding kids cow's milk. The bigger issue is, of course, safety -- that cow's milk is pasteurized after all.

Experts warn that breast milk is a bodily fluid just like any other and can transmit a wide range of infections. The breastfeeding organization La Leche League International does not support milk sharing. "Because some individuals may have a viral or bacterial infection but remain asymptomatic (without symptoms) they may never know they are infecting another party," says Lois Arnold, M.P.H., CEO of the National Commission on Donor Milk Banking. Banks that are part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America pasteurize donations to guard against illness.

Informal milk sharing groups, such as Eats on Feets, MilkShare and Human Milk 4 Human Babies, counter that milk can be shared safely if moms understand the risks and benefits of milk-sharing and do it safely -- with donor health screenings, safe handling and home pasteurization if necessary. 

What do you think: If money wasn't an option, would you ever hire a wet nurse? Or does it sound like the ultimate form of "nanny envy." Would you ever let a friend nurse your baby? Would you nurse a friend's baby?  


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