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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : Cross-Nursing: Would You Breastfeed Your Friend's Baby?

9.13.2013

Cross-Nursing: Would You Breastfeed Your Friend's Baby?

 || A throwback of our breastfeeding days on Luke's 4 month birthday ||

If that title didn't scare you away, I am proud of you for making it this far. 

Quite a few moons ago, my friend... let's name her Jane for the sake of anonymity... and I were talking about the subject of cross-nursing, AKA breastfeeding other people's babies. It was moreso in the context of nursing friend's babies -- boob swapping, if you will, so your babies could be milk siblings and all that jazz. Jane's friend had approached her and suggested that they cross-nurse their brand new babies. My immediate reaction to her story was one of horror and disbelief...

"Wait! Whhhaaaat?! That's a thing? She was being completely serious?"

Jane replied with partially raised eyebrows and a simple,

"Yeah."

Mystified. I was absolutely mystified. It's like I had been living under a rock in the world of motherhood. There were so many avenues and corners of breastfeeding I never even knew about! Cross-nursing being the biggest of them all. 

So, was this cross-nursing thing a big trend? Was it actually as strange and bizarre as it made me feel inside? I understood the notion of wet-nursing in a situation or culture where it was necessary for the baby to simply be fed, but for the elective thrill of it? I needed to know more. And I needed to know if Jane was actually going to go through with the insane suggestion.

Turns out she slammed her friend's dreams of a cross-nursing kinship as soon as it was mentioned, but it left me realizing that there were mothers out there doing it. 

Thanks to my trustiest of friends, Google, the La Leche League gave me the lowdown on the cross-nursing situation. And I guess my astonished mother's intuition kicked in for good reason. As common sense would tell, it is not recommended mostly for the fact that each mama's milk supply contains vital antibodies and nutrients specific to their baby, and the risk for transmitting disease is high. Other crazy facts include that it can decrease the amount and quality of your own milk supply, and it can cause psychological repercussions since each mother's body nurses differently (let-down time, milk flow, etc... we all know how those babies like routine!).

Let's not forget the argument for cross-nursing, though. What about those mamas that so desperately want their babies to be breastfed but just don't produce enough milk? Is foreign breast milk still better than formula? You know what they say... breast is best, people. Then I got to thinking about sibling cross-nursing. Are the implications the same? Technically you have similar genetic makeup (and the very same if you're a twin!) and would inherently have a closer bond with the babies. Hmmm.

So, what say ye? Would you, could you, do you cross-nurse?

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18 Comments:

At September 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM , Blogger Lauren W said...

I love this headband and sweater!
Interesting topic. I don't have kids yet, so I'm not sure how I would answer! I'm sure I'd be willing to do it if I needed to!

LINK UP on my blog today! Xoxo

www.styleafterhours.com

 
At September 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Stefani Leavitt said...

I can understand cross-nursing for the sake of providing any breastmilk for your baby when you can't produce it. I had low milk production with my first and if it had been an option, I don't think I would've shied away from it...but doing it just for the heck of it? That, I don't get. It's such an intimate mama-baby experience - I don't think I'd want to breastfeed another person's kid unless it was someone a mom I was close with and their kid needed it. That's just me, though. :-)

 
At September 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Stefani Leavitt said...

I can understand cross-nursing for the sake of providing any breastmilk for your baby when you can't produce it. I had low milk production with my first and if it had been an option, I don't think I would've shied away from it...but doing it just for the heck of it? That, I don't get. It's such an intimate mama-baby experience - I don't think I'd want to breastfeed another person's kid unless it was someone a mom I was close with and their kid needed it. That's just me, though. :-)

 
At September 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM , Blogger andy brienne said...

I'm not a mama yet, but this strange, new news to me. Unless it was necessary, I don't think I could do it. Not for funsies.

 
At September 13, 2013 at 2:56 PM , Blogger Bethany said...

La Leche League is correct. For me, who has Celiac, that would not be fair to another child to give them my milk - when I cannot provide what it needs. I unfortunately was unable to breast feed my child - but, I wasn't going to give up that feeding bond with her just so she could have breast milk from another. I know there are milk banks around, where breastfeeding mothers who produce too much, can donate their milk to - and mostly Cancer patient mother's who have just had babies use these banks. Other than that, I completely disagree with boob swapping. It's not God's intention. It feels wrong, like spouse swapping.

 
At September 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM , Blogger Vanessa Lentine said...

I totally agree with Stefani. I would do it out of necessity but I am not down with doing it for kicks... that's just odd to me.

 
At September 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM , Blogger B and J said...

Just read an article about a women propositioning her breast feeding services to gay male couples with new babies for 175.00 a day! Yep you read that right! She said she had so many replies she had to turn down 10 couples! I could do it for a friend or sister or something. I don't think it's that weird but if its necessary I would :) but doing it just for fun and to switch it up?! Nope not me :)

 
At September 14, 2013 at 2:37 AM , Blogger Minh Nguyen said...

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At September 14, 2013 at 7:06 AM , Blogger Jessica Holly said...

mmm yeah...that would TOTALLY freak me out. Also, your hair is all sorts of amazing in this photo!

 
At September 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Courtney B said...

I know I already commented on your insta... But I still don't understand. Yes, I shared my pumped milk with a desperate friend (but we got the go ahead from the lactation consultant first) who had no other options at the time. But I never would have taken her to the breast. I don't know why people would do this just for kicks? So strange!

 
At September 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM , Blogger Shio Waline said...

LOOOVE this pic!! You are just gorgeous and he is too cute!! But, WOW! I am TOTALLY with you about never hearing about this! It is very odd, and like most have already said I def don't think this is my cup of tea. Very very weird that people actually do this for fun!?

 
At September 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Christina said...

I love this post! Funny enough, I was just thinking about this topic the other day. I work in a children's hospital and we had an abandoned baby who was (apparently) only breast fed and was refusing all formula/bottles. I joked with the nurse "oh I'll just nurse him" (I'm still nursing my 1 year old). Obviously I was just joking (this would be a big health care no no!) but it got me thinking on if I would ever be able to nurse a child that was not my own and I don't think I could. Maybe if it was an emergency situation (don't know exactly what that would be, but just go with me on that...haha) but there's just something so intimate and personal about nursing that I think I could only do so with my own child.

 
At September 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM , Blogger Minh Nguyen said...

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At September 15, 2013 at 11:23 PM , Blogger Siobháin Autumn said...

I bet there is some kind of pro-argument to be made about cross-nursing that revolves around a baby have a decreased risk of allergies or sickness due to the exposure or something. And seeing as we are in a first world country, and I find it highly unlikely that any woman would hand her baby to another mother who was sick or just exposed to the flu or something…

But anyways, for me, it seems like an unnaturally high risk to take chances on something that might not actually be beneficial for your baby.

Thought provoking post!

Siobhain
www.thehapagirl.com

 
At September 15, 2013 at 11:56 PM , Blogger Jennie said...

Hmm... I have contemplated giving my neighbor pumped milk when she came over (for the 3030294328th) time asking for milk because she "forgot" to buy some for her son. I mean, it's for a baby..toddler... but I couldn't. I don't know.. I guess it depends on your situation. Would you give your weaned child your own pumped milk instead of cows milk? This question always gets me.. its the whole, your milk is perfect for your baby at that exact moment thing, wouldn't that make tandem nursing a no-no? Or does it matter because the older baby is getting nutrients elsewhere? I probably wouldn't nurse someone else's kid though, kinda feels awkward.

 
At September 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

I would only nurse someone else's baby if they asked me, like an emergency situation. Like Salma Hayek did for that African baby whose mother was sick and didn't have any milk. I would TOTALLY do that.

I have also donated my breastmilk to women who were either sick after giving birth or don't make enough milk of their own.

But I wouldn't just do it for shiz and giggles. I do tandem nurse my two little ones, 2 years old and a 7 month old. But I don't consider that "cross nursing".

Very interesting topic!

 
At September 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM , Blogger Crissy Boss said...

This is an interesting topic. My sisters and I have all nursed each others babies, in several situations. Never just "for the fun of it", there was always some sort of need, like when I was pregnant with #2 and my milk was drying up, my little man was only 6-7 months old and starving, so my sister nursed him a few times. Among sisters, I don't think it's weird. But it was a little weird when my Sis-in-law nursed one of mine.
...So, cross nursing, I'm for it, but only among bio-sisters, and not just for funsies.

 
At September 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM , Blogger Hannah Avery said...

Interesting topic. I didn't know it was "A Thing" either. I definitely would do it if I needed to, and possibly for fun or need with my sister or sister-in-laws. But, I think I would be more likely to nurse their babies, than let them nurse mine. Is that weird? Or then again, maybe it would all be just too awkward, and I wouldn't do it at all!

-Hannah

 

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