A new study examines the history and resurgence of milk sharing. Findings from the study will present during the Pediatric Academic Societies. Wet nursing was the safest and most popular alternative form of nutrition until further options inventing; leading to the eventual decline in the profession. Now, society is seeing a resurgence in milk sharing practices through women with an oversupply who are storing extra breast milk and selling it.
“While the practice of milk sharing has around for centuries (as highlighted in this abstract); unregulated milk sharing via the internet presents safety concerns,” said Ruth Milanaik, DO, one of the authors of the study. “Physicians should be aware of the resurgence of this practice and encourage participation in regulated milk sharing via milk banks.”
Alternative form of nutrition
Practices of milk sharing can traced to 2000 B.C. when wet nurses would breastfeed a child; that was not biologically their own. At this time, wet nurses played a vital, life-saving role in feeding infants who had no alternative form of nutrition; if their mother could not provide enough breastmilk herself. Wet nursing evolved into a well-regulated profession, with laws and contracts that governed its practice; including a requirement for completion of a medical examination before registered.
Though commonplace, wet nursing did also face widespread criticism from those concerned about its effect on the mother-infant bond as well as the risk of disease transmission (exacerbated by the low socioeconomic status of many wet nurses). Despite these objections, the lack of hygienic bottles, suitable infant formula, and proper food sterilization techniques (to allow for storage of breastmilk); left feeding via wet nurse as the only safe alternative to a mother’s own breastmilk for centuries.
History of milk sharing
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