“This is not child abuse, this is child care.”
So we heard on Good Morning America. But what did everyone else have to say about the woman named Jessica Anne Colletti who proudly shared the basics of her special infant feeding arrangement with a close friend?
She started watching her friend’s 5-month-old son when his mother went to work and he no longer tolerated the formula she’d provided for him in her absence. So she offered to nurse the baby as well as her own then-3-month-old when she was tasked with their care.
Both women had discussed and agreed to the idea and it allowed the working mother to breastfeed for 9 months. The mothers publicized their situation to raise awareness of this option that continues to work well for their families.
The mother shared a photo of her and two nurslings, one of whom is her friend Charlie Interrante’s son, on the Facebook page for Mama Bean Parenting with the caption:
“My son on the right is 16 months and my friend’s son is 18 months. I watch her son while she works and have been feeding them both for a year! So much love between these milk siblings, it’s a special bond between us all.”
And then… the internet exploded in a firestorm of hatred and disgust!
Before tackling that, let’s get our definitions straight. (For the purpose of this post, I’ll refer to these interchangeably as “wet nursing”):
Wet Nursing — the complete nursing of another’s infant, often for pay.
Cross Nursing — the occasional nursing of another’s infant while the mother continues to nurse her own child, often in a child care situation.
Here are 9 perspectives (paraphrased) seen repeated on every thread that shared this story, making it even more difficult for us to understand and appreciate the concept of wet nursing: