Did you breastfeed your husband or boyfriend

Foreign breastfeeding: Can a woman breastfeed a foreign child?

The close bond between a mother and her breastfeeding child can also have downsides: What if the mother falls ill or has to leave urgently? Can the baby be transferred to the bottle without any problems? Or should another mother fill in as a wet nurse? Is that morally "allowed" at all?

Actress Salma Hayek showed how it was done: when she visited a hospital in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in 2009, she unceremoniously created a strange child. "The boy was sick and the mother didn't have enough milk," said Hayek. At that time she caused a sensation with this action.

Alien silence? The thought triggers horror

Breastfeeding a strange child? Luana could "never, never, never imagine" that. When her sister-in-law had to take medication that turned her breast milk blue, she was temporarily banned from breastfeeding her young son. The sister-in-law asked Luana if she could do it. But Luana refused, horrified. In a mothers forum she asks: "I would be interested in how you would react if another woman asks you whether you can breastfeed her baby."

The reactions in the forum are very different. A woman could not even imagine feeding her expressed breast milk from a bottle to another child, let alone breastfeeding that child. User Yvonne wouldn’t put a stranger’s child on her breast either, but writes: "In the past it even seems to have been normal. My grandma even sold her milk to women who couldn’t breastfeed." Other women react more calmly: "Why not? Better than cow's milk!" Or: "I've even done that, but it was kind of weird."

Then there are also the idiosyncratic children: "My son simply refused to drink from a bottle, no matter what we tried," says Anja. "I was practically forced to breastfeed, even when I was in bed with a high fever and flu. I would have found it comforting to know that my girlfriend could step in in an emergency. Fortunately, I was able to continue breastfeeding despite the flu. My husband gave me that Baby always put to bed. "

Breastfeeding is also a cultural issue

What seems so strange to us is completely normal elsewhere. In Mongolia, for example, the female breast is considered more of a common good. If the mother of a child is not within reach, then the grandmother or a neighbor breastfeeds the child. A Mongolian legend says that Genghis Khan could only become such a great warrior through the abundant breast milk he consumed.

That's what the lactation consultant says

Breastfeeding advisor Biggi Welter from the "La Leche Liga" says: "Nursing nursing was a common practice in the past and has certainly saved the lives of many babies when there was no high-quality artificial infant formula. The World Health Organization (WHO) still lists today donated breast milk before artificial infant formula when it comes to optimal nutrition for a baby. "

There are a few things to consider, says Welter. "The mother has to be absolutely certain that she can emotionally cope with the fact that another woman is breastfeeding the baby. From a rational point of view, it may be absolutely unproblematic, but a mother's psyche plays a major role and our feelings cannot be controlled by the mind."

There are a few risks

Another point: the baby would have to play along with breastfeeding. Not every child can be nursed by a "wet nurse". In addition, there are some rare diseases that could be transmitted while breastfeeding, says lactation consultant Welter. These included the cytomegalovirus (CMV), which causes a normally harmless infection. Cytomegaly is primarily dangerous to unborn babies. But HIV can also be transmitted while breastfeeding, as can HTLV-1 (human T-cell leukemia virus). "For this reason, donor milk is pasteurized in the milk banks for someone else's baby," says Welter.

Conclusion: If everyone involved is in agreement and the baby is playing along, a friend or relative can, for example, help out with their mother's milk. The World Health Organization rates foreign breast milk higher than artificial baby food. But a mother's own attitude plays the decisive role.

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