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  #1  
Old 08-21-2002, 01:55 AM
TigoleBitties TigoleBitties is offline
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Wet Nurses...

So are they still used? Can they still be used in modern society?

And why the heck were they used in the first place?

Dunno bout you...but it would bruise the hell outta me if it was a job.
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:12 AM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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There not used as much as they used to be since they have synthetic breast milk in liquid or powdered from (just add warm water ) now

why they were used was simple Thats how most children were fed until they could eat solid food since many of the peasant/serf class couldnt afford or didnt have milk

Baby food is a rather recent 19/20th century innovation
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:15 AM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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Actually also theres a debate on wether giving babies milk at all is a recent innovation and if its a hea;lthy one
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  #4  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:38 AM
jb_farley jb_farley is offline
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what?!?

like, Edison invented the breast in 1862?

jb
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2002, 03:05 AM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by nightshadea
Actually also theres a debate on wether giving babies milk at all is a recent innovation and if its a hea;lthy one
If you mean giving babies nonprocessed cows' milk, then the answer is no, it's not a healthy thing. Giving any food other than breastmilk or formula in a child who isn't ready for it can lead to food allergies, among other problems. Cows' milk, in particular, is a fairly common food for kids to be allergic to, and so is not recommended in children under a year old.

Formula itself hasn't been around all that long, relatively speaking. (The 1920's, according to the Ross.com website.) Before that, virtually every mother breastfed.

In the you-didn't-ask-but-I'm-going-to-throw-it-in-anyway department, breastfeeding and formula feeding do show significant trends. Formula feeding was the "scientific" way to feed a baby for quite a number of years. However, we now know so much about breastfeeding and the benefits thereof that more women are choosing that.

Robin, whose kid is happily breastfed
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2002, 09:56 AM
Fretful Porpentine Fretful Porpentine is online now
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Quote:
And why the heck were they used in the first place?
Because if the biological mother was dead, couldn't nurse, or simply didn't want to nurse, how else would you feed a baby in those days? Safe, sterile bottle-feeding wasn't an option until fairly recently.
Quote:
Dunno bout you...but it would bruise the hell outta me if it was a job.
Er ... huh? Wet nurses were women who were already nursing a child of their own (or who had been nursing their own child until it died). Why would nursing somebody else's child be any worse?
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2002, 11:27 AM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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There are (frozen) milk banks that lactating women can donate to. The milk is used for premature babies and others who can't tolerate formula for some reason and whose own mothers can't feed them.
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2002, 12:41 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MsRobyn


If you mean giving babies nonprocessed cows' milk, then the answer is no, it's not a healthy thing. Giving any food other than breastmilk or formula in a child who isn't ready for it can lead to food allergies, among other problems. Cows' milk, in particular, is a fairly common food for kids to be allergic to, and so is not recommended in children under a year old.

Formula itself hasn't been around all that long, relatively speaking. (The 1920's, according to the Ross.com website.) Before that, virtually every mother breastfed.

In the you-didn't-ask-but-I'm-going-to-throw-it-in-anyway department, breastfeeding and formula feeding do show significant trends. Formula feeding was the "scientific" way to feed a baby for quite a number of years. However, we now know so much about breastfeeding and the benefits thereof that more women are choosing that.

Robin, whose kid is happily breastfed
First, let me state upfront that I agree completely that breastfeeding is best for babies, for those mothers who can do so.

But most everything else MsRobyn says is a straw man argument.

Certain mothers have since the dawn of time had problems breastfeeding, for any of a number of reasons. Let me quote Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet by Harvey A. Levenstein:

Quote:
Artificial feeding of babies -- that is, feeding infants food other than human milk -- is by no means a recent development in Western or any other culture. Wooden feeding bottles have been discovered in archaeological sites in the Nile Delta; references to artificial feeding appear in the Old Testament; and artificial feeding seems to have been quite popular in ancient Rome.
There used to be these things called farms, and farm families fed their children milk from early ages. This is true in multiple cultures. We think of milk as being from cows, but sheep, goats, camels, horses, water buffalo, yaks, and many other animals have been the staple dairy animals in various cultures. It is usually assumed that milk-drinking started because of the necessity of feeding babies when no mother's milk could be had.

So nonprocessed cow's milk has probably been used for centuries to feed babies. ("Some mid-[19th] century experts recommended suckling infants directly at the udder of a cow..." says Levenstein.) It is not often used today, to be sure, and few would recommend cow's milk to children under one year of age. But this is simply not an issue in the real world. Specially designed cow's milk formulas dominate the artificial feeding industry. To say that these are not healthy contradicts the experience of millions and millions of children who have thrived on them.

Yes, a small minority of children do develop food allergies from formulas. But severely allergic children can develop these same allergies from proteins leaking into their mother's milk. Does this make breastfeeding unhealthy? Most children who develop dairy allergies lose them by about the age of three. Despite scare stories, only 1-2% of adults have food allergies.

Levenstein has a long discussion about how artificial formulas for babies were common in the 19th century, whatever Ross.com may say to the contrary. This was a middle-class product, however, and yes, formula feeding was pushed heavily for decades as a revenue source for the companies that made them. Many babies were undoubtedly fed milk by mothers who could not afford formulas. This is far less common today. Most babies are fed formulas. A World Health Organization study found that no more than 35% of babies worldwide were exclusively breastfed in the first four months of life. Even this is too short a period. And so while, as I said, breastfeeding is the better alternative, where practicable, most babies must rely on other foods.

But I know of no one out there pushing cow's milk on babies. That's why I say this is a straw man argument. Babies get cow's milk or soy "milk" formulas (or others in cases of allergy or special need) on which they can thrive. You can argue on the efficicacy of formulas and what it would take to get more mothers to breastfeed, but in the real world, babies are growing up quite nicely.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2002, 01:02 PM
h.sapiens h.sapiens is offline
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I always figured alot of wetnurses were employed by rich women who thought they had better things to do than nurse their own children, like Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.
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  #10  
Old 08-21-2002, 01:18 PM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is offline
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Exapno Mapcase, you appear to feel strongly about this issue, so maybe you should start a GD thread on it, instead of hijacking this perfectly nice GQ one.

I have no cite for this, but in a couple of books I've read on British royalty, it said that oftentimes the higher class women -- particularly royalty -- would have wet nurses feed their babies, so they would be free to go attend important social functions or meet visiting heads of state, or what have you. Anne Boleyn was remarkable at the time for choosing to nurse her own child, rather than using a wet nurse.
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2002, 01:41 PM
h.sapiens h.sapiens is offline
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Poor Anne, it was probably held against her when she got in trouble with King Henry. Wasn't witchcraft one of the charges against her at one time? People probably pointed out her unnatural practice of nursing little Princess Elizabeth as proof.
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  #12  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:04 PM
istara istara is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MsWhatsit
Exapno Mapcase, you appear to feel strongly about this issue, so maybe you should start a GD thread on it, instead of hijacking this perfectly nice GQ one.
God no been there done that - total shitfight...
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:18 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Sorry, MsWhatsit. I plead not guilty. I merely responded to a load of misinformation already posted in this thread. GQ is about fighting ignorance, after all.
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:38 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by h.sapiens
Poor Anne, it was probably held against her when she got in trouble with King Henry. Wasn't witchcraft one of the charges against her at one time?
Even though the rumor was that she was a witch, the charges against her were adultery, incest, and plotting to murder the King.
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