Ask the Mouthy Housewives: Should I Breastfeed My Neighbor’s Baby?
Well, this is a peculiar request: What do you do when your neighbor asks you if you’ll breastfeed her child?
-The Mouthy Housewives
Joining us here at BettyConfidential … The Mouthy Housewives! These lovely models of decorum (Kelcey, Wendi, Marinka, Kristine and Tonya) want our lives to be as fabulous as theirs, thus they’re happy to ignore their families to give us smart, cheeky advice. So pop open a box of rosé, put on your favorite Barry Manilow CD and let the Housewives Swiffer away your troubles … Every week they’ll be answering burning questions from readers.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I have a 4 year-old daughter and a 2 year-old son. I am a big proponent of breastfeeding. Both of my children are still nurslings and I have no shame or regrets about this decision.
I have recently started caring for my neighbor’s 4 month-old son three days a week. My neighbor is unable to nurse her son due to problems with her milk production, so he’s a formula-fed baby. My neighbor knows I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding (when it’s possible) and she recently caught me off guard with a rather peculiar request. She asked how I would feel about nursing her son during the time he is in my care, and if possible, providing her with pumped milk to supplement his feedings at home. (She even mentioned something about offering to pay me for this service.)
On the one hand, I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of nursing another woman’s child. Having said that, I feel bad for her, as I know she would love to give her son the nutritional benefits of her own breast milk , but isn’t able. I know there are plenty of women out there in the world who nurse babies that are not their own. I’m just wondering if it’s the right thing for me to do. I worry that nursing my neighbor’s baby might take away from those special nursing moments with my own children.
Should I give her idea a try, or just say no?
Boobs Possibly for Rent
Dear Boobs Possibly for Rent,
I was just manning the table at my breast milk stand (75 cents a cup by the way) but traffic was slow. I thought it would be a real niche market but I don’t know. Next time I’m going with the lemonade stand. Anywho (gosh, I hate that expression), let’s solve your predicament.
I personally would never breastfeed another woman’s baby. I would feel like I was cheating on my own babies. Well, let me amend that. If I was stuck in an elevator for hours with a crying infant who had no food, I would nurse that baby. But I’m not breastfeeding anyone else in the elevator. I don’t care how hungry they are. They can grab a Snickers bar when someone gets us out of that hot box.
Even if you decide you are comfortable nursing this person’s baby, it brings up a lot of thorny issues. What if you want to drink a glass of wine each night? Or drink coffee? Or eat tuna or other fish containing high levels of mercury? Or take allergy medication? Any of these things could bother the other mom since a small amount could end up in your breast milk and in her baby. And she should absolutely insist you get a medical screening and a blood test to make sure you don’t pass on any viruses through your breast milk.
As for selling the milk, there are no federal laws regarding the sale and distribution of breast milk. However, certain regulations do occur from state to state so you would need to check your particular state.
I don’t think this is something you “just give a try.” If you are both really considering this, you need to sit down, have a serious discussion and come up with the ground rules. And if you ultimately decide it’s not for you, don’t feel guilty. I know a lot kids who were formula fed and they are just as whiny and nuts as the breastfed ones!
Good luck to you,
The Mouthy Housewives spend our days solving the world’s problems and our nights playing classical piano and reading fine literature. Or maybe just yelling at reality TV shows. Need our help? Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. (All questions are confidential.) And you can find more smart, cheeky advice at The Mouthy Housewives.