It figures a Kardashian would create a stir about wet nursing.
Pregnant Kim Kardashian joined big sister Kourtney Tuesday on NBC's “Today” show, during which they talked motherhood and breast-feeding. Kim recalled a conversation she had with Kourtney about nursing each other's babies.
“She said to me, 'whichever sister is baby-sitting should just breast-feed all the kids that are there,” Kim recalled on the show.
The thought of breast-feeding her sister's child, or vice versa, seemed to disgust Kim, but Kourtney said, “That's what they did back in the day.”
Kourtney, mom to Mason and Penelope, is right, according to Donna Kimick, an IBCLC board-certified lactation consultant in Massapequa Park.
“If you think about it, many, many years ago that's what people did,” she said. “If your sister, mother, friend or relative was lactating, she would help feed your baby."
"There wasn't another option before formula was invented. Wet nursing is not something new, different cultures do it differently.”
Breast-milk sharing is more common than you may think. A few days ago, a New Hampshire woman died of a staph infection, leaving behind four boys, including infant twins who were breast-feeding. The twins wouldn't tolerate formula, so a friend of the family reached out to local moms, who donated breast milk for them. There are also websites like milkshare.com and nationalmilkbank.org that welcome lactating women to donate their pumped or expressed breast milk.
Sharing breast milk or breast-feeding duties with friends and family does beg the question about safety.
“If you talk to most doctors, they'll say it's probably not safe if you don't know the other woman and you don't know what she is doing with her body,” Kimick said. “But, I would think that most women who share their milk are taking care of their own bodies since they are feeding their own kids. Of course there's always a chance that something could be wrong with the milk, just like with formula or anything else you may eat or drink. Nothing is 100 percent.”
Some people are opposed to milk sharing due to the lack of knowledge and understanding about lactation, while others embrace it.
Queens residents Ali Polizzi and her partner, Amy Rothman, co-breast-feed their two boys, Takoda and Nikkan.
“I was able to induce lactation so that I could give Takoda added immunities,” Polizzi said. “This eased the burden on my wife and promoted bonding, which was very important to us. By the time Nikkan came along, my wife was able to breast-feed him right away for me as I recouped from an emergency C-section.”
Some moms, like Claribel Sanchez of the NY Mom's Group, are on the fence. “I find sharing breast milk a little weird, but I guess it shows the great connection between the Kardashian sisters,” Sanchez said.
“I have a twin sister and maybe, just maybe, we would breast-feed each other's kids. But I have to admit, I would be embarrassed to discuss it in public. I'd be afraid people would think we were disgusting.”
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