Mum launches a global campaign to encourage more women to breastfeed their friends’ children after she wet-nursed 12 babies to help working mums.
Lacey Dangerstone, 27, from Fort Worth, Texas, has two children of her own and began feeding other babies just a few months after her first daughter, Luna, was born in 2012.
Daily Mail reports she said: ‘Wet nursing is considered a taboo subject but isn’t it just one mother helping out another and, more importantly, the child or baby? Breastfeeding other babies and toddlers has changed my life.’
Lacey’s first experience of breastfeeding someone else’s child was for a friend of her sister. ‘The baby was nine months old and the mum and dad needed to go away for the weekend. My little one was four months old and I was producing more milk than they needed,’ she said.
‘I talked about it with my sister and her friend and they were thrilled. Eric, my husband a 28-year-old system administrator, Luna and I stayed at the other couples’ house on the weekend to make the baby more comfortable.
Lacey said she found the experience ‘sweet and normal’. She revealed: ‘I’ll admit initially the thought of feeding a baby with some teeth was scary as I had my own “gummy” baby.
‘I fed Luna first and then I fed the other baby. My milk supply got a boost as well, it was a really natural feeding experience.’
Lacey reveals she herself had been breastfed by women who weren’t her mother. ‘My mum had to go back to work and hired a baby sitter who was breast feeding her own baby and said if she wanted to feed me to give it a go,’ she said.
‘I was raised to know wet nursing and moms helping other mums get the milk only a mother can produce is normal. It was never taboo for me.’
Lacey believes the act of wet nursing is empowering. ‘My husband was proud and so was I. Some friends found it disgusting and others were supportive.
‘So what I then set out to do was help educate others about wet nursing and now I’m establishing a global network of mothers in the UK, Australia, Europe, Canada and the US who can set up wet nursing groups in their communities.’
She also said: ‘There is never a possibility the child would bond with me as they are totally bonded to their own mum.’
Lacey started chatting to other mothers online about the subject. ‘I found mums locally who wanted to try wet nursing and mums online who wanted to know how to wet nurse or find a wet nurse,’ she said.
‘When mothers started talking about needing a wet nurse so they could go back to work and pay the bills but didn’t want their child to miss out on the nurturing experience of breast feeding in my local area did I volunteer. After my success other moms got on board.
‘I started work helping mothers go back to work or babysitting and feeding their baby for them. The whole experience was the baby breast feeding, being cuddled and loved. I have never had a baby not latch or reject me or not refuse to go back to their mother’s breast.’
‘I got to take it one step further by tandem feeding my baby on one breast and a friends on another. It is an awesome experience and one which again is natural. It’s healthy not hippy,’ she said.
The 12 babies she has wet nursed include her nephew, friends children and friends of friends.
‘Often a group get together and swap babies to feed. I might be with one or two other mothers and we’ll have babies we are wet nursing. If one of us is busy the other will take the baby that needs nursing,’ she explained.
Lacey has now started sharing her wet nursing journey on social media in the hope of inspiring other women all over the world. ‘I will sometimes post an image people don’t like or don’t get,’ she said. ‘There is minor backlash but the reality is they don’t have to look and I understand some people don’t get it or understand.
‘I ask them not to criticise as I don’t criticise them. If people want to be educated and learn about this amazing gift I can assist. We have had a huge interest in the UK from lots of mothers wanting to know how to set up a wet nursing group or were to find wet nurse.’
Lacey is currently wet nursing her friend’s child on a weekly basis. Mum goes to work on a Friday so she babysits for the day and that includes feeding on demand. ‘If I am babysitting I might get paid but I never charge for wet nursing a baby,’ she said.
‘I don’t need to know or have a bond with mother or baby before starting to feed the baby. Some wet nurse mums may but for me it is entirely about the nutritional needs of the baby and caring for the baby.
‘My view of wet nursing is that it feels right and is a natural important thing for the child. I could express milk into a bottle, the mother could express milk into the bottle but that is a lot of fuss when you have a breast available and milk literally at the ready.
‘I cannot imagine having to force my children to wean and I don’t want any other mother to feel under pressure to do that. That is why I will always help out where I can as a wet nurse. If I can tell my story, share my story on social media and help other mothers in the UK and globally set up their own groups more and more babies will benefit from breast milk longer.’
Lacey’s first child has recently stopped breastfeeding at the age of almost four but occasionally still asks for some ‘mummy milk’.
‘I remind Luna she didn’t want it any more and would she like a cuddle instead. My kids understand in their own way that I feed other babies and see it as sharing,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t have started doing this without the outstanding support from the online mothers I’ve met and from her family. They’ve supported me throughout my parenting and wet nursing journey.’
‘It is important if you are wet nursing they everyone is comfortable with the concept. That you discuss with the baby’s mum her expectations, you know the baby’s routine and it blends easily with you and your baby.
‘You also need to ensure you don’t overly bond with the child that isn’t yours. The reality is it a convenient way for babies to get the milk that was made for them. Obviously you want to make sure everyone is ok with it but once that’s established, do it unashamedly.’
Lacey says wet nursing has been done ‘throughout history’. ‘Kings and queens of England have been wet nursed as have princes and princesses. It’s normal and has happened throughout history so for me posting images on my Instagram account and sharing the message and helping mothers globally is most natural thing to do.’
While some people tell Lacey she is pioneering a new approach to breast feeding she says sometimes the old ways are the best.
‘Babies and toddlers I have breast fed are normal and happy, my kids are normal and happy and healthy,’ she said. ‘I don’t plan stopping soon and I hope the number of women wet nursing other women’s babies increases dramatically especially in the UK and I hope people seeing my pictures will feel inspired to give it a go. Breast milk is normal and I simply go with the flow.’
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