It’s not known how many mums ‘cross nurse’, like Jessica Anna Colletti does. [Photo: Facebook/Mama Bean - Unconditional Attachment]
A mum has made waves after sharing an intimate breastfeeding snapshot online.
But it’s not just a photo of her nursing her own child – she’s also got her friend’s toddler latched on to her other breast.
Jessica Anna Colletti, 26, posted the photo of the two children, who she dubs ‘milk siblings’, on Facebook in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and explained that she regularly breastfeeds both of the children.
“My son on the right is 16 months and my friend’s son is 18 months,” Jessica commented on the image, which she shared on the Facebook page Mama Bean - Unconditional Attachment.
“I watch her son while she works and have been feeding them both for a year! So much love between these milk siblings, it’s a special bond between us all.”
Jessica started breastfeeding her friend’s son after he struggled with formula.
“She was breastfeeding but didn’t have time to pump,” the US mum told Daily Mail Australia. “I was already breastfeeding my son and it just made sense to nourish him in the same way.
“He was having issues with the formula his previous sitter had given him and his issues resolved when formula was no longer necessary.”
Breastfeeding someone else’s child is an age-old practice - wet nurses always used to feed the babies of the aristocracy. [Photo: Rex]
The picture has divided opinion, with some FB users applauding Jessica for her ‘selfless’ breastfeeding and helping her friend out, while others admitted to thinking the breastfeeding bond is best kept between a mother and her child.
“Wet nurse. As long as her friend is ok with it, then it’s perfectly fine,” Nicole Riley wrote. “Just like having twins…. I bet she is using mad calories nursing two!!! Honestly, not any different than donating. In fact, both are getting better benefits of the milk because it’s not frozen or altered in any way. 100% fresh.”
But another Facebook user, Bini Walton, struggled to approve of the photo.
“Yeah I don’t know how I feel about this,” wrote Bini. “I truly believe it is a sacred bond that should only be shared by mother and baby. I feel breastfeeding someone else’s baby is totally over stepping. Unless they’ve asked you to. Then go for your life. Still not sure about it though.”
Whatever your opinion on breastfeeding another woman’s child (known as ‘cross nursing’), there are some health risks involved.
Experts advise that women who can’t breastfeed but want their child to consume breast milk should use a certified milk bank to make sure that the milk their baby has is screened first. Even if you have a good friend who’s offering to nurse your little one, like Jessica, you can’t guarantee that her milk is free of infections.
But of course there are also a huge amount of benefits, and the kooky or controversial is probably far more common than we think – it just isn’t shouted about often. Breast milk is widely recognised as the best substance for a baby to drink to boast their development (and possibly IQ) and it’s free.
Would you breastfeed someone else’s baby? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.