My Day as a Wet Nurse

My Day as a Wet Nurse

First off "what is a wet nurse?"
A wet nurse is a woman who breastfeeds a child who is not her own!

I can hear one half of you gagging and the second half rolling your eyes at the first half!

Ewwww... Gross... That's so wrong!

Well, if you are thinking that then now might be a good time to bugger off as I'm a person who likes to talk loudly about placentas and mucus plugs at the dinner table!
Also there are "brelfies" in this blog (breastfeeding selfies)!

So, what was it like, my day as a wet nurse?
Fun! ... And stressful (two babies!) , but mostly snuggley and fun!

The Deal?
My dear friend had to go to a conference for work a couple of states away so I offered to babysit her 5 month old daughter, Daisy.
I have a 10 month old daughter of my own (Lilly) whom I breastfeed so I also offered to wet nurse.
She took me up on it and off we went!

I have to say, I was weirdly excited about being able to feed a friends baby.
I think it's a beautiful connection and I knew it would take a load off my friends mind knowing her baby would be fed and cuddled while she was away.

The first time I fed Daisy she was just waking up from a nap and I think she was a little surprised to find someone who wasn't mum attached to the other end of the boob!
My daughter, Lilly, soon woke from her nap and they enjoyed a tandem feed together!
 

 

Feeding two babies and taking a photo is tricky! - Ballarat Birth Support- Tandem Breastfeeding Wet Nurse

The trickiest part was trying to keep them from wriggling and kicking each other!

The rest of the day was a snuggley mix Babywearing, boobing and convincing my daughter that she had to share her "milkies"!


I was going to give a brief history of wet nursing but there is just too much to say!
In short- it's (been) in almost every culture across the globe, it's noted in many Holy books, can be found in ancient artworks and old texts.
I do want to say that although wet nursing is a gorgeous act, it has often been used in inhuman ways by forcing servants, workers and slaves to feed children who are not their own. I encourage you to do some  research to better understand and support our Black brothers and sisters in particular.

Here are some pictures of wet-nursing throughout history-
ore Below

 

Source Unknown

 

"Wet Nurse". Library of Congress and Nurses. 1848

 

"Caritas"- Lucas Cranach, early 16th Century

 

'The Wet Nurse"- Marguerite Gerard. 1802

 

Mother Breastfeeding, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Norway.

 

Source Unknown

One of my favourite pieces of history on wet nursing is a text written in Ancient Rome titled Advice On Hiring A Wet Nurse.
It was written in 1st Century A.D and list hilarious "requirements" that a good wet nurse would meet.
A "good" wet nurse was described as being large formed, not younger than 20 but not older than 40 , has at least 2-3 children of her own, should be Greek, have "good colour" and have medium size breasts.
She should also not be known for murmuring or her maniacal ways!

Hilariously Soranus also explains that a potential wet nurse should abstain from sex, drinking and "lewdness" because if a woman is interested in sex her interest in the baby and her milk would "spoil and suppress"!

Very funny!

The Wrap Up?
I thought it would feel different or big and exciting to breastfeed Daisy... As I thought it was a Big Deal.
But come the day it was really just like any other day except with an extra babe in my arms!
The only way it really felt different was that my daughter has teeth and Daisy doesn't!


It felt so natural, to care for and feed another sweet babe.
It's part of being part of a tribe, a village, a community of friends and mothers who know that breastfeeding is just a normal part of parenting and caring for children

So, who needs a wet nurse?!

Love your wet nurse, bobbin' Doula
Sandy
xxxooo


ps- If you would like to know more about the ancient wet nurse requirements check out here!


Need some support with breastfeeding?
Australian Breastfeeding Association
Australian Breastfeeding Project
Kelly Mom

Looking for donor milk or a wet nurse?
HM4HM
Australian Wet Nurses

Our Cord Burning Ceremony

Before saying anything I want to state clearly that this is my personal experience and my personal beliefs.
By choosing to birth and parent this way I am no way making judgements on any other way others chose to do things.
I do not believe that my way is the best or only way.
I believe that this choice was right for me in this moment.
This is my own personal experience.
I support women from all walks of life wanting a variety of births and I love that.
My word is not gospel, my word is my opinion only here as this is a personal story.


Few quick facts on optimal cord blood-

  • -Up to a third of the babies blood can be in the placenta at birth and cutting it early deprives them of that vital blood.
  • -Babies who have immediate cord clamping have higher rates of anaemia and decreased fine motor and social skills later in childhood. 


If we lost a third of our blood we would die or be extremely weak so why are we making babies suffer this huge trauma on their very first day as they have to learn how to breath and feed?
Seems silly to me.
It was my desire to have a natural, spontaneous, undisturbed labour and birth and it was my wish to let the baby have all of her blood.


So in this blog I will share personal private photos of our experience with delayed cord seperation, natural physiological third stage and cord burning.

WHY BURN OVER CUT?
There are a few reasons I wanted to burn instead of cut and all of them are personal, so I do not believe its for everyone in every situation as each birth, baby and family are so unique.
I wanted a slow separating phase rather than a quick cut, and I also wanted a "ceremony" of sorts to recognise how important that moment of separation, and welcoming, was.
Burning the cord also promised no infection unlike clamping and cutting.

The Story
My daughter was born quickly (the "pushing" phase was less than a minute long). She was born so quickly that we couldn't catch her so she ended up plonking to the floor but was cushioned slightly by still being in the caul (her water bag).
After the birth we got comfortable and adored our daughter while waiting for the placenta to be born.
I wanted to birth the placenta before separating it from my baby.
My daughters cord pulsed on and on for 2 whole hours after she was born, and I birthed the placenta 2.5 hours after my girl.
(Compare that to the "regular hospital protocol"!)
Allowing my daughter to receive all of her own blood made me feel that we were giving her a healthier and stronger start to life.

With the placenta sitting happily in a bowl and my daughter snuggled on my chest having her first feed we carefully placed an aluminium dish under the cord and lit our two beautiful hand made beeswax candles.
I gently asked permission from my daughter to separate her from the placenta and explained that she no longer needed it as now there were yummy milkies to be had. 

My husband and I lit the candles and gently held them to the cord.
It took approximately 15 minutes to burn through the cord, all of which my daughter fed and we breathed in the atmosphere of the beautiful moment and beautiful candle light.

The burning itself had a very slight smell (it wasn't bad or gross) and every now and again a popping noise was made as it burned off.

Her Belly Button
The most surprising part of this experience however, was the fact that my daughters cord stump (which we kept apx 15 cm long) fell off and was completely healed before she was even 48 hours old!
Generally its expected to take 10-14 days to fall off and heal!
I attribute this to my daughter receiving absolutely all of her blood, the fact that the cord was completely empty and that we asked my baby and the placenta if they were ready to be separate.
Have a look here!


For more information on delayed cord clamping please visit
http://www.positivebirthmovement.org/pbm-blog/everything-you-need-to-know-aboutoptimal-cord-clamping

For more information on cord burning please visit -
http://www.cordburning.com

And as always, if you have any questions for me or about my experience then comment below, send me a message or email or feel free to give me a bell!

Much love,
Sandy
Your Ballarat Doula

My Groaning Cake Recipe

My Groaning Cake Recipe

A groaning cake is a wonderful tradition dating back hundreds of years.

The idea is this- a woman makes and bakes a cake when she is in early labour to help distract her from the exciting early surges of labour, and then the cake is hot and ready to eat once her baby is safely in her arms.

These cakes are made from rich and nutritious ingredients which help give Mama her iron and strength for those very important first few days of motherhood.

ere is MY groaning cake recipe!

Ballarat Birthing Options

Ballarat Birthing Options

Along with the holiday seasons people start thinking about the new year and what they would like it to bring!


For lots of people they hope that is a baby! 

So now is the time of year that I get asked lots of questions about birthing options in Ballarat, Victoria.
So here is a handy post to (hopefully!) answer all of your questions!

So lets take a look at the birthing options and locations in Ballarat!

our four options are-

Ballarat base hospital
St. John of God
Home birth

Free birth

Want a Happy Hoo-Haa? Start Squeezing! Celebrating Continence Week

Want a Happy Hoo-Haa? Start Squeezing! Celebrating Continence Week

Today we are going to chat about the importance of healthy pelvic floor muscles- YAWN!!!!!! Lets get real about this because its often spoken about in the most boring of ways-


Why do I want a healthy pelvic floor?

Well, to be blunt, I don't feel like peeing myself when I jump or sneeze or laugh. I also don't want to wake up one day and find my uterus hanging out from between my legs. It might just be me, but I don't think that sounds like fun.