04/11/2013 01:04 pm ET Updated Jun 11, 2013

Would You Breastfeed Another Woman's Baby?


Sometimes, I scour the Internet and interrogate friends in order to find something interesting to write about. Other times, the topic smacks me right in the face.

This is one of those times.

I'm standing in my kitchen with a friend (we'll call her "Alice"), when she suddenly asks me, "How do you feel about a woman breast feeding another woman's baby?"

I imagined she was leading me to her opinion of "No way, that's disgusting!," which is how many people I know feel. But I paused, doing my best to open my mind and think about it before answering.

"Well, it depends. There are certain circumstances when I think it's OK. Like in some countries where it's the norm or if the child was in need of nutrition and it's the only way."

"I breastfed my friend's baby," Alice blurts out.

If I were drinking coffee, this would be the perfect spit-take moment. Feelings started rapidly running through my body -- quickly flipping through disgust, confusion, intrigue and acceptance like they were cards in a Rolodex file.

"Hey, if the kid was really hungry and she wasn't available, that was a smart way to help out," was what the wheel in my head stopped at. But upon further discussion, it wasn't that the child was starving at all or that her friend was caught under something heavy and couldn't get back to her malnourished infant. It was simple. Her friend (hey, let's call her "Sandy"), had gone out to get a break from the baby and began to get fussy. Alice thought the child could use some comforting, so out came her new-mom lactating breast.

I wasn't sure if it was the act of breastfeeding another's child or the idea that she never checked in with her friend before offering up her lady parts. I just had to know, how did Sandy react?

"When I told her, she laughed."

Now, either I'm the most uptight mom out there or I'm missing out on some boob-sharing baby fun. Am I the only one who kept my bosom to my own babies? Am I just a judgmental prude? Alice shared that she never would have done it if she thought Sandy would be upset saying, "It's just milk. There are some things I feel are worth fighting about. But it's just milk. Especially when you're a new mom and you're up all night. Sometimes, when someone else can pick up the burden to give you a few minutes of respite, it's just milk at that point. It's just milk."

I couldn't get Sandy on the phone fast enough. Was she secretly livid that Alice was so bold? Has it actually been something eating away at her, creating a huge distance in their long-term friendship?


Sandy says, "I really didn't think much of it because my 57-year-old mother had already used that technique [to soothe] and I didn't think anything of it then. That's what a nurse maid was for. I was surprised she did it just because I didn't know her comfort level but it didn't bother me -- a 57-year-old boob is much different, so hers was no big deal."

I have to know... where do you stand on breastfeeding another mom's baby? Heck NO or no big deal?

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