It may seem odd to most, but a young mother from St. Louis, Missouri, has shared that she and her mother are both breastfeeding her 10-month-old daughter Naomi. Julia Cannons, a 21-year-old nurse, said the experience has helped her mother bond with her daughter.
Angela Owens, 47, began feeding Naomi when she was four months old after she realized that she was still lactating following the birth of her youngest child. Though Julia admits that she loves breastfeeding, she says that her daughter tends to cluster feed, which means she often spaces feeding closer together at certain times of the day, while going longer between feedings at other times.
One day, when Julia was visiting her mother's home looking for someone to watch Naomi while she took a quick shower, her daughter began crying while she was in the bathroom. Angela had already asked Julia how she would feel if she breastfed Naomi, and her daughter was fine with the idea.
Julia says that her mother overproduces milk, and despite running tests, she has no health problems. Since then both mother and daughter have been sharing breastfeeding duties a couple of times a month, though some have criticized them for what they consider unnatural behavior. Julia, however, reminds people that wet nursing is a very old profession.
Angela, who has five children, has never stopped lactating, and although they were unsure if Naomi would take to it, the results have been good and have provided Julia with a much needed break. “I can sleep and get something to eat,” she says. “A real bond has developed between the two of them.”
Though some may feel that breastfeeding a child that is not one’s own is strange, many countries do in fact have milk banks where strangers can purchase human milk. Though some studies have shown that the bacterial content of human milk purchased on the internet was high and samples are often contaminated with pathogens, this was found to be the result of poor collection, storage or shipping practices.
In Julia and Angela’s case, they both know each other well and are familiar with each other’s habits and health, therefore, sharing breast feeding duties is no different that hiring a wet nurse if one is incapable of producing enough or any milk for their child.