Why These Moms Breastfeed Each Other's Kids

February 29th 2016

Laura Donovan

Many mothers are speaking out about the benefits of breastfeeding other people's children. Among friends, this is commonly referred to as milk sharing, and for mothers who employ other women to breastfeed their children for them, this is called wet nursing. Though some are uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding another person's child, many moms around the world say that this practice can be extremely beneficial when they're unable to breastfeed their own kids for whatever reason.

In a recent video for BarcroftTV, a mother named Chrystal Klein and her friend Stefani Tatavitto explained why they nurse each other's kids, noting the hypocrisy of people who say what they do is weird yet have no issue drinking cow milk.

"Why would it be wrong for my daughter to drink someone else's milk who's a human?" Klein asked.

Klein said that Tatavitto watches her kids a few days a week and breastfeeds one of them the whole time. Klein nurses Tatavitto's son when she babysits, and the two attest that this system works well for them.

"It's convenient for me because it's hard to leave him with anyone who doesn't nurse because he doesn't like to take a cup or a bottle," Tatavitto said. "It gives him more comfort and he feels more secure if he's with somebody who can nurse him."

Klein added that it's great to know her daughter has the comfort and nutrition of breastfeeding while she's away.

These women aren't the only mothers who have gained attention for milk sharing.

Last year, a woman named Jessica Colletti gained a lot of attention after a photo of her breastfeeding her child and a friend's child went viral on Facebook. Colletti wrote that her friend's working responsibilities made it harder for her to pump milk, causing her personal supply to diminish. That's why Colletti stepped in to help her out:


Mama Jessica says:"My son on the right is 16 months and my friend's son is 18 months. I watch her son while she works...

Posted by Mama Bean Parenting on Saturday, August 8, 2015


"I watch [my friend's] son while she works and have been feeding them both for a year!" Colletti wrote in a Facebook post for Mama Bean Parenting. "So much love between these milk siblings, it's a special bond between us all."

There's also a backlash against shared milk.

Some feel that it's unnatural for a woman to breastfeed someone else's child and that it can disrupt the bond between a mother and her baby. The Food and Drug Administration also warns that milk sharing can pose risks to babies "if the donor has not been adequately screened."

But some mothers must resort to getting milk from their fellow mother friends or milk banks to feed their babies the way they would like. Pauline Sakamoto, the executive director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, told HuffPost Live last year that mothers cannot always sustain their breastfeeding schedule due to underwhelming maternity leave policies.


"Many mothers in the U.S. have very limited maternity leave to sustain their breastfeeding," Sakamoto told HuffPost Live. "And I do have to say that a lot of the mothers who are getting donor milk through the nonprofit milk banks in the U.S. and Canada are breastfeeding moms who are having a difficult time at a certain period of time in their breastfeeding journey that they just don't have enough milk."

RELATED: The Problem with the Way We Talk About Breastfeeding