I was pregnant, too, we crowed, and just about as far along. Our husbands beamed. Throughout that autumn, we walked to prenatal yoga, discussed midwives and backaches and cravings and marriage and hopes and family, and made our respective preparations. We visited when they returned home, sat under their still-twinkling Christmas tree, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new person. Her mother, a former midwife, and sister were by her side. The place was warm and calm, full of love. Miranda held court from a sofa bed. I cradled her newborn son against my own, still in utero, and marvelled at the turn my life had taken. Two weeks later, I gave birth at home, after a hour posterior, or back-to-back, labour, which the long-practising, well-respected midwife did not bother to attend. Frankly, it felt like staring death in the face, by which I mean an altogether normal and intense physiological process that has nothing to do with the ordinariness of daily life.
Having a healthy baby nursing at the breast will do just that. Also, women who wish to breastfeed an adopted child may cross-nurse to stimulate their breast milk supply. As long as proper infection precautions are observed, this is an excellent option. The cross-nursing mom should be healthy and well-nourished. Before there were other ways to provide nutrition to babies such as formula , breastfeeding was the only source of food for infants. If a mother was not able to breastfeed her child, the child would not survive. One way that women would get around this was by helping each other. Mothers who had enough breast milk would breastfeed their own children as well as other children who needed to be nursed.
Communal breastfeeding is one of those things we rarely see in primarily white societies since the advent of commercial formula. Even doctors did their best to convince our grandmas that nursing is uncivilized and inferior to bottle-feeding. Through your milk, baby absorbs your diet. One amazing thing about breast milk is its wealth of helpful antibodies. Take a moment to appreciate how awesome that is. If the baby is fighting a cold, for example, the mother will produce antibodies in her milk to help the baby cope. Now imagine one baby catches a pathogen in a circle of allo-nursing moms. Any woman who nurses that baby will produce antibodies in her next letdown — meaning the other babies can receive this natural medicine before having to get sick themselves! So the immunity of the whole brood is strengthened — and presumably everyone gets more sleep. In Islamic countries where allo-nursing is an established cultural practice, children who shared a breast grow up with a lifelong bond.
Watch fullscreen. We Breastfeed Each Other's Kids. Barcroft TV. And when Stefani goes on a night out, Chrystal, also 23, returns the favour — nursing both tots as if they were her own. Browse more videos. Playing next