Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Prejudices Against Breastfeeding

From Naomi Clifford:
When a woman could not or would not breastfeed, the most obvious solution was to find a surrogate or wet nurse, a woman who had either recently given birth, who could supply enough milk for two babies or who was still in milk after weaning her own child. It was standard practice to hand royal or high-born babies straight to a nurse, who often had special status within the household. In 1766, after careful vetting, Mrs Muttlebury, a mother of four, was employed by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, to feed her first daughter, Princess Charlotte. Mrs Muttlebury’s reward was substantial: £200 per annum for life. Apart from the salary, she would also have benefited from the contraceptive effect of prolonged suckling. Queen Charlotte, on the other hand, had to return to the task of producing more royal progeny as quickly as possible. She had 15. Queen Victoria, who bore nine without much enthusiasm for pregnancy or indeed children, famously did not breastfeed, thinking it a repulsive and animalistic practice suitable only for the lower classes. (Read more.)

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