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Snafu
Deck the Malls


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I've heard that when the Queens of the Tudor and Stuart period fell pregnant, their servants were ordered to do the same.

Apparently, the servants' babies were killed as soon as they were born, the point been, they would now be able to lactate and breastfeed the Queen's kid, saving her time and effort.

Not the nicest thing but considering the stuff they got up to back then it's not entirely implausible.

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Red Squirrel
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I think there would have been enough women who had their babies die or have a stillbirth for nobles to find a wet nurse without difficulty.

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The Sqizzle formally known as Lexi

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Mosherette
Deck the Malls


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I agree with Squirrel. Infant mortality was so high back then that I imagine there were plenty of unfortunate women who had milk but no baby to give it to [Frown]

For example, only three of Henry VIII's wives ever got pregnant by him. Out of all the pregnancies achieved by them, which I think* is four for Katherine of Aragon, three for Anne Boleyn and one for Jane Seymour, only three of the resultant children survived to adulthood, with one dying in infancy (Prince Henry, son of Katherine of Aragon) and the rest being stillborn or miscarried.

*Don't have my books handy, sorry

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Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Where exactly did you "hear" this?

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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I'mNotDedalus
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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A friend of a mother's godchild whose pet iguana is distantly related to the dragon Arthur smote.

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Snafu
Deck the Malls


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But would the Queen want some random stranger feeding her baby?

They knew that disease was rife so why not use someone who they had a good idea was 'clean'? i.e. a servant that they'd being sharing a home with for years?

...and I don't imagine the ethics of the whole thing would play a huge part.

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Mama Duck
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Wet nurses were popular at the time, especially amoung nobility. Royalty would have had access to these already reputable servants. There was no real reason to kill off anyone else's baby. With wet nurses already available, there is no reason for the queen's ladies in waiting to take on the role other women are already serving. Also, as has been pointed out, there would be enough stillbirths and infant deaths even among the royal servants to make infanticide unnecessary.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Snafu:
But would the Queen want some random stranger feeding her baby?

They knew that disease was rife so why not use someone who they had a good idea was 'clean'? i.e. a servant that they'd being sharing a home with for years?

...and I don't imagine the ethics of the whole thing would play a huge part.

But the Stuarts and Tudors had no idea that disease could be transmitted through breast milk. They had no understanding at all of how diseases were caused or transmitted.

ETA to correct a stupid mistake.

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Snafu
Deck the Malls


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"Suspicions that syphilis and tuberculosis were transmitted through the milk (they aren't) helped to speed the decline of wet nursing."

-That was in the French Middle Ages.

http://members.aol.com/diamichels/mmmquiz.htm

So they would have had an idea about the disease factor.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Snafu, I followed your link, and it doesn't provide a time context for the suspicions about syphilis and tuberculosis. The reference to the Middle Ages in France pops up two sentences earlier.

Not saying you're wrong, just that the source you cite doesn't clearly support your point.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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JR
We Three Blings


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Does anyone realize that those servants and ladies-in-waiting weren't exactly peasants, either?

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Semper ubi sub ubi

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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Even if the Queen did order her servent to get pregnant in order to provide a wet nurse, why would it be required for the servent's baby to be killed? A nursing mother with no milk production problems would be able to provide enough milk for two babies.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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NocturnalGoddess- naughty or nice?
Carol of the Dells


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You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

Though, back then, I guess any woman who managed to find this out via daily nipple stimulation during sex/mastrubation kept that information to themselves.

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"I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, EVIL stuff... and I want in."- Homer Simpson

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Seraphina
Deck the Malls


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I believe a wet nurse would be a healthy countrywoman searched out in preparation for the royal birth. Her baby would be weaned by the time the queen or noblewoman required her services. The peasant's child would be left with the mother’s relatives and the wet nurse would move to the palace to feed the royal baby. Theoretically the wet nurse would be able to nurse succession of babies, as long as she did not allow her milk to dry up. No doubt many of the peasant babies were weaned eatlier than they would normally and died, but so many infants died in those times, it would have been nothing out of norm.
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vampyrviolia
Happy Holly Days


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Ha! I'm reminded of a vampire story called "Wet Nurse" I read one time. it was pretty amusing. I remember the author or which anthology it was in.

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Hey, check out my dads website -- www.eastcountyhwy.com
He grooms dogs too.

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First Amongst Daves
Deck the Malls


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It wasn't just the Tudors and Stuarts. My recollection is that Queen Victoria also used wet nurses, and generally found infants to be repellant because of their resemblance to frogs.

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incandescent

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NewZer0
Happy Holly Days


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Besides, if the queen was having such trouble getting pregnant, how would she *make* her servants get pregnant?

--NewZer0

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I study medieval literature because that's where the money is.

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Karmyn
Jingle Bell Hock


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But Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth never had children. Althought Mary did have phantom pregnancies and there is a rumor that Elizabeth had a child before she became Queen. I don't know much about the Stuart Queens other than Queen Anne had several children, but they all died before she did. Some of the Stuart Kings were more interested in men than their wives.

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"I have a very cunning plan."

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Karmyn:
But Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth never had children. Althought Mary did have phantom pregnancies ...

I saw that on current topics and went WTH? Because, of course, the current Queen is Elizabeth and her mother's name was Mary. [lol]

I know your post wasn't humorously intended, Karmyn, but I thank you for the laugh, anyway.

Seaboe.

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Redisca
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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A young, healthy, well-fed woman can nurse more than one child simultaneously, so there would be no need to kill her baby.

Royal nurses were well-paid, well-fed, and lived in luxury. Even after they could no longer nurse, they usually received a pension and retained the favor of powerful people with whom they shared this practically maternal intimacy. This was an existence of comfort and privilege for women who would otherwise lead much harder and more deprived lives. Consequently, there was no shortage of eager candidates among young girls, who included not only peasant women but, on occasion, daughters of the nobility who got pregnant out of wedlock (such as in the case of the son of Louis IX of France). This allowed the royal family to choose a healthy and reliable girl to be their nurse (and because at that time, people tended to stick to the land of their ancestors, and rulers had such broad powers to inquire into their antecedents, it is inaccurate to say, in our own terms, that they were entrusting their infants to "some stranger").

Of course, things changed somewhat as you went down the social ladder. Powerful nobility were about as well-off as the royals, but their minor or impoverished peers had a bit less of a choice of nurses. The middle-class and poor gentry, who could not afford to have a live-in nurse, would generally leave their infants on a farm where some enterprising lady ran a business not unlike today's kindergarten (except the children would actually live there until they were weaned). Orphans or abandoned children, adopted by the church, were also placed in such institutions for the duration of their infancy.

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Sara
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by Nocturnal Goddess: The Masquerade:
You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

Though, back then, I guess any woman who managed to find this out via daily nipple stimulation during sex/mastrubation kept that information to themselves.

Ok, call me naive, but WHAT?!?!? [Eek!]

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"If you don't have anything nice to say...sit next to me"

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monkey
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Sara:
quote:
Originally posted by Nocturnal Goddess: The Masquerade:
You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

Though, back then, I guess any woman who managed to find this out via daily nipple stimulation during sex/mastrubation kept that information to themselves.

Ok, call me naive, but WHAT?!?!? [Eek!]
'Tis true, Sara. Some adoptive mothers successfully nurse their infants. Enough nipple stimulation can sometimes do the trick.

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http://sarahdwebber.wordpress.com/

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Yeah, entrust your child to the mother of a child you've had killed. That makes sense...

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/Troberg

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Major D. Saster
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by JR:
Does anyone realize that those servants and ladies-in-waiting weren't exactly peasants, either?

Of course - this is the main point. The nearest servants to a queen were ladies from the highest nobility. "Having them get pregnant", then killing their babies would have triggered a civil war at worst, and a baronial rebellion at least.

No king could have afforded to treat the daughters of his most powerful noblemen (most of them being somehow related to him) like cattle... not speaking of the Churches' reaction.

I think the OP is just another "horrors of the Middle Ages" tall story.

And BTW, Troberg, you're absolutely right, too.

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Desperate, but not serious.

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Mosherette
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Seaboo Muffinchucker:
quote:
Originally posted by Karmyn:
But Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth never had children. Althought Mary did have phantom pregnancies ...

I saw that on current topics and went WTH? Because, of course, the current Queen is Elizabeth and her mother's name was Mary. [lol]

I know your post wasn't humorously intended, Karmyn, but I thank you for the laugh, anyway.

Seaboe.

Nitpick: the current Queen Elizabeth's mother was called Elizabeth (Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon to be precise). The Queen's paternal grandmother was Queen Mary (actual name Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes May of Teck).

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Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

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franjava
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Nocturnal Goddess: The Masquerade:
You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

It's amazing that this "secret" is kept from women, isn't it? Sometimes you might have to supplement with formula, but if you have a good sucking infant or decent pump, you can get a good flow going. I wonder how many adoptive mothers would love to have done this except for not knowing! It's a good way for them to feel like it's "their" baby.

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Never eat anything given to you by a toddler.

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Aud
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by franjava:
quote:
Originally posted by Nocturnal Goddess: The Masquerade:
You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

It's amazing that this "secret" is kept from women, isn't it? Sometimes you might have to supplement with formula, but if you have a good sucking infant or decent pump, you can get a good flow going. I wonder how many adoptive mothers would love to have done this except for not knowing! It's a good way for them to feel like it's "their" baby.
They know. It's mentioned in the adoption books. It's not that easy either. At least, I never got more than a drop and I was highly motivated.

I also think that the OP is hogwash for the reasons mentioned, professional wet-nurses, high infant mortality, royal servants being nobility themselves. There's a section in the book Medieval Children by Nicholas Orme about feeding babies including documentatary evidence about rules for wet nurses. (He tended to use late medieval evidence and mostly English stuff.)

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Mr. Baggins
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Snafu:
But would the Queen want some random stranger feeding her baby?

They knew that disease was rife so why not use someone who they had a good idea was 'clean'? i.e. a servant that they'd being sharing a home with for years?

...and I don't imagine the ethics of the whole thing would play a huge part.

You'd be surprised at how recently the link between "clean" and "healthy" was discovered. Certainly, nobody back then would have paid mind to cleanliness.

It was on 1847 that Dr.Semmelweiss first reported that filth could cause disease, and it took about 50 more years --and the intervention of Dr. Joseph Lister-- for people to start taking it seriously.

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"The system would also let you send your picture and contact details to a rough trade gay contact mailing list saying you like to be surprised with power tools in a non-consensual role play scenario – but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.!"

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Artemis
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Redisca:
The middle-class and poor gentry, who could not afford to have a live-in nurse, would generally leave their infants on a farm where some enterprising lady ran a business not unlike today's kindergarten (except the children would actually live there until they were weaned).

Like Emma Bovary, and her child, Bertha?

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"You can't play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble Puppy."
-Mustapha Mond, "Brave New World"

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LyndaD
Jingle Bell Hock


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And what about the math? A woman usually doesn't know she's pregnant until at least one missed period (assuming she's regular). I would think most women in the Middle Ages wouldn't know they were pregnant until they were at least 8 weeks along. If they then 'commanded' their servants to get pregnant, the servants would be at least 2-3 months behind their royal mistress (assuming they obeyed that command immediately). The servants' babies would not be due until the royal infant was 2-3 months old. Therefore, there'd be no wet nurse yet available for the newborn.

A woman can produe milk indefinitely, as long as their is a need for it. A woman can also produce enough milk for more than one infant. Just ask La Leche where they get all their milk for the milk bank!

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by franjava:
quote:
Originally posted by Nocturnal Goddess: The Masquerade:
You can breastfeed without having been pregnant or on meds, though.

It's amazing that this "secret" is kept from women, isn't it? Sometimes you might have to supplement with formula, but if you have a good sucking infant or decent pump, you can get a good flow going. I wonder how many adoptive mothers would love to have done this except for not knowing! It's a good way for them to feel like it's "their" baby.
Will someone with an accurate, textbook knowledge of biology please tell me how it is possible for a non-pregnant woman to create breast milk simply from nipple stimulation.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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The Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Website

From WHO How to Breastfeed During an Emergency Mostly about re-lactation--inducing lactation in women who have given birth before.

Can I Breastfeed My Adopted Baby? from La Leche League.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Izzy Quigley
Jingle Bell Hock


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Amazing. I had no idea that that was possible.

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A Viennese fellow is walking along the Karntner Strasse and notices a banana peel lying in his path. "Alas," he sighs, "now I must slip and fall down!"

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I'm sorry, KathyB, none of those cites actually tell me how lactation can be produced by a non-pregnant woman just from nipple stimulation. They all claim it can be done, but do not go into the mechanics of (for example) the specific hormone levels that would cause lactation, like prolactin and oxytocin.

The WHO site addresses women who've recently given birth. I haven't found any actual science to back up the claim that a woman who's never been pregnant can lactate just from someone sucking on her nipples.

They say
quote:
It may be hard to believe but any woman who has given birth can re-lactate, and any woman with ordinary mammary glands can induce milk production in her breasts, even if she has never been pregnant.
but don't actually tell how this works, which is what I'm curious about.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Artemis
The First USA Noel


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I'm curious, too, Cervus.

This quote, from the FAQ on Adoptive Breastfeeding:

quote:
Mothers who induce lactation vary widely in the amount of milk they are able to produce and in the amount of time required to produce milk. All agree that inducing lactation is a process that takes patience, commitment, diligence and education. Even mothers who have breastfed previous babies may not ever be able to fully breastfeed an adoptive baby. A sensible goal, then, might be to try to provide some, or maybe most, of your new baby's nutrition yourself, while fully enjoying the closeness and bonding that breastfeeding brings. Even if your baby does not breastfeed, you can still hold him for all his feedings (and lots of holding in between!) and foster the same kind of attachment that all babies have for the mommies and daddies who love them.
makes me think that the main benefits bonding between the mother and child, and less about providing the infant with food. It says the amount of milk "varies widely." Reading between the lines, then, I'm inferring that not very much milk is being produced here.

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"You can't play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble Puppy."
-Mustapha Mond, "Brave New World"

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