I had a comment on my last post, "Baby Boy" asking me if SuperDoula had wet nursed my baby at the birth. The answer is, yes. She is my best friend. I know her entire history, and since I was her midwife until I had to risk her out, I know her medical history and have seen all her bloodwork. I have no problem with her nursing my baby and I would nurse for her too, if she didn't have TWO of the hungry little monkeys!
It is a huge relief to know that I can leave my nursing baby with someone who can take total care of her. I won't need to be distracted worrying about my baby.
Wet nursing has taken many forms over the course of history. Often it was done when a woman died in childbirth or early in their infant's life and another woman in her tribe/village/family that was lactating would take over the job of feeding the child. In Renaissance and early Victorian times, wealthy women hired wet nurses so they could 1. produce more heirs and 2. not have to nurse like the "poor women and animals".
There are still cultures in the world where sisters/aunts/cousins will nurse each others babies while the women take turns working in fields, at jobs, or watching older children.
Some people think it's "gross" but I certainly don't think it to be any more gross than drinking the milk that's all pooled together from the teats of 100s of cows I don't know personally.