Why did royal mothers employ wet-nurses to breastfeed their babies instead of doing it themselves?

8 Answers

Relevance
  • Favorite Answer

    The same reason why they hired someone to cook for them, and clean the loo. Because they could. Someone else was willing to do it, and they were willing to pay them. Supply and demand.

  • Gary C
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Until very recent times, the upper classes considered nursing babies to be work for servants, like mopping the floor or polishing the silver.

    Also, for royal mothers in particular, there was pressure to produce as many heirs as possible. Since breast-feeding tends to delay ovulation and therefore pregnancy, it was counterproductive to the royal woman's main job, which was cranking out more royal babies.

  • 7 years ago

    It was a common practice among the monarchy, aristocracy and nobility to have wet-nurses. Poor women who had given birth outside of marriage often gave up their children (temporarily or permanently) to a wet-nurse.

    Lactation is thought to prevent or slow down ovulation. All through history, till Victoria's time, wet-nurses were employed--it was also not considered appropriate for women of the higher classes to nurse their own children.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Clara is 100% right - as long as a woman is breast-feeding an infant, it acts as a natural contraceptive.

    Royal wives (and the wives of the nobility) were the equivalent of brood-mares - they were expected to provide as many heirs as possible, since the rates of infant mortality were staggeringly high until relatively modern times (as many as 75% of all children might die before their 2nd birthday).

    By farming out their infants to wet nurses, the wives' ability to fall pregnant again improved.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 7 years ago

    In the upper classes of society until quite recently it would have been completely normal. It would have been abnormal for any lady of high society to breastfeed their own children, even looked down on.

  • 7 years ago

    Because in earlier centuries breastfeeding and babycare in general was something that every woman who could possibly afford it paid a poorer woman to do for her. Even women quite a way down the social scale - e.g. merchants' and farmers' wives - saw it as unskilled work that was better delegated while they got on with more important things. It's only in very recent generations that anyone has seen childcare as an important and skilled task that educated women should dedicate their time to.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Wherever di you get the idea that wet nurses Breast feed babies? A woman can only give breastmilk when she is near birth and the milk begins to get stored up in her breasts. .

    Awet nurse is only responsible to bath the baby and change its diaper when needed, she also dresses the baby as well.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    So the papazzi wouldnt get it

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.