I never really cared about Salma Hayek one way or another, but now I love her. Her simple act of nursing a needy baby has brought to light a bunch of important issues around infant and maternal health. The cynics may call it a photo op, but what else are UN Ambassadors supposed to do? There's been lots and lots of discussion about this in mommy circles and that's a good thing.
So, of course, I was chatting with an acquaintance today and the subject came up. She asked me if I'd nurse another woman's baby or allow mine to be breastfed by someone else: I've come to this one step at a time, but today the answer is yes, provided that I was reasonably comfortable about the other mother's health. For some time, I considered cross-nursing to be an emergency only measure - like in a natural disaster where formula wasn't available. But if you think about it without the cultural qualms we've all developed, the risks of formula feeding so far exceed the risk of disease transmission that it's not logical. So then my position became that if mother and baby had to be separated for an emergency or mom couldn't nurse for medical reasons, then cross-nursing was ok. Does that really make either though? What about babies whose mothers need/want to work? Should those babies be subjected to the risks of formula feeding? I'm a big believer that babies need their mothers, not just for nutrition and comfort, but in and of themselves. However, every family needs to make their own choices about separations and that shouldn't have to steal the benefits of breasfeeding from that baby.
So, there we go, it wouldn't take too much for me to end up as a cross-nurser, but I haven't done it yet. Have you?