The Short of It
Two young mothers who breastfeed each other's children are encouraging other women to do the same.
Stefani Tatavitto and Chrystal Klein met on Facebook five years ago, and they started their unique arrangement of sharing breastfeeding duties when Chrystal's daughter, Ariana, was 10 months old.
Now Stefani regularly breastfeeds her own 2-year-old son Gage and Chrystal's 19-month-old daughter when Chrystal goes to work—sometimes feeding Ariana up to six times a week. So they decided to share their story in a video posted to YouTube, as a way to encourage other moms to do the same.
"I don't think it's shocking to nurse another woman's child," Stefani, who also has a 4-year-old son named Noah, says in the video. "Breastfeeding is natural. I think it helps Ariana; it keeps her calm and helps her when she's teething. It's a big comfort and helps keep her settled."
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Chrystal, who also has a 5-year-old-son, Aiden, says she isn't worried about her friend forming a stronger bond with her daughter than she has.
"Because of Stefani I don't need to pump milk for my daughter or worry about her not having any milk," she said. "It also makes me feel better to know that my daughter still has that comfort even while I am away from her. I would say there are no drawbacks. I only see positive from this."
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Not everyone, however, has been so supportive. When the ladies' story came up on "The View" recently, journalist and lawyer Sunny Hotin responded with, "It's yucky," and then made a grossed-out reaction face when the discussion turned to the idea of the child seeing her best friend's boob.
"I think that using the word 'yucky' to describe wet nursing is incredibly childish," Stefani told Breastfeeding Mama Talk. "What's yucky about an age-old practice? The attitude that most of America has toward breastfeeding in general—let alone wet nursing —is ignorant and childish. It's normal and natural to breastfeed, and no woman should be shamed for it—just like no woman should be shamed for formula feeding."
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Look, I get that wet nursing is not the norm and "The View" is a show where the hosts voice their opinions about hot button issues on the regular. But let's not make moms feel bad about their breastfeeding choices, OK?
Or as Stefani put it in the video: "I don't care what anyone else has to say. We do what's best for our families."