Renee was dying of liver cancer.
Renee’s first thoughts went to the unborn child that her cancer ravaged body was nourishing and keeping safe for the pending birth. Of all the millions of questions that floated through her mind during the last stages of her pregnancy, one thought kept coming to her mind again and again – how or who would be willing to continue breastfeeding her baby?
Renee was only destined to spend one short month with the love of her life. She gave birth to little Violet on November 17 and Renee died on December 15. However, in that short month she managed to arrange for her tiny daughter to receive the best start in life, even though she was no longer here to make that happen. Noble, a mother of five from New York, put out the word that she wanted Violet to be nourished by breast milk.
“Milk for Baby Violet” when live online shortly after her death. Her request was heard loud and clear from nursing mothers around the country.
On Saturday one mother posted to the site, “372 ounces are on the way for Baby Violet today. God blessed me with a great supply and now I am so happy to be able to feed another baby too. Praying for Baby Violet and family and will continue to pump.”
Bekki Hill, who is helping in the organization of the milk drive posted, “Violet will definitely have all of the milk that she needs.” In response to the overwhelming help, the website is generating.
The term wet nurse was developed centuries before. The term was applied to women who were in the legitimate occupation of nursing babies, whose mothers could not, or in many cases simply chose not to nurse them. History tells us that the prophet Muhammad, Napoleon and Luciano Pavarotti were fed by wet nurses.
Wet nurses seemed to die out at the turn of the last century, but there has been resurgence in this necessary service.
Today, we don’t call them wet nurses, but milk banks. Milk from milk banks is often used to nourish preterm babies still hospitalized. The milk is thoroughly tested and pasteurized before given to the babies who need it.
In today’s world, we are so obsessed with the latest advances, latest technology or latest tech toys, we fail to realize that the way things were done centuries ago, might be the best way after all.