Breastfeeding Sisters Choose Cross Nursing
While I’ve known and worked with Lynalice for the last two years, I had the honor of meeting her sister and brand new nephew last winter. Like many new moms, breastfeeding was posing some challenges for Maggie and she’d come down with a bad case of mastitis right before Tyler’s newborn session. I had so much sympathy for her, as breastfeeding began similarly for me with my first child. As she lay napping and feverish on my studio couch, Auntie Lynalice just plopped down to feed a fussy, hungry baby and caught my eye. Of course I turned my attention from setting up a newborn prop to photographing a sweet aunt breastfeeding her nephew. It was just too endearing of a moment to miss. We then went on with our newborn session, as Tyler was happy to have a filled belly. With August being National Breastfeeding Month, I decided to follow up with them and see how their happy, breastfeeding family was doing.
Maggie, Tyler, and her God-daughter, Cassie, live with Lynalice and her family. She is going to school to become a certified medical assistant. Lynalice and Matt have four children; three boys and a little girl. Both sisters are breastfeeding their babies, but they also feed each other’s babies when they need to. I think most mommas can see the amazingness in this. Maggie is able to attend her classes and work toward her future career, and Lynalice is able to escape the house now and then baby-free. There is always a breastfeeding momma with the babies. They even get some baby-holding help from the oldest brother, Luke.
Cross nursing and wet nursing have been around for centuries, but aren’t often talked about publicly today. While some might have an initial taboo reaction, cross nursing and wet nursing are actually widely accepted. In cases of natural disaster and extreme flooding, the World Health Organization has recommended the use of donor milk or wet nursing for infants, as opposed to formula with potentially contaminated water. I think it’s a wonderful idea and seems to be the natural solution for these sisters to exclusively breastfeed babies while still getting some time away. Maggie says that some friends have shown concern that breastfeeding each other’s children would take away from the bond that she has with her baby boy, but says that’s not the case at all. From what I saw during my visit, she’s completely in love with Tyler and that bond is fierce. In fact, I’d say both Maggie and Lynalice have unique bonds with each of these sweet babies. There’s a whole lot of love and baby fever to be found in their home.
Sarah Beth Chamberlain
Lifestyle Family Photographer | Palmer, Alaska