HR Strange But True!
October 05, 2007

Like many trends, it's hitting the States in Los Angeles, but in the near future, you may get inquiries about the latest in benefits for the busy executive--hiring a "wet nurse."

As wealthy Chinese women return to the workplace (and there are ongoing questions about the safety of Chinese formula), there has been a resurgence in the hiring of "wet nurses," women who breastfeed a baby not their own. And according to the London Daily Mail, the practice is also becoming popular among European female executives. Wet nurses are also hired by males in same-sex relationships who have infants.

While some feel that wet nursing is a religious taboo or trespasses on the unique mother/child relationship, others look at it as a health issue; they want their babies to have the protective benefits of breastfeeding, but don't have the time to "do it themselves."

The going rate for a wet nurse, who often takes ca re of the infant as well, is $1,000 per week, far more than the average nanny gets. There is also new underground black market in the sale of bottles of breast milk so regular nannies ca n bottle feed it to babies. And, according to the Daily Mail, Beverly Hills mothers with breast implants are instigating this trend.

Some mothers are justifying this practice by citing short maternity leaves in the United States, lack of onsite lactation rooms, and absence of onsite child ca re that makes an executive mother's breastfeeding more feasible.

What would the requirements be for a wet nurse? Of course, the woman would be screened for diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and other infections and probably asked not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs during her tenure. And some employers of wet nurses ask that the woman speak only in soft tones during the process.

Of course, this practice opens up a Pandora's Box of local, state, and federal laws, including the sale of body fluids and the usual compliance problems with domestic workers. But don't be surprised if an exec walks in your office and asks for a wet nurse as a perk.

Source: London Daily Mail

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