Photo Highlights Importance of Cross-Nursing

Jessica Anne Colletti asked if she could breastfeed her friend's son. The result, she says, is a bond between her and the #milksiblings she cherishes.

Photo Highlights Importance of Cross-Nursing Facebook

Can this mom do for cross-nursing what the #normalizebreastfeeding movement is doing for women breastfeeding their children in public? It looks like she's on her way.

Mother to a 16-month-old, Jessica Anne Colletti not only feeds her own child, but her friend's boy, too, while his mom works.

"Breastfeeding my friend's son came naturally to me," she told MamaBeanParenting. "I started babysitting him when he was 5 months old and the first time she dropped him off to me I asked permission to nurse him, since I was already nursing my 3 month old."

Her friend enthusiastically said yes. "My friend struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning and succeeded for 9 months," Colletti said. "She was always very happy that her son had the nutrition and comfort he needed while she was working."

The primary reason for Colletti sharing her milk was for the nutrition, since the child wasn't responding well to formula. But the cross-nursing situation soon evolved from simply feeding to a strong emotional connection. "Being able to breastfeed her little boy has created a special bond between us all," she continued.

Colletti's experience isn't unlike that of other moms who opt to cross-nurse, a term coined to describe the process of directly feeding another woman's child. It's different from employing a dedicated wet nurse, since women don't usually cross-nurse for pay, rather for the bonding they experience through helping other women and babies in their communities.

That connection, Colletti says, is why she continues to cross-nurse her friend's son and why she's using the hashtag #milksiblings to describe the special connection between the two boys, a bond, she says, she'll "always cherish."