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Grandmothers can Breastfeed if Healthy – Nutritionist




A Consultant Nutritionist, John Egbuta, said on Monday in Lagos that grandmothers could breastfeed babies if they were willing to do so.

Egbuta, who works with the United Nation’s office in Lagos, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“It is very possible. We have mothers who are even up to 60 years old, who have had to start a re-lactation process, to recover the ability to produce breast milk under some kind of tutelage.

“With a bit of training, that woman can begin to produce breast milk again.

“First, there has to be a willingness, passion, and commitment towards the survival of that baby (that needs to be breastfed).

“Breast milk, actually, is produced from the brain.

“When the person who is going to start breastfeeding develops the passion, the willingness and the love for that child, the brain has hormones, that are able to change the orientation of that woman, who is going to start breastfeeding.

“And before you know it, the breast begins to produce breast milk again. So, unless there is no willingness on the part of that grandmother, breastfeeding is possible.”

The consultant explained that there was no harm in a woman breastfeeding another woman’s baby.

He, however, advised any woman willing to breastfeed another’s child to ensure that she was certified healthy and free of any form of infection.

“But if it is something to become conventional, we must establish that this mother does not carry an infection.

“Because, that kind of infection has the ability to destroy both the baby and the mother.

“So, we need to establish that this mother is healthy enough before they can start breastfeeding other children.”

 Photo Credit: Surabky/

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Fisa

    November 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I was shocked the day i visited my friend at home and i saw her mum breastfeeding her baby. I wanted to faint. grandma of 62 breastfeeding. Haaaa i was scared but i didnt let it show. I was using corner eye to look at grandma and how my friend was laughing heartily and sees nothing wrong in it. and the baby was sucking it with si much passion. Hian!!!

    • Gorgeous

      November 10, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Ask your father and mother if their grand mothers did not breast feed them. Its actually more common than you think. In fact, my great grand mother’s breast was my father’s pacifier when his mother was not around. We are talking about his own paternal grandmother. Not even maternal.

  2. bruno

    November 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Some things are better left unsaid, Why would you be releasing this kind of information in nigeria. Do you know how crazy 99 percent of nigerians are. You come and pick ur child up from day care and you see The auntie breastfeeding your hungry child. LOL

  3. MC

    November 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    This is odd.
    Under what circumstances would you want somebody else to breastfeed your child?
    Under what circumstances would you want to breastfeed a child that isn’t yours?

    • Que

      November 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Under what circumstances? ?….
      – mother dies during delivery
      -mother isn’t lactating or her milk only trickles
      – mother is unhealthy. ?…
      These things happen…

    • MC

      November 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Maybe this article should have addressed these reasons.
      All it mentions is that Grandmothers can breastfeed and how.

    • Beth M.

      November 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      Or Mom has to work (or otherwise be away from her baby for a time) and Grandma is babysitting. Or just to give mom a break for an hour or two. It could be useful for all the same reasons someone might give a baby a bottle of pumped milk or formula. As long as I’m capable of doing so (and so far, I have been) I personally would prefer not to have anyone else breastfeed my babies, but I have no objection to others making different choices. I would be happy to breastfeed someone else’s baby (for instance, a niece or nephew, close friend’s baby, etc.) if the mom wasn’t able to.

    • Karma

      November 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      If the mother is unable to produce enough breast milk she might reach out to someone who is willing to breast feed her child. It was more common in the 1800’s but since they created that poison people call formula (poison because recalled way to often) it has become less common.
      I personally have developed breast milk many times for no reason so have donated it to milk banks. Yes there are milk banks for those who cannot breast feed but cannot find another person to breast feed for them either.

    • Laura Villanueva, IBCLC

      November 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Hi MC,
      Some years ago I talked to a women whose mother went working 400 km away, and left her (2 months old) with her own mom.
      The grandma tried to formula fed the baby, but she didn’t want it. A week later the grandma was absolutely desperate because the little girl cried non-stop and didn’t feed at all. The mother couldn’t do anything as she was very far. So she asked her mom to propose her breast as a pacifier and try to formula feed the baby again.
      Some days later, the grandma realised that the baby was much quiet, had better sleep… and she had breastmilk again! So she continue breastfeeding the baby, unteal she weaned.

      Nature is so wise.

      Laura Villanueva, IBCLC

    • ~Sanna~

      January 26, 2015 at 10:06 am

      If you are unable to breastfeed your child yourself (in a coma, severely ill etc etc) and want your baby to thrive with optimal nourishment and be exclusively breastfed!

    • krow

      October 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      under the circumstances of love.

  4. ResearchMaverick

    November 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Dear ignorant people who have never heard of the concept or practice of “wet nursing”, I’m going to give you this piece of information free of charge (since you chose not to use your internet device to glean the same information before exposing the darkness in your brains).

    1. What is a “wet nurse”?
    A wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds and cares for another’s child. Wet nurses are employed when the mother is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as “milk-siblings”, and in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of milk kinship. Mothers who nurse each other’s babies are engaging in a reciprocal act known as cross-nursing or co-nursing. Source:

    2. Wet nursing and cross feeding both involve the breastfeeding of a child by someone other than the mother. Wet nursing involves a woman who is not the social equal of the employer, is never reciprocal, and is normally for payment. Cross feeding (also ‘cross nursing’) is the informal sharing of breastfeeding between equals, and is usually unpaid and may be reciprocal. Community attitudes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries are distrustful of this practice, though satisfaction is reported by the women involved in sharing breastfeeding. Community unease has included feelings of revulsion, rationalized by concern about the transmission of infections. Yet recently there have been sporadic feature articles in the print media reporting instances of, and opinions, on these practices. This review article explores the sharing of breastfeeding, principally in Australia, and provides an historical context for concerns about transmission of infection. These issues will also be discussed in relation to human milk banking. Source:

    3. Breast-feeding practice has an important medical and socio-cultural role. It has many anthropological aspects concerning the “power structures” that find their expression in breast-feeding and the practices that formed around it, both socially, scientifically, and legally… Source:

    BOTTOM LINE: There is nothing wrong with wet nursing and there is scientific and anthropological evidence suggesting that it is safe in the context of a healthy “mother”. Please, be informed before exposing your ignorance! It’s 2014! If you can use your phone or computer to check bellanaija, then surely you can use it to get information from google, other search engines, and science databases! Get smart!

    • Bunmi A

      November 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Shut up Why do you have to be so rude? Some people have never heard of a wet nurse before and thats not a bad thing. No need to be obnoxious.

    • Pax

      November 11, 2014 at 4:38 am

      There is nothing wrong or rude or obnoxious about Research Maverick’s post. People should get slammed for talking trash, condemning/mocking normal practices just because they don’t understand them, stigmatizing wet nursing or cross feeding, and spreading the wrong information. There is a reason why things like Google exist! I didn’t know about wet nursing before this but as soon as I read the article, I typed in “breast feed another persons child” into the trusty Google search… and guess what??? I’m not ignorant anymore… It’s that simple!!!

    • Colour Purple

      November 11, 2014 at 6:37 am

      That is why she is educating you. Ignorance is not bliss, be thankful instead of angry for the enlightenment. Sheesh!!!!!

    • MC

      November 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Not to mention that the term “wet nurse” was not used once throughout this article.

    • Nneoma

      November 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Listen, if I know nothing about a subject, I am ignorant to it. So thanks to whomever is willing to enlighten me. Only a fool would consider a ‘little education’ as rudeness. Puh-leash, take a backseat.

  5. Sandra

    November 11, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Yea, my aunt breast fed her grandson because his mum died weeks after his birth

  6. Yayi Boni

    November 11, 2014 at 2:56 am

    my sister who lives in London and I had baby boys one month apart, when they visited us.. one day my sister went out with her husband, my mum was home alone with the baby couldn’t find diaper bag, milk bpx and bottles, my sister’s baby was crying histerically… my mum called me and I was there in 10 minutes and breastfed my nephew… the boy liked my milk because as he was sucking it he felt asleep.. and while he was sucking it.. and sleeping I teased him and said… oh yes.. my milk is sweeter than you mummy… today he is a 17 year old boy with my son who is also 17 and they are like twins.. every summer he comes to L.A to visit us and he is such a smart and good boy.. Nothing is wrong with it. as long that the breastfeeder is healthy.. 🙂 I would do it again today even for my grandchildren.

  7. Ijebu Boy

    November 11, 2014 at 3:09 am

    Mother does not want saggy boobs, grandma already has saggy boobs and can breastfeed, herego, grandma feeds baby, no harm to her boobs, baby gets fed, mother keeps her perky titties. lol. very valid scenario in this vain world we now live in. #dontshootthemessenger

    • ResearchMaverick

      November 11, 2014 at 3:46 am

      First of all, it’s “ergo”. Secondly, if your post was an attempt to crack a bad joke, then “Lol?”. Lastly, the objective of wet nursing or cross feeding is not to maintain youthful looking breasts. It’s a practice that dates as far back as 500B.C. So, it really isn’t “…a very valid scenario in this vain world we now live in…” #GetInformed #YeahIShotTheMessenger #BecauseHisMessageHadKLeg

    • Beth M.

      November 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Breastfeeding does not cause “saggy boobs”, nor will not breastfeeding prevent it. Please stop spreading unfounded rumors.

  8. gurl_wendy

    November 11, 2014 at 5:28 am

    You’re the one that’s being rude, oh the anonymity of the internet would you have walked up to her a perfect stranger and said the same thing if it was real life, I felt she was just dispensing information, you even sound violent sef.

  9. MC

    November 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I merely asked two questions. (so maybe you wasn’t referring to me)
    Maybe if this article didn’t solely concentrate on “grandmothers breastfeeding” and maybe listed some reason as to why this may occur, people wouldn’t have displayed their “ignorance” as you call it.

    As soon as I read “wet mothers’ in your comment, it suddenly rang a bell.
    The fact that this article doesn’t even mention such a thing and only goes on about grandmothers doesn’t help. not too mention, does not educate.

    Still something I’m not keen on (shoot me). I am aware of some mothers being asked to donate milk, this is more than fine (to me)…What I’m not so keen on is the need for mouth to tit. it’s a bonding experience I wouldn’t want my child to have with anybody else (including my own mother…not that she would be keen on it herself). What ever happened to expressing milk!?
    I am also aware of rich white women hiring “black women” to breastfeed their children….but I thought that phase had passed. But I guess it goes back to what you said- “Wet nursing involves a woman who is not the social equal of the employer”

    • Pee

      November 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      That’s why Research Maverick described both “wet nursing” and “cross feeding”! Chaiiiiii! Perhaps if you should have read the comments carefully, instead of interpreting it as a personal attack against you…

    • MC

      November 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I took it as a personal attack?
      I already stated “maybe you wasn’t referring to me”
      Maybe, just maybe you should read the comments carefully.

    • ~Sanna~

      January 26, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Not everyone has the financial ability or accessories to express and bottle feed breastmilk. Some babies refuse bottles. I personally wouldn’t want anyone else breastfeeding my babies but I would be more than happy to breastfeed others 🙂

  10. timmy tim

    November 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

    straight up Hell-No for me. Baby milk are improving everyday thanks.

  11. ResearchMaverick

    November 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    @MC: OK, you wrote two questions that you could have very easily asked our dear friend Google. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions. But if/when your questions begin with “this is odd…”, they feed into negative preconceptions/stereotypes/social stigmas/ignorance (whether it was intended or not). Therefore, you should be prepared for any kind of response. Wet nursing was legally practiced in Ancient Rome, Greece, and imperial China before the African slave trade started. Although it can occur in the context of a different social status between the wet nurse and biological mother, it is not exclusive to “… rich white women hiring “black women” to breastfeed their children…”. It is also possible for an infant to be cross nursed or cross fed by an aunt or grandmother regardless of the social status.

    To anyone who feels that my initial comment and follow-up posts are rude. Here’s my response: They are not rude (yeah, the truth is bitter and difficult to swallow… drink some water to help you digest it or hide in a cave to avoid reality). Furthermore, the tone of my comments have nothing to do with the “… anonymity of the internet…” because I will enthusiastically share the same sentiments if someone says things that are not fact-based in my presence. The “anonymity of the internet” exists by default because anyone can choose whatever name he/she wants for the purpose of responding to an open forum. I also don’t understand how my comments are perceived as violent (that accusation literally had me DWL!!! Was I supposed to state “pun intended” after the hashtags???)… I will own the fact that I can be an “internet thug”… but violence, on the other hand, is not part of my skill set 🙂 …

    Yes, the article did not explicitly mention “wet nursing” or “cross feeding” or “cross nursing” but the concepts are implied. Come on! If you know that “1+1=2″, wouldn’t you conclude that “1+1+1+1=4” ??? We all have the capacity for deductive reasoning given little bits of information. The article gave you some information, it’s your individual responsibility to take it and make sense of it before throwing random comments/questions/opinions that have no fundamental basis!

  12. Maureen

    November 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm


  13. Cori

    November 13, 2014 at 5:28 am

    I often babysit my grandbaby and wish i could lactate for him. Its so much better for them.

    • Kari Rose

      May 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Why can’t you? Have you talked to a lactation consultant? Yes, breastfeeding changes a baby’s face for life, formula makes faces long and thin.

  14. Chia

    November 13, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Yeah no. Under no circumstances do I want my mother breastfeeding my child. Maybe I’m wrong for thinking this way but I think the mother child bond is pretty scared and this simply blurs those lines more than I’m ok with. And yes people used wet nurses but just because we used to do something doesn’t mean it’s kosher for this day and age. So physically possible – yea but as for me – yeah no thanks …

    • ~Sanna~

      January 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Breastmilk is the best option and there are always potential extraneous circumstances. This isn’t a case of ‘was good back then but doesn’t mean it’s good now’. I personally wouldn’t want anyone bf’ing my babes though 🙂 I’d be happy to bf others in need.

  15. Mrs.Uzra Hashmi

    November 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I belong to a family which was a joint set up until two decades ago and in which co-breastfeeding and cross-breastfeeding was an ordinary thing. Not surprisingly, inter-generational nursing was a natural concomitant. Babies until they were of three or four years of age were nursed by aunts and grandmothers of all relationships and in a few cases even by cousins and siblings (elder married sisters). All it required was a condescending woman with milk and a baby in need – temporary or regular. The only consideration was that it should not later on come in the way of marrying children. All other issues of infection, bonding, ‘strangers’ observations, etc. were not of any significance. As far as I know there was never a serious problem and instead of feeling jealous the mothers felt relieved and happy about the arrangement.

  16. LeTika

    February 18, 2016 at 2:08 am

    My grandma breast feed her sister . Her and my great grand mother were pregnant the same time. The babies was one month apart. So while my great grandmother went to work , my grandmother breast feed both babies. Her son and her sister .

  17. Lucky lady

    October 30, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Lost on my owenu

  18. Samsauntrn

    November 17, 2016 at 4:41 am

    I think more gyn’s need to be aware of this as well. Both my friend and I relactated when our grandchildren were born. It was a total shock to both of us. Our gyn’s had no idea this was possible and we ended up going through a ton of tests for suspected breast cancer. It was until I read a midwife’s site about this that I was able to relax and it eventually went away. But the more I think of it the more I wonder if it was natures way of keeping babies alive if their mothers died in childbirth as so many did.

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