Breast feeding

We saw this sign on the coast path near St Feliu de Guixols on the Costa Brava.
There was a tunnel with various viewpoints looking out at the bays

The Mirador is named for wet nurses – Dides in Catalan

A Dida was a woman who breast-fed someone else’s child. Perhaps because the mother was ill or incapable of feeding her baby.  Many women died in childbirth so the Dida was also needed to help those babies survive. Or perhaps the mother was from a social class that could afford to pay someone to take over a task which she didn’t want to do. In the days before reliable contraception it would have freed some women from an unending cycle of reproduction and feeding.
For centuries wet nursing was common all over the world and only went into decline with the advent of artificial baby milk.
Here in Catalunya some wealthy people had a Dida who lived in the house for years, feeding the babies as they arrived.  I hadn’t really thought about wet nursing before but although nowadays it seems strange or even distasteful, I can see how practical it was and perhaps a better idea than feeding babies something created in a factory. Apparently you don’t have to keep having your own babies to produce milk – if you keep feeding, the milk can be produced for years. I suppose this also protected some of the women who worked in this way from unwanted pregnancies.
I wonder why this bay was so named?

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4 thoughts on “Breast feeding

  1. Tell me more! Who was the starving man and did he get breast fed by a Dida?

    Someone wrote to me and said she fed her friends baby when the friend was ill and it seemed the most natural thing to do. Nice story.


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