“[April 15, 1786] Wants a Place, As A Wet Nurse A Woman with good Breast of Milk That can be well recommended Inquire of the Printer” (1)

The person who posted this ad is looking for a woman that is willing to breastfeed. Women who breast feed other children are referred to as wet nurses. It was very common to hire wet nurses to feed children in a family. More often, than not, women would die during childbirth but the baby would survive. The baby would still need to be fed and there were not formula supplements. This meant the family would have to seek out another woman that was willing to breast feed. This is another example of work that was fit for woman. However, in this case, women are the only ones who can do this biologically.


(1) Berkin, Carol and Leslie Horowitz. Women’s Voices, Women’s Lives: Documents in Early American History. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Is this in addition to the other work in which they were doing,or is it a brand new field so to speak? You did a good job elaborating on the importance of the wet nurse.


  2. mlucas426 says:

    Good job explaining what it is a wet nurse does and reminding the reader that formula was not a substitute at the time. Perhaps you could add about class of women were usually hired for this job. The ad says they need a recommendation so you could mention how strict people where in choosing a wet nurse.


  3. embartra says:

    Does this overlap with your 1754 selection a bit? You might think about looking for something in the 17th century, and then choosing either this one or the other one. This one is really good for showing a more expansive idea of work than many readers might be aware of!


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