“[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. This ad states that a recommendation was needed for applicants. People believed that breast milk could carry disease or bad morals into the baby, which is why the family would want to make sure that the wet nurse had a good history.


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



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