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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 191-197

Non-maternal nursing in the muslim community: A health perspective review

Family Medicine Department, College of Medicine, Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSIU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fouzia Abdulaziz AlHreashy
MD, IBCLC, Consultant Family Medicine, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcn.JCN_55_18

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Non-maternal nursing is a valuable option for healthy infant nutrition. It is currently practiced as direct wet nursing and feeding of expressed milk from a wet nurse, and the applicability of both varies across cultures. Review of the relevant literature revealed an understanding of the characteristics, benefits, and challenges in the practice of wet nursing across different cultures. There is a paucity of literature on direct wet nursing in medicine. On the other hand, there is a considerable amount of discussion on the indirect method (donor human milk feeding) in the context of milk banks and feeding premature infants or sharing in the community. The ideal characteristics of a wet nurse and/or a human milk donor are addressed. The challenges that face non-maternal nursing include health, economic, cultural, and other challenges – the majority of which can be overcome at the individual or community level. Finally, in the context of Muslim communities, milk kinship should not be considered an obstacle to non-maternal nursing; indeed, it should be addressed as a fortunate feature that can expand human relations between the wet nurses and the receiving families. The findings of this review indicate the need for evidence-based guidelines for non-maternal nursing across various social context and clinical scenarios. Moreover, it is important to utilize modern technology in donor human milk feeding in specific situations to ensure that the benefits of human milk are extended to infants of all cultures.

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