According to multiple Chinese media reports, wealthy and busy adults have found a new way to combat health issues caused by stress and strain – drinking human breast milk. They hire wet nurses who regularly provide the nutritious drink.
While many parents in China are struggling to find safe powdered milk for their babies, following a scandal over poisoned formula, rich and powerful adults from cities like Shenzen and Guangdong are paying big bucks for fresh breast milk to keep in shape. The demand is apparently so great that companies are promoting and expanding their breast milk supply business from babies to adults. “Clients can choose to consume breast milk directly through breastfeeding … but they can always drink it from a breast pump if they feel uncomfortable,” Lin Jun, a manager of Xinxinyu Household Service Company told Chinese newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily. “Quite a few of our clients hire in-house wet nurses to ensure a supply of fresh breast milk on a daily base,” Lin said, adding that “wet nurses rarely raise objections as long as the price is right.” Apparently, most of those who indulge in drinking fresh breast milk are successful adults with high incomes and high-pressure jobs looking for a highly nutritious miracle cure to their health problems.
In some parts of China breast milk is traditionally considered the best and most easily digestible form of nutrition for people who are ill, and a lot of adults with money to burn are taking this to heart. A restaurant in Changsha who offered a whole menu called “Human Milk Dinner” was ordered to scrap it when furious locals complained it was treating human being like cows. The Xinxinyu Household Service Company, in the city of Guangdong, was allegedly one of the companies selling breast milk to adults who could afford it. Wet nurses who provided the milk could earn up to 16,000 yuan ($2,600) a month, with healthy and attractive ones earning even more than that. A spokesperson of the company denied the allegations, claiming they were just malicious gossip aimed at driving the company out of business, but Xinxinyu’s multiple online advertisement stating that the company’s wet nurses can provide services to adults in poor health show otherwise. Xinxinyu Household Service Company has been ordered to suspend its operations and had its business licence revoked, regulators in Shenzen told AFP.
“Consuming human breast milk is quite popular among my social circle … spending 10,000 to 20,000 yuan hiring a wet nurse is not uncommon at all,” an anonymous client told the Southern Metropolis Daily, adding that “only a few people would suck breast milk directly from a wet nurses’ nipples.” He admitted to paying 15,000 yuan to a wet urse and having her stay at his house for a whole month for easy access to the breast milk.
Medical experts say the nutritional value of human breast milk for adults is ridiculously overstated. Wang Xingguo, from the Dalian Municipal Central Hospital, claims it can actually do more harm than good as it contains more lactose than an adult can digest and often causes diarrhea. People can get the nutrients they require from cow’s milk.