Breastfeeding and wet-nurses (Spain)
Nurses were generally women of rural origin who were hired to bring up the children of nobles and bourgeois families, and who often left their own children in the hands of other nurses.
They needed their husband’s permission and a favourable report from the priest. Women from Cantabria and Asturias were very popular as wet-nurses for the nobility. During the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, when the “fashion” of wet-nurses spread among the city bourgeoisie, they advertised in the newspapers and there were specific neighbourhoods and inns in large cities like Madrid where they lodged until they were hired.
Until the 20th century, infant death was terrible in orphanages, where children of the least privileged classes went, the biggest problem being finding enough wet-nurses to feed them.
Photo, Pablo Linés Viñuales