Rent-a-lactator idea emerges amid China milk scandal

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images Amid China’s tainted-milk scandal (the subject of this week’s photo essay), parents are frightened of buying milk and formula off the shelf for their children. A Chinese entrepreneur was bound to find a way to provide parents an alternative, and one owner of a domestic services company has: the milk nanny. The ...

592353_080926_breastfeed5.jpg
592353_080926_breastfeed5.jpg

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

Amid China's tainted-milk scandal (the subject of this week's photo essay), parents are frightened of buying milk and formula off the shelf for their children. A Chinese entrepreneur was bound to find a way to provide parents an alternative, and one owner of a domestic services company has: the milk nanny.

The entrepreneur, Lin Zhimin, put an ad on the Internet offering the service of milk nannies -- lactating women who get paid for giving away their milk. Calls started pouring in. CNN recently reported on one woman who signed up to provide milk. Last month she had a baby, her second. Due to China's one-child policy, she gave up the infant. Now she wants to give away her breast milk, both to help other parents and earn money -- eight times what she'd make in a factory, she says.

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

Amid China’s tainted-milk scandal (the subject of this week’s photo essay), parents are frightened of buying milk and formula off the shelf for their children. A Chinese entrepreneur was bound to find a way to provide parents an alternative, and one owner of a domestic services company has: the milk nanny.

The entrepreneur, Lin Zhimin, put an ad on the Internet offering the service of milk nannies — lactating women who get paid for giving away their milk. Calls started pouring in. CNN recently reported on one woman who signed up to provide milk. Last month she had a baby, her second. Due to China’s one-child policy, she gave up the infant. Now she wants to give away her breast milk, both to help other parents and earn money — eight times what she’d make in a factory, she says.

The concept isn’t entirely new. Wet nurses have been around a long time, and the custom has been reemerging in the United States. Also, last year, FP interviewed the founder of the International Breast Milk Project, which sends donated breast milk from American women to orphaned babies in Africa. So, I guess you can’t blame an entrepreneur for seeing an opportunity and milking it for what it’s worth.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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