Recruitment: A fundamental component of the
hospice, since the majority of children eventually went to live
with a wet nurse in the country (Fuchs 162). Field representatives,
doctors, and mayors all played roles in the recruitment. Despite
all the recruiting efforts, the money and labor provided to the
wet nurses and her family through the child, many women were reluctant
to nurse abandoned babies, and most wished to find work for individual
families. In the country, the wet nurse were recruited by a man
called a meneurs, a private entrepreneur (Fuchs 14). This
man took the women from the country into the cities, generally Paris.
At times, women either wrote or went to the mayor seeking employment
(Fuchs 165). One of the biggest stumbling blocks though to the recruitment
stemmed from the abuses of the system. These abuses often blocked
qualified women from becoming wetnurses due to stereotypes of the
state officials. (To read about these abuses, click here)
Distribution of WetNurses: The majority of
wetnurses during the 19th century came from poor rural families
south of Paris. This is clearly shown through the map above. However,
the wetnurses only came from northern France. In the beginning of
the century, the majority of the wetnurses came from areas right
outside of Paris, such as Loiret. However, as the century progressed,
the distribution of wetnurses got farther away from Paris and slightly
Qualifications: The qualifications or requirements
to be become a wet-nurse varied between theory and practice. Although,
the officials involved in making and emplacing these requirements
had good intentions, these efforts did not also play out in practice
either because of abuses on the side of the women themselves, or
because of abuses on the side of the officials which basically stemmed
from the social stereotypes they had on the abandoned children..
Qualifications in Theory: The woman must be
married, had certifiable good morals, prrof that she gave birth
to her last child seven to fifteen months prior to requesting an
infant. She also must have a crib and a screen for the fireplace,
and she had to prove that she was able to raise and take care of
the child. This meant that she was not completely dissolute, overburdened
with a dozen other children, or mentally incompetent.Meeting all
these requirements allowed the women to receive the certificat d'allaitement,a
wet-nurses certificate, and thus receive a child. The only exception
to these requirements in theory occurred when the need for wet-nurses
far out ceeded the supply, and then unmarried women were also accepted.
Also, to official become a registered wetnurse, the woman had to
get a certificate signed by the mayor of her province.
Qualifications in 1852: The requirements changed
to included that the women were between the ages of twenty and fourty;
that their own children were all older than nine months and were
weaned from breast milk. Their milk was also tested for its purity
and abundance in the three medical examinations they needed to pass.
The third and final examination was given in the hospice by the
doctor. If they did not pass the exam, they were sent home without
an infant, and their trip expenses was paid by the prépose
in their district (Fuchs 166). However, if they did pass, they received
the child, money for the trip's expenses and for the first trimester.
These requirements were very similar to those of the Directions
des Nourrices in Paris. This was a registry of sorts for wet-nurses
that placed them with individual families (164).