Unbelievable trade : men and girls paid to suckle breasts

Old man touching the breast of a woman

A long time ago, in some places in France (in Hérault, but also in the Cevennes and in Provence), there were men who were called "tétaïres". They were assigned to assist women breastfeeding by suckling their breasts, for example to promote the flow of milk, or when breasts were engorged (especially if the baby had died), or even to give the nipples an appropriate form. They were accomplishing their task with the mother in presence of other women to avoid any "misunderstanding" or confusion. Tétaïres were usually old men or feeble-minded men and it is reported in historical writings that they were working in good faith and without ulterior motive (though in some places these men were still wrapped a large sheet to avoid physical contact ...). This practice has prevailed in the high-Herault townships until the 1950s ! It is interesting to note that in some districts of England and Germany in the eighteenth century, this function was up to young girls who were instructed in the art of nursing. However, these practices remained ad hoc. At the time, mothers rarely had complications during their lactation (blockages, abscesses, lack of milk, etc.). "It was not really a trade, but rather a "function". And once the task completed, the "téteur" got some money and had to go away asap.

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