Allomaternal nursing in humans

Current Anthropology Vol/Iss. 55(2) University of Chicago Press Published In Pages: 200-229
By Hewlett, Barry S., Winn, Steve


Considerable variation has been observed in allomaternal nursing (breast-feeding by individuals other than mothers) behavior across contemporary foraging populations: while relatively common in some populations, it is rare or absent among others. Here the authors examine data on allomaternal nursing from 12 previous studies of foraging societies and utilize a worldwide sample of 104 cultures to assess global variation in allomaternal nursing.


Authors utilized the entire eHRAF World Cultures database; data on allomaternal nursing was present in 104 cultures. Due to the scant amount of research into this topic, hypotheses presented here are largely exploratory results rather than tests of prior expectations.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesResearcher's Own
Various sources (data on foraging groups)Other researchers10/12 sources were based on personal correspondence

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:erik.ringen