Kesubos - Daf 60

  • At what age does a baby recognize its  mother and refuse to nurse from someone else

A Baraisa on Daf 59b taught that if a woman took a vow not to nurse her baby, and then she got divorced, her husband cannot force her to nurse the child. ואם היה מכירה נותן לה שכרה וכופה ומניקתו מפני הסכנה – But if the baby recognizes her and refuses to nurse from someone else, he pays her wages and forces her to nurse the child because of the danger to the child’s life. The Gemara on this Daf asks, at what age do we presume that a child recognizes its mother and will refuse to nurse from someone else? It was said in the name of Rav: three months. Shmuel said: Thirty days. Rebbe Yitzchak said in the name of Rebbe Yochanan: Fifty days, and Rav Shimi bar Abaye said the halachah is like Rebbe Yochanan. When the Gemara questions whether a child can recognize its mother after thirty days, it relates that that which was reported in the name of Shmuel was incorrect, and that Shmuel actually said: כל זמן שמכירה – Whenever the child recognizes its mother. Rashi explains that there is no set age. Rather, we test if the child recognizes her, and if she does, then she is forced to nurse her. Rav Ashi explained that a blind child recognizes his mother בריחא ובטעמא – by scent and by taste.

  • When human milk and blood become forbidden

It was taught in a Baraisa: According to Rebbe Eliezer, an infant may continue nursing until he is twenty-four months old, מכאן ואילך כיונק שקץ – from then on it is like consuming an abominable thing, meaning it is Rabbinically forbidden. Rebbe Yehoshua says: אפילו ארבע וחמש שנים – A child may nurse for even four or five years. פירש לאחר עשרים וארבעה חדש וחזר כיונק שקץ – However, if he stopped nursing after twenty-four months and then resumed, it is like nursing an abominable thing. When the Gemara brings a Baraisa to prove that human milk is permitted, and Rav Sheishess said: אפילו מצות פרישה אין בו – and there is not even a Rabbinic command to separate from it, the Gemara explains, הא דפריש הא דלא פריש – the ruling that human milk is always permitted is referring to milk that has been separated from the woman’s breast, whereas the ruling prohibiting human milk after twenty-four months is referring to milk that has not been separated, but is being suckled from the breast. The Gemara notes that the opposite is true regarding human blood, as it was taught in a Baraisa: דם שעל גבי ככר – Blood that is on a loaf, that resulted when a person bit into it, needs to be scraped off the loaf before one eats it. שבין השינים – Blood that is between the teeth, מוצצו ואינו חושש – One may suck and swallow it, and not be concerned about transgressing.

  • Conditions for a wet nurse

It was taught in a Baraisa regarding a hired wet nurse: הרי שנתנו לה בן להניק – If they gave her a child to nurse, she may not nurse her child or her friend’s child, together with him, פסקה קמעה אוכלת הרבה – If the mother of the child stipulated to supply her with little food, she eats a lot, in order to produce sufficient milk for the child. לא תאכל עמו דברים הרעים לחלב – She may not eat things that are detrimental to the milk. The Gemara asks who pays for the extra food, and Rav Sheishess answers that the wet nurse does. The Meiri explains that we assume she was pleased with the wage promised her and is willing to incur the costs for the extra food. Among the foods which are harmful to the milk are hops, grain sproutings, small fish, and earth, which was a form of remedy for illnesses. The Gemara explains מינייהו פסקי חלבא מינייהו עכרי חלבא – Some of them cause the woman to stop producing milk, and some of them turn the milk sour.