In a message dated 20/05/03 19:52:32 GMT Daylight Time, pickard(a)hunimex.com
I asked the same question, when I found a 9 year old 'Nurse Child', (in
Warwickshire), a few years ago in my One Name Study. It appears that
children were sent to another home for 'nursing' - i.e. looking after,
means from any age between birth and about 15, not just 'wet nursing'.
This does seem to be the answer.
One of mine was a "Nurse Child" aged about 3 in the 1851 census, living in a
male household with the only female a 10 year old girl - so wet nursing would
have been unlikely.
The child's mother had died giving birth and the father was living in a
Two years later a diary entry by his father recorded that the child had been
removed from the family as he was "being treated not kindly".