The child being nourished by the wet nurse is actually Morisot’s daughter, and without the
substitution of a seconde mère, performing her reproductive labor, Morisot would not be able to
produce works of art. Wet nursing was a large-scale industry in France, one that allowed women
to perform work outside of maternal labor. As Woods demonstrates, the tension felt by Morisot
watching another woman feed her child is apparent in the artwork, as chaotic brushstrokes seem
to erase the identity of the wet nurse. The wet nurse should be her. The equipmental being of the
wet nurse blurs the distinction between τέχνη and φύσις, and reveals a truth about a woman’s
reckoning with reproductive and productive labor.
From Jill Drouillard's (Re)productive Tensions:
Aletheiac Revealing in Morisot’s “Cradle” and “Wet Nurse”.