Ἐκλεκτέον δὲ τὴν τιτθὴν οὔτε νεωτέραν ἐτῶν εἴκοσιν οὔτε πρεσβυτέραν ἐτῶν τεσσαράκοντα, προκεκυηκυῖαν δὶς ἢ τρὶς, ἄνοσον, εὐεκτοῦσαν, εὐμεγέθη τῷ σώματι, καὶ εὐχρουστέραν, μαστοὺς ἔχουσαν συμμέτρους, χαύνους μαλακοὺς ἀρρυσώτους, καὶ θηλὰς μήτε μεγάλας μήτε μικροτέρας καὶ μήτε πυκνοτέρας μήτε ἄγαν σηραγγώδεις καὶ ἀθροῦν ἀφιείσας τὸ γάλα, σώφρονα, συμπαθῆ καὶ ἀόργιστον, Ἑλληνίδα, καθάριον. τούτων δὲ ἕκαστον παρακειμένους ἔχει τοὺς ἐπιλογισμούς. ἀκμάζουσαν μὲν γάρ, ὅτι αἱ νεώτεραι <μὲν> ἄπειροι παιδοτροφίας ὑπάρχουσιν καὶ ἀμελεστέραν ἔτι καὶ παιδικὴν ἔχουσι τὴν γνώμην, πρεσβύτεραι δὲ διὰ τὴν ἀτονίαν τοῦ σώματος ὑδαρέστερον γεννῶσι τὸ γάλα, ταῖς δὲ ἀκμαζούσαις συνευτονεῖ πᾶν φυσικὸν ἔργον. “προκεκυηκυῖαν δὲ δὶς ἢ τρίς”, ὅτι αἱ πρωτοτόκοι μὲν ἀκμὴν παιδοτροφίας ἀγύμναστοι καὶ παιδικὸν ἔτι καὶ ἀμέγεθες καὶ πυκνότερον τὸ σύγκριμα τῶν μαστῶν ἔχουσιν, αἱ δὲ πολλάκις μὲν ἀποκυήσασαι, πολλάκις δὲ νηπιοτροφήσασαι, ῥακώδεις οὖσαι, λεπτὸν καὶ οὐκ ἀκμαῖον ἀποτελοῦσι το γάλα. <“ἄνοσον δέ”, ὅτι ὑγιὲς μὲν τὸ γάλα> καὶ τρόφιμον ἐξ ὑγιεινοῦ σώματος, νοσῶδες δὲ καὶ φαῦλον ἐκ νοσεροῦ, καθάπερ καὶ τὸ διὰ τῆς γῆς φαύλης ῥέον ὕδωρ καὶ αὐτὸ γεννᾶται φαῦλον ταῖς ἐκ τῶν εὐρυχωριῶν διαφθειρόμενον ποιότησιν. “εὐεκτοῦσαν δέ”, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν εὔσαρκόν τε καὶ ῥωμαλέαν, καὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μὲν χάριν, ἤδη δὲ καὶ τοῦ μὴ ῥᾳδίως εἰς τὰς ὑπηρεσίας καὶ τὰς νυκτερινὰς φροντίδας ἐξασθενεῖν, διὰ τοῦτο δὲ καὶ τὸ γάλα μεταβἀλλειν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον. “εὐμεγέθη δὲ τῷ σώματι”· τροφιμώτερον γὰρ τῶν ἄλλων ἐπ’ ἴσης ἐχόντων τὸ ἀπὸ μεγάλων σωμάτων γάλα. “εὐχρουστέραν δέ”· μείζονα γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἀγγεῖα ἐπὶ τοὺς μαστοὺς ἀναφέρει τὴν ὕλην, ὥστε πλεῖον τὸ γάλα γίνεσθαι.
(Soranus, Gunaikeia 2.12(32))
One should choose a wet nurse not younger than twenty nor older than forty years, who has already given birth twice or thrice, who is healthy, of good habitus, of large frame, and of a good color. Her breasts should be of medium size, lax, soft and unwrinkled, the nipples neither big nor too small and neither too compact nor too porous and discharging milk overabundantly. She should be self-controlled, sympathetic and not ill-tempered, a Greek, and tidy. And for each of these points the reasons are as follows:
She should be in her prime because younger women are ignorant in the rearing of children and their minds are still somewhat careless and childish; while older ones yield a more watery milk because of the atony of the body. In women in their prime, however, every natural function is at its highest. “She should already have given birth twice or thrice,” because women with their first child are as yet unpractised in the rearing of children and have breasts whose structure is still infantile, small and too compact; while those who have delivered often have nursed children often and, being wrinkled, produce thin milk which is not at its best. <“Healthy”: because healthful> and nourishing <milk> comes from a healthy body, unwholesome and worthless milk from a sickly one; just as water which flows through worthless soil is itself rendered worthless, spoiled by the qualities of its basin. And “she should be of good habitus,” that is, fleshy and strong, not only for the same reason, but also lest she easily become too weak for hard work and nightly duties with the result that the milk also deteriorates. “Of large frame”: for everything else being equal, milk from large bodies is more nourishing. And “of a good color”: for in such women, bigger vessels carry the material up to the breasts so that there is more milk. (tr. Owsei Temkin)