This mom let five strangers breastfeed her baby when she couldn't do it herself

By Kirstin Buick
16 April 2016

When a UK mom was rushed to hospital and unable to feed her 11-month-old son, she took to Facebook to plead for volunteers.

Ronja Wiedenbeck (26) from Cornwall in the UK, who's suffered from ovarian cysts throughout her life, was rushed to hospital in pain on Sunday 10 April.

Doctors immediately gave her morphine, making it impossible for her to breastfeed her son, Rio.

So from her hospital bed, aspiring model Ronja logged on to Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies' Facebook group and posted an appeal for other breastfeeding moms to help her, Mail Online reports.

Read more: Mom says breastfeeding her six-year-old daughter is completely normal

To Ronja's shock almost 1 000 women contacted her – and the first one, Leigh Ann Fearn, showed up at her bedside within an hour.

A photo posted by Ronja Wiedenbeck (@rbw1989) on

"I was pumped full of morphine and it seemed instinctive for someone to feed him in a way that he's been used to and he's comfortable with," the single mom of two revealed.

"When he was about to be fed by the first lady he looked over at me, almost to ask for approval. It filled my heart with such joy and massive relief.

Read more: Say hello to the ‘brelfie’: the new breastfeeding trend

"I'm so grateful and totally overwhelmed with the response to the message. It's such a loving and selfless act and incredibly heartwarming to see.

During her stay at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro last week, five different women fed Rio, who eats solids but  drinks only breast milk.

A photo posted by Ronja Wiedenbeck (@rbw1989) on

Ronja even allowed two of the volunteer "wet-nurses" to take her son home to feed him throughout the day.

Ronja is also mom to six-year-old Lily, whom she breastfed until she was three.

"There's so much negativity around breastfeeding, it's absolutely incredible to have this support when I needed it."

"I thought it might feel unusual because it's something special that only Rio and I had shared, but it just felt totally instinctive for another mom to help him in a way he was used to."

Twenty-eight-year-old mother of three Michelle Netherton showed up the day after Ronja issued her plea for help.

"When I saw the post I thought, 'Poor baby.' I wanted to help because I would never see a baby go hungry," she told The Telegraph.

"I am constantly pumping off excess milk so it was nice for it to go to a baby.

"I was a bit nervous that he might cry and not latch on, but he didn't mind whose boob it was – as long as it was a boob!

"It's amazing to hear the amount of people who have helped or offered to help Ronja – that's mommy power for you."

Read more: This mom’s viral photo shows the ‘healing powers’ of breast milk

According to the World Health Organisation, while milk-sharing might be convenient it's not without risk.

"Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant," the organisation states in its Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.

"For those few health situations where infants cannot or should not be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances."

Other moms may have diseases that could be transmitted to the baby through their milk, or be taking harmful supplements.

Mothers who choose to share milk informally need to weigh the risk versus the benefit to their babies, Breastfeedingusa.org says.

"They need to take whatever measures they deem necessary to ensure the safety of the milk they are obtaining for their babies. Those measures could include having the donor fill out a questionnaire and/or submit to blood testing."

But even testing "does not ensure that the milk will be 'safe' for the baby".

Sources: The Telegraph, Mail Online, The Mirror, breastfeedingusa.org, WHO

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