After putting a shout out on Facebook a UK mum allowed five strangers to breastfeed her baby when she couldn’t.
Ronja Wiedenbeck, 26, was rushed to hospital and given drugs too heavy to allow her to continue feeding her 11-month old son, Rio, the Daily Mail reports.
Ronja was worried her son would dehydrate so she took to social media to ask for some help from fellow breastfeeding mummies.
The single-mum of two was inundated with offers from over 1000 volunteers and within an hour of posting her plea Rio was happily suckling from a wet-nurse’s breast in the hospital.
Ronja, an amateur model, suffers from ovarian cysts, and was rushed to hospital in extreme pain due to them. Doctors at the hospital in Cornwall gave her morphine, rendering her unable to safely feed her son. While she had plenty of expressed breast milk in her freezer, wee Rio refused to drink from anything other than a breast.
She said she had never considered using a wet-nurse before but she didn’t know how long she would be in hospital for and she was worried her son would become dehydrated.
“I was pumped full of morphine and it seemed instinctive for someone to feed him in a way that he has been used to and he's comfortable with,” the mum said.
“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.
“I'm so grateful and totally overwhelmed with the response to the message. It is such a loving and selfless act and incredibly heart warming to see.
“There is so much negativity around breast feeding, it is absolutely incredible to have this support when I needed it.”
Over the next few days five different ladies breastfed Rio, sometimes at the hospital, and sometimes in their own home accompanied by a family member or trusted friend.
Before formulas were created, wet-nurses were not only acceptable but a welcome part of the family if a mother had trouble feeding, or chose not to breastfeed. Often the nurse was feeding her own child simultaneously which created a strong bond between babies known as “milk-siblings".
The World Health Organisation lists wet-nursing and milk banks as a good alternative when a mother’s own milk is not available, but there are some risks involved.
Donor mothers may have diseases that can be passed through the milk. While all caution is usually taken, there is still the risk of the unknown.