When a Palmerston North mother was unable to feed her baby her breast milk, she took to social media to ask for help.
Bethaney Conroy first realised her milk was no longer doing the trick when her 4-month-old son, Aidan Conroy-Langman, was still hungry after feeding.
Conroy had never had a problem breastfeeding her five other children.
But she said last year was a busy and stressful time, and her body likely needed a break.
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Although Aidan was able to drink formula, it did not agree with his stomach as well as breast milk did, she said.
So Conroy began asking friends, family, and people on Facebook if they had any milk left over from their express pumps or freezers.
A woman dropped off 2 litres of expressed milk on Tuesday, which Conroy said she was grateful for.
However, with a now 8½ months old growing boy, 2 litres only lasted two days.
She has to source about 8 litres of breast milk each week.
There was no right or wrong answer in how mothers chose to feed their babies. Whether it was breast milk or formula, it was a personal choice, she said.
But Conroy believed there were many women like her who needed donations.
“A lot of people have trouble asking for help.”
So she is encouraging mothers to think about donating their leftover milk, and any milk that has been in their freezers for less than six months.
“Women have shared their milk since the beginning of time.”
Conroy’s mother also used to donate breast milk to the hospital in Thames.
To her, it had alway been a normal and nice thing to do for others in need.
A Palmerston North Hospital spokesman said there was no breast milk bank at its wards.
However, Jackie Wheeler, a breastfeed group leader from La Leche League NZ, said there was a strong presence from mothers on local Facebook pages.
Wheeler is a private lactation consultant in Palmerston North, and said breast milk was extremely important for babies.
Although 10 years ago some women may have been worried about talking publicly about breastfeeding or sharing milk, she said it was far more accepted today.
“It’s just a really nice gesture and kind thing for people to do.”