There is always some sort of hysteria when a story comes out about a mum breastfeeding someone else’s baby. But if you could breastfeed and help a mum and baby in need, would you hesitate in helping? Would you judge the mums who’d put their hand up to help?
This story is truly remarkable about a young mum who put an appeal on Facebook for help to feed her 11-month-old son while she was in hospital and unable to breastfeed him.
Ronja Wiedenbeck, 26, was taken ill and rushed to hospital where she was put on strong medication which deemed her unable to breastfeed her son, Rio. The single mum of two worried that Rio would get dehydrated as he refuses formula and drinking from a cup. Ronja logged into Facebook, and put a call out on Facebook page ‘Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies’ to request some wet-nurses to feed her baby and she had over 1000 offers from strangers to breastfeed her son.
One volunteer arrived within the hour of the post for help.
Ronja let five complete strangers breastfeed her baby Rio as she recovered in hospital.
Ronja was overwhelmed by the response. The amateur model has suffered from ovarian cysts all her life and was rushed to hospital in severe pain on April 3rd.
When she was given morphine and anti-sickness medication, she was told she could not safely breastfeed her son so she put the call out to other mums on Facebook to help her and Rio out.
She added: ‘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.
‘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 heartwarming to see.
‘There is so much negativity around breast feeding, it is absolutely incredible to have this support when I needed it.’
Ronja never thought too much about the risks involved in wet-nursing, she just knew that Rio’s needs needed to be met and she couldn’t provide them at that moment of time.
The World Health Organisation has said that milk-sharing or wet-nursing doesn’t come without risks as diseases can be passed through the milk from the stranger to the baby, and often the transfer isn’t found out until later. Even though donor mothers take all precautions to ensure their milk has no risk, there is an unknown element which has made it hard to measure the risks and benefits.
When Ronja coordinated the feeds, she ensured the women had CRB checks and were always accompanied by Ronja or a family member or friend when Rio was breastfed.
‘I thought it might feel unusual because it is something special that only Rio and I had shared, but it just felt totally instinctive for another mum to help him in a way he was used to.’ said Ronja to the Daily Mail.
She added: ‘There are so many negative stories out there about breastfeeding it is so heart-warming to have witnessed the support I have had.
‘People might feel it is unusual but wet nurses used to be much more common, and I hope I have shown other women that it is an option.’
Would you let a stranger breastfeed your baby if you weren’t able to? We’d love to hear your thoughts.