Friends breastfeed my baby story in THAT’S LIFE magazine…
After appearing over two pages of The Sun newspaper, I was delighted to find Nikki another home to tell her story – and it appeared over two pages of That’s Life magazine…
Read it below…
Do you have a real life story to sell to a newspaper, magazine or television? Contact me for free advice!
My neighbour breastfeeds my baby…
By Alison Smith-Squire
When Nikki Kamminga, 29, had difficulty breastfeeding, she hadn’t counted on the help of her friends…
Pulling on my PE top, I crossed my arms over my chest. I was 13 and already wore size 34 JJ bras. Yet nothing I did hid my enormous boobs.
Aged 18 my GP referred me to a surgeon for a breast reduction. By now my huge breasts swung towards my tummy. And they were so large I continually got sweat rashes underneath them.
Only the surgery went wrong. Sadly I suffered an infection. I needed three more operations. I even had leeches put on my breasts to encourage blood flow.
Finally my breasts were the D cup I longed for but there was a price.
The consultant said: “I’m so sorry. But I think it is very unlikely you will ever be able to breast feed.”
Years passed. As a single woman, I thought no more about breastfeeding.
But then I met my husband Hakun and I got pregnant.
After a long labour followed by an emergency C-section our daughter Ayla was finally born.
And as I watched her recover in the special care baby unit, I longed to feed her myself.
Only she wouldn’t take to my breast and soon my milk ran out.
Back home, the formula milk I gave her made her throw up.
Yet, although I persevered with breast feeding, nothing worked. I tried pumping milk until my breasts were bruised and bleeding.
Finally the midwife said: “Ayla’s losing too much weight.” I looked at my beautiful daughter and cried. I was a monster who couldn’t feed her.
I was a failure. Over the next few months I piled on two stones. Until finally when Ayla was six months old I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.
Then one day I stumbled on a Facebook group. Incredibly it was full of mums donating breast milk.
Harkan and I drove to one mum’s house to get some. Ayla loved it! Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad. If I couldn’t feed her – she would be having the next best thing – human milk from another mum.
It seemed the perfect solution. Only … getting the breast milk was difficult. It meant finding breast feeding mums who would donate milk and driving to get it.
By the time Ayla was 11 months old it was too difficult to keep supplies of it – and she had water instead.
So when a year later I got pregnant with my second child I vowed it would be different.
I really didn’t want to feed my new baby formula cow’s milk. But I had to ensure I’d never run out of breast milk again. This time I would be prepared …
At 28 weeks I began expressing early milk from my breasts and freezing it.
It was then I came up with the idea of building a stock of breast milk in my freezer.
I put out a request on Facebook. “Donations of breast milk gratefully received.”
And I was overwhelmed with the response. I sent the breastfeeding mums, who were tested for HIV and hepatitis, pre-sterilised bags and they expressed their milk into them.
The bags were even colour coded. Orange and yellow ones signified the first milk that comes from a mum breastfeeding a newborn. Meanwhile white, green and blue topped milk came from mums of older babies.
Over the next few weeks I drove hundreds of miles collecting milk. One lady I met at an airport. Another I met at a service station.
It was so exciting to receive another carefully wrapped package of milk.
Soon the chest freezer in the kitchen was bulging with the milk – ready-made meals for when my baby was born.
One day I was telling friends Chelsea Laughlin, 24, Lorna Carroll, 36, and another friend about the donated milk.
“I feel so relieved,” I said, “when I had my breast reduction op I never realised how much feeding my baby human breast milk meant to me.”
It was then Lorna, who is still breastfeeding her youngest child, 2, said: “I could always feed your baby.”
Chelsea who is breastfeeding her daughter, two, said the same. “I’ve never breastfed another baby before but it feels a natural thing to do.”
I was thrilled. All my internet research demonstrates breast milk is the best food for a baby. With three wet nurses on board my new baby would also get fresh breastmilk. I felt so happy he’d get all the very best nutrition.
The big day approached and our son Bastian was born weighing 8Ib 9oz. Hakun, 38, and I were thrilled. Ayla adored her little brother. But he was huge and very hungry…
There was no time to waste. Straightaway I put my feeding plan into action.
Immediately he took to my breast. But so he got enough milk, I fed him some of the donated milk too.
By now over a dozen mums had donated gallons of breastmilk. I picked up a pack of newborn first milk out of the freezer and defrosted it.
Putting my nipple into Bastian’s mouth, I added the donated milk via a supply line.
Within half an hour Bastian came off my breast drunk with milk – and very happy.
A few days later Lorna popped in.
“Oh he’s beautiful,” she cooed at Bastian. Gently she lifted him to her breast and he straightaway began to suckle.
I felt so happy to see Bastian being fed by Lorna because I knew he was getting so much milk.
While she was nursing him for health reasons it also meant when I went away for two weeks to Africa for the charity I run, Bastian could still have a daily breastfeed.
My mum or Hakun could take him to the wet nurse once a day – so he would never miss out. Hopefully Bastian would enjoy breastfeeding until he was at least two or older…
Later that evening Bastian laid contentedly in his cot.
“He’s going to be the healthiest baby!” I said to Hakun. The pair of us looked at Bastian as he gave a little smile before falling into a deep sleep.
“Certainly he’s the most contented baby,” said Hakun.
A day later Chelsea also fed him. We both agreed it felt completely natural.
That night as I fed him myself – topping up with some defrosted breastmilk – I thought of all the mums that had helped.
It made me feel emotional as I thought of the bonds the breastmilk had created between us. Every time I received a donation I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. The generosity and kindness of other women has been nothing short of amazing.”
Lorna says:” “When Nikki told me about her problems with Ayla, I immediately offered to help out.
“I did wonder how it would feel breastfeeding a baby other than my own. But it felt completely natural. Bastian took to my breast straightaway. I have even tandem breastfed him on one side, with Euan on the other.”
Chelsea says: ““Bastian is the first baby I’ve fed other than my own daughter, Eden-Rose. I’d never really thought about it before. Yet I was happy to volunteer to help feed him as well. It doesn’t feel strange and I am just delighted to help.”