Christina Nichter didn’t set out to become the “milk mama” (i.e., a breast milk-donating goddess) that she would eventually become. In fact, when her first child, Cooper, was born 8-and-a-half years ago, the mom of two from Great Falls, Montana actually had milk supply issues — and was devastated by how her breastfeeding journey unfolded.
“I only made it six months nursing,” Nichter tells Babble. “Then I dried up. I remember feeling really upset and stressed that I had to use formula because I couldn’t provide for him,” she says, adding, “Not that formula is a bad thing at all.”
Flash-forward to a year ago, when her second son Jayden (now a year old), was born. This time, the mom actually found herself with an oversupply of milk (rest assured, low-milk supply mamas: you might be pleasantly surprised with subsequent pregnancies). Unsure of how to manage all that extra milk — and also what to do with it — Nichter came up with a brilliant idea.
“With my second I had a massive oversupply and I wanted to help moms reduce that stress of not being able to provide enough,” she shares with Babble. “Being a mom is stressful enough without worrying how to feed your little one.”
Nichter realized that donating her extra breast milk would be the perfect way to “give back” to low-supply moms — a plight she knew all too well. But first, she had to figure out how to go about donating.
“I went to our local NICU, called multiple milk banks, and reached out to many lactation consultants,” Nichter wrote on Facebook, where she initially shared her amazing story. “I finally got a message from the Mother’s Milk Bank of Montana. I completed the interview and blood draw process and made my first donation.”
And the rest is history.
Once she made the commitment, Nichter initially worried about keeping up her supply and making sure Jayden was properly fed. But she soon realized her fears were unfounded, and that donating to these moms was a top priority for her. She began donating every other week, and would often donate multiple times a week.
Soon, she began connecting directly with the moms who were using her donated milk, which made the whole experience all the more heartening. These meaningful connections also motivated her to keep going — and to keep increasing her pumping goals.
“Then an amazing friend introduced a momma that was struggling,” Nichter wrote in her Facebook post. “We met and then I began donating to her. Then I started reaching out to other mommas. The feeling of helping mommas was phenomenal. I had set a goal of donating 5,000 ounces. Then 10,000. Then I wanted to reach 100 gallons.”
Holy moly, that’s a whole lot of breast milk!
After working her tail off (or rather, her boobs!) for 10 months, Nichter began to wean from the pump. “I had surpassed my goal of amount donated and was ready to have more time with my boys,” she says.
But by then, she had increased her pumping goals beyond her wildest dreams, having pumped and donated a whole whopping 128 gallons of breast milk. Or, to put it another way, 16,385 ounces, which amounts to 1,072 pounds of breast milk. Yes, really.
Although Nichter (who has come to be known in her town as “Milk Momma Nichter”) was ready to be done at that point, she was sad to see her pumping days — and all the goodness they provided to her fellow moms and babies — come to an end.
Still, she’s super-proud of all she’s accomplished, and now is happy to be sharing her story with a larger audience. Her story recently went viral on Love What Matters, and Nichter tells Babble she was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction it garnered.
“It has been a really positive experience,” she says. “I was nervous about rude comments but I haven’t come across any yet. I mainly posted it to get some feel good vibes out there since there is so much negative news right now.”
Nichter’s story of love, healing, and generosity really is the feel-good story we all need right now. And Nichter herself truly is a super-heroine — or, as she likes to call herself, a “dairy godmother,” which seems like the perfect way to describe this incredible woman.