An Invercargill mother is shocked after a social media appeal for breast milk was met by an avalanche of responses from around the country.
Louise Chalmers-Wilson had trouble breastfeeding and put out the call so she could get her four-month-old boy Robert as healthy as possible before he undergoes a major spinal operation in July.
He has a rare disorder called Currarino Syndrome, and the surgery to untether his spine and reduce his risk of meningitis is expected to be very successful. Another son died from meningitis in 2012.
Ms Chalmers-Wilson says at first sourcing other breast milk wasn't her sort of thing, but she'd spoken to friends who are into natural health and looked into the idea further.
"I spoke to my husband and shockingly he agreed, so we just put the call out and it went crazy."
Her Facebook post has more than 800 shares, with around 100 mothers offering spare breast milk, including 10 women in her area. Around 30 are from Auckland and Ms Chalmers-Wilson is now having to kindly turn people down.
"I had quite a few questions I wanted to ask them," she says.
"I really wanted to make sure they were non-smokers and as healthy as possible and a lot of the women have blood test results from pregnancy, so I talked to them about that sort of thing."
Her husband went out last night and picked up a couple of stashes from the women's freezers.
"I even had some registered nurses who are breastfeeding offering their milk."
Ms Chalmers-Wilson says the response is "amazing".
"I wish I had thought about it sooner," she says.
"It's so amazing the number of women who are lucky enough to be so successful breastfeeding and don't even think about freezing it and putting it away."
Now she keeps a notebook in her freezer of what comes from where. Her Grandmother in Dunedin is even putting donations in her freezer from women there.
The couple now think they've enough to get Robert through his surgery.
"It's not everybody's thing, but for us, we were really comfortable with the decision."