Breastfeeding didn’t always come easy for Christina Nichter. With her first son, her breast milk dried up after about eight months, and after giving birth to her second boy 13 months ago, he initially had latch issues. But this second time around, she immediately started overproducing milk.
“I was very surprised,” Nichter, 32, tells PEOPLE. “Jayden [her second son] wouldn’t latch so I began pumping right off the bat, and my first day I got 42 oz. [around 15 oz. above average]. It was definitely not what I was expecting, especially since I had a C-section. It was like fire hydrants opening up.”
The stay-at-home mom from Montana started stockpiling her excess milk in the freezer, but quickly ran out of space.
“I filled our fridge freezer, so my husband got me a small deep freezer,” Nichter says. “That was filled within a couple weeks. Then I realized I had so much milk and I knew it was what I was supposed to do — help other mommas and babies.”
After searching around, Nichter started donating her milk to Mother’s Milk Bank of Montana, though she still had a lingering fear about giving it away while she still had a baby to feed.
“There were a lot of emotions,” she says. “In the beginning I was nervous, scared, relieved, ecstatic. Then once the 1,000 ounces were out the door, it just became a natural feeling. The FedEx man knew what it was when I was sending it to the milk bank, and he’d tell me, ‘Awesome job!’ “
Nichter decided to keep going, and set a donation goal for herself — 100 gallons of breast milk.
“The 100 gallons goal came to me because I just thought of how cool a picture it would be. That came and went and I still had a massive amount so I just kept going and finally ended with 128 gallons,” she says.
Nichter quickly earned the nicknames “Milk Momma Nichter” and the “Dairy Godmother,” and started having the moms come over to her home to take as much milk as they wanted.
“At first they were surprised,” she says. “I would say bring a cooler and I’ll fill it up. I think a lot of them thought they were getting maybe 100 oz., and I would fill their coolers anywhere from 300 to 800 oz., whatever I could fit. They would look at me like, ‘Are you sure?’ Then the tears would start to form, from both them and myself. They were beyond appreciative.”
After about ten months, Nichter started to slow down, and ended with 128 gallons, or 16,000 oz. of donated milk.
“Towards the end, I started to feel sad,” she admits. “I was Milk Momma Nichter for almost a year. I didn’t really know who I was going to be once I was done.”
But, as she wrote on Facebook, Nichter is “beyond proud” of the amount of breast milk she donated to moms and babies in need. And if she has another child and ends up with an oversupply again, Nichter says she “would most definitely donate.”