30 Mothers Donate Milk for Twins whose Mother Died in Childbirth

30 Mothers Donate Milk for Twins whose Mother Died in Childbirth

A tragic and touching story. This past November, after 7 years of trying to have children, 44-year-old Michal Lura Friedman died of complications following her birth by C-section to twins. Following the tragedy, a network of 30 friends, relatives, as well as total strangers have been donating milk in order to fulfill Friedman’s wish that her children should be breastfed. Some mothers are driving one hour EACH WAY to provide the milk to the twins. What a heartwarming response to such a horrific tragedy. As Friedman’s widower Jay Snyder (photographed above) told the Wall Street Journal: “It would be very easy to just be cynical, but instead through a very tragic circumstance I’ve been shown the better part of human nature.”

Watch the video about the breastfeeding network formed to feed the twins…


  1. A young Israeli mother of a 1.5-month-old died suddenly about two weeks ago. There were lots of messages going around on forums and social networks calling for women to donate breastmilk. There was an overwhelming response.

    Here’s a link to an article about it:


    • JewishMom

      wow, what a beautiful story. I wonder how that other mother died, strange that there are no details in the article.

  2. What a beautiful story! This is exactly how it should be. Before formula this is how it was. I’m so happy when I hear stories like this!

  3. Rachael Leah

    Wow, that is so, so beautiful. So sad and inspiring at the same time. Thank you for this beautiful story of human kindness and care!

  4. Elle, I disagree.

    Before formula, this was never how it was.

    Before formula, if a young mother died, R”L, ONE wet nurse was found. The wet nurse slept with the infant every night and nursed it as needed all day. She filled in for the mother both physically and emotionally.

    In the case of these twins — may Hashem have pity on them!!– everyone here means well, including the grieving father and the nursing mothers who are driving so far and doing this with mesirus nefesh.

    But the fact is that much more than babies need breastmilk, they need one continuous steady person to attach to emotionally.

    So this is all compounding the tragedy.

    They lost their mother and they are not being found a surrogate mother either, because of the misguided focus on breastmilk over emotional attachment.

    I am the first to say that breastmilk is far superior, nutritionally, than any formula!

    But I also believe, and Sheila Kippley, co-founder of the Parent-to-Parent League, author of “The Seven Standards for Ecological Breastfeeding,” also believes, that if I had a choice between breastmilk or an emotionally attached and present mother who doesn’t breastfeed, we would forego the breastmilk.

    Primarily, these poor orphans need a mother, not breastmilk. They could be seriously damaged by the rotation system of mothering going on here (all for the sake of breastmilk). I just hope and pray that the dad has been able to take a year or two off from work and be that constant in their lives to whom they can emotionally attach and on whose presence they can depend.

    • I don’t think anyone would argue that having a mother is far superior to having breastmilk, if there had to be a choice! Of course it is! A wet-nurse was generally only in wealthy families, otherwise the baby usually went with a relative–and aunt, older sister or grandmother…

      I also want to point out that proper attachment CAN and is met via the attachment of a father in babies who have lost their mothers. Skin to skin is very important–as is a lot of holding and nurturing. This is done by father’s when mothers are ill or in recovery after a birth trauma or cesarean. In the event the mother is not available, the father is the closest second. After that would be family of the baby, then a wet-nurse, and next volunteers from the community.

      I am NOT anti-formula. In fact there is very many healthy ways to make extremely healthy and digestible formula at home and I have a friend who has an adopted baby who thrives off of it. I’m against formula companies ethics, however. They make BFing seem “hard” and formula seem “easy” and it comes at the cost of many babies health and sometimes their lives. I had a baby who was ill and couldn’t suckle from the breast properly due to a sensory problem with her mouth muscles and nerves, and then from the stress my milk dried up despite my best efforts to keep it via pumping. After 5 months I had to switch to formula. I was glad I had the option though I would have strongly prefered breastmilk. I looked into breast milk donation but because of her extreme allergies I was unable to find a proper donor willing to go off of all the allergens for her. If she hadn’t had formula she wouldn’t have been able to eat. During this time I “bottle nursed” her by holding her close and keeping her as attached as I could to replicate nursing as best as possible. We did the very best we could with the situation we had.

      Breastfeeding and a mother’s love are always best, but when supplementation of either is required, a baby can still be loved, nurtured and well-fed.

      • Elle,
        You are hundred percent right that breastfeeding and a mother’s love are always best, but when supplementation is required it must be done, but that’s because you were smart about it and worked hard to stay focused. So smart- that you kept your baby close, gave your baby the necessary physical touch, etc. The fear with these twins might be that they don’t have a singular person who is doing that for them. They don’t have the supplement single caretaker loving for them. Unless maybe the dad has taken that place? May Hashem give him strength.

    Sheila Kippley is not co-founder of the Parent to Parent League (if there is such a thing)!
    it is the Couple to Couple League
    one of their main goals is to promote ecological breastfeeding and healthy bonding

  6. Miriam Nevel

    Dear Rishe,

    I agree with your disagreement. And as your mother, I am proud of your clear thinking and loving heart. My prayer goes out to the twin babies who so need a mother with or without breast feeding.

  7. look at the title: “THIRTY mothers donate milk”
    instead of one warm, loving human being, these babies have 30 – all in the name of “breast is best” (which it is, BUT…)

    it’s misguided and tragic for those babies
    G-d help their father to realize this and be their ONE person

  8. When I told a friend of mine that I was not much of a milk producer, she told me I should get someone else to nurse my baby. I was aghast, and she said: what? It’s not your baby, it’s Hashems.
    I was so distraught by this comment!!!!!! I replied, like Rishe, that I feel He gives me the baby and the means (Or not) to feed it. But He made me the mother, which means I need to provide and nurture, no matter how.
    In the case of the twins it’s wonderful to see such kindness flowing from tragedy, yet at the same time it’s not about the breastmilk, it’s about the maternal relationship etc. This is the main element that needs filling ASAP. It’s interestig that the mothers last wish was for the milk, and not the mothering.

    Well done, Rishe. You are courageous and unique!!!

  9. I think that a lot of you are missing the point. These mom’s are donating pumped milk NOT wet nursing. These beautiful twins still have their father. He is the one who is taking care of them and feeding them WITH the milk these amazingly generous women have provided (and guess what men are capable of nurturing a baby as well as a woman can). Yes, this is a terrible tragedy but their mother was a very smart woman she knew that breast milk is best and it’s amazing that her babies are getting this white gold to drink.

    Nursing is about nurturing but it is also about health and under the circumstances they are having the best possible start.

  10. Y.L. – I don’t think the mother’s last wish was for the babies to have breastmilk… I am guessing that she was greatly looking forward to nursing her babies, and probably expressed strong desire to do it. I am sure she didn’t dream this tragedy would happen and the breastmilk would come from other moms.

    Beth – If you are right, and the women are donating pumped milk which is being fed to them by the father, consistently, then that’s good. From the video it doesn’t seem that way. I hope you are right.

    I disagree with you that men are capable of nurturing a baby just as well as women can. Women are uniquely suited to this, both physically and temperamentally. Babies even respond to a woman’s voice and face more than they to a man’s. But in light of the tragedy, this man has to step up to the plate and be the mommy – I hope he can do it, and I hope he wants to do it.

  11. Don’t forget – there are two of them. Even if the father wants to do it, it’s very overwhelming and he probably will get A LOT of help (which even mothers of twins do get)

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