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Mom Donates Breast Milk After Her Baby Dies—And Helps a Struggling Preemie Survive

The Short of It

After the death of her 13-month-old daughter, Bella, Jennifer Tiner realized that her breast milk could help another baby in need. Via Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas and Methodist Richardson Medical Center, Tiner anonymously donated her milk—ultimately contributing 33 gallons of "liquid gold" as she calls it, that helped nourish a 2-pound preemie.

The Lowdown

Jennifer Tiner told WFAA News 8 that her daughter, Bella, suffered from dozens of seizures a day. Sadly, the baby passed away at 13 months of age. Because Tiner had been breastfeeding her daughter all along, she selflessly donated her milk, unaware of the major impact it would have on another family.

Detra Chappell coudn't produce enough breast milk to sustain her preemie son, Dekevyon Chappell, who was born at 28 weeks weighing just two pounds. "They stressed [breastfeeding] to the fullest," mom Detra Chappell said. "Like, whatever you can get, put it in the little bottle and bring it." Instead, the preemie relied on breast milk from an anonymous donor—who turned out to be grieving mom Tiner.

And it wasn't just a bottle or two: Tiner donated 33 gallons of breast milk to Dekevyon. The moms were able to come together for an emotional meeting. "It's amazing. I'm at a loss for words. I'm glad I finally got to meet you, because I was always wondering, 'Now, who is it coming from?'" Detra said. Both mothers have been through the ringer, but have found a way to support each other. Tiner serves as Dekevyon's godmother and the families come together to celebrate special occasions

The Upshot

Tiner calls her breast milk supply "liquid gold"—a gift from Bella. "She lives on; she's not forgotten. She saved him through her milk." That doesn't mean she doesn't have her bad days. "I have that sad feeling, because I loved her and I miss her, but I know God's plan was bigger than mine," Tiner said. As Tiner comes to terms with the loss of daughter, it has to be a tremendous comfort knowing that she helped save another baby's life.

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