Lost Woman Drank Own Breast Milk to 'Keep Going'

Susan O'Brien got lost during a trail-running event
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2015 2:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – A trail runner who went missing in New Zealand's bush Sunday was found roughly 24 hours later, in a fairly quick recovery that's been garnering plenty of headlines for one quirky reason: The mom kept herself going by drinking some of her expressed breast milk. As Radio New Zealand News explains, Susan O'Brien was due to finish the roughly 12.5-mile trail running event in the Rimutaka Forest Park around 11:30am local time. But she believes she somehow deviated from the course. Lost, and "stuck in some bushes," the 29-year-old explains that she didn't have a "life blanket" with which to stay warm. Exhausted, cold, and wet, the Wellington woman dug a hole to spend the night in. "I just kept chucking dirt on myself and every time I heard something I kept screaming 'help.'"

She did, however, have a little bit of food on her: an energy bar, some runners' gel packs, and half-a-gallon of water. And that breast milk... "I'm breastfeeding my [8-month-old daughter] so I had a bit of my milk. I thought that should help me keep going, for energy." Almost exactly 24 hours after she was due to finish the race, a helicopter spotted O'Brien about 1.5 miles from the course. "We basically saw her standing by the river waving her arms," a member of the helicopter crew tells the Herald. O'Brien was determined to be in good health, and a lactation expert isn't surprised, remarking, "If you've got access to breast milk, you've got access to life." The expert suspects her milk supply would have continued for a longer period of time even if her nutritional intake plummeted.

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