HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Nikita Ford, a Richmond Public Schools teacher, fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2021 when she opened Sweets by Keet Bakery in Henrico’s West End.
“When I became a small business owner, the one thing I said I had to do was change. Be a light to a lot of people,” Ford said.
Ford recently turned words into action when news of the ongoing formula shortage impacted the country.
” How can I help ? That’s what I immediately thought. How can I help ? What can I do ? ” she says.
Ford relied on what she knew best, baking.
She started baking lactation cookies. Lactation cookies contain ingredients that help mothers produce breast milk.
“What makes these cookies so special is that they contain galactagogues, which are substances that promote lactation in humans and animals,” a Parenting.com article reported. “The brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flaxseed meal and whole oats in lactation cookies are what specifically help with a nursing mother’s milk supply.”
“One of the new moms I went to college with contacted me for breastfeeding cookies,” Ford said. “I said that with the shortage of formula, I think it’s something that I have to be able to give and do for everyone.”
Ford said her friend told her the cookies worked.
“She was over the moon. She said to me, ‘Keet, these cookies are going great and I’ve gone from pumping x amount of milk in two sessions to doubling that. The baby can’t even keep up,'” said Ford.
Since then, Ford has helped new moms across Central Virginia and even shipped cookies to moms in other states.
“With inflation everything is high right now. So for me it was how can I give back to the community without stressing them not only not having enough milk for their babies, not producing enough milk, but how can they afford it, so I provided the lactation cookies for free to the moms who came,” Ford said. “I want mothers to know they can come here and get a bag of three cookies for free and if they need more just let me know.”
Nikita Ford is one person trying to make a difference in the community by using sweet treats to give moms hope during a difficult time.
Ford doesn’t stop at cookies. As a teacher, she is also passionate about donating backpacks and school supplies to students and she uses her platform to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Sweets by Keet is located at 10821 West Broad Street in Glen Allen.