You have heard it before and will continue to do so in the future – breast milk is best for baby.
The benefits are endless – from protecting the baby from infections to reducing allergies.
Unfortunately, not all mothers are able to breastfeed or have enough milk supply for their babies.
Breast milk is even more important for premature babies, who are at high risk of developing inflammation of the bowel, known as necrotising enterocolitis.
By using only breast milk to feed premature babies, the risk of infection can be reduced by more than 10%.
In Eden, both the George Hospital and Oudtshoorn Hospital are equipped to pasteurise breast milk and both hospitals rely on the donations from lactating mothers.
The importance of donor milk is emphasised by the large number of low birth weight or premature babies.
Oudtshoorn Hospital had 24 babies with a birth weight of less than 1 kg born in 2017.
Another 29 had a birth weight of 1 kg to 1,499 kg, and 57 babies weighed between 1,499 kg and 2 kg at birth.
In 2017, George Hospital had 75 babies born with a birth weight of less than 1 kg, 120 with a birth weight between 1 kg and 1,499 kg, and 161 babies with a birth weight of 1,5 kg to 2 kg.
Donating breast milk is a simple process.
Lactating mothers who can express enough extra milk are asked to contact either the George Hospital or Oudtshoorn Hospital to sign up as a breast milk donor.
“I would like to thank all the donor moms for donating their breast milk for this worthy cause. We encourage breastfeeding from birth, but also take into account the fact that there are mothers who are unable to breastfeed.
“Breast milk provides the right nutrition during the first 1 000-day window and can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to develop and learn, especially babies born prematurely or those with a low birth weight,” says Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
For more information and to become a donor, kindly contact: Oudtshoorn Hospital: Ms Mona Carolus in the Maternity Ward, Tel: 044 203 7200
George Hospital: Sisters Uithaler or Heydenricht, Tel: 044 802 4578.