We hear from a proud mommy and SABR donor
My name is Bernadette Ohannessian. I am a proud mom to two beautiful boys and have been donating breast milk for the last 6 months. My first son Ethan was born on the 10th of April 2008. My membranes ruptured at 33 weeks due to a bad bladder infection which meant Ethan had to go straight into NNICU. Our little boy was very sick, he was born with congenital pneumonia and had a number of heart problems. The 30 days that Ethan spent in NNICU was a very stressful and emotional time. The paediatric cardiologist suggested that I express for Ethan because he was not strong enough to breast feed. I expressed for him for 12 months and can honestly say that Ethan really benefited from the breast milk. He was a very healthy baby and grew beautifully. Every time the expressing got too much I just looked at my boy and saw how well he was doing. This is what motivated me to keep on expressing. My second son Connor was born on the 20th of September 2010. I was lucky enough to carry Connor to 36 weeks but due to his lungs not being fully developed he had to spend two weeks in NNICU. I started expressing for Connor straight away and very soon I was expressing up to 1.2 litres a day. Once Connor turned 6 months he started dropping feeds and I found myself left with lots of excess breast milk which I was freezing. After chatting to a few friends they suggested that I contact the South African Breastmilk Reserve and find out about donating. The ladies from SABR came to see me and set everything up. I was issued a donor number and that was it, I was A for away. I've done a rough calculation and in the last 6 months I've donated over 70 litres of breast milk. I would like to extend a thank you to Avent because without their kindness this journey would not have been an easy one. When I started donating my electric breast pump stoped working. I ordered a new motor and only after a short time did I run into hassles with the second motor. When the Avent rep, that I was dealing with, heard that I was donating to the SARB Avent very kindly loaned me one of their double breast pump machines. What a dream, I was able to express 400ml in roughly 6 minutes. It was an absolute pleasure. With both my boys spending time in NNICU donating is something I feel very passionate about. It's a wonderful feeling and a privilege to be able to give back. I can see how well my two boys have done on breast milk and I have no doubt that breast is definitely best!
Thank you to the SABR for doing such a wonderful job and helping so many babies. Keep up the fabulous work.