Pregnancy awareness week: commit now to donate breastmilk
In dedication to Pregnancy Awareness Week, the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) together with Netcare Stork’s Nest will host free pregnancy awareness days at various Netcare hospitals during the month of February to share knowledge with expectant mothers.
“Every pregnant woman wants the best for their child and that includes giving them the healthiest start to life. Making the right decision about feeding your baby depends on being well informed about different feeding choices. Although some people think formula feeding is easier than breastfeeding, it certainly isn’t as beneficial to the baby or the mother,” said Stasha Jordan, breastfeeding activist and executive director at SABR.
Pregnancy Awareness Week is a time to remind all of us of the importance of breastfeeding and the role every mother can play to be sure that not only is their own baby healthy in the womb and after birth, but that other babies get the best chance of survival after birth too.
Sharlene Swart, national operations manager for Netcare Stork’s Nest mother and baby wellness clinics said, “We want to help pregnant mums to understand the physical and emotional changes they can expect as their pregnancy progresses, factors that could impact pregnancy and a baby’s growth development both during pregnancy and after birth.”
The Department of Health’s Mother and Baby Friendly Health Initiative, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) Standards for maternal and neonatal care, recommends that new mothers begin breastfeeding within the first hour of birth. “Placing your baby on your chest will help kick-start breastmilk supply and create a bond between you and your child,” said Jordan.
Breastmilk contains all the nutrients babies need for healthy development as well as antibodies that help protect them from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. “Breastmilk is readily available at the right temperature and it is affordable. In comparison, formula feeding can cause malnutrition if mothers over-dilute formula to stretch out their supply,” warned Jordan. She also cautioned that should formula supplies dwindle or budget constrain sufficient purchase, mothers could not resume breastfeeding because their milk supply will have stopped.
According to the WHO* teenagers and adults who were breastfed as babies perform better in intelligence tests and are less likely to be overweight or have type-2 diabetes. “There are long term benefits for mothers too. Breastfeeding reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity,” added Jordan.
SABR provides donated breastmilk to the most vulnerable and sick new-borns who cannot breastfeed because they are too weak. “We are calling on all pregnant women to commit to donate breastmilk to the SABR now so that we can continue to give sick babies the nutrients they desperately need to recover. We can literally save lives with donated breastmilk.”
To get involved and alleviate the challenges faced by the SABR, including low breastfeeding rates in South Africa, sourcing donor mothers and funding for the operation of the milk-banks, please visit www.sabr.org.za or call 011 482 1920 or e-mail: email@example.com.
For more information about the free pregnancy awareness days at various Netcare hospitals, please visit www.netcare.co.za or contact your nearest Netcare maternity facility.