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LatchOn! breastmilk drive

There is a great need for donor breast milk at Tygerberg Hospital’s Neonatal Unit especially for premature babies who may spend months at the hospital and whose moms often cannot provide enough breast milk. The coronavirus pandemic has also provided its own set of challenges in the procurement of milk, where donors were not able to donate breast milk.

To this end, the Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust in partnership with Tygerberg Hospital has embarked on a breastmilk donation drive called the LatchOn! breastmilk drive.

Its purpose is to ensure there is sufficient breastmilk to help all the babies there, now and well into the future.

Tameryn Rix, an occupational therapist who works in the Neurology and Neurosurgery Unit at Tygerberg Hospital, is a breastmilk donor and had this to say: “I am one of those fortunate women who produces excess breastmilk. I started collecting and freezing milk over a period of time and gradually built a sizeable collection. I know Tygerberg Hospital is always in need of breastmilk especially for their premature babies and knew that donating was the only way forward for these babies in need.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to provide milk for babies in need and give them the best nutritional start in life, and impact positively on the lives of little people.”

The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust under the leadership of CEO Jason Falken, is garnering all its resources in support of the initiative and is appealing to moms, individuals and companies alike to join them in support of the breast milk drive. The appeal is for moms to donate surplus breastmilk.

Those wishing to do so will be screened, tested and counselled at the Tygerberg Breastmilk Training Room, 2nd Floor, East Side Entrance, Tygerberg Hospital. They are appealing to the general public to donate and drop off glass jars smaller than 250 ml at the same space. “We would like to create a sustainable supply of breast milk for the hospital, to ensure all our babies are provided with this important nutritional source,” Falken said.

“It’s also important that we provide a clean, safe and welcoming space at the hospital where moms feel comfortable and safe while expressing milk, and also feel free to engage with one another in a socially supportive environment.”

Tygerberg Hospital is the largest hospital in the Western Cape and cares for the greatest number of children in the province, including many from rural communities. It provides care for a substantially high number of premature babies in South Africa, and is one of only a few functioning state breastmilk pasteurising facilities in the province.

It is well known that breastmilk is the most complete source of nutrition for babies from birth to 6 months and beyond.

It provides a perfectly balanced source of nutrition for babies, is easily digestible, contains everything a growing baby needs and provides important antibodies to fight infections and allergies.

For a premature baby access to breastmilk daily is vital for their survival and is especially important for brain development and ensuring a healthy immune system.

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