Milk Matters, a registered NGO and NPO, provides pasteurised, donor breastmilk to hospitals for vulnerable, premature, babies who cannot get the breastmilk they need from their own mothers. For premature infants the availability or lack of breastmilk can literally make the difference between life and death. The most common infection seen in premature infants when they do not receive breastmilk is Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC). This preventable infection is the main reason for the existence of milk banks all over the world. Necrotising enterocolitis is a serious illness that causes the bowel to go gangrenous and can potentially be life threatening. Providing these babies with breast milk is the single most effective way of preventing these complications and ensuring that babies go home sooner.
Did you know that 50ml of breast milk a day could save a baby’s life?
Consultant neonatologist at Groote Schuur Hospital describes donor breast milk. “It is potentially life-saving and is worth more than equipment or staff. Together with Kangaroo Mother Care, it is an intervention that most doctors themselves cannot give, but most mothers can – it completes medical care. The term Milk “Bank” is perfect – it simultaneously describes the safety and the value of donated milk.
Our slogan is ‘Mothers Expressing for Others’ – without our caring, donor mothers the milk bank could not exist. By collecting milk from generous donor mothers, screening and pasteurising it and supplying it to hospital neonatal ICU’s, we are impacting on the lives of babies we may never see, but the feedback we receive makes it all worthwhile. Donor breastmilk is literally life-saving for these babies.
Most mothers are able to donate breastmilk. By expressing extra milk for another baby you will not deprive your baby in any way – in fact, expressing increases milk production.
In just 5 simple steps you can help save a premature infants life.
Step 1 – Donor Screening Form
Please complete our complete our Donor Screening Form and Consent Form and either fax or email the completed forms back to Milk Matters.
Step 2 – Donor Information & Instructions:
Please carefully read the attached information giving details of exactly what to do when donating breastmilk and answering many common questions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
Step 3 – Blood tests
Donors are required to have an HIV and Hepatitis B blood test done (at no cost to the donor). We ask that you collect a few jars of frozen milk for us and only then contact us for a special Pathcare form which you can take to your nearest Pathcare to have the required blood tests at no cost to yourself. No milk goes to Pathcare – they just do the blood tests.
Step 4 – Depot
We have depots all around the Western Cape you can collect sterile containers for the milk you are donating, and drop off batches of frozen milk in due course.
Step 5 – Labelling Milk & Donor Number
Please ensure your milk is labelled with your name/donor number and the date you expressed the milk.
Terri, a donor for the second time, describes the donating process, “The incredible experience of Gabi’s premature birth gave us the unexpected opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of others. It is so sad that so many new mothers with a surplus of breast milk are unaware of the joy of being a milk donor.”