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Project Breastmilk Santa launches on World Prematurity Day

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Early Childhood Development (ECD)
The South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) has launched a Festive Season initiative

Project Breastmilk Santa which encourages mothers to get into the spirit of giving by donating surplus breastmilk to premature babies in neonatal intensive care units at hospitals around the country.

“It’s not just Santa Claus that hands out gifts to children at Christmas time. Each mother that breastfeeds can give a free and extremely valuable gift to other babies too – a gift of life,” says Stasha Jordan, breastfeeding activist and executive director of SABR. “We encourage as many mothers as possible to get festive for a good reason by participating in the Project Breastmilk Santa competition on Facebook.”

Project Breastmilk Santa which was launched on World Prematurity Day, 17 November 2015, calls breastfeeding mothers to donate their breastmilk and take a ‘Santa selfie’ with their own baby. These selfies will be posted onto SABR’s Facebook page using the hashtag #breastmilksanta and one lucky mother will win a prize to the value of R3000 for most creative post in celebration of this day.

“You may want to dress up your baby in their cutest festive outfit or add a touch of tinsel and a purple bow to their look”. The idea behind the project is to remove the stigma that is sometimes wrongly associated with breastfeeding and to increase awareness of donating breastmilk by building an online community of mothers – or Breastmilk Santas – on SABR’s Facebook page.”

One in ten babies around the world is born premature - about 15 million babies every year.* World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about simple, cost-effective solutions that can improve the overall health of pre-term babies. Breastmilk and kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact between a baby and mother) are among the simple solutions recommended by the World Health Organisation.

“Eighty percent of pre-term births occur between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation,” says Jordan. “These low-weight babies don’t have the strength to breastfeed from their mothers but still urgently require the perfect combination of nutrients contained in breastmilk to gain strength and fight any possible infections they are vulnerable to.” According to the World Health Organisation pre-term babies who lack a breastmilk diet are at risk of contracting necrotising enterocolitis (a digestion and intestine related condition). “If premature babies are fed anything other than breastmilk, it can seriously damage the inner lining of their gut and cause intestinal complications. The good news is we can feed donated breastmilk to premature and low-weight babies through a tube or cup. Breastmilk plays a key role in promoting the overall health of neonates and helps with the development of the immune system,” concludes Jordan.

To participate in Project Breastmilk Santa, donate breastmilk at SABR corners around the country, like SABR on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/South-African-Breastmilk-Reserve-117615928250441/?fref=ts  and post your Santa selfie with the hashtag #breastmilksanta. For more information about SABR visit http://www.sabr.org.za/

We are proudly supported in this initiative by ICU Couriers.

* http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/news/2012/201204_borntoosoon-report.pdf

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