Aside from medical intervention from incredible doctors and nurses, premature babies fight the odds better thanks to touch and mother’s milk.
South Africa (17 November 2021) – This World Prematurity Day, 17 November 2021, the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) is celebrating the importance of a mother’s touch during the early days of a premature baby’s life.
The theme for 2021 is “Zero Separation, Keep parents and babies born too soon, together”. Covid-19 has shifted how parents of prems engage with their babies.
“For preterm babies, who have spent less than 37 weeks inside their mother’s uterus, physical contact is even more important because it affects nervous system regulation, brain development, and pain management.”
Not only is it important for these little babies to feel mom, but mother’s milk is also a vital tool for growing strong and healthy.
The South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) shared why it is so vital for premature babies to have their mother’s milk.
“Mothers of premature babies produce breast milk that is slightly different in composition, at least for the first several weeks, and this difference is designed to meet your baby’s particular needs. The premature milk is higher in protein and minerals, such as salt, and contains different types of fat that they can more easily digest and absorb. The fat in human milk helps to enhance the development of the baby’s brain and neurologic tissues, which is especially important for premature infants.
Human milk is easier for baby to digest than formula and avoids exposing baby’s immature intestinal lining to the cow’s milk proteins found in premature infant formula. Premature babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop intestinal infections than are babies who are formula-fed.
The milk you produce in the first few days contains high concentrations of antibodies to help your baby fight infection. Even if your baby cannot breastfeed yet, expressing breast milk from the beginning will ensure that your milk supply is maintained until your baby is able to nurse.”
However, what happens when the mom isn’t able to express milk or the baby doesn’t have their birth mother around? Much like how blood banks work, there are milk banks throughout South Africa. SABR welcomes mothers to donate their excess breastmilk.
While the milk may not be from mom, it is still a life-saving option for many of the tiny babies born every day.
“We NEED you and the world NEEDS your excess breastmilk!!!
Every drop counts. Two tablespoons of your precious gift of milk can feed a micro preemie for an entire day. With thousands of babies needing life-saving milk every week, we are always in need of more milk donors.”
To get involved and help the SABR to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates in South Africa, source new donor mothers, and fund the operation of the milk banks, please visit www.sabr.org.za or call 011 482 1920 or e-mail: email@example.com.