Advice Column, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

World Prematurity Month and the LatchOn! Breastmilk Drive

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World Prematurity (Preemie) Day is observed annually on 17November but this year World Preemie Month will be celebrated with gusto by the Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust during the month of November.  On the cards are a month-long virtual walk, an in-house activity restricted to Nurses of the hospital, and the Latchon! Breastmilk Drive.  

The public is encouraged to join the month-long virtual walk by simply purchasing a purple ‘World Preemie” T-shirt, organise a fun walk with friends and family, post the photos on Facebook or Instagram and tag the Trust’s page.  The wackier the better.  Weekly prizes will be awarded to the best photo uploaded to Facebook and Instagram and a bumper prize at the end of the month.  Photos must feature the preemie T-shirts, which cost R100 and are available via the link attached  https://www.givengain.com/e/walk-for-preemies-2020/ – place your order today and paint the town purple!

There is a great need for breastmilk at Tygerberg Hospital’s neonatal unit, especially for preemie babies who may spend months at the hospital and whose moms often cannot provide enough breastmilk.  The Corona Virus pandemic has also provided its own set of challenges in the procurement of milk, where donors were not able to donate breastmilk.  To this end the Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust in partnership with Tygerberg Hospital, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Health, has embarked on a breastmilk donation drive called the LatchOn! Breastmilk Drive. The purpose of the LatchOn! Breastmilk Drive is to ensure that there is sufficient breastmilk to help all the babies, now and into the future.

The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust under the leadership of CEO, Mr 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 LatchOn! Breastmilk Drive.  The appeal is for moms to donate surplus breast milk. Moms will be screened, tested and counselled when going to donate the much-needed breast milk at the Tygerberg Breastmilk Training Room, 2nd Floor, East Side, Tygerberg Hospital. We are appealing to the general public to donate and drop off glass jars smaller than 250ml at the same space. 

“We would like to create a sustainable supply of breastmilk for the Hospital to ensure that all our babies are provided with this important nutritional source”, says Mr Jason Falken. “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 each other in a socially supportive environment.”  

Tygerberg Hospital is the largest hospital in the Western Cape and cares for the greatest number of children within the Province, including many from our rural communities. It supports the most premature babies in South Africa and has the only state Human Milk Bank in the province.

It is well known that breastmilk is the most complete source of nutrition for babies from birth to six months and beyond. Breastmilk provides a perfectly balanced source of nutrition for babies.  It is easily digestible, contains everything growing baby needs and provides important antibodies to fight infections and allergies.  For a preemie baby, access to breastmilk daily is vital for the baby’s survival and is especially important for brain development and ensuring a healthy immune system.

Together, we may be “United for a Healthy Future” by ensuring our babies have access to the nutritional benefits of breastmilk. 

For more information follow the Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust on:

www.tygerbergchildren.org.za, Facebook: @THCTRUST Twitter: @HospitalTrust, Instagram: @tygerbergchildren, Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tygerberg-hospital-children-s-trust

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