Several women who have given birth at Mankweng Hospital, outside Polokwane in Limpopo, have praised the work of breastmilk banks to ensure that babies who do not get breastmilk from their mothers can at least benefit from the much-needed nutrition in the form of milk donated by other women.
During a visit by Health-e News to the breastmilk bank at the hospital last week, three mothers, including one who is also a nursing sister at the hospital, spoke out about the importance of breastfeeding.
Thuagai Mphofu (21), originally from Zimbabwe, whose baby girl will be a month old on 16 August, said: “Breastmilk contains all the nutrients that help balance a baby’s temperature at a mid-level. Breastfeeding also establishes a strong bond between the mother and child. I would love to donate my own breastmilk to other babies.”
Provides adequate hydration
Maria Mogodi, of Ga-Molepo Village, who lodges at the hospital with her twins, said breastmilk also provides adequate hydration for newborn babies.
“With breastmilk, I am satisfied that my little girl and boy will not suffer from dehydration. Breastmilk also helps them fight infections. I would have loved to donate my breastmilk to the bank here, but I was advised it won’t be possible for me because I have two mouths to feed.
To those women who donate, I really encourage them to keep it up, because their good deeds help babies who for some reasons have no access to breastmilk from their mothers.”
Sheila Mokone, who resides in Moremadi Park, has been a nurse for 12 years at the hospital and regularly donates her own breastmilk.
Too sick to breastfeed
“I decided to share my breastmilk with other babies, because some have no one to breastfeed them because their mothers have passed on. On the other hand, some babies have mothers, but they are often too sick to breastfeed. That is why I find it necessary to step in,” said Mokone.
According to milk handler at the bank Tshidi Letsoalo, mothers who donate their breastmilk to the milk bank are carefully screened and the milk undergoes pasteurisation. It also goes through a laboratory and is subjected to microbiological processes.
“The support from donor mothers is good. Last month, six women donated a total of 1 600ml. It is also possible for babies to get breastmilk even if the mother is suffering from COVID-19. We have means to pump the milk from the mothers to babies,” said Letsoalo.
Health-e News earlier reported how the province’s two breastmilk banks at Mankweng and Philadelphia hospitals have not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that mothers should continue donating. – Health-e News