The benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk donation in South Africa

When I had my son, I really struggled with breastfeeding, right from the beginning with our first latch. The nurses at the hospital tried to assist me but I found myself struggling whenever they weren’t around to help. When we got home, things didn’t improve. My breasts were painfully engorged and he was screaming from frustration and (probably) sensing my anxiety. I supplemented with formula and used a breast pump, which helped a lot for about two weeks, until my milk “ran out”. Looking back, a big part of me wishes I could have been more informed and persevered longer. I now know that a mother should avoid expressing and topping up (supplementing) in the first six weeks, because you’re trying to build a supply.

According to the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) a premature baby dies every 20 minutes in South Africa. Without breastmilk during their first two weeks of life, premature infants lack antibodies and are vulnerable to infections and diseases. This is exactly why organisations such as the SABR are so phenomenal, in my view.

Milk banking is the gathering of frozen, expressed breastmilk that is either collected from donors or delivered by the donors themselves. The milk will be screened and pasteurized to destroy any bacteria. Once it has been treated it is distributed to babies who need it. Once you have established a solid breastfeeding routine with your baby, you can sign up to become a donar, subject to a medical screening.

Benefits of breastfeeding:
  • Breastmilk is natural food designed for your baby and allows for a special connection between mother and child.
  • Breastfeeding boosts the immune system and protects your baby from infections and diseases.
  • Breastfeeding can reduce a child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers.
  • Breastfed babies are reported to have fewer chest and ear infections, less chance of constipation, eczema, diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Studies suggest that women who breastfeed have lower rates of breast and ovarian cancers later on in life. Source:


The SABR has helped to save the lives of more than 8 000 infants. Praise to them and their sponsors for the impact that they are creating. To sign up as a donar or get more information on breastfeeding and donation, visit

Modern Zulu Mom

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