MOMM – How it was born

MOMM is exactly what it stands for: ‘Mothers Offering Miracle Milk’.

This intiative saw the light at Midwives Exclusive and is one of the few official Out of Hospital Expressed Breast Milk Donation Corners for the SABR, the South African Breastfeeding Reserve.

This project invites breastfeeding mothers to donate expressed milk to MOMM at Midwives Exclusive.

The SABR is a Public Benefit Organisation that promotes and supports breastfeeding. The SABR collects, pasteurizes, supplies and redistributes donor breast milk, at no cost, amongst hospital facilities in provinces in South Africa.

This organization was born out of the realization that South Africa displays a great disparity in the provision and access to health care services.

More premature infants die from infections and Necrotising Enter Colitis (NEC) in public care. NEC is an acute inflammatory disease occurring in the intestines of premature infants, often leading to death. According to paediatricians, the inability to access breast milk in the first few days of the infant’s life, is one of the lading causes of death.

Truth behind breastfeeding in SA

The infant’s inability to access breast milk in public care is determined by a number of key factors:

  • Lack of infrastructure
  • Resources to promote lactation
  • Maternal health

Mothers are unable to lactate if lodging and rooming facilities are not made available to promote breastfeeding.

Increasing number of women infected with HIV and AIDS and associated illnesses such as TB/Meningitis give birth prematurely. Often these mothers are too ill to lactate. In some instances, they die whilst in labour.

Their infants are developmentally challenged from the womb, with low birth weights, premature digestive tracts and are very high risk of NEC.

Miracle Milk?

Yes, donor breast milk affords premature babies an opportunity to live through the first two weeks of life, where the risk of NEC and infection is highest.

Expressed donor breast milk are supplied to high risk infants for a period of 14 days when:

  • premature babies born at 32 weeks gestation, < 1.8 kg and < 14 weeks of age.
  • Maternal death or mother critically ill AND baby < 1.8 kg and < 14 weeks of age.

Breast milk saves lives by protecting babies from diarrhea and pneumonia – the biggest killers of infants and toddlers in South Africa – and is strongly associated with improved development and educational achievement.

Babies do not need liquids other than breast milk in the first 6 months as breast, milk contains all the water and nutrients a baby needs.

According to UNICAF, if every baby was exclusively breastfed for a least 6 months, then an estimated 1.3 million additional lives would be saved per year. Breast milk contains antibodies to protect a baby fro infection.

‘Every drop counts’ – One drop of expressed breast milk literally saves a high-risk baby’s life.

SABR Mandate

Since its inception, SABR has grown alongside global trends, providing an essential services to infants born prematurely in both public and private hospitals.

SABR supplies donor breast milk for use in Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units (NNICU) only, following strict guidelines by the Medical Advisory Board.

The organization redistributes over 100 litres of donor breast milk per month, and collects between 150 and 300 litres of donor breast milk from health mothers in the Gauteng Province.

The largest portion of donor breast milk is directed to public hospital facilities.

SABR is designed to function as a coordinating body for the fair and equitable distribution of donor breast milk amongst hospitals at no cost to the infant.

Signing up for MOMM

Interested breast feeding mothers need to be healthy, have access to a fridge and freezer, and need to live in a hygienic environment.

Breast feeding mothers can sign up to donate expressed breast milk for MOMM. After completing a screening questionnaire and undergoing a HIV rapid test, the mother will receive a unique donor number, as well as a pack with bottles for expressed breast milk. Donating breast milk will require expressing breast milk at her convenience, labeling and freezing breast milk containers ready for collection for MOMM, the SABR Donation Corner at Midwives Exclusive.

For sign up during the week at Midwives Exclusive, please contact Midwives Exclusive Reception during office hours to make a booking for sign up or making more enquiries.

Once a month, on a Saturday morning, sign up can also be done. Dates will be published on Facebook.

Midwives Exclusive Reception:

Tel: 012 329 3865

Cell: 083 283 6999

Contact persons:

Sr. Esti Viljoen or Marthie Beumer

38 Belrene Street, Rietondale, Pretoria