MoM educating on breast feeding Tyler Roodt THE Mom’s Own Milk on the Move MoM Project celebrated its first anniversary yesterday, the day before World Prematurity Day. Its members hope to educate everyone about the importance of breast milk in the diet of prematurely born babies.

The project helps newborns by delivering their mothers’ breast milk to Groote Schuur Hospital, ensuring the children are sufficiently nourished and helping the mothers who are unable to visit the hospital everyday.

Despite their efforts, the nation’s breast feeding statistics for infants up to six months old stood at 32% in 2016, according to the South Africa Demographic and Health A moment of happiness in hospital Survey. While this has been a significant improvement over previous years, with the figure dipping to 10% at one point according to a Unicef survey, members of MoM still feel that this is not enough.

The World Health Organisation recommends that mothers exclusively feed their babies breast milk for the first six months after birth, as they are more easily digested compared to formula alternatives and help protect the babies from diseases and infections, particularly in premature babies. The project works with several different organisations, including the Newborns Trust, Relate Bracelets Trust and Consol Glass.

Doctor Natasha Rhoda, senior neonatologist at Groote Schuur Hospital and co founder of Newborns Trust said: “It’s a societal duty to educate and inform young mothers on the importance of feeding with breast milk where possible, as many mothers remain uninformed of the difference that breast milk makes. “This is something that we at MoM Project are committed to achieving, but it’s going to take time for the message to filter through.”

Many premature babies don’t get to live for very long or experience a number of negative effects later in life as a result of not being fed breast milk, but thanks to the MoM Project, many kids won’t have to experience these effects. For more information on the MoM Project, visit www.newborns.org.za Breast feeding is better for newborn babies.

This article was first published by Saturday Weekend Argus on the 17 November 2017