Naomi Mitchell doesn’t look like a woman who had donated 450 litres of breast milk to help premature babies. Tiny, unassuming she brings a little sparkle to the quite neo-natal intensive care unit with her twinkly smile and happy children.
The soft spoken Redhouse mom is the mother mom of five children all under the age of under nine.
Since 2008 she has also saved the lives of at least a thousand babies by donating breast milk for those whose mothers are not lactating – by donating her excess breast milk to the bank.
“I wanted to donate breast milk since I first heard about American mothers doing it. I never knew we had a breast milk bank here.
“After I had my third child, I discovered the breast milk reserve bank at Cuyler Hospital in Uitenhage. I phoned. They came to speak to me and we . We did an HIV test.”
“I always knew about the health properties of breast milk. I breastfeed and I don’t have sick children,” Mitchell said matter-of-factly.
She said after the birth of a child she did not doesn’t donate milk for the first six weeks.
“I just use the time to breastfeed and bond with the baby.”
Thereafter she uses a breast pump to After that I will use a breast pump to donate milk once or twice a day. “When I first started I was very eager and filled six bottles of donated milk every day. I am blessed with a lot of milk,” Mitchell said.
She said there was no specified specific amount of breast milk mothers could donate.
“A premature baby drinks very little.”
“It is quite amazing for me. I can’t donate blood while I am breast feeding,” Mitchell said. “Only breast-feeding mothers can do this and they really, really need it and I have heard how babies die if they don’t have it,” Mitchell said.
“Apart from that there are great benefits for me too,” she added with a twinkly smile. “It is the perfect diet.”
Oelofse said that Mitchell had already donated 2000 bottles of breast milk to the bank. “That is 450 litres of milk.”
“She has fed a lot of premature babies. By our calculations she made it possible for us to feed premature babies for 1200 days.”
“Donating breast milk really safes lives,” she said.