The premature birth of a baby girl in Bahrain resulted in her mum expressing more than 70 litres of breastmilk which was shipped free of charge to feed orphaned babies at the iThemba Lethu transition homes in Durban, South Africa…
Excerpts from an article that appeared in the Berea Community newspaper…
“Baby Hope Reimers was born in Bahrain at 33 weeks, weighing just 1.3kg. Her mum Carys, knowing the imprtance of breastfeeding, began expressing immediately and continued to do so every two to three hours for the next few months to ensure a good supply of milk for the long term.
Hope was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five weeks and was fed only her mum’s breastmilk.
‘Because Hope needed only small amounts of milk to start with, all the extra breastmilk was frozen at home. My whole freezer was full of milk. I eventually used my friend’s freezer to store milk as well, ‘ said Carys.
When Carys and her husband Carl had to leave Bahrain, she realised she couldn’t take the milk with her – over a period of four months she had pumped and frozen about 70 litres of breastmilk.
Carys knew about the children’s transition home, iThemba Lethu in Cato Manor, and the breastmilk bank run to feed the babies there who have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. She contacted the home about sending the frozen breastmilk to Durban.
Through the generous donation of a logistics comany in the US, Quick International, the milk was packed in dry ice and arrived in Durban free of charge.
“The milk was used to feed a baby who hadn’t been doing at all well. We had run out of breastmilk and had to start giving him formula – but he got diarrhoea. Once we started him on Cary’s milk, he got better immediately and is now thriving,” said Kirsten Coutsoudis who manages the breasmilk bank.