Tygerberg Hospital is encouraging mothers to donate breast milk to save lives.

The hospital says the nutritional benefits associated with breastfeeding are invaluable, even more so for premature infants.

The facility delivers or admits approximately 70 very low birth weight infants per month, who are in desperate need of breast milk.

Clinical Head of the Neonatal services at Tygerberg Hospital, Professor Johan Smith says on average two babies weighing less than 1500 grams are born at the hospital everyday.

They depend on two to three litres of donor milk for their daily feedings. He says donor breast milk saves the lives of many premature infants, because it aids in decreasing the risk of infections.

During breast feeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to a baby and strengthen the immune system.

Smith has called on lactating and breastfeeding mothers, who are able to donate breast milk, to contact the Neonatal Team.