History of Milk Matters

Milk Matters is a breastmilk bank based in Cape Town, South Africa. This community-based, non-profit organisation was started by a group of lactation consultants and two mothers in 2003.

Initially the donor milk was used in an orphanage. However the focus quickly changed when a neonatologist requested donor milk for premature babies in his care and it became apparent that this was an area where the milk could have the biggest impact.

Not only could the limited supplies of donor milk feed many more premature babies as they need such tiny quantities, but for these babies the donor milk was undoubtedly life-saving.

Rather than use 1 litre of milk to feed just one 7kg baby for 1 day, that same litre of milk could feed 21 premature babies of less than 1kg for 24 hours each – and very likely save their lives.
As other doctors saw how beneficial the donor milk was, increasing numbers of doctors began requesting donor milk when a baby’s mother was unable to supply the breastmilk her baby needed.

The demand for donor milk continues to grow as awareness of the benefits of donor milk increases. Demand for donor milk always far outstrips supplies!

In 2003 Milk Matters was supplying screened, pasteurised donor milk to the patients of 1 doctor in 1 hospital. Over the next 12 years, thousands and thousands of babies at 30 Western Cape hospitals, both state and private, have received the life-line of donor milk from Milk Matters.

5 hospitals in South Africa and, most recently, 1 hospital in Malawi, have opened their own in-house milk banks with assistance, training and guidance from Milk Matters.

Various other hospitals have, as the need arose, sourced, tested and pasteurised donor milk at minimal cost under the guidance of Milk Matters.

Going hand in hand with promoting breastmilk banking, is Milk Matters’ passionate support and promotion of breastfeeding.

Official Registrations:

In 2007 Milk Matters was registered with:
o the Department of Social Development as a Non-Profit Organisation (053-121-NPO)
o the South African Revenue Services as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930 024 054)

Milk Matters is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of South Africa (HMBASA).


Immunological benefits of breastmilk increase in 2nd & 3rd year of life...
Thousands of antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic antibodies protect against things like E. coli, pneumonia, step throat, salmonella, influenza, rotavirus, rubella, West Nile virus, allergies, asthma, mumps, measles, diabetes, meningitis and many cancers. Nursing children get sick less often, and heal more quickly.
Greatest privilege to be able to bless a little one with what your own body brings forth! Has been a privilege to donate for the past 14 months of breastfeeding!
Elmarie, Breastmilk donor – Brackenfell
I truly enjoy donating. Thank you Milk Matters. I started out wanting to bless others and in the end I was the one that’s been blessed.
Sending my milk feels like sending a life line to so many helpless babies in need! What a simple way to help save lives! It’s true! The gift IS in the giving!
Claire , Breastmilk donor – Diep River