WHO WE ARE
Bosom Buddies is a non-profit Christian organization that services a local state hospital providing nappy bags with clothing, blankets and products for the newborn as well as hygiene products for the mother. We personally deliver the bags to each mom and spend one-on-one time with each baby and mother. By doing this we ensure that no baby goes home without being adequately clothed and each mom feels that their community do care and the birth is recognized and celebrated. We ensure the mothers of premature infants who are involved in kanga care, have access to free tea & coffee supplies as well as a few food basics.
HOW DID BOSOM BUDDIES EVOLVE?
When I trained to be a
Doula, I needed as much practical experience as possible. I did births at Mowbray Maternity, Stellenbosch Provincial Hospital Hottentots Holland Hospital Tygerberg Hospital
I was horrified at the ridiculous difference between state and private.
At the state hospitals woman arrive in a taxi all alone, often in labour, mostly in pain, and always afraid. They birth alone, nameless except for the general title of “Mama”. There is no privacy, no dignity. At one state hospital they are all given morphine although not consulted or informed of risks to baby. Epidurals are non-existent. Even gas is no where to be seen except the scar on the wall where it was once in use. No birth balls, no water, no choice. And then they leave with their infant and often nothing else, not even clothes or a blanket, in the crowded taxi back to the townships.
At the private hospital mothers receive a nappy bag filled with goodies they don’t actually need. And the state moms? Nothing!
This will just not do!
WHAT WE DO?
So what can we do about their experience? Not too much about their birthing experience yet. But, we do make gorgeous nappy bags for the moms and their newborns. We fill them with a Babygro, vest, booties, warm knitted jersey and a cosy hat. We throw in a blanket, sanitary pads and a few disposables. We identify extra needy moms and we include toweling nappies, a snappi and waterproofs in some of the bags. (I hope to have this in every bag soon) We also include a few baby products such as Vaseline or powder and sometimes toothpaste and toothbrush for mom. We attach a beautiful handcrafted card to the bag and the gift is ready.
Just before we hand out the bags we pop in a packet of crunchies or muffins. We presently deliver bags on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and are averaging +- 190 a month. We probably cover about 80% of the mothers but that is going to change and we aim to bless EVERY mother by next year.
Sadly the hospital we visit is high risk so we often have stillbirths. We make sure we have a plain bag filled with pads and toiletries and something pretty for the mom. We attach a sympathy card and just sit and hold them a while. What can you possibly say to someone who had to deliver a dead baby or had one die at birth. These women have to share a ward with the other mothers and their healthy live babies. Hectic!
A whole bunch of amazing
woman who love and care for the vulnerable woman in our community. We have a few ladies who meet once a week to
pack bags and sort clothing. Another
group make the cards. A precious few who
sew the bags (never enough) and then the team who come on the hospital visits. We split up and each go to a mother so we can
spend time with them admiring their baby, asking them how THEY are doing. Just caring and sharing in the miracle of
their new infant. We ask them if we can
pray for the baby and for the mom during the crazy hard hormonal time she now
finds herself in. The people who help
are stretching further and further into the world. My blog has been amazing in getting
international aid for our project. In
winter we put a knitted jersey and cap into each bag. I
have Oumie in Strand
WHERE WE ARE HEADED?
Firstly we are trying to get enough product and financial sponsorship to have each bag completely stocked with essentials.
Then it’s onto enough bags to cover every mom. Finally I go out and “sell” the idea to woman in different communities so that they can take care of the woman in their own local state hospitals. Our first area is Stellenbosch and then Grabouw and Macasser. I want to create an awareness amongst privileged mothers in communities and foster a culture of giving and compassion. We are hoping to get new premises so that we can provide more postnatal support. We would like a place for moms to come to weigh babies, get breastfeeding advice, basic nutrition, first aid courses, baby massage and so much more. The ladies who sew the bags will work at the premises so that they can teach new moms skills if they wish to learn to sew. So much to do but we have started and I can see we are making a difference in the lives of these women. I feel so lucky to be part of this project and to share in the celebration of new South African babies.
Buddies aims to have all mothers with their newborns, who birth at a State Hospital
initial and immediate goal is ensuring our 1st Hospital,
, is completely provided for in the Maternity section
- We will go from 190 bags a month to 220 bags by early next year thus ensuring every mom & baby receives a bag
- We plan to do this by obtaining financial sponsorship as well as suitable product donations
- We will create an increasing awareness of the plight of underprivileged mothers amongst their more fortunate “sisters” who birth at private hospitals
- We will also as far as possible provide spiritual, emotional & practical support for maternity staff to make their lives a little easier.
- We will promote Bosom Buddies to different communities ensuring that they take ownership of their own local state hospital
- We will find new premises and open up our post natal support centre
- The following communities will be targeted initially by Bosom Buddies to ensure the relevant local hospitals are covered
Surrounding areas of Mowbray Maternity
- We will continuously market Bosom Buddies ensuring as much media attention as possible to ensure ongoing support & sponsorship.
Due to the nature of the bag contents we get much of the contents sponsored from companies with soon to expired products or damaged packaging. We do of course need financial sponsorship as well to purchase what we are short of and just general running costs. We pay no salaries other than money to farm workers and a lady in Khayalitsha who sew for us when their season is over. The following resources are needed:
- Fabric for the bags
- Fleece fabric for the blankets
- Wool for the jerseys
- Baby-gros and vests in newborn & 0-3 months size
- Disposable nappies
- 4 Terri cloth nappies with 1 snappi and 2 waterproofs per bag
- Surgical spirits and cotton buds for cord care
- Baby products such as Vaseline, aqueous cream, powder & shampoo
- Sanitary pads for the mother (one of our biggest needs and expenses)
- Suitable snacks and beverages for the kanga care mothers who stay in the hospital for extended periods with their premature infants
- Books and games for the pediatric ward
- Microwave, mini fridge and kettle for the pediatric ward
- A house to rent for a reasonable rental or better still, a house donated!
WEEKLY ACTIVITIES…….WHERE CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?
We rely solely on volunteers to run the operation and visit the mothers.
The beauty of the project is that the needs are specific and unique so everyone has something to offer in the running of BB.
The following are areas where you can commit your time, skills & energy:
- Sewing of the bags (material is provided)
- Knitting jerseys, hats & booties
- Packing of the bags (done weekly once a week)
- Baking of suitable goods for the bags
- Collection of infant clothing & other goods from suppliers & sponsors
- Attending hospital visits (Mondays or Thursdays at 9.00am)
- Marketing BB to potential sponsors and obtaining funding
- Praying for BB and the mothers and babies
- Making cards
- Painting the pediatric ward as well as doing a mural once the base paint is done
When we have enough practical help and financial & product sponsorship we will be able to cover each mother as well as get the project started in other areas.
We are excited to see this project mushroom!