Happy World Breastfeeding Week, a time celebrated annually by Canada from October 1-7. First celebrated in 1992 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Breastfeeding Week is now observed annually in over 120 countries by UNICEF (United Nations Childrens’ Fund), WHO (World Health Organization), and their partners including individuals, organizations, and governments. This year’s theme is “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.”
When they’re pregnant, most women state they wish to breastfeed their babies. Over 90% of babies born in BC receive breastmilk after delivery, but some mothers may experience difficulties maintaining or continuing to breastfeed. All members of our society can help women by protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding. Here are some ways you can get involved!
When breastfeeding is protected in our society, we help women feel more empowered.
- Use community supports to help normalize breastfeeding such as healthcare providers, doulas, peer support groups, La Leche League, and pregnancy outreach programs.
- Protect breastfeeding mothers and infants/children from discrimination and harassment.
- The right to breastfeed is a human right in British Columbia.
Good information about breastfeeding can be found on the web. Here are some ideas to help promote breastfeeding:
- Provide resources for evidence-based information about breastfeeding such as:
- HealthLink BC - Breastfeeding Health File
- Healthy Families BC parenting and self-care for new moms
- Jack Newman: The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic/International Breastfeeding Centre
- Recognize that breastfeeding is not the sole responsibility of mothers; this is a collective societal responsibility.
- Look at breastfeeding resources on Northern Health’s website
Women are more confident and empowered when they feel supported by those around them.
How can you help? If you know a breastfeeding mother you can:
- Be a supportive husband, partner, family member or friend.
- Do household tasks.
- Help with childcare if there are older children.
- Provide empathy and understanding; a listening ear can be very helpful and validating.
- Help her find supportive assistance if she’s having difficulties. Consider healthcare providers such as lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, physicians, other health professionals, or trained peers or lay persons. You can also connect with doulas, peer support groups and community networks such as La Leche League Canada and other community programs such as Pregnancy Outreach Programs.
- Look at the poster from Perinatal Services BC.
Follow along this week on the Northern Health Matters blog as we share a new blog post related to the awareness, promotion, and celebration of breastfeeding every day!