Breastfeeding - a reason to celebrate!

By Contributor
September 30th, 2010

If you think of the perfect food it would create zero waste, give you great nutrition, and, best of all, protect against disease. Well, breast milk is nature’s perfect baby food providing all this and even helping mothers protect themselves against disease.   On Saturday, Oct. 2 at 11:00 a.m., mothers and babies at sites around the world will compete to set the record for the most babies breastfeeding at one time. There are a number of sites competing this year to mark World Breastfeeding Week (October 1 – 7). The events are also a chance to celebrate moms and babies and the role that breastfeeding plays in nurturing healthy infants and families.   In the Boundary, Cynthia Garnett, program co-ordinator for Baby’s Best Chance with Boundary Family and Individual Services Society, is hoping that the number of moms and babies out on Saturday exceeds past years. This year the local challenge will take place at the Boundary Women’s Centre on Market Ave.   “Last year (2009) was our highest with 11 babies latching on,” said Garnett, “we’re hoping to beat that number this year! But our most important goal is to help new moms keep breastfeeding their children for longer.”   Breast milk creates zero waste, provides the exact nutrition your baby requires, protects against infant and childhood illnesses and infections and helps reduce the risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes and SIDS. Breast milk also improves cognitive ability, and promotes bonding, attachment, brain growth, higher IQ, vision/central nervous system development, jaw and facial development. Mothers who breastfeed also benefit from nursing: they are less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.   The World Health Organization recommends early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding with the introduction of solid food for two years or beyond. Yet even with all of the benefits to mothers and babies, in BC, less than 50% of moms are nursing at 6 months, despite over a 90% nursing rate when moms and babies leave the hospital after birth. World Breastfeeding Week is a time to draw attention to the benefits of breastfeeding, and create awareness among new moms of the importance of early and continued breastfeeding.    This year’s World Breastfeeding Week Theme is: Just 10 Steps! Breastfeeding The Baby Friendly Way. The ten steps are part of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched by the World Health Organization and Unicef. The ten steps refer to specific things that healthcare providers can do to support breastfeeding, such as not offering breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles, or soothers.   Why this challenge? Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits including better health for both mothers and babies. However, many women fail to meet their own breastfeeding goals and wean their children prematurely, well before meeting recommended guidelines. Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community.   In North America this lack of support is demonstrated as many women find breastfeeding in public a major barrier.   The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia Canada with 856 children at 26 sites. By 2008, there were 7632 children in nineteen countries at over 300 sites with a total of over 20,000 supporters. In 2009 even though the H1N1 pandemic coincided with the Challenge, there were 4,766 children at 246 sites in 21 countries.   The Breastfeeding Challenge is sponsored by the Quintessence Foundation, a non-profit group providing education to parents and professionals about breastfeeding.   Link:  


Categories: Health