In Canada, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from October 1 to 7th.
Each year a global theme is developed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). This year’s WABA theme is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’.
This theme recognizes that everyone has an important role in helping to support breastfeeding, including:
- Health professionals
- Community organizations
- Governments (Federal, Provincial, Municipal)
What do we know about breastfeeding in NL?
There are a growing number of women breastfeeding in NL. Today approximately 74.7% of NL women initiate breastfeeding in hospital**. Over the past decade alone the provincial breastfeeding initiation rate has increased by 11.9%.
**In 2007 the NL breastfeeding rate at neonatal screening was 62.8% and 11 years later in 2016 it was 74.7%.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Government has recognized breastfeeding as a provincial priority. In The Way Forward document a specific breastfeeding target has been set:
“By 2025, Newfoundland and Labrador’s breastfeeding initiation rate will increase by seven per cent”
Breastfeeding initiation rates in NL are low than the national average (89% initiation, 2012 Stats Canada), and in other countries (Norway 95%, Australia 92%). In addition, there is a wide range of breastfeeding practices in NL communities. Although many women leave the hospital breastfeeding, by 6 months, less than 26% of women continue to exclusively breastfeed (2012 Stats Canada). The goal is to supporting women to exclusively breastfeed to 6 months and beyond, in line with Health Canada’s recommendations.
Research has shown NL mothers turn to their own mothers and partners for infant feeding support. It is very important to engage Grandparents in discussions on infant feeding and the importance of breastfeeding. Developing interventions that empower grandparents to be more involved and active in supporting their daughters (and daughters-in-law) to breastfeed will have positive effects. Their own personal experiences and knowledge with infant feeding can influence mothers’ decisions to begin breastfeeding and keep it going
Engaging partners in how to support a breastfeeding mom, while continuing to build a nurturing relationship with their baby is vital.
Businesses and community organizations play an important role in supporting mothers to continue breastfeeding when returning to work after maternal/parental leave. They also help to establish breastfeeding-friendly spaces for clients and guests.
Municipalities are essential in ensuring that public and private facilities including parks and recreation centers, restaurants and stores are welcoming to breastfeeding families. In 2018, a key priority of the Baby-Friendly Council of NL is to work with municipalities to help normalize breastfeeding in communities throughout NL.
Health professionals are key, especially in the early days, to helping protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Providing consistent information to all moms and families is imperative.
Peer to peer support from groups like La Leche League and Breastfeeding Support NL –Facebook Group, are growing places where women can share their own experiences and receive timely peer-to-peer support, advice and encouragement.
What’s happening during 2017 World Breastfeeding Week in NL?
Members of the Baby-Friendly Council of NL will be partnering with key stakeholders in the community to screen the documentary film Milk, a film that explores different feeding and birthing practices globally and the impact they have.
The purpose of these screenings is to help normalize breastfeeding in NL communities, to mobilize community leadership, and to discuss the local context with women and families.
The hope is to help “Sustain Breastfeeding Together” in line with the #WBW2017 theme.
Open community discussions will follow each 52 minute film screening.
Local experts will also be available to answer questions. Refreshments, snack and prizes provided. Local organizing teams have been assembled to plan these events. Special invitations will go out to municipal leaders, family resource programs, local business owners etc.
This education program is happening across Canada and has been made possible by Filmblanc and through funding from the Telus Fund. The film Milk was created by Noemi Weis to stimulate awareness, education, and discussion about maternal and newborn health.
Check out the following video to see Sophie Trudeau deliver support for the Milk education program:
Details regarding the Milk film screenings in NL:
All events are FREE and are open to the Public!!! No RSVP required.
Corner Brook – Rotary Arts Center
Date: October 2, 2017, 7:00- 9:00 pm
Stephenville – Stephenville High School
Date: October 4, 2017, 7:00-9:00 pm.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (709) 643-5399
Grand Falls – Classic Theatre
Date: October 2, 2017, 7:00-9:00 pm
Carbonear – Multipurpose Room, Long Term Care Building, Carbonear Hospital
Date: October 5, 2017, 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Contact: Sheila Whalen email@example.com
St. John’s –Faculty of Medicine Room IM101
Date: October 3, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Contact: Dr. Anne Drover firstname.lastname@example.org
Goose Bay– Aboriginal Family Centre, 38 Grenfell Street
Date: October 5, 2017, 6:00-8:00 pm
Contact: Lynn Blackwood email@example.com
Marystown – 2 screenings
Date: Wednesday October 4, 2017 (both screenings)
12:30 – 2:30 pm, Community Services Building Boardroom. Harris Drive, Marystown
6:30-8:30 pm Burin Cinema, Burin Road, Burin
Contact: Dr. Leigh Anne Newhook firstname.lastname@example.org