Breastfeeding challenge raises awareness

On Oct. 1 moms and babies will gather to take part in the worldwide challenge for the most children breastfeeding simultaneously in one location

On Oct. 1 moms and babies will gather to take part in the worldwide challenge for the most children breastfeeding simultaneously in one location. This fun celebration is an opportunity to join together, to celebrate and take action by raising public awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. Last year nearly 4,500 children in 18 countries around the world took part in the challenge. For information about how to take part in this years challenge visit: www.babyfriendly.ca/challenge-home.aspx

The Kamloops community is working hard to put breastfeeding on the map. Local businesses have been involved in raising awareness about the importance of investing in a child’s early years. In a successful partnership with the United Way, Success by 6, Make Children First, and Interior Health, a new Google map has been developed to help families identify locations in Kamloops that are welcoming to young children and where moms can feel comfortable to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding promotes bonding and closeness between mom and baby. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, and then continued breastfeeding with the addition of complementary foods for two years and beyond. Local community efforts are needed to support these international recommendations.

“Frequently in my work mothers ask about finding comfortable and supportive places in their community where they can breastfeed or care for their young child or children,” explains Mary Hunter, Kamloops public health nurse. “Creating a map of family friendly and breastfeeding friendly places seemed like an ideal opportunity to not only identify these places for families but also promote creation and celebration of a supportive community that welcomes mothers, children and families into their businesses.”

To view the map, visit the Make Children First website: www.makechildrenfirst.ca/family-and-breast-feeding-friendly-map.html

– Former Clearwater resident Simone Jennings is a registered dietitian with Interior Health