The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) has partnered with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Community Health Team to celebrate National Breastfeeding Week October 1st to 7th.
For 2018, the theme is “Breastfeeding: Your Support Matters”–a recognition that breastfeeding requires teamwork and support from family, friends, and the greater community. The overall goal of the campaign is to help normalize breastfeeding and increase awareness for partners, parents, in-laws, family and friends of how their attitudes and beliefs may influence a mother’s decision to breastfeed and how they can help.
Mothers value the advice of their partner, of their mother, of family, and of friends.
“With all the information that is available, it is hard to know what is best. New mothers may need guidance and support to find evidence-based information to overcome doubts and difficulties with breastfeeding if they arise,” says Courtney-Brooke Laurie, public health dietitian at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
“If you are wondering what you can do to support breastfeeding, keep in mind that little things can make a big difference. For example, partners can bond with baby by holding them skin-to-skin or show their support by sharing words of encouragement, taking on a few extra household chores, or looking after meal prep. Nurture mom while she nurtures the baby.”
Health Canada recommends exclusive breastfeeding – feeding infants only breast milk for the first six months of life, and continued for up to two years with the appropriate introduction of solids.
The Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN) Information System, a provincial registry of pregnancies and births in Ontario, found that in Haldimand County and Norfolk County, 81% of mothers who gave birth in 2017 intended to exclusively breastfeed while only 61% were breastfeeding exclusively on discharge from hospital.
There are many reasons a mother may not start or continue to breastfeed, including lack of support from family and friends. Research shows that partners are the biggest influence on breastfeeding success.
“I didn’t know much about breastfeeding before but I knew it was natural. I remember being in the hospital and grabbing a pamphlet about breastfeeding. It explained how important it was for baby’s development and mother’s health. They described breastmilk as liquid gold” says Andy, a local father of two.
“Breastfeeding is a learned experience for mom and baby. As a father I think being another voice, providing encouragement and seeing those tough times through is a great way to show support.”
The HNHU is making daily posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow along for tips and information on how you can support the breastfeeding mother or mother-to-be in your life. Partners, friends, and family are encouraged to share their experience of how they support, or have supported, breastfeeding.
The HNHU continues to work toward the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) designation. BFI is a global program of the World Health Organization and UNICEF that supports mothers to make an informed decision about how to feed their baby. A BFI designation indicates that an organization recognizes the importance of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.
For more information about the campaign, breastfeeding, or to find breastfeeding supports in your area please contact the Health Unit at Ext 3250 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 or visit hnhu.org/breastfeeding or Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Community Health Nurse or Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program Coordinator at either 905-768-0141 or 905-768-1181.