VICTORIA - Canada celebrates World Breastfeeding Week Oct. 1-7, an international event designed to promote, support and encourage breastfeeding at the local, national and global levels to improve the health of mothers and babies around the world.
The 2011 theme for World Breastfeeding Week, "Talk to Me! Breastfeeding - a 3D experience" focuses on cross-generational, cross-sector, cross-gender and cross-culture communication to encourage knowledge and experience sharing, an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.
The Ministry of Health celebrates the World Breastfeeding Week by launching the "Talk to me about breastfeeding" video, which portrays B.C. families sharing their breastfeeding stories. Promoting breastfeeding in a positive way encourages families to consider breastfeeding and helps to create an environment where everyone, including fathers, friends, families, employers and health-care providers promote and support breastfeeding. View the video at: http://www.youtube.com/user/healthyfamiliesbc
A number of activities are planned across British Columbia in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, including the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge 2011, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. Mothers and children at sites across Canada, the United States and other countries will compete to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time.
British Columbia sites include Sidney/North Saanich Vancouver Island Regional Library, Duncan, Nanaimo, Richmond Hospital Birth Centre, Richmond Public Library Brighouse, Vancouver's North Shore, Kelowna, Kamloops and many others.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia with 856 children at 26 sites. By 2008, 7,632 children participated in 19 countries at over 300 sites with a total of over 20,000 supporters.
Tara Caitlin Kelk, B.C. mother -
"I'm so happy I am breastfeeding. It's rewarding and important, but primarily it has helped me develop a very close bond with my baby. Sharing the experience of breastfeeding and quiet bonding time has strengthened our relationship."
- Breastfeeding is vital for healthy infant growth and development, and also has a positive impact on the health of the mother.
- Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures for reducing the risk of childhood health issues such as childhood obesity, middle ear infections, non-specific gastroenteritis (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain), severe lower respiratory tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Breastfeeding contributes to maternal health by helping mothers' recovery following childbirth and lowering the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease throughout her life.
- The World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Canadian Pediatric Society endorse exclusive breastfeeding, recommending initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after the birth; exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months; and continuing to breastfeed for two years or more together with age appropriate, complementary table foods starting in the sixth month.
For more information or to organize a challenge in your local community, visit the Quintessence Foundation at: http://www.babyfriendly.ca/challenge-home.aspx
For more information about World Breastfeeding Week: www.bcbabyfriendly.ca/WBW.html
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)