On the first Saturday of October each year, mothers and children at sites around the world come together to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time.
La Leche League Canada - Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Coastal Health are partnering this year to hold the Sunshine Coast Breastfeeding Challenge. Sunshine Coast mothers are invited to unite this Saturday, Oct. 5, in the main lobby of the Gibsons and Area Recreation Centre from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The official latch-on count will happen at 11 a.m. This free event includes refreshments and door prizes.
Why this challenge? Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits including better health for both mothers and babies. According to UNICEF, of the 136.7 million babies born worldwide, only 32.6 per cent are breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. The recommendation is for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond, together with adequate, appropriate and indigenous complementary feeding starting from the age of six months. Many women do not 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 Breastfeeding Challenge, La Leche League Canada and Vancouver Coastal Health promote the public acceptance of breastfeeding as a normal, natural part of raising a child.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in B.C. By 2012, there were 3,934 children in nine countries at over 211 sites with a total of over 20,000 supporters.
The Quintessence Foundation, a non-profit group providing education to parents and professionals about breastfeeding and human milk banking, sponsors the Breastfeeding Challenge. For more information, contact Quintessence Foundation at 604-228-9331 or see www.babyfriendly.ca.