The first week of October marked Canadian Breastfeeding Week. Some may wonder why we need a breastfeeding week; a week for society to reflect and learn about the importance of breastfeeding. While the breastfeeding initiation rate in Canada is quite high at 87%, only 1 in 4 Canadian babies are exclusively breastfed for the recommended duration of 6 months.
This year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) encourages us to support breastfeeding for a healthier planet. The interconnected nature of people and the planet requires that we must find sustainable solutions that benefit both. We can reduce our carbon and ecological footprints starting with how we feed our babies. Breastmilk is the first food that we consume and is a critical part of a sustainable food system. It is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe and green because it is produced and delivered to the consumer without pollution, packaging, or waste.
This year there was an opportunity to connect with colleagues from across Manitoba to bring together a Manitoba wide Virtual Celebration of Human Milk Feeding on October 3. Joining the Winnipeg Breastfeeding Network Facebook group gave individulas the chance to participate and learn more about Human Milk Feeding.
Prairie Mountain Health has also received a certificate of participation from Baby Friendly Manitoba and Breastfeeding Committee of Canada in recognition of the effort and commitment of staff as we continue our journey towards WHO/UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly’ designation.
“We need to acknowledge that ‘our house is on fire’ and that the next generation requires us to act quickly to reduce carbon footprints in every sphere of life... Breastfeeding is a part of this jigsaw, and urgent investment is needed across the sector.” Joffe, Webster & Shenker. (2019)