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The road to life-long health begins with breastfeeding

Did you know that breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and child?

Saturday (September 29) at the Chahko Mika Mall in Nelson mothers of infants will get a first-hand look at the benefits during The Big Latch-On as Interior Health Interior helps celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

The Big Latch-On begins at 11 a.m. in the mall.

“One of the biggest hurdles for mothers is a lack of support for breastfeeding in their community,” said Lea Geiger, Lactation Consultant with Interior Health.

“Support and acceptance of breastfeeding from family members, health-care providers, employers and communities can make a big difference in the health of moms and babies.”   

World Breastfeeding Week in Canada is a time to draw attention to the benefits of early and continued breastfeeding and to build community acceptance of breastfeeding. 

The International Lactation Consultant Association has selected the theme “The road to life-long health begins with breastfeeding” as a reminder of the long-term benefits of breastfeeding.  
 
Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits for both mothers and babies including: bonding and attachment; protecting mom against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis; and protecting babe against ear infections, respiratory infection and diarrhea.

Breastfeeding also promotes babies’ tooth, jaw and brain development and provides optimal nutrition while saving money.
 
The World Health Organization recommends early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding, with the introduction of solid food, for two years or beyond.

Yet even with all of the benefits to mothers and babies, in B.C. less than 50 per cent of moms are nursing at six months, despite a nursing rate that’s over 90 per cent when moms and babies leave the hospital after birth.
 
Lactation consultants and public health nurses are available at public health units across Interior Health to assist mothers and infants during the breastfeeding years to ensure families have all the help they need to give babies the best start in life. 

Successfully meeting the World Health Organization’s guidelines requires much more than a mother’s knowledge and commitment. 

Social acceptance and community support are also needed.

All breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to participate in Saturday's The Big Latch-On and bring their supporters with them.

For more information on Saturday's event contact Myrna Lindblom at 250-505-7205.

This is the only event scheduled for the West Kootenay.

The IHA is hosting events in Cranbrook Saturday (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.) and Creston Thursday, October 4 at (10–11 a.m.) as well as the Okanagan.