National Breastfeeding Week 2023
In Canada we celebrate National Breastfeeding Week from October 1-8.** National Breastfeeding Week is a time to celebrate the role breastfeeding plays in providing children with the healthiest start in life.
Breast milk has just the right amount of fat, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and minerals for optimal growth of the infant. Breast milk also contains antibodies and other immune factors to help protect against infections and disease. Breastfeeding benefits mothers short- and long-term health and will strengthen the special relationship between mother and baby.
This year’s theme is “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents”. This theme shines a light on how parents should not have to choose between breastfeeding their children and their work. Making breastfeeding at work, work makes societies work! Here in Canada families are blessed with paid maternity leave. This is not the case in many countries.
Breastfeeding support is possible regardless of workplace, sector or contract type. Effective maternity policies improve children’s and women’s health and protect breastfeeding. Despite this, currently more than half a billion working women lack access to vital maternity policies; many more find themselves unsupported when they return to work. All women everywhere no matter their work should have at least 18 weeks, preferably more than 6 months, paid maternity leave; paid time off for breastfeeding or expressing milk upon returning to work; and flexible return to work options. (World Health Organization)
Ways to make a difference for working parents:
- Encourage parents to learn about national maternity leave benefits.
- Advocate in your workplace for flexible back to work schedules for breastfeeding parents.
- Advocate in your workplace to provide a place to breastfeed or express breastmilk while at work.
- Lobby local governments to improve maternity benefits/access to breastfeeding support.
- Encourage and support families on maternity leave.
Brandon Manitoba has many resources to help families during their breastfeeding journey. These include the following:
- La Leche League Canada This is an international organization that is dedicated to helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.
- Local Public Health Nurse. Find your local area nurse at Public Health – Prairie Mountain Health
- Western Medical Clinic Family Physicians can assist with breastfeeding concerns.
- The Wellness Clinic Family Physician can assist with breastfeeding concerns.
- The Baby Bump for prenatal classes.
- Lactation Consultant at Brandon Regional Health Centre – 204-578-4268.
Find additional resources at breastfeedingcanada.ca
**Canada celebrates World Breastfeeding Week in October.