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Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life

In Canada October 1 to 7, 2018 is World Breastfeeding week.  This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life”.  WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) states “Breastfeeding is a universal solution that gives everyone a fair start in life and lays the foundation for good health and survival of children and women.”

There are four objectives for 2018’s World Breastfeeding week.  We hope to inform people about the links between good nutrition, food security, poverty reductions and breastfeeding.  Anchor breastfeeding as the foundation of life.  Engage with individuals and organizations for greater impact and galvanize action to advance breastfeeding as a part of good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction. 

While it may seem obvious that there are benefits of breastfeeding in third world countries, we know that these benefits are also important right here at home in Manitoba.  Recent statistics indicated that Manitoba has the highest child poverty rate of any province in Canada with 27.4% of children in Manitoba living below the poverty line.  That is a full 10% above the Canadian average of 17.4% (Manitoba Child and Family Report Card 2017).  Research shows us that breastfeeding can even the playing field for children born into poverty.

Breastfeeding is a natural 'safety net' against the worst effects of poverty ... Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence ... It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into
which it was born.”
JAMES P. GRANT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNICEF (1980-1995).

Acta Paediatrica special issue on breastfeeding: Finds that the health benefits of breastfeeding are substantial, lasting well beyond the period of breastfeeding and affecting high- and low-income populations alike. For more information on how Breastfeeding is a key foundation of life here is a short video.

So you may be asking yourself “how does this apply to me”?  Maybe you do not have a baby in your home.  We all can support breastfeeding in our community.  There are small things that each of us can do to support breastfeeding in our communities.  Please take the time to watch how you can make a difference by supporting breastfeeding.  

If you would like more information on the importance of breastfeeding or know someone that could use some breastfeeding support, please contact your local Public Health Nurse.

Article prepared by: Wendy Fontaine RNBN, IBCLC, Public Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant

Information sources: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/
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