TRURO – After months of planning and preparation, the Colchester East Hants Health Authority (CEHHA) is opening four breastfeeding friendly spaces across the region.
CUTLINE; Leah Poirier
This includes two areas at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre (CEHHC) in Truro and areas at the Lloyd E. Matheson Centre in Elmsdale and Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in Tatamagouche.
To celebrate, breastfeeding families and supporters are invited to attend an open house Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CEHHC.
“Breastfeeding is important for the health of families, but also benefits the entire community,” said Kathie Sutherland, co-lead of Truro’s La Leche League breastfeeding support group, in a news release. “With breastfeeding, there is no environmental waste and families have lower food costs.
“Research has proven that infants who are formula fed are likely to have more doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations, so, breastfeeding helps lower overall health care costs for the community. I think these spaces are a great thing and more places should have them.”
Leah Poirier, public health nutritionist, backs the notion that support is a key factor that impacts a mother’s decision to breastfeed. Many mothers still struggle to meet recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months with continued breastfeeding to two years and beyond.
“In order for a mom to breastfeed, it needs to be easy for her to nurse everywhere she goes – always and in all ways,” she said.
According to Poirier, CEHHA supports women’s right to breastfeed anywhere and anytime, yet breastfeeding beyond the home environment continues to be a barrier for some.
“Offering a mother a private spot for breastfeeding will allow her to decide where she is most comfortable. Basically, it is about giving women more options while we wait for public perceptions about breastfeeding to catch up with what we in health promotion already know … it’s the normal and natural way to feed a child and it’s very do-able to return to work and continue breastfeeding.”
Initiatives undertaken in conjunction with this project will enable CEHHA to fulfill components of the baby-friendly initiative’s integrated 10 steps for best practice in hospitals and community health services – as set forth by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada and the World Health Organization.
The project will help create conditions that encourage baby-led and cue-based breastfeeding, sustained breastfeeding beyond six months, and support mothers who are staff in CEHHA to feed and care for their child after they return to work.
CEHHA is also unveiling a new video series to help parents decide how they will feed their baby. These videos were part of a larger breastfeeding awareness and education initiative supported by CEHHA’s five Community Health Boards.
For more information on how to adopt breastfeeding supports in your organization, contact Poirier at 893-5820.