You may have heard that breast milk is the gold standard for infant feeding – and it’s true! In anticipation of World Breastfeeding Week (October 1-7, 2014, in Canada) and the Canada Winter Games in Prince George in February 2015, it’s a great time to highlight how an early start to life with breastfeeding can contribute to our children “growing for gold”!
My breastfeeding story of “growing for gold” is similar to many, I’m sure. What I remember most about the first moments with my newborns is that magical instant when each one latched on and started breastfeeding for the first time. It’s truly amazing when babies can find their way to the breast and start feeding. UNICEF has done a video, Breast Crawl, that perfectly illustrates this moment.
I’m not saying my breastfeeding experience was perfect. As a public health nurse, I thought I had all the knowledge and tools to breastfeed successfully, but I found a few challenges along the way: sore nipples, frequent feedings, and being so-so-SO tired! Knowing where to get information and support was key to tackling these issues and keeping me on track. I breastfed both of my children into their second year of life.
Breastfeeding meant that my children and I received many of benefits. For babies, breastfeeding provides a balanced diet, reduces infectious diseases, and promotes optimal brain development. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis and the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Now, I understand that breastfeeding may not be for everyone. But most women who choose to breastfeed have a successful experience. Here are some useful supports and resources for nursing mothers and their families:
- Public health nursing at your local health unit
- Northern B.C.’s lactation consultants
- Baby’s Best Chance – a handbook for parents
- Healthy Families BC’s app, Breastfeeding Buddy
- Great information on breastfeeding and infant nutrition
- The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and promotes the social and environmental benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies
For more resources, you can also visit Northern Health’s page for pregnancy, maternity and babies.
Check these resources out to support your breastfeeding experience and give your baby a gold medal start to life.
What was your experience with breastfeeding?
About Vanessa Salmons
Vanessa is a registered nurse and Northern Health’s Early Childhood Development lead for preventive public health. Located in Quesnel, Vanessa supports prenatal, postpartum and family health services across the north. She is married with two children and is always busy with the family’s many activities. Work/life balance is important to Vanessa. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends entertaining and cooking. Vanessa stays active through walking or running with her dog Maggie, spinning and circuit training. A good game of golf or a good book is always a bonus!