Written by Sharon Prindle Collins, Lactation Consultant, Family Birthing Unit, Surrey Memorial Hospital

How we as health care providers are building a warm chain of support for the breastfeeding parent and baby.

During World Breastfeeding Week, September 23-30, Fraser Health will be joining with other health authorities, organizations and citizens across Canada to promote breastfeeding, with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together”. 2017 is the 25th year for World Breastfeeding Week and this year it is all about working together for the common good.

Research shows the large majority of women want to breastfeed, and almost every mother in B.C. begins. But early days can be challenging and mothers need more support by their health care providers, partners, families, workplaces, schools, social networks, and governments. The health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and mother throughout the lifespan aids society as a whole so society as a whole needs to support the breastfeeding parent.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action calls for us all to “build a warm chain of support” for the breastfeeding parent and baby, and notes breastfeeding is 2.5 times more likely to succeed when it is protected, promoted, and supported.

Surrey Memorial Hospital's pumping room

While there is still much to be done, Surrey Memorial Hospital has built one link for that “warm chain of support”. Thanks to the advocacy of one of our family birthing unit nurses, Surrey Memorial Hospital has a dedicated pumping room for staff to continue to supply milk to their babies after returning to work. It is a private space with an Ameda electric pump, two comfortable chairs with side tables, a sink and counter. Moms bring their own pump attachments and a cooler to store her milk.

Annual Breastfeeding Challenge

Fraser Health along with community partners are organizing Breastfeeding Challenge events across our communities from September 29 to October 4. The Challenge is a fun, social event where families gather to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and donor human milk banking. Mothers and their babes latch-on in hopes to set a new record of children breastfeeding simultaneously at one site.

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