Canada Celebrates Breastfeeding!

World Breastfeeding Week 2002 another success as

communities across Canada held events.

From Cornerbrook to Whitehorse — here’s what you did.


Breastfest                                Peterborough, Ontario


Breastfest here was fabulous — we got 40 mothers and 41 breastfeeding babies — which broke the Ontario record of highest number of breastfeeding pairs in one place. It was a huge success. We held it at the Galaxy movie theatre, where we showed our public service announcement that we had filmed earlier this summer. It showed various recognizable landmarks of Peterborough with breastfeeding pairs sitting in front of them, put together by our breastfeeding coalition.


We had one mother come really early and when I greeted her, she told me that she had taken the bus to get there and that was why she was early to make sure she made it. We had the press come and do some filming and interviews for the local TV station and newspapers. We had promoted it by having one radio spot beforehand and a couple of newspaper articles/interviews. And our MP, Peter Adams, brought along his wife, who had breastfed all their children. What a day!


I think the highlight for me (I was the MC) was the countdown, where we had two breastfeeding demonstrators at the front showing how, when latched, to put up a hand for the official counters to count. It was hilarious — especially  the mom with two babies!


—Melisande Neal

Most number of events                        Parkland Region, Manitoba



Parklands Region must be commended for having organized the most number of events. Community Health nutritionist, Carol Schnittjer and co-workers and mothers were busy and report:


~INFACT Canada World Breastfeeding kits sent to all CHSO and members of Parkland Breastfeeding Promotion Committee, including posters and tearsheets



~Proclamation and photo was posted in the Dauphin Community Health Services Office


~PSAs on events happening in our region were aired and Carol was interviewed for a news item on the local station, CKDM.


~The Breastfeeding Challenge was held on October 5 at the Dari-Dip (The sundaes were discounted for the event!) restaurant in Dauphin — five women and five babies participated, and 13 others came out in support, including mothers, children, health professionals and La Leche League leaders and members.


~The restaurant was provided with information on the "Anywhere, Anytime" campaign, as well as a Breastfeeding Friendly sticker to display in their window.


~Article outlining the breastfeeding challenge with photos, as well as the benefits of breastfeeding to mother and baby submitted to "Community Links" PRHA newspaper.


~A basket of breastfeeding friendly items was presented to the lucky mother-baby pair from Ste. Rose du Lac. (The names of breastfeeding babies born that week were entered into the draw.) 


~The Métis women’s group in Barrows provided information on the current study which suggests

that breastfeeding reduces that risk of type 2 diabetes in native children


~The TOPS group rally in Roblin (about 85 people) were provided information on how breastfeeding may reduce the risk of obesity and should be supported and promoted in their communities (to grandchildren, children, etc.)


~"Something Good For Babies" stressing the importance of mother’s milk for babies was presented to children age 4 at the Duck Bay nursery school


~All physicians involved in providing care to women and children in the region were sent information on breastfeeding as well as local La Leche League meeting information.


Getting the word out                                Guelph, Ontario


The Breastfeeding Coalition in Guelph decided to focus  on making people aware of the help that is available for breastfeeding mothers. Local writer, Teresa Pitman, wrote articles for the two community newspapers, which were published during World Breastfeeding Week. One article featured three mothers and how they had found help to breastfeed successfully; the other answered common breastfeeding questions. Both included phone numbers and information to contact Lactation Consultants, La Leche League, Public Health and midwives for breastfeeding help.


The Coalition also arranged for bookstores and the public library to set up World Breastfeeding Week displays. They did have to explain to the staff that not all books about baby care are good sources of breastfeeding information! The displays had signs announcing World Breastfeeding Week and a selection of books about breastfeeding.

Target child care centres                         Toronto, Ontario


This year Toronto Public Health came up with a long list of great ways to celebrate and promote breastfeeding. One in particular targeted child care centres — a great choice, since child care staff can play an important role in helping employed mothers continue breastfeeding after they return to work. In the past, many women have been frustrated when child care policies and approaches did not support them in breastfeeding. In October, 2002, Toronto Public Health mailed a new "Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Centre Checklist" to over 800 child care centres in Toronto, along with a "Born to be Breastfed" poster, a fact sheet on "Storing Breast Milk/Thawing Frozen Breast Milk" and a "Breastfeeding and Returning to Work" pamphlet. The Checklist includes items such as "Remove toys or books that promote bottle feeding as the norm, such as dolls with bottles and pacifiers" and "Support mothers to maintain exclusive breastfeeding to six months."


Other strategies:

~Pixel Board Messages at two locations announced "Breastfeeding makes healthy mothers and healthy babies" and "Breastfed babies are healthier."


~The pay stubs for all city staff said "Every baby deserves breastmilk! Toronto Public Health Nurses can help — call 416-338-7600."


~Letters, pamphlets and posters were sent to community agencies working with mothers and babies.


~Press releases about World Breastfeeding Week were sent to newspapers, and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) were sent to local radio stations. The PSAs were the Moxy Früvous songs provided by INFACT.


~Public Health Nurses were given fridge magnets and copies  of information sheets to use with  the families they visit.

Canadian Breastfeeding Challenge winners         Whitehorse, Yukon


The Canadian Breastfeeding Challenge winners!! At last count, at the sites across Canada that reported, 772 women participated in eight provinces and one territory. When organizers worked out the number of attendees as a percentage of the birth rate Yukon came in first, Newfoundland second. Victoria, BC, had the most participants at one site and BC had the largest number of participants in one province. Congratulations to all.


"Those of us from Whitehorse know Yukon is where it’s at, and now so does Canada," says Ann Chapman.  "And all it took was three hours preparation, a good location, support from the business community and volunteer help."


At the appointed time of 11 a.m. October 25, twenty-three moms and babes, supported by a dad and grandma, were ready "to latch on." Ann notes: "We also had a family arrive late (mom/dad and kiddies) but I couldn’t count them and I had a mom leave a telephone message saying she was breastfeeding and it was 11 a.m."


BodyScents, Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, and The Great Canadian Dollar Store donated prizes and interest was such that Aroma Borealis has already promised a donation for next year.


Ann attributes the success to the "aromatic" central location: a room over the Alpine Bakery. "It was great to have La Leche League leaders attend, and information from the Yukon FSA group and so many volunteers. Thanks to MaryBeth Sennett, Kelly Lemoine, Elizabeth Skanes from Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) who came out to help when I really had no voice to speak of! Two CPNP program co-ordinators also showed up to provide support."




"We had great media coverage. I’m impressed with this mini project that took all of three hours to organize! I have lots of ideas for next year."



Colouring Contest CPNPs Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program at the Teen Parent Centre participated in World Breastfeeding Week with their second annual children’s colouring contest in a local paper (a clipart from It was a 10" x 14" picture of a mother breastfeeding her baby with the caption "World Breastfeeding Week 01-07 October 2002. Mommy breastfeeds our baby because human milk is made for baby humans."


"The colouring contest is a weekly insert and the paper was kind enough to accept our plea to have World Breastfeeding recognized," says CPNP Elizabeth Skanes. "This was a great promotion at no cost; in fact, the local Yukon News donates prizes as well to the colouring entry participants. Several teen moms, whose children are of the colouring/scribbling age, submitted pieces."

Breastfeeding Challenge STATS


A total of 816 mother-baby pairs participated in the Breastfeeding Challenge at 47 sites across Canada in 10 provinces and one territory. Here are some other statistics: Yukon had the highest per capita number of mother-baby pairs with 23. BC had 444 women at 23 sites. Ontario had 119 women at seven sites. Co-ordinator Frances Jones of Vancouver aims to get the 74 women breastfeeding in Victoria, BC, into the Guiness Book of World Records for the greatest number of women breastfeeding in one place.

Media coverage                             Cornerbrook, Newfoundland



For World Breastfeeding Week we are having breastfeeding celebrations at four Healthy Baby  Clubs with refreshments and playing the game "Who Wants to win at Breastfeeding?" (Think  along the lines of Who wants to be a millionaire.) 



We distributed the Infact Canada PSAs to our local radio stations and asked that they air them  through WBW and also through the year from time to time.


We have asked local businesses with outdoor billboards  to display breastfeeding friendly messages. (Not sure how successful this was this year — didn’t have a lot of time to get out there, but we will repeat the effort later.)


We have the Breastfeeding Challenge going ahead at five sites throughout our Region: Port Saunders, Deer Lake, Corner Brook, Stephenville and Port aux Basques. We’ve been well covered by the media: Full page coverage in the Western Star on Saturday, September 29, live radio interview on CBC radio on Friday, September 28, NTV interview for Wednesday, October 2 (or 3rd depended on physicians’ strike news), and Rogers Cable TV interview for Wednesday, October 2. The media will cover our challenge events as well.


Our group in Port aux Basques held an open house on October 1 attended by approximately 90  people. Refreshments were provided by the Ladies Hospital Auxilary. The local papers took pictures and covered the story as well.


—Kimberley Hancock



Powered by Breastmilk                                     Cold Lake, Alberta


I just wanted to let you know what our breastfeeding group did to celebrate WBW here in Cold Lake, Alberta. Our breastfeeding group, Babies First, worked with a nurse at our local health unit and got our message out there in a variety of ways. Our community has a large banner which spans the "main drag" and can be used by groups to advertise functions. We had World Breastfeeding Week on the banner for two weeks. Our local paper ran the press release from the WBW kit and our mayor proclaimed WBW using the sample proclamation. Babies First put a display in the local shopping mall with a raffle for one of the breastfeeding pillows and "Powered by Breastmilk" T-shirts that we sell. We also had a display and raffle at the health unit. I did an interview with the local radio station that ran all day October 1 and we had a celebration at the health unit the same day with 17 moms and dads and 19 breastfed babies, toddlers and children. The local paper came and took a picture which ran just this week (our paper comes out once a week). Most of the children proudly wore their "Powered by Breastmilk" T-shirts for the picture.


I am proud of our groups efforts to promote breastfeeding and this year, the importance of doing so was very apparent to me. Our local radio station, while running the interview about WBW, refused to play the Moxy Früvous public service announcements. The person in charge didn’t think they were "suitable." As well, we received negative comments about our T-shirts, many from  nurses working at the health unit! They don’t think they are appropriate.  We have a long way to go in changing attitudes.


On the plus side, I think that as Alberta’s smallest city of 11,000 we did more than communities ten times our size. Breastfeeding is alive and well in northeastern Alberta!


—Heather Henson, Babies First

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