Catherine Young was a writer and passionate breastfeeding advocate who founded her own magazine, The Compleat Mother, in January of 1985. This little magazine, produced on the kitchen table of her farmhouse in southern Ontario, now has a worldwide circulation of 15,000 and its own website. Not long afterwards, Catherine created The Friends of Breastfeeding Society to produce and give away breastfeeding posters. The Society’s Board members included Dr. Jack Newman, Dr. William Sears and Michel Odent.
Catherine was the mother of three breastfed children, Rebecca, Mandy and Zachary, and was a single mother most of the time she was producing her magazine. She took pride in presenting the most recent , up-to-date research on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding in every issue, as well as personal stories from her readers. The Compleat Mother is a magazine for mothers in Canada that adheres to the WHO International Code.
As well as the magazine, Catherine wrote a novel in 1991 called Stretch Marks, Three Kids, Thirty-Six and Single. She compiled two books of previously published articles, Mother’s Favourites and Mother’s Secrets and created some special issues of the magazine focusing on specific topics. She also raised sheep on her farm and commented that even the least of her lambs got what too many human babies were denied � their mothers’ milk.
In September of 1999, Catherine was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy in December of that year but in January 2000 it was determined that the cancer had spread to her spine. INFACT supported Catherine through her difficult treatments and helped arrange for her to receive an expensive but essential supplement at low cost from the manufacturer. Despite her illness, Catherine continued to be a breastfeeding activist and she took on Sears (asking them to remove gift baskets containing formula), Dr. William Sears (asking him to remove formula ads from his website) and Ontario Works (protesting their requirement that new mothers wean their babies to attend training and look for work).
Catherine firmly believed that she developed cancer as the result of being fed Nestlé Carnation milk as an infant. Hundreds of people attended her funeral services, and Catherine’s last request was that, instead of sending flowers, people boycott Nestlé. The Compleat Mother magazine is continuing to be produced by her daughter Rebecca, a full-time university student.
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