The Greater Victoria Public Library’s regular patrons will have extra company this Saturday – a whole lot of breastfeeding moms.
In honour of National Breastfeeding Week Oct 1. to 7, the Vancouver Island Health Authority is once again participating in the 11th Annual Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge, an international event with the goal of setting the record for the most babies breastfeeding at one time.
On Saturday, mothers are invited to breastfeed their babies at the downtown and Juan de Fuca library branches.
“Often times we need to remind ourselves of the importance of why we do what we do, so that we’ll keep doing it,” said Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for the north Island region. “Breastfeeding is one of the quintessential starts to a young person’s life that affects them for the rest of their life. It’s more than just baby getting milk.”
Beyond providing nutrients, antibodies, polyunsaturated acids critical to a baby’s brain development and building a connection between infant and mother, new studies are revealing health benefits later in life to those who were breastfed and to women who breast fed their children, Enns explained.
Adults who have been breastfed are shown to have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and be less overweight, with less Type 2 diabetes. They tend also to do better on IQ tests, Enns said.
VIHA and library staff will be on hand on to answer questions at either location, while chief medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, will be joining the event at the main branch.
Dads, siblings and caregivers are also invited to learn more about the connection between breastfeeding and early literacy at one of the two participating Greater Victoria libraries.
“We live in a society when it’s not always easy for women to breastfeed,” Enns said.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge is 10 a.m. until noon Sept. 29 at the main branch, 735 Broughton St. and the Juan de Fuca branch, 1759 Island Hwy. Story time begins at 10:30 a.m. and the latch-on challenge follows at 11 a.m.