Supporting Breastfeeding: Your actions matter, even if you are not a parent

Research continues to show the health-promoting qualities of breast milk and how it contributes to lifelong infant health, in addition to maternal health. In support of Canadian Breastfeeding Week happening October 1 to 7, 2019 we want everyone to consider their slogan “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”, even to those who are not a parent.

In Canada, the majority of women initiate breastfeeding (90%), but only about 25% are able to continue with exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended duration of 6 months.  There are many contributors for why this could be, however creating a social environment for new moms to feel safe and supported is critical during this time.

Although barriers to breastfeeding may include physiological problems (e.g. low milk supply) there are also social barriers, such as poor social support for women who are breastfeeding and the view that breastfeeding in public is inappropriate. To help breakdown these social barriers, we all must contribute to creating spaces where mothers feel supported and empowered to breastfeed.

To help explain the social barriers new mother’s experience, check out this opinion editorial written by Sarah Turner, PhD student in the Azad Lab at the University of Manitoba.