World Breastfeeding Week Oct. 1-7 is underway and members of the local community prenatal committee are encouraging this year’s theme; peer support for breastfeeding success.
“Just like anything, breastfeeding can have its challenges but it’s so much easier when you have support,” said committee member Karen Irvine, childbirth educator and breastfeeding counsellor.
The committee’s role is to identify issues and needs in the community and “to make Williams Lake a healthy community to have babies in.”
Irvine said there are many ways to support a breastfeeding mother for success.
Friends can make meals for new moms, help with housing cleaning if she wants and offer to sit with older siblings. Irvine said it’s also important for friends to support a mother’s choice to breastfeed and for mothers to educate themselves on breastfeeding even before the baby is born.
“We know breastfeeding education before (the baby is born), translates into breastfeeding success later,” she said.
Jordan Davis, also a childbirth educator and certified lactation educator, said even though they may be tempted, new mothers wanting to breastfeed should not offer their babies formula.
“Even one well-meaning formula feeding can begin to sabotage a mother’s milk supply,” Davis said.
Irvine and Davis said it’s critical that mothers take advantage of breastfeeding support earlier rather than later if they’re having trouble.
In Williams Lake, women can look for support from the Pregnancy Outreach Program, public health or the maternity ward at the hospital.