This Saturday at 11 a.m., mothers and children at sites across Canada — including Brandon — the United States and other countries around the world will compete to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time.
The winners of the competition will be the site with the most children breastfeeding at one site, the country with the most children breastfeeding at registered sites and in North America the region (province or territory or state) with the most children participating as a percentage of the birth rate.
To level the playing field between large and small, each site will be entered into one of four groups determined by birth rate.
In Brandon, the challenge will be held at Shoppers Mall. Registration is at 10:15 a.m. with the “latch on” at 11 a.m.
Why this challenge? Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits, including better health for both mothers and babies.
According to UNICEF, of the 136.7 million babies born worldwide, only 32.6 per cent of them breastfeed exclusively in the first six months. The recommendation is for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond, together with adequate, appropriate and indigenous complimentary feeding starting from the age of six months.
Many women fail to meet their own breastfeeding goals and wean their children prematurely, well before meeting recommended guidelines.
Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. In North America this lack of support is demonstrated as many women find breastfeeding in public a major barrier.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia, with 856 children at 26 sites.
By 2010, there were 4,373 children in 18 countries at more than 213 sites with a total of more than 20,000 supporters.
This event takes place as part of the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week in Canada.
The Quintessence Foundation, a non-profit group providing education to parents and professionals about breastfeeding and human milk banking, sponsors the Breastfeeding Challenge.
For more information, contact Quintessence Foundation at 604-228-9331 or visit the website babyfriendly.ca.