The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Celebrate National Breastfeeding Week, Oct. 1 to 7

WHITBY, ON September 30, 2014

Durham Region Health Department will celebrate National Breastfeeding Week, Oct. 1 to 7. This year’s theme, “A Winning Goal for Life”, places emphasis on the importance of the continued protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. National Breastfeeding Week is an annual event developed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a global network of organizations and individuals working to support, promote and protect breastfeeding.

The Health Department will promote National Breastfeeding Week by celebrating at each of the Department’s breastfeeding groups and invites residents to join throughout the week. “We want to encourage mothers to give themselves time to learn to breastfeed by joining us at one of our breastfeeding groups,” explained Carol Hobson, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “Here they can learn about breastfeeding, while sharing experiences and getting advice and tips from other mothers.” The groups are led by public health nurses and are offered in five locations across Durham Region.

According to the World Health Organization, the key to best breastfeeding practices is continued, day-to-day support for the breastfeeding mother within her home and community. “Although, breastfeeding is a normal and natural process, some mothers may experience difficulties and challenges along the way,” said Ms. Hobson. “We encourage pregnant and new mothers to plan ahead and know what to expect to help achieve their breastfeeding goals.”

The Health Department and Health Canada recommend that babies breastfeed for the first two years and beyond. Breastmilk is all a baby needs for the first six months of life. According to a Health Department report, among new mothers surveyed in Durham Region, 92 per cent indicated that they had initiated breastfeeding; however, only half continued to breastfeed for six months or more.

Research also shows that the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond baby to mother. In addition to encouraging bonding between mother and baby, studies conducted by a number of Canadian health agencies have found that  a mother who breastfeeds her baby has a lower risk of developing breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes. The benefits of breast milk for baby include protection against infections, diarrhea and dehydration. Breast milk also promotes healthy brain development, proper jaw and tooth development and can also decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the risk of obesity as babies grow to teens and adults.

For additional information about breastfeeding, National Breastfeeding Week events or to order your free prenatal breastfeeding package, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729 or 905-666-6241.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

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For more information, please contact Health Department.