Latching on to breastfeeding

Sooke moms taking part in global breastfeeding challenge

Sooke will be joining the global Breastfeeding Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 29, where mothers and their babies around the world latch on at the same time.

“It’s really just bringing everybody together with common ground as well as raising awareness,” said Sara Wallis, local Breastfeeding Challenge co-ordinator.

“The whole premise behind it is to sort of get the information out there about breastfeeding.”

Wallis, who is a fourth year nursing student at the University of Victoria, said information will be collected on how many moms and babies participated in Sooke, which will be shared on the Quintessence Foundation website. The foundation focuses on educating health professionals and public on breastfeeding.

The local event will take place at the Reading Room, on 6660 Sooke Rd.,  with registration at 10:30 a.m. and latch on at 11 a.m, following a countdown. This year, the team will be named the Sooke Mommies.

After the Breastfeeding Challenge, there will be an informal discussion and introduction session.

“We’re trying to create community, but in doing that I want to be able to bring in some of the resources that moms can access in order to be able to meet other moms and meet other women with similar situations,” Wallis said.

She said mothers who feed pumped breast milk to their babies and family members are also welcome to come along.

“Some moms are pumping breast milk and that’s fine, too. That’s still another way of latching on so they’re more than welcome to come.”

Wallis said a few benefits of breastfeeding include passing on immunity to your child, reducing the risk of breast cancer in women, and providing babies with a natural source of nutrition in terms of calorie and fat intake.

“I would never solely just say breastfeeding is the only way to go but we still want to create awareness,” she added.

According to Wallis, Sooke joined the Breastfeeding Challenge a few years ago with a total 12 participants.

She does not expect a large number of participants as there are only an average of 180 babies born in Sooke each year.

The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge started in B.C. in 2001, with 856 babies and mothers at 26 sites.

In 2011, there were 4,466 participants in the challenge in 16 countries.

To visit the Quintessence website, check out: www.babyfriendly.ca