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World Breastfeeding Week 2021 is October 1-7!

We have much to celebrate globally: mothers that breastfeed/chestfeed their babies, partners and other support people who make things easier and communities that protect and support breastfeeding. The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2021 is breastfeeding/chestfeeding is a ‘shared responsibility’. Not just mom and baby, but everyone has a role to play to make sure that families who wish to breastfeed have everything they need to succeed. It’s a public health issue requiring child and family-friendly policies, financial investment, and ongoing commitment at all levels of government as well as the private sector.

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived over 18 months ago, there was increased concern and anxiety in our community about newborns and families. Many important services were initially shut down. Who could new parents call and where could they go when they had questions and needed help with  breastfeeding their baby? 

Fortunately, many community partners stepped up and enhanced their breastfeeding services. Hospitals, public health, other healthcare providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, midwives, dentists) and private businesses (lactation support/education) rallied to support breastfeeding families by providing extra monitoring and early intervention. Professionals worked together by trying to make a seamless transition from hospital to home to the community, ensuring families would have the care and information they needed (warm chain). The Middlesex-London Health Unit continued to prioritize breastfeeding. Skilled breastfeeding nurses were encouraged to increase telephone support to families, provide telemedicine (video) calls to ‘see’ what baby was doing at breast and offer home visits when parents were willing and  video calls were not enough. Partners and other support people could be actively involved in both in-person and telemedicine visits. 

Reflecting on the pandemic during World Breastfeeding Week 2021, we can see how the community worked together to ensure the health, development and wellbeing of infants, children and families were not negatively affected. Now we need to sustain these improvements with meaningful public policies and continuous funding! 

If you have questions about you or your child, call one of the phone nurses at the Middlesex-London Health Unit – 519-663-5317 (Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 4:30PM).

Submitted by Shelley Hlymbicky RN, IBCLC for the Middlesex-London Community Early Years Partnership


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