World Breastfeeding Week

By Chiara Marcello

August 1- August 7 is World Breastfeeding Week; an annual celebration dedicated to support and encourage breastfeeding. While women have breastfed for centuries, the challenges many of them face remain just as difficult. As Lactation Consultants, Elena Zevlever and Solmaz Haghighi assist many women on their breastfeeding journeys to guide them towards success. This week, they share helpful information to highlight the importance of breastfeeding.

What are your responsibilities as the Lactation Consultants at Humber River Hospital?

Lactation Consultants support women and their fellow team members through the challenges of breastfeeding. Their services are offered beyond the Maternal and Baby Unit to collaborate with various specialities, such as Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists, and other Physicians. While Lactation Consultants are Registered Nurses, we must be recertified every five years due to our evidence-based practices. We regularly adapt new strategies and recommendations to reflect ongoing research. Lactation Consultants are always available to find what works for each mother and guide them in the proper direction to achieve any goals they may have.

What benefits does breastfeeding offer to the baby?

Breastfeeding offers countless benefits for infants:

  • Ideal food: Breastmilk is easier for babies to digest and improves their immune systems.
  • Assists in development: Breastmilk is substantial in assisting with bodily developments, including the brain.
  • Uniquely designed: Breastmilk is somewhat of a custom milk due to life cells it contains that are designed for the baby’s needs. These life cells are constantly changing and cannot be produced artificially.

What benefits does breastfeeding offer to the mother?

Breastfeeding has proven to reduce the likelihood of experiencing various illnesses and cancers such as breast cancerovarian cancer, and osteoporosis. Additionally, breastfeeding is a form of empowerment. Think of it as a superpower possessed only by women – a superpower that allows them to nurture their children with milk designed uniquely for them.

Any suggestions to women interested in breastfeeding? 

Each woman has a unique breastfeeding journey. Just like everything, breastfeeding is a learning experience that requires time and practice. To women who are currently breastfeeding or who are interested in doing so in the future, do not hesitate to seek help. Whether it be from Physicians, Lactation Consultants, or family members, allow others to be involved in the journey.

“You’ve heard it takes a village to raise a child. To breastfeed, you may need help from the village family members.”