A competitive breastfeeding league in Lloydminster will take on the world at The Root on Oct. 1.
Lloydminster moms are expected to participate in this year’s Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge taking part at various sites across Canada and other countries on that day at exactly 11.a.m.
The Lloydminster challenge will be hosted by the local La Leche League of Canada, a non profit international affiliated organization that promotes and supports breastfeeding.
“It’s open to any breastfeeding mom and it is being put on by our local La Leche League group,” said Winona Morland, a league leader from BirthRite Lloydminster.
“We’re hoping to have at least 25 or more moms, which would be nice.”
This annual challenge aims to set a record for the most children breastfeeding at one time.
In 2015, there were 4,016 children in seven countries at 161 sites taking part.
The winners will be the registered site, region and country with the most breastfed children with recognition as the award.
“It’s not really a prize that we would win,” Morland said, laughing.
“It’s more letting people become aware of breastfeeding support in their community and just letting them know there is support and that it’s important to get help with breastfeeding.”
This is the first time the Lloydminster league will take part since it participated a couple of years ago.
“The last time we held it, we had about 25, so we would like to get more than that,” said Morland.
The challenge, which takes place during World Breastfeeding Week in Canada, is one strategy to educate moms and communities about the advantages of breastfeeding.
Morland says in Canada, 89 per cent of mothers start breastfeeding with that rate falling off to just 26 per cent after six months.
Health Canada recommends exclusive breastfeeding of babies up to six months and then after that supplementary for two years or more along with the introduction of solid foods.
“This is a normal part of mother baby biology,” said Morland about breastfeeding. “We don’t like to say it’s best for babies; we like to say it’s normal for babies.”
As a La Leche leader and pre natal educator, Morland provides one-on-one support for women in the community as well as running monthly meetings.
Morland said she breastfed all five of her healthy children, three or whom have graduated from high school and moved on and two who are still at home.
She says the advantages of continuing breastfeeding beyond six months is to help to continue to build immunity in the child to help give them a good start with food, with nutrition.
“It just helps to build up their systems so they can be healthy and smart,” she said.
Morland said there a lot of reasons why more women don’t breastfeed their infants beyond six months including a lack of pubic acceptance or support.
“We provide a lot of mom to mom support in our group where other moms can help new moms, so we do a lot of encouragement, information and knowledge,” said Morland.
She added some women have a good experience breastfeeding in public, but sometimes others encounter people telling them to cover up or go in the bathroom or they shouldn’t be doing that.
“So I think a lot of it is just our cultural perspective—I just think it’s misinformation or not understanding or if you’ve never seen it,” said Morland.
She said in Canada, it’s not as common as in other parts of the world to see women breastfeeding everywhere.
“That’s one of the things we hope to promote, breastfeeding is normal,” she said.
With about 1,700 births a year in Lloydminster the last few years, Morland hopes a lot of women will register to take part in the breastfeeding challenge either at home or at The Root.
Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with infants “latching on” for a breastfeeding at 11 a.m.
“We have door prizes and all sort of things going on,” said Morland.