Chilliwack moms set to defend title in world breastfeeding challenge

Last year Chilliwack was tops in North America and tied for first in the world

Shauna Jimmie feeds seven-month-old son

On Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. mothers and children at sites across Canada and all over the world will compete to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time.

Chilliwack’s event will be held at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre located at 46361 Yale Road. Doors open at 9 a.m. with the official latch-on happening at 11 a.m.

This year’s speakers will include Chilliwack locals Dr. Carin Bondar, biologist and mother of four, and Glenda Standeven, cancer survivor, motivational speaker and mother of two.

Mothers are encouraged to register in advance for the challenge to receive a commemorative certificate of participation and gift bag, but are also able to do so on location the morning of the event as well.

Other highlights include door prizes, complimentary breastfeeding portraits, organic nursing tea and lactation cookies.

This event takes place as part of the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week in Canada. The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia, Canada with 856 children at 26 sites. By 2013 there were 4,569 children in 10 countries that took part.

Last year, Chilliwack had 162 babies breastfed simultaneously placing first in North America and tied for first place in the world.

“We have received an overwhelming response to this year’s event and have already surpassed last year’s registrations. It’s possible we could reach our goal of 200 babies breastfeeding simultaneously on October 4.” said Alitha D’Ottavio, organizer of this year’s event.

Despite these numbers however, breastfeeding still presents a major challenge for many women. Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. In North America, this lack of support is demonstrated as many women find breastfeeding in public a major barrier. The Breastfeeding Challenge is one strategy to help spread the word globally that breastfeeding is normal and an important strategy for child and maternal health.

For more information regarding the Chilliwack Breastfeeding Challenge or to register, contact Alitha D’Ottavio at chwk.bf.challenge@gmail.com or check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chilliwackbreastfeedingchallenge. You can also visit the Quintessence Foundation website at www.babyfriendly.ca.