Spring 97 Newsletter INFACT Canada


Canadian Breastfeeding News

Capital Health Region Rates are UP!

Support includes free visit by a LC

Is Alberta's capital setting a trend? Some good news from Edmonton. More women are initiating breastfeeding and more women are sustaining breastfeeding reports the Community Health Promotion and Prevention Services. Between 1991 and 1995 the rate of initiation has increased between 6 and 12 per cent in three areas surveyed. Breastfeeding duration rates also fared better in 1995. At 6 months 39 per cent in two study areas and 28 per cent in the third were breastfeeding at 6 months. This represented a 9 to 13 per cent increase over the 1991 rates.

Support structures for breastfeeding women were minimal in 1991. Although hospital stay was an average 3 to 4 days, only one postnatal contact was made by a public health nurse. By 1995 the mean hospital stay was 36 hours and breastfeeding support now includes:

  • Contact the day of discharge by phone and home visit if necessary
  • Home visit the day after discharge
  • Twenty-four hour hotline
  • Availability of in-house support, phone contact or clinic visit with a lactation consultant for no fee over the next 8 weeks post partum.

Headwaters Health Region, Alberta Halts Free Formula

Headwaters Health Region is the geographical region just south of Calgary, Alberta including the towns of Okotoks, High River, Vulcan, Claresholm, Nanton, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Banff and Canmore. There are five hospitals in this region that practice obstetrics. The lactation consultant, dietitians, and the manager of purchasing have worked successfully toward a mutual understanding of the implications of the WHO International Code to their health region.

This understanding has led to a decision in June 1996 not to enter into any contracts with formula manufacturers, but to purchase artificial baby milks through normal procurement channels. Also, a breastfeeding policy manual is presently being developed. We congratulate those who have worked so diligently to bring Headwaters Health Region so many steps closer to being Baby Friendly.

Local Action With A Message

In the fall of 1996, the principal of Conrich School was asked if he would like to participate in a fundraiser for this small rural Alberta school. The plan was to save UPC codes from Nestlé products which could be redeemed for cash for the school. Principal Wayne Harlton turned the decision over to the School Parent Council and with the help of Chairman Wendy Mortson, a long time suporter of breastfeeding, the answer was a resounding NO to Nestlé. Wendy used information from past editions of INFACT News to illustrate her presentation to the parents leaving the school a breastfeeding friendly environment.

Nutrition for Health: The Nova Scotia Agenda for Action

Congratulations to the Nova Scotia Department of Health in its community-based approach to Nutrition for Health. Recognizing that "only 62 per cent of Nova Scotia mothers breastfeed their infants at birth compared to an average of 75 per cent of mothers across Canada: and that only 36 per cent of those mothers who start breastfeeding their babies at birth continue to breastfeed, either in combination or exclusively, until their infants are 5 months of age, increasing breastfeeding rates is part of the plan."

How to achieve this?

Nova Scotians felt it important to, "Work to protect and promote breastfeeding" by influencing public and hospital policy and supporting breastfeeding in Nova Scotia's communities. Actions will focus on:

  • Formation of community-based coalitions
  • Promotion and education of the public and professionals
  • Creation of advocacy for increased policy support
  • Expanded research into breastfeeding.
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