Breastfeeding provides many health benefits for mothers and babies.
Communities and health-care organizations have an important role to play in creating an environment that makes it easier to breastfeed.
Recently, the Penticton community has been taking steps to support breastfeeding in the South Okanagan.
Baby-Friendly Initiative a vital partnership
Health-care teams at Penticton Regional Hospital along with those at the Penticton Health Centre and the Penticton Indian Band are working together to develop a baby-friendly culture. Their goal is to make significant improvements in the health of mothers and babies in the South Okanagan.
Together they are working towards achieving the Baby-Friendly Initiative designation. This will be the first such Canadian partnership between a hospital, community and a First Nation health department.
The Baby-Friendly Initiative, launched by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 1991, is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. It has been shown to improve short and long term health for infants, such as lower rates of infections, sudden infant death syndrome, and obesity later in life. It is also associated with reduced chronic disease in mothers, including obesity, diabetes and breast cancer; it enhances quality of care and empowers them to make informed infant feeding choices. It also recognizes there are medical and personal reasons why a baby may not be breastfed and supports all families by ensuring they receive the best care possible.
The breastfeeding family ̶ unique trio of plaster casts on display
Coming this fall, a unique trio of plaster cast busts will be on display in the Penticton hospital lobby. Each of the three casts is based on artists’ interpretations of stories shared with them about personal breastfeeding journeys. They were created for the Breastfeeding Art Expo that toured Interior Health in 2017-2018.
“The art exhibit is part of our vision for excellence in maternal and infant health care,” says Sara Evans a director of clinical operations at Interior Health.
Lactation room opens at Penticton Regional Hospital
On Oct. 4 the hospital will officially open its first dedicated lactation room.
Located in the corridor between the emergency department and diagnostic imaging, the newly refurbished room will provide a quiet, comfortable area to staff, physicians, patients and visitors for feeding or pumping.
“People are welcome to feed or pump milk anywhere they choose in the hospital, but this room provides relaxation and peace and quiet, which we expect both parents and babies will really appreciate,” says manager Cindy Barton.
Feature image of plaster casts Left: The Source by Rebecca Bessette; Top Right: Mama’s Milk by Nathan Stewart; Bottom Right: Sweet Nectar by Nicole Hobbs. Lead Artist: Angela Safire Jones.