June 28, 2020 update to Breastfeeding and Covid-19: Time to patch the safety net
BCLCA has been engaged in ongoing communication with the Ministry of Health as follow-up to the position statement and petition that was launched in April. We will continue to engage in this discussion using additional strategies to bring this important issue forward. BCLCA members may go here for further information.
Access to high quality breastfeeding support across regions and within healthcare programming was inconsistent prior to the crisis. The current situation has exacerbated the pre-existing lack of support through re-deploying public health resources and social distancing, making it even more difficult for breastfeeding families to achieve their goals. Yet when breastfeeding is going well, it provides a vital safety net to families by ensuring a safe, secure, reliable food source, providing immunological support to the infant and down-regulating the stress response for the breastfeeding dyad. BCLCA has drafted a position statement outlining the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the families we serve and arguing that increasing support in key areas will minimize the potential for negative effects on the next generation. Please read the letter sent April 20, 2020 to Minister Dix on the issue and sign the BCLCA petition to support change that will benefit all families to achieve their infant feeding goals.
Baby Box (Bed) Programs - December 15, 2017
At BCLCA, all members are committed to promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding and our experience with families tells us that breastfeeding is intertwined with and influenced by nighttime parenting and sleep. Thus, the recent attention that baby boxes are getting has led to both parents and members to ask for more information on the issue. In response, we have prepared 2 documents:
1. An infographic of things that parents might consider. Additionally, practitioners will find that this can be used as a guide for conversation in counselling families.
2. A more in-depth Information brief on the issue for use in conversations with other health care providers and health care organizations.
For Immediate Release – British Columbia Lactation Consultant Association – January 19, 2017
First and foremost: our deepest condolences to Mr. Chen on the loss of his wife and to Florence Leung’s son on the loss of his mother. We imagine the pain of discussing such a deeply personal loss and recognize the courage of Mr. Chen for doing so in the hopes a having a dialogue for change.
Breastfeeding and birth represent a developmentally vulnerable time of transition for the mother and baby, one that is deserving of protection and support (UNICEF, 2008), whether that is for perinatal depression or infant feeding assistance. British Columbia Lactation Consultants Association and many other professional organizations recognize that breastfeeding is an important health behavior that has lifelong benefits for both mother and baby (Canadian Pediatric Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Dietitians of Canada, 2012). We agree with Mr. Chen that mothers who give formula are not bad mothers and shaming mothers who do not breastfeed is not a strategy the BCLCA endorses under any circumstances. As an organization, we support access to services that are tailored to the unique needs of each mother-baby pair as determined by collaborating with a knowledgeable healthcare provider starting in the prenatal period. Without knowing the details of care that Ms. Leung received, it has been our observation that there has been an erosion of universal support for mothers undertaking this critical transition and increased difficulty obtaining specialized services, such as those of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or mental health professional, in a timely and family-focused manner. Therefore, we call on our provincial government to commit to the revitalization of appropriate, acceptable, and accessible services for young families and timely access to more specialized help so that no family ever experiences such a deep and resonating loss as have Mr. Chen and his son.
UNICEF (2008). Women’s and Children’s Rights in a Human Rights Based Approach to Development: A Working Paper. Retrieved from: http://www.unicef.org/gender/files/WomensAndChildrensRightsInAHumanRightsBasedApproach.pdf
Health Canada (2012). Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months. Retrieved from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/index-eng.php