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Healthy Eating: Promoting and supporting breastfeeding

Categories:

  • Healthy eating,
  • Social environment,
  • Community,
  • Healthcare facilities,
  • Workplace,
  • Schools,
  • Facilities & organizations,

Healthy Eating: Promoting and supporting breastfeeding

Strengthening breastfeeding education and promotion can support the development of healthy eating practices over the childs’ lifespan.1  

Nursing signs

Communities can work alongside municipalities and local businesses to create policies that will establish environments that encourage, promote and protect breastfeeding practices. Posting signs and creating welcoming environments for breastfeeding mothers in a simple way to support families. 

Ways to get started

  • Establish partnerships with businesses, local government and other community organizations to develop places where people feel comfortable with breastfeeding, whether in dedicated areas for privacy or in public.
  • Create and display positive messaging in facilities, stores, and local businesses that promotes and protects breastfeeding in public places and shows that the space is nursing friendly.2
  • Promote training and create awareness among staff of facilities, stores, schools and local businesses about how they can support and protect breastfeeding in that location.2
  • Share information and resources on lactation support for new parents.
  • Develop awareness messaging about the importance of breastfeeding for infants’ and mothers’ health.2-3 Do not forget to include other close family members in your messaging (such as fathers or grandparents).
  • Participate in activities such as world Breastfeeding Week to increase the visibility of breastfeeding.
  • Explore the possibility of clinics, hospital, and the community adopting the “Baby-Friendly Initiative”
  • Ensuring workplaces follow provincial policy and support staff to have parental leave.

For further action to promote healthy eating in the community, see:

Multi-component community-wide interventions that encourage healthy eating in your community will have greater impact than implementing single one-off strategies. Multi-component interventions may include policies that increase the availability, affordability and access to healthy eating in your community.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines: 

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about promoting and supporting breastfeeding may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Increased number of "breastfeeding friendly" sites
  • Increased positive perception of breastfeeding (changes in social norms)
  • Increased adoption of the principles of Baby-Friendly Initiative

References: Protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding

  1. Ottem A. Healthy eating and food security: promising strategies for BC. Toronto (ON): Dietitians of Canada2010. Available from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Healthy-Eating-and-Food-Security-Strategies-BC.aspx.
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Maternal and child nutrition: Public Health Guideline. NICE Guideline. 2014.
  3. Blanck HM, Kim SA. Creating Supportive Nutrition Environments for Population Health Impact and Health Equity: An Overview of the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network's Efforts. 2012;43:S85-S90.
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