11 October 2009

66 at 6 in 2

Once it was a million dollars, but heck if there was only a half a million there are better things to do with it than give it to Rolls-Royce or any other company that could get along without it and still create jobs in Mount Pearl.

And heck, I wouldn’t be pumping cash into getting more women to have babies

I’d put the money into looking after the ones we have and are having. Your humble e-scribbler would support breast feeding in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It’s good, preventive health care.

It helps change attitudes toward women way better than being crude and beating the crap out of Randy Simms for something he didn’t say.

There is a campaign apparently, as this story from The Aurora notes.

"We are launching this campaign in Labrador-City Wabush to highlight the success this region has had in promoting breastfeeding," Ms. Murphy Goodridge said during the launch. "Labrador-Grenfell Health is the first regional health authority in the province to implement a comprehensive regional breastfeeding policy based on international standards. Breastfeeding rates throughout Labrador have always been higher than the rest of the province, so I am here to recognize Labrador-Grenfell Health employees and their community partners on their tremendous success and to encourage them to continue to strive to improve breastfeeding rates. Other areas of the province are looking to replicate your success."

According to the article the province-wide initiation rate is a mere 64%.  That’s up a mere 1.3% since 2006. The old article had an old link to the Breastfeeding Coalition:  here’s the new one.

And initiation isn’t the telling factor.  Three years ago only 11% of mothers who started breast-feeding were still breast-feeding six months later. Women aren’t sticking with it. The rate by 2008 was a mere 12%.  That’s basically no change.

Whatever the ponderous government agencies have been doing ain’t enough.  Maybe we need to free-up the people actually running the programs and get a lot of that health care bureaucracy and stodgie government-ish thinking get out of the way.

And lookit, nothing would work to start our children out healthier than to encourage breastfeeding.

The BFC has a campaign to boost breastfeeding but frankly a few posters ain’t gonna do the job.  The campaign needs to have a much higher profile.  For one thing, there could be a group of prominent local someones in addition to all the other stuff outlined in the BFC strategic plan to help reinforce the message about breastfeeding.

And rather than just talk about the need for supportive environments, people need to start initiating action.  There needs to be a concerted effort to make the workplace more tit-friendly, for example.  There needs to be a much wider effort to make more parts of society accepting of breastfeeding.

So there’s an idea.

mom-breastfeeding Rather than kick Randy Simms in ‘nads for something someone misheard or deliberately misrepresented, maybe someone could have done something positive like asked him about the City of Mount Pearl’s breast-feeding policy. 

Are women councillors who are breastfeeding their children able to do so during a council meeting or a committee meeting? 

What about the provincial government?

Was Charlene Johnson able to get her little one to latch on while Danny was in full rant around the cabinet table?   Not ideal for the digestion, admittedly, but still,  you get the point.

And what was all that with her having to get back to work a mere month after giving birth supposedly – and the emphasis is on supposedly – because there was no maternity leave policy in the House of Assembly?

Pish-posh.

Talk about your unfriendly work environment for women.  Now I may have missed it but I don’t recall anyone from PACSW championing that cause at that time.  There’s one for the government appointed pseudo-bureaucrats to tackle.

But there’s an example of simple issue that directly affects the ability of women to get involved and/or stay involved in many more aspects of life outside the family once they start having children.

Simple.

Practical.

Effective.

And everyone wins in so many ways.

People in Newfoundland and Labrador need to get involved in an effort to dramatically increase the breastfeeding rates in this province.

What’s been going on already is great but it isn’t enough.  Clearly.  Not enough.

So on this thanksgiving weekend, let’s applaud the efforts of the provincial Breastfeeding Coalition.  Let’s applaud Labrador West with the highest initiation rate – 75% – in the whole province.

But let’s recognise that that 75% is still 15% below the national average.

And we need to get some kind of “66 at 6 in 2” drive going to ensure that  within two years, we have 66% of mothers in the province still breastfeeding their infants six months after giving birth.

-srbp-

Some ideas for 66 at 6 in 2

A better website.  It’s do-able and younger families are more likely to use the Internet for information.  The current one is buried away and it doesn’t have the kind of simple stuff you’ll find elsewhere.  A good example of a BF supportive site:  the US government one.  There are lots of others.

-  Paul Daly’s shot is great but there is a need to use a much more aggressive approach with messages tailored to different audiences.  And for mercy sakes don’t post the poster as a pdf.   You can get some ideas from this approach mapped out by students in the UK.

-  Nothing work better at changing attitudes and behaviour than making it clear that the dominant attitude has shifted.  People openly supporting breastfeeding – highlighted by some prominent locals – would start the ball rolling.

-  And just do it.  Nothing will work better than having the women who are breastfeeding just doing it.

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