On Saturday, Sept. 29, thousands of mothers will gather together in groups all around the world and latch on their babies at exactly at 11 a.m. to participate in The Global Breastfeeding Challenge.
The annual event, which is organized by the B.C.-based nonprofit Quintessence Foundation, aims to spread the word globally that breastfeeding is normal and an important strategy for child and maternal health. It’s timed to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, in the first week of October.
April Reding, who is helping organize a local event at breastfeeding boutique and baby-friendly café Melons et Clémentines in N.D.G., said despite “breast is best” awareness campaigns, many mothers still feel shy feeding their babies in public places.
Reding said the event aims to normalize breastfeeding in public and reduce the stigma new mothers often feel when latching on in public places.
In her experience as a mom, as well as a volunteer at Nourri-Source, which offers breastfeeding support for mothers in Quebec, she said one of the big challenges breastfeeding mothers often face is isolation.
When infants are cluster-feeding, she noted, babies nurse often and long. Mothers who don’t feel comfortable feeding their babies in public can end up stuck at home alone for long periods, or closeted away in bathroom stalls or other lonely places.
“We don’t want to be isolated from society and go hide in a corner like we’re doing something shameful,” Reding said. “This is what boobs are designed for. It’s funny, it’s perfectly acceptable in our society to show a lot of cleavage, but God forbid someone sees a flash of nipple when a baby is feeding.”
The Breastfeeding Challenge will happen between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Melons et Clémentines, 5659 Sherbrooke St. W., N.D.G. For more information, call 524-482-5248.
More than a dozen local Breastfeeding Challenge events are registered throughout Quebec. A full list is online at babyfriendly.ca/challenge/region/6/9.