As a mama who breastfed her babies (extended nursing too) we are delighted to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (October 1-7). This year, the Winnipeg Breastfeeding Network has collaborated with researchers from the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and a number of community partners to launch a provocative new local campaign placing life-sized images of breastfeeding mothers in public areas such as shopping malls, building foyers, waiting rooms, and parks.
The campaign is designed to encourage a more supportive society for breastfeeding women and to eradicate the stigma that still surrounds breastfeeding in public. Similar campaigns have been rolled out in other areas of the country and internationally. Here in Winnipeg, the life-sized figures will feature images of local moms breastfeeding and will be set up in Winnipeg ACCESS Centres and public spaces including Portage Place Shopping Centre on Friday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Breastfeeding is so important for infant and maternal health and it’s disappointing that many women still feel uncomfortable feeding their babies in public spaces,” said Dr. Meghan Azad, research scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. “Breastfeeding helps to prevent childhood infections, obesity and asthma, and has countless other health benefits. No mom should ever feel ashamed or unwelcome when feeding her baby.”
The Winnipeg campaign is part of a larger effort by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to establish safe and welcoming environments for families and prospective parents. Campaign organizers hope the images will not only help normalize breastfeeding, but will also spark much-needed conversation on this topic. The Winnipeg campaign slogans are: “Children need to eat #anytimeanywhere” and “#thinknormal”.
“We hope to encourage the notion that this is what a healthy society looks like: diverse women visible in diverse public locations giving young children the healthiest start in life,” said Marusia Kachkowski from the Winnipeg Breastfeeding Network. “We want breastfeeding to be ordinary and commonplace so that people from all walks of life feel supported and welcome to nourish their children.”
The team was thrilled to work with the photography and design students at Tec Voc High School, who enthusiastically took on the project and captured beautiful images of moms and babies.