Employers are required by federal law to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break times to pump for one year after a child is born, as well as provide a private setting (that is not a bathroom) that can be used by mothers to pump. Courtesy photo

Employers are required by federal law to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break times to pump for one year after a child is born, as well as provide a private setting (that is not a bathroom) that can be used by mothers to pump. Courtesy photo

Breastfeeding support is available in the East Kootenay

Every year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action coordinates World Breastfeeding Week — a campaign that aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanize action on breastfeeding.

Although progress has been achieved, the work to protect, promote and support breastfeeding became more of a challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, which widened and deepened inequalities, tipping more people into food insecurity. In addition, limitations to the health system’s capacity led to deterioration of breastfeeding support, and targeted outreach by the breastmilk substitutes (BMS) industry continues to negatively influence parents’ infant feeding decisions.

The focus of World Breastfeeding Week this year is education and support, with the goal of normalizing breast-feeding and creating breastfeeding friendly environments.

Daleen Bybee from Kimberley is a lactation consultant and birth doula, and says East Kootenay women can take advantage of a local support program.

As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and coordinator of the Breastfeeding Mamas! Peer support network in the East Kootenay, it’s my goal to protect and promote breastfeeding while educating and supporting families,” Bybee said.

Breastfeeding Mamas! is a peer support group for breastfeeding moms and those who want to learn more about breastfeeding. Monthly meetings are currently happening in Cranbrook and Kimberley. Moms can also ask questions and support other moms on our peer support network on Facebook at any time.

Bybee also provides one on one support for families who are having any issues with breastfeeding. She can be reached at daleen.bybee@gmail.com

“Encouragement, support and education are so important when a new baby arrives,” she said.