A breastfeeding peer support group is now available for moms in the Elk Valley.
Breastfeeding Mamas! is a no-charge program for breastfeeding and pregnant women, that will offer monthly meetings in Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford.
Breastfeeding Mamas! began in 2011 in Cranbrook by two lactation consultants. Just one year later, the program has expanded to several locations throughout the East Kootenays.
“We are super excited to have six cities in our region offering Breastfeeding Mamas! group this fall,” said Daleen Bybee, co-founder of Breastfeeding Mamas!
“Thanks to Columbia Basin Trust and Community Connection Society of Southeast B.C., we have been able to expand the program to include Cranbrook, Creston, Elkford, Fernie, Kimberley and Sparwood.”
Local, experienced breastfeeding moms facilitate each group, and every month will have a different topic and corresponding activity. Some of the upcoming themes include the benefits of breastfeeding, bringing baby home, overcoming difficulties and celebrating milestones, and family nutrition.
“We have great support in the hospital and with our midwives, but most moms only stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours and see their midwives for six weeks after the baby arrives,” commented Bybee. “As a mom of two, who had two very different experiences breastfeeding, it warms my heart to see a new mom come to the group and get the support she needs.”
Bybee added, “As a lactation consultant in private practice in the area I really wanted to focus my time giving back to the community. The community as a whole has been so supportive of this endeavour, making it easy to see progress.”
The first Breastfeeding Mamas! meeting in Fernie will be on October 5, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Fernie Public Library. Meetings will continue at the same time and location the first Friday of every month.
The Sparwood group had their first meeting on September 14 at the Sparwood Public Library. They will meet again on the second Friday of each month from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The Elkford Breastfeeding Mamas! will get together on the third Tuesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Elkford Alliance Church.
Fernie will also be a part of the 2012 worldwide Breastfeeding Challenge. The goal is to have as many women breastfeeding as possible at 11 a.m. in an effort to promote breastfeeding. Moms from all over the Elk Valley are invited to come out and take part on Sunday, September 29 at The Lunchbox, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.