Douglas College Perinatal Program on breastfeeding
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
On April 6, Douglas College hosted Breastfeeding Education Day in the Aboriginal Gathering Place at the New Westminster campus.
The event featured lactation consultant and Aboriginal Canadian midwife Stephanie George as the keynote speaker. George, an advocate for Indigenous health, has an extensive list of credits to her name as an educator. According to the college website, “Despite a busy Midwifery Practice, Stephanie continues to share her knowledge with health care providers and students through her roles on the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, the Baby-Friendly Initiative Strategy of Ontario, and as an expert panel member of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.” She is also a Professor of Indigenous Health at McMaster University.
Workshops throughout the day focused on a trauma-informed approach to lactation education, with special care taken regarding issues of intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities.
“While the stories are Indigenous, all people with a history of trauma will benefit from attending this presentation,” stated the event page, specifically regarding the first presentation, “How Breastfeeding Can Help Overcome Intergenerational Trauma Through Skilled Lactation Support.” “This includes LGBTQ2+, cultural minorities, low socio-economic status, and those with an abuse or sexual violence history.”
Mothers who are able to breastfeed their children are highly recommended to do so by health organizations worldwide. According to UNICEF, the health benefits for children in developing countries are especially high. If newborns are breastfed starting within one hour of birth, breastfed exclusively without any other foods or liquids for the first six months, and continue breastfeeding up to at least two years of age, UNICEF’s website reported, this “has the potential to prevent more than 800,000 deaths in children under age five and 20,000 deaths in women every year.”
The Breastfeeding Education Day event was organized as a part of Douglas College’s Perinatal Program. The program aims to provide education to ongoing education to all health professionals.