Timmins (Ontario) — The Porcupine Health Unit has received designation as a Baby Friendly Organization from the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. The Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a globally recognized, evidence-based standard of care shown to increase breastfeeding rates by promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding. It was launched in 1991 and is supported by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund.
“This designation is important because it benefits women, children, families and communities. We are committed to promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding, as well as ensuring that all families receive information to support their infant feeding choices,” says Dr. Rosemarie Ramsingh, Medical Officer of Health.
The Health Unit has been working towards this designation for the past 10 years. The final assessment took place in February, 2014, with the Health Unit achieving Baby-Friendly designation. “All employees, volunteers and students at the Health Unit have received education regarding BFI and are responsible for ensuring that the standards of this initiative are reflected in their everyday work,” says Gary Scripnick, Board of Health Chair. “This increased knowledge and understanding has positively affected the attitudes and practices of all employees.”
The BFI ensures that parents are able to make an informed decision around how they choose to feed their infants. The goal is to empower women by providing them with current and evidence-based information regarding the benefits and risks of infant feeding methods to enable their children to attain and sustain optimal health and developmental potential.
All families receiving services from the Health Unit will continue to be welcomed and supported regardless of their choice to breastfeed or formula feed. “The Health Unit provides families with immediate and long-term support to assist families to reach their breastfeeding goals,” Dr. Ramsingh stated. “The Health Unit also provides support and evidence-based information to mothers who decide to or need to supplement their babies, helping ensure that they do so in a safe and nurturing manner.”