Calling all breastfeeding mamas.
The 19th annual Chilliwack Breastfeeding Challenge is happening on Oct. 5 and moms and their babies/toddlers are encouraged to participate with the goal of being number one in the world — again.
The worldwide event by the Quintessence Foundation brings together moms and babies in hundreds of cities around the world. Babes “latch on” at the same time in a friendly challenge to see which city will have the most babies nursing simultaneously.
Chilliwack brought home the title in 2014 where a whopping 213 babies were breastfeeding at the same time. Chilliwack was also named number two in the world and number one in North America in past years.
The event began in B.C. in 2001 by the Quintessence Foundation, a non-profit organization that wanted greater breastfeeding information and support to be available for communities in the province.
On any given year, Chilliwack typically has more than 100 babies who take part in the challenge.
Breastfeeding still presents a major challenge for many women. Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. Women are often discouraged from breastfeeding, especially in public, either directly or indirectly.
The event is important to provide participants with a chance to socialize and network with other women with similar breastfeeding goals. It promotes breastfeeding as a best practice for babies and provides support to mothers who may struggle with reaching their breastfeeding goals.
For the public, the event promotes breastfeeding as a positive, natural process for both mothers and children that is appropriate whenever and wherever little ones are hungry. The Breastfeeding Challenge is one strategy to help spread the word globally that breastfeeding is normal and an important strategy for child and maternal health.
The 2019 Chilliwack Breastfeeding Challenge takes place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre (46363 Yale Rd.). Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and latch on is at 11 a.m.
The day features a continental breakfast, live music, a chance to win door prizes from local sponsors, swag bags, and guest speakers starting at 10 a.m. (see speaker info below).
Speakers for the 2019 Chilliwack Breastfeeding Challenge:
Megan Sawatsky • Megan Sawatsky completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology with an extended minor in Psychology at the University of the Fraser Valley. She then went on to complete her Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Saskatchewan. Upon graduating with her master’s degree, Sawatsky was the recipient of two awards to recognize the student with the highest academic and clinical scores. In addition to her orthopedic/musculoskeletal practice, her clinical skills also involve the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, and post-partum pelvic floor retraining. Sawatsky is an active member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia. In recent years, she has worked as a teaching assistant for Level 1 and 2 Pelvic Health Solutions courses and ROST therapy for pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain. In her leisure time, Sawatsky enjoys the great outdoors of Chilliwack where she frequently walks along the Vedder River Rotary Trail or bikes and hikes the nearby mountains.
Vanessa McFarlane • Vanessa McFarlane is a Registered Nurse, Lactation Counselor, Prenatal Educator and Child Sleep Consultant. Her nursing background comes from NICU and postpartum care. She is passionate about working with mothers and their infants. Working with many mothers over the years, she understands that each mama has their own special journey with breastfeeding and supports all mothers at each stage. Being a mother herself, she knows the challenges that may arise during a mother’s breastfeeding journey. Starting the Mama coach allows her to provide support to mothers whether they are starting breastfeeding, managing supply issues or beginning their weaning process. She plans on talking about managing issues that arise during breastfeeding such as low supply, returning to work, building a freezer supply and answering general questions and concerns from mamas.
Toni Winterhoff • Toni Winterhoff (Ey Cla:ney) resides and works in in traditional Stó:lō territory and is a member of Xa’xtsa, a Stl’atl’Imx community located at the north end of Harrison Lake. Her present title is Stó:lō Service Agency (SSA) FASD Regional Engagement and Traditional Parenting Coordinator. She is the innovator of the indigenized PCAP program: Family Empowerment Team model as well as the Two Worlds Indigenous Parenting Program, and “Indigenous Healthy Sexuality” Program. Winterhoff is proud to have been a partner on and developer of the Fraser Region FASD Toolkit. Winterhoff is a facilitator on topics including but not limited to: Impacts of Intensive Perinatal Support, Safer Communities, Mentorship, FASD, Frontline Worker Mental Health Support, Healthy Sexuality, Indigenous Cultural Safety, Professional Standards and Practice Guidelines for Regulated Health Workers, Two Worlds Indigenous Parenting, and Relationship Based Frontline Service Provision.