Aberdeen observes Breastfeeding Week

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NEW GLASGOW — Rheanna MacDonald says she is getting used to parenthood and her newborn baby.

She delivered her seven-pound, four-ounce son, Grayson MacDonald-Muir, on Oct. 2 at the Aberdeen Hospital. Both are doing fine and breastfeeding is a part of her first child’s progress.

“He’s been doing pretty well breastfeeding,” she said. “It wasn’t on my mind but I wanted to try it. It’s definitely more special than I thought it would be as a new mother.”

The hospital edified Rheanna and Grayson to help celebrate National Breastfeeding Week and this year’s theme: Empower Parents, Empower Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Week is designed to raise awareness of the health and well-being breastfeeding provides and the importance of supporting mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish.

Bonding is a key element of the promotion through the Skin to Skin initiative that includes breastfeeding.

“It’s all about a mother’s choice,” said Debbie MacDonald, the Aberdeen’s manager of the women and children’s health program and palliative care. “We want to do our part to make Pictou County healthier through supporting the best possible start in life. One of the ways we will do this is by respecting and protesting the very sensitive first hour or so, the ‘golden hour’ of baby’s life. Skin to Skin is encouraged for all babies to prevent infection and decrease stress. It also encourages bonding and breastfeeding.”

The Aberdeen is one of 25 hospitals in Canada that was selected to participate in the National Baby Friendly Initiative Quality Improvement Project. MacDonald noted that 90 per cent of mothers delivering babies at the Aberdeen plan to breastfeed.

“We’re trying to increase awareness and change the culture,” said Barb MacEachern, the Aberdeen’s clinical practice lead. She noted that breastfeeding is coming back from a down cycle that followed a time when it was more commonplace.