World Breastfeeding Week, October 1 to 7

breastfeeding momMore than 170 countries will take part in World Breastfeeding Week from October 1 to 7 to help raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding as the norm for infant feeding around the globe.  It is always held during the 40th week of the year, symbolic of the length of a normal term gestation, when breastfeeding would usually start. 

As a designated Health Promoting Hospital by the World Health Organization, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is already on board. In 2009, the MUHC committed to becoming “Baby Friendly,” which is a certification for excellent breastfeeding practices. A group of inter-professional “Breastfeeding Champions” across the Women’s Health Mission, led by Luisa Ciofani, interim associate director of Women’s Health, and Anne-Marie Lanctot, nurse manager, Women’s Health Ambulatory Clinics, are behind this initiative. 

Within this designation, hospital and community health services are assisted to work towards achieving standards outlined in the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (click here) and the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (click here). Maternity facilities are recognized as “Baby Friendly” once they implement best practices related to level of breastfeeding support for mothers and infants. Currently, over 18,000 such facilities worldwide have been designated as Baby Friendly by the WHO. 

Part of becoming Baby Friendly includes informing all women of the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding; ensuring mothers and infants benefit from uninterrupted skin to skin contact immediately after birth until breastfeeding is established; showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain effective lactation even when they are separated from their newborns; and not promoting breast milk substitutes or any free “gifts” provided by formula companies.

Although the primary focus of the Baby Friendly initiative (BFI) is on breastfeeding, it is also relevant to mothers who cannot breastfeed or choose not to. It allows parents to make informed decisions about their infant feeding choices and supports them in their transition to parenting, as well as connects them with resources in their community.

“It is important to remember that the journey to successful breastfeeding begins with support from families, healthcare providers, governments, employers and communities,” says Ciofani. “Our goal is to improve practice through implementation of the Ten Steps outlined by the WHO/UNICEF and to attain our Baby Friendly designation. Future steps in achieving these goals include developing a breastfeeding policy, producing better documentation, engaging whole teams and providing better and more resources and ongoing training.” 

If you have questions or would like support or information from MUHC Breastfeeding Champions, please contact Anne-Marie Lanctot, [email protected]  or tel. 34557



  • Breastfeeding Clinic/Celebration for patients in the RVH F2 Clinic on Tuesday, Oct 2nd from 8 to 10:30 am. Advice, information, and support. Location:  F2.21 conference room.
  • The MUHC Community Supports Breastfeeding info table at the RVH on S3 outside the Cafeteria on Tuesday, Oct 2nd from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. Documentation, posters, paper and electronic resources available for staff, patients and families.
  • Visit of Breastfeeding Champion Ambassadors to MCH “Adolescent Clinic” for pregnant teens on Tuesday, Oct 2nd from 1:30-2:30 p.m. 
  • Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets: Six Success Stories – Video viewing and discussion with the producer of the documentary, Anne LeClair, and one of the featured parents on Wed, Oct 3rd, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Primrose Amphitheatre, RVH, F3.10. Open to parents of multiples and others. Light refreshments will be provided. 
  • Journée des professionnels is a full-day conference at the MCH on l'allaitement chez le prématuré et la communication et l'allaitement. The conference is sponsored by the Montreal Health Agency and "Le comité régional en allaitement maternel de Montréal". There are no longer any places available; however, the presentations will later be posted on the Internet.