District supports breastfeeding

Lake Country has declared all district-owned facilities to be baby-friendly so mothers feel comfortable breastfeeding.

Nursing mothers are a priority in Lake Country.

Council has declared all district-owned facilities to be baby-friendly so mothers feel comfortable breastfeeding.

“We’re trying to be as inclusive as possible,” said Coun. Owen Dickie.

“We have to do all we can to allow all members of society to feel included in the community.”

There have been cases in other communities where breastfeeding has been opposed in some businesses and public settings.

In fact, a 2010 study in Kelowna indicated that 21 per cent of mothers did not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.

Dickie says the goal is to avoid such situations from occurring in Lake Country, whether it is council chambers, parks or during a hockey game.

“They have as much right to be there feeding their baby as someone eating a hot dog,” he said.

The B.C. Human Rights Code states that nursing mothers have the right to feed their children in a public area and it is discriminatory to ask them to cover up.

The request to become a baby-friendly community came from a group of University of B.C. nursing students and the Interior Health Authority.

As part of providing a baby-friendly environment, no specific designated space is needed and district employees are educated on the rights of a breastfeeding woman.

Breastfeeding plays a critical role in healthy childhood development.

“It’s a very natural process and the health benefits are undisputed,” said Dickie.