About the Challenge
In 2001 the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge started in the Canadian province of British Columbia with 856 babies and their mothers at 26 sites. By 2016 there were over 4,000 children in six countries. The Breastfeeding Challenge continues to grow globally as additional people join in. There are now more breastfeeding events than there were when the Challenge started so the participation numbers have waxed and waned over the years but the trend has been towards growth. This year we would like to see the numbers increase particularly in hospital NICUs. Do your part, join us- organize a site big or small!
Every breastfeeding child counts in the final numbers!
Why hold a “Latch On’
In most countries a “latch on” event is held to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding.
The group in the Philippines (Children for Breastfeeding Philippines) who have organized record breaking events wish to educate mothers en masse on the benefits of breastfeeding and create public pressure against milk companies and US officials who move to suppress advocates and the Philippine health officials...
In France, le GrandTétéé is held to educate families and the public about the myths of breastfeeding - to help women succeed with their goals in feeding their children.
In New Zealand the promoters refer to low breastfeeding rates and the need to build mothers confidence.
Quintessence Foundation holds the Challenge to provide support for breastfeeding women. Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits including better health for both mothers and babies. However, many women fail to meet their own breastfeeding goals and wean their children prematurely, well before meeting the recommended guidelines. Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. The Challenge strives to increase public awareness of the normalacy of breastfeeding, the benefits to mother, child and community and the ways in which women need support to achieve the recommended duration for breastfeeding.
Who Really wins?
The numbers and the ratings of who “wins” breastfeeding events like the Challenge doesn't tell the real story. Obviously in countries with higher birth rates and larger populations, it is easier to get larger numbers of breastfeeding mothers and children at an event like a “latch on”. The real success with events like the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge is that every baby who is breasted and every mother who breastfeeds “wins”. Breastfeeding provides benefits that last a lifetime.
Unfortunately in our current global world, breastfeeding is needing strong support. Women need skilled help to support the initiation and continuing breastfeeding. Communities need education about how to support breastfeeding women. Businesses need information about how they can support and enable continuing breastfeeding. Governments need encouragement to adopt programs that enable women to continue breastfeeding. The expert recommendations are for exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months with human milk to remain in the diet for two years and beyond. The global average for weaning ( terminating breastfeeding) is said to be age four. In many countries in the world the weaning age is often more like four weeks. Many women are frustrated by the lack of support they experience when they try to do what they know is best for their children. Hopefully with events like the Quintessence Challenge the understanding of why breastfeeding is important and the support promotion and protection of breastfeeding will increase world wide at which time “latch ons” will not be needed.
To learn more about the Challenge and how you can participate, click on "Breastfeeding Challenge" from the top menu.