Getting Started

The next Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge takes place on October 1-7, 2021. This year we are taking the same approach as last year as it is unclear what the status will be by the first week of October regarding the pandemic and public groups. Even if gathering in groups is permitted not everyone may be comfortable to join a gathering. A site can consist of a group ( if permitted  by public health ) or a virtual "gathering.". We encourage everyone to check what the health expert recommendations are for their area at the time of the Challenge and ensure they are following those recommendations. We hope this year will be the most exciting yet. If you are considering participating for the first time, we are so excited to have you. You may find our newsletters useful to get ideas of the event. As health workers and educators, with no advertising budget, we have found this event to be an amazing way to generate community attention as well as raise the profile of breastfeeding support within hospitals. Every site that joins us multiplies the efforts we all put in. Don't hesitate to send us any questions you have to us.

Type of Event

There are three possibilities for organizing a 2021 Breastfeeding Challenge.

  • In-person gathering

In-person gatherings are only possible if your group can meet the public health recommendations- may only be suitable for smaller groups of a few people where physically distancing is possible. Consider going outdoors. Anyone who is unwell should be encouraged to call in.

Setting up an In-person gathering

Depending on expected numbers, consider what spaces might be suitable including outdoor spaces and select the most appropriate. Book the space. Start talking up the Challenge to others in your community.

Registering the Challenge

Once you have decided to host a challenge, visit and register your site. Please specify that you are hosting an in-person challenge.

Entertainment or Prizes

Ask local businesses for a gift voucher or a gift that could be given out. Prizes can be small such as a free coffee. Entertainment could be a local singer- sometimes another parent in the community. An educational offering such as a public health nurse discusses a topic relevant to the group. Talking about this year’s theme “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet” is another avenue for discussion.

Participant Sign-up

Participants can be signed up before the event using this form ( hyperlink)

The Day of the Challenge

Invite your participants to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before “Latch on”.

Having some music often sets a positive tone. Register any mothers who are not already registered and check attendance for those already registered.

Greet your participants and proceed with your event.

As soon as possible submit your data online if possible at

  • Virtual Challenge

If an in-personal gathering is not possible or preferred, a virtual challenge can be organized. A Virtual Challenge is one in which the participants join through video conferencing to participate in the challenge.

Setting up a Virtual Challenge

Registering the Challenge

Once you have decided to host a challenge, visit and register your site. Please specify that you are hosting a virtual challenge. Unlike a face-to-face challenge, a virtual challenge can be attended by participants from outside your immediate community. We therefore strongly suggest that you review the other sites registered on the website and contact other organizers to see what tools they are using to host their challenge and what day and time they have chosen. You might want to consider having your virtual challenges at different times &/or days to encourage the participation of as many mothers as possible, On the other hand, doing it at the same time can be fun.

Rather than combining a large area, you may wish to focus on your own community as this will make the data for 2021 compared to previous years. Increasing your numbers by increasing participation in your own community is the goal in order to get the messages out about the importance of breastfeeding and milk banking.

Choosing a platform

Choosing a virtual video conferencing platform is a key task in ensuring the success of your challenge. The following considerations should be considered:

  • Familiarity with using the tool
  • Security options within the tool
  • The ability of participants to join
  • Device compatibility
  • Data privacy and security of the tool (account signup)
  • The ability for participants to join over the phone if the internet or audio is not working or available

Some common Video Conferencing solutions are:

  • Skype
    • Limit on the number of participants if you do not have it downloaded and sign up.
  • Google Meet
    • The host can share a URL that anyone can join. 
    • Only the host needs to have a Google account but 
    • The host cannot control who joins with the link.
  • Zoom
    • Users download a small application
    • The host can share link for participants to join
    • Waiting Room ensures that only registered participants are added (no Zoom bombing)
    • Free version restricts time limit to 40 minutes 
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Account needed
  • WeChat
    • Account needed

Regardless of the tool chosen, always have a test call with 3 or more people before the event to practice using the tool. The host and if possible, co-host should know how to share their screen, mute and unmute individual participants and if absolutely need, remove someone from the call.

Entertainment or Prizes

This entertainment could be children’s music (a local performer) or information (a nurse or health professional speaking about the importance of ‘x’). Be sure to have tested this presentation before the event day to ensure that sound and video are working.

Having a draw with prizes donated by local organizations is a great way to create a fun atmosphere and support the mothers who are attending. However, given that your event is virtual, be mindful that you should specify how far you will mail the item or have the ability to email the prize such as a gift card.

Participant Sign-up

To get an idea of how many participants you should expect and have list to check against the actual participants within your virtual room on the day of the event, it is recommended that you have a sign-up. A sign up could be as simple as emailing the organizer or automated using an online tool like Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, WPforms or 123formbuilder.

The Day of the Challenge

Although there are similarities to hosting a face-to-face challenge and a virtual one, there are changes that should ensure the success of your online event. An online event needs to be secure, interactive and entertaining. We would suggest the following.

Open the Virtual meeting room at least 15 minutes before the starting of the event, this will allow you to ensure that participants have lots of time to join. It is recommended that you have a ‘host’ and ‘co-host’ running your virtual challenge together.. The host speaks with the participants and runs the event. The co-host monitors the chat, if available, to support participants who are having technical difficulties (sound/video)  or questions about the challenge.

Welcome participants at your starting time and either through a screen share (recorded video) or presentation - have entertainment or information shared. If you are doing a screen share, make sure that you have shared your audio as well. Depending on the size of your group, you may want to mute all participants for this portion.

Take attendance by asking each participant to introduce themselves and their child. Use your pre-registration list to check off who is in attendance. The introductions can be by the first name if that is preferred. Your entertainment could be a friend singing a child’s song or a health nurse or dental hygienist discussing an issue for 5-10 minutes. Say something about the importance of breastfeeding and this year’s theme.

If your video conferencing tools allow it, switch to grid video and have all mothers hold up their child. Take a screenshot of the screen of mothers and their children as ‘proof’ of your challenge taking place. If there is more than on-screen of mothers (usually 16 participants fit on a screen), you will need to take a screenshot of each screen.

Ask the participating mothers to breastfeed at the designated time. It is recommended that you unmute all of your participants to allow an interactive social atmosphere. Obviously, if there is a child crying (or mother crying!), you will need to manually mute that participant to ensure that the others can hear.

If you have a prize, complete the draw and announce the winners. Highlight the community resources that are available to the participants. Do not forget to mention the Quintessence Foundation!

Thank all of the participants for joining the Challenge.

  • Selfie Challenge

If your location is remote and hosting a virtual challenge or in-person challenge would not be possible or your group is so small that hosting a community challenge is not viable, you may want to look at a Selfie Challenge. This is encouraging mothers to take a picture of themselves breastfeeding their child at 11 am or an agreed-upon time on any one of the days specified (October 1-7th). Although not needed, participants are encouraged to be creative in demonstrating the time/date in their photo. Suggestions might be showing the newspaper, flag or having a clock in the background. 

Setting up a Selfie Challenge

Given that a selfie challenge is dependent upon the participants independently participating in the event, reaching out to the community and promoting is key. Please review the promoting tips listed below.

Registering the Challenge

Like all other types of Challenges, a Selfie Challenge should be registered on the website to help promote and record the results. 

Choosing a location

Given that a Selfie Challenge can take place anywhere during the week of October 1st to 7th, you will not need to choose a location for this challenge. However, you will need to specify where the photos are to be sent once they have been taken. 

Entertainment or Prizes

Although you will probably not be able to have door prizes when hosting a Virtual Selfie Challenge, you may want to have a prize for most creative pictures, costumes or possibly the mother who participated on the most days during that week. Check with some local businesses. However, given that your event is virtual, be mindful that you should specify how far you will mail the item or have the ability to email the prize such as a gift card.

Participant Sign-up

Like all challenges, it is beneficial to have participants sign up before October 1st to ensure that any questions or support can be provided. Please ensure that you have permission to pass on the participant’s photo to Quintessence. Specify if any of these photos cannot be placed on the Quintessence Webpage.

The Week of the Challenge

During the week of a Self-Challenge, monitor the designated email box closely and after checking that the photo can be opened, reply to each submission in a timely manner.

The following resources are available on our website: