Alexis Kelsall 0

Nova Scotia Needs Postpartum and Breastfeeding Support

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Dear Dr. Robert Strang, Department of Health and Wellness and the Government of Nova Scotia,

After hearing recently that The Department of Health and Wellness will not only be discontinuing many of it's provincial prenatal classes in favour of online support, but also ceasing the universal postpartum and breastfeeding follow up, we the undersigned are outraged and deeply saddened.

Our province already has an embarrassingly low breastfeeding rate, and while we understand that there has been a decline in demand for prenatal classes, surely there has to be a better way to support our mothers, and in turn our communities.

Postpartum and breastfeeding follow up support is crucial for a successful breastfeeding relationship. Recent studies show only about 12% of the 70% of NS women who intended to breastfeed after giving birth, manage to do so until 6 months, which is appalling. The World Health Organization recommends children be breastfed until the age of two years and here in NS we can barely keep our mothers going until 6 months. This is not acceptable.

Breastfeeding drastically reduces a number of health concerns in childhood and later in life including obesity, asthma, gastrointestinal diseases, and reduces the mothers chance of breast cancer and postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding not only lightens the financial burden on families, but also on our health care system. Nova Scotians cannot afford to let our breastfeeding rates continue to drop, and we believe that with these changes that will surely be the only outcome.

At a time when the province is clearly struggling with our nurse to patient ratio, we cannot understand how the province could cease support for something that will drastically improve the health of growing communities and keep more children and adults out of hospitals.

The old saying "It takes a village to raise a child" could not be more true. While more and more mothers are using online resources while pregnant and postpartum nothing truly compares to meeting other mothers and members of your community and being truly supported face to face. Not only is the internet often a source for plenty of misinformation on pregnancy and breastfeeding but there is also a resounding culture of competitiveness and lack of emotional support. New mothers need prenatal classes to meet other mothers, forge relationships, and have their fears and concerns answered from a loving smiling face, not a glaring computer screen.
Not to mention that many rural families that will lose these prenatal classes do not have internet access.

In addition to these proposed changes Capital Health has recently cut back it's postpartum phone support to weekdays instead of 7 days a week. If a brand new mother is having difficulty breastfeeding, waiting 48 hours to receive help can easily destroy the breastfeeding relationship entirely.

This issue affects all Nova Scotians, not just mothers and children. Please, for the future of our children, our communities and our health care system, do something about this unacceptable change. Our province must continue it's postpartum and breastfeeding follow ups as well as offering prenatal classes to all.


the undersigned concerned citizens

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