October 3, 2009
Ottawa Breastfeeding Challenge

In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, Elizabeth and I participated in Ottawa's version of the 2009 Breastfeeding Challenge this morning.  I'd heard of it before of course and thought it was a really weird concept.  I still think so even AFTER participating, but my friend Dianne talked me into it...


Plus, I heard there were going to be loot bags and I wasn't misled.  I didn't win any of the 19 door prizes, but I did get a somewhat entertaining pamphlet from the City of Ottawa exhorting us to create five emergency preparedness kits.  In case of winter storms.  And "service interruptions".  They suggested that each kit contain enough food and water for our family for three days, but I don't think we're going to start lugging around three days worth of water in the car...  We also received some bandaids, a nifty water bottle, some disinfectant, a canvas bag, a breastfeeding challenge button and many, many handouts.  I haven't really had time to sift through all the paper, but I did spot a $5 off coupon to the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe which I suspect will get used...


The actual event was bemusing, but not as militant as I had feared after reading some reactions last year.  We showed up around 10:15am or so and then milled around trying to stay out of the way of the cameras until someone told me to take a seat.  Then I bounced Elizabeth on my knee and briefly talked to a few other moms for the next twenty minutes or so.  Elizabeth was fascinated by all of the other babies.  I was just a teeny bit bored.  When the event started, we listened to some woman speak about emergency preparedness and breastfeeding.  She started out by explaining that getting swine flu is not a reason to stop breastfeeding.  Given that 90% of the women there seemed associated with the La Leche League and certainly all rather die-hard breastfeeders, I wasn't entirely sure who she was talking to.


Anyway, she mercifully ran out of time at 11am.  The organizers started a countdown.  Babies (and quite a number of toddlers) were all allowed to eat.  Once latched, we raised our hands to be counted.  Elizabeth ate for 30 seconds since she was way too excited to see what was going on, but we did get counted.  And for the record - I did not flash my nipples at anyone...


Then it was all over.  Definitely weird, and I'm doubtful as to how the event benefits the promotion of breastfeeding (through the media coverage I suppose), but we did have fun.

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