Labrador mothers lead the province in breastfeeding

According to numbers from 2012, new mothers in Labrador are breastfeeding at the highest rate in the province.
Mother Heather Gates promotes breastfeeding in Labrador City. (CBC)

Mothers in Labrador are breastfeeding at the highest rate in the province.

Statistics released from the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Perinatal Program for 2012 show an upward trend.

Across the province, the breastfeeding rate is up to 68 per cent  up from two years ago, when the provincial average for breast feeding initiation was 65.7 per cent.

By the numbers

National Average: 88%

NL: 68%

Eastern Health: 69.8%

Central Health: 63.5%

Western Health: 61.4%

Labrador-Grenfell Health: 71.7%  

The Labrador-Grenfell region is the highest at about 72 percent, but that still doesn't match the national average of 88 per cent.

A new support group in Labrador City is trying to spread awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.

"We're trying to create a breastfeeding culture — something that is the norm," says support group member, Heather Gates.

New moms and moms-to-be can drop by the support group weekly to share stories, talk about health benefits, and look for ways to improve breast feeding awareness.

The group is funded by the provincial government.

"As humans, we learn by observing and by viewing. When you're surrounded by women who are breastfeeding it makes it a bit easier," says Gates.

"Sometimes socially, being in a small province, it's not always the thing that has been done in the past."

Labrador City plans to celebrate Breastfeeding Week in October.

With files from Chris Ensing