Petition Closed
Petitioning Network Director Perinatal Services, Interior Health Ruth Johnson and 8 others

Kelowna General Hospital Needs Designated Lactation Consultant Services to Support New Mothers and Babies

Kelowna General Hospital supports more than 1600 births per year, making the largest birthing centre in the region. However, unlike smaller hospitals within the region, KGH does not have dedicated lactation consultant services to support new moms on their journey.

Letter to
Network Director Perinatal Services, Interior Health Ruth Johnson
President and CEO, Interior Health Dr. Robert Halpenny
Vice President Medicine & Quality, Interior Health Dr. Jeremy Etherington
and 6 others
Vice President Tertiary Services, Interior Health Susan Brown
Maternity and Paediatrics Clinical Manager Kelowna General Hospital Beverly Sieker
MLA Lake Country Norm Letnick
MLA Kelowna Steve Thomson
MLA Westside-Kelowna Christy Clark
Minister of Health Hon. Terry Lake (Minister of Health)
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Interior Health.

Provide full time lactation consultant services at the Kelowna General Hospital

The intention of this letter is to request a full time lactation consultant on the maternity
ward at Kelowna General Hospital. As a group of breastfeeding mothers, parents, community members, and breastfeeding advocates, we are very concerned about the sub optimal rates of breastfeeding in the Central Okanagan.

Breastfeeding initiation rates for the Central Okanagan are between 78 and 81%. By
the end of the first week of life the breastfeeding rate decreases to 59-66%. The most
common reason for mothers to stop breastfeeding during this week is lack of and inconsistent breastfeeding support in hospital. By six months of age a dismal 29-42% of babies are exclusively breastfed in our community. This is well below the World Health Organization recommended rates of at least 50%.

Extensive research is available to support the lifelong health benefits of breastfeeding to infants, mothers, families and the community as a whole. There is also a wealth of supporting literature which documents the positive relationship between early breastfeeding support and successful breastfeeding initiation and duration. A full time Lactation Consultant at KGH – Maternity Ward will increase breastfeeding rates by:

* Supporting Mothers individually at a very critical point in their postnatal experience.
* Supporting best practice through the provision of ongoing skill and educational development of all 3 West staff.
* Support the 10 step framework of the Baby Friendly Initiative that has been adopted
worldwide as the gold standard for breastfeeding. The BFI is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. BFI has measurable and proven impact, increasing the likelihood of babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six months.

Kelowna General Hospital supports 1614-1643 births per year, making it the largest birthing center of the region. Interior Health has dedicated Lactation Consultant positions at smaller hospitals within the region, resulting in higher breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. To improve the health and well being of our youngest community members, we would like the same level of Lactation Consultant services and staff resources available to breastfeeding families living within the Central Okanagan. It is our intent to advocate and lobby all levels of Interior
Health and government, ensuring funding is given to provide full time Lactation Consultant services at KGH.