Posted by: Admin | November 19, 2013

Breastfeeding Week 2013 Activities in OUJE-BOUGOUMOU on November 14

Boob hat
BF Books
It was a mild day and time went by quickly during the taxi drive from Mistissini to Ouje-Bougoumou. I was warmly greeted by the Awash team of the Ouje Healing Center, Joceline Piche, nutritionist, Weena Bosum, CHR and Lisebeth Doyon, the psychoeducator.
BF Booth
Also present were Minnie Wapache, many times a mother who breastfed her children, Janie Wapache the Awash Coordinator ,presently on Maternity Leave, who had just come back from the daycare where she breastfed her baby, and Suzanne Rousselle, the Awash nurse.
As I entered the conference room, I was amazed at the amount of work the team had done on setting up the booth with breastfeeding pamphlets, reference books, accessories and posters. A long banquet-type table was set up to receive a dozen guests. The smell of whole grain bannock and moose stew permeated the room.
Our table all set and ready
We chatted away as mothers and babies arrived. I was introduced to Riley (3 months), Sarinah (2 weeks) and Shawanahan (9 months), whose name means South Wind in Cree. All around the table there was talk about babies, breastfeeding and how good the food was. Mothers ate while holding and breastfeeding their babies and there were no crying babies. It always amazes me how quiet babies are when they are breastfed and when their needs are well met by their moms.
Second on the day’s well planned activities was a walk to the Cultural Village, where we would all sit around working on baby moccasins and exchanging stories on breastfeeding.
In my 5 years working in Eeyou Itschee, I have been in many teepees and shaptuans (long houses), but the Ouje Cultural Village’s shaptuan has a very traditional feel with its log beams, walls and furniture. The 2 wooden stoves made the place very comfortable for everyone, including the babies, and the smell of burning wood mixed with the smoked moose hide made the whole scene feel as if we were in the past. It was a perfect setting for all! Many new mothers and babies joined the group and we all started to look for perfect patterns for the little ones’ feet. Minnie and Janie’s mom, Hattie Mark Wapachee, was there to help all of us learn the perfect stitches for the perfect ripple edge of the moccasin’s top part and she advised on patterns and sizes.
Cultural Village_Ancita
Anna Bosum made us some fish broth (a preparation believed to increase the milk supply in breastfeeding mothers). I had heard and written about this brew many times, but this was my first time tasting it. I was a little leery at first as I had also heard many didn’t like its taste. I was surprised by its tastiness and comforting smell and warmth. Ancita, from the museum, and Katherine Salt, from HeadStart, talked a little about their experiences with breastfeeding.
Fish Broth
Mothers asked questions and chatted while working on their project. I shared with them the normality of breastfeeding and the fact the children not receiving breastmilk live their first 4 months without any protection against illnesses.
Thank you Ouje-Bougoumou for your wonderful hospitality and great sense of team work.

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