Step inside the Medical Centre next to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre on a Monday afternoon and you’ll find a roomful of moms and infants learning about everything under the sun. Led by International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Liana Pretto, ‘Bosom Buddies’ is a drop-in support group for women who are breastfeeding. With topics ranging from dentistry and infant CPR to yoga and books, the group is a wonderful way for women to connect and feel comfortable breastfeeding somewhere other than home.
But what happens when breastfeeding is a challenge or extra support is needed? That’s where Pretto’s office in the Maternity Centre on the 4th floor in the Medical Centre comes into play. A very welcoming environment, it includes a couch where new moms are encouraged to relax and learn how to feed their infant. “We’ve tried to make the office as ‘homey’ as possible,” said Pretto. “The best way to learn is when both mom and baby aren’t stressed and the couch gives them both a nice place to settle in and feel at home.”
Used daily, Pretto’s current couch was starting to show signs of its age. “It really needed to be replaced,” she said.
Luckily, that’s where CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisors stepped in. Recently they presented a gift in the amount of $3216 to fund the purchase of a new couch for Pretto’s office.
“We are delighted to present this donation on behalf of the CIBC Children’s Foundation to the Health Sciences Centre,” said Paul Johnston, Vice-President, Branch Manager and Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy. “Last December, each of our eight advisors participated in CIBC Miracle Day, where we donated our fees and commissions to the CIBC Children’s Foundation. In turn, the Foundation has generously provided support for breastfeeding programs here in Thunder Bay.”
Held the first Wednesday in December, CIBC Miracle Day has been making a difference in the lives of children since 1984 and $79 million has been distributed to organizations across Canada, including $4.7 million in 2015 alone.
“Our goal,” continued Johnston, “was to direct the funds to something very tangible, something that might otherwise not receive attention. We also wanted to provide support locally where we know the families who will benefit.”
“We are so honoured to be the recipient of this gift,” said Pretto. “Anything that helps moms and babies figure out the complex art of breastfeeding is more than a gift – it’s life-altering for families.” Pretto shared the following comments from one of her past clients.
“We wanted to send our deepest, most sincere thanks! Without your help we would not still be breastfeeding Blake*. We were presented with many obstacles, but you helped us overcome all of them. Before I started breastfeeding my goal was 6 months, then I started and my goal was 6 weeks, then 8 weeks, then 4 months…now I have no doubt that I will be able to breastfeed as long as Blake* is interested. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. You are so helpful, patient, knowledgeable…” (* = Name changed)
Thanks to the recent gift, Pretto will be purchasing a new couch – one that she knows will continue to foster the special relationship she shares with her clients. “It’s most definitely not just a couch – it’s a wonderful tool I use to facilitate breastfeeding in the brief period of time I share in these families’ lives.”