Breastfeeding in the NWT

Main Project Contact:
Pertice Moffit

Project Start Date:
May 2017

Project End Date:
May 2018

Project Name:
Learning from Mothers, Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers about Breastfeeding in the Northwest Territories

ARI Team:
Dr. Pertice Moffitt, Manager/Instructor, Health Research Programs, Principal Investigator
Sabrina Lakhani, Graduate Student, Research Coordinator
Allison Forbes, BSN student, Research Assistant
Hosai Ayoubi, BSN student, Research Assistant
Danielle Wendehorst, BSN student, Research Assistant

This breastfeeding study (2017/18) widened the scope of an initial study that was conducted in the Tlicho region in 2013 and the doctoral work of Dr. Moffitt. Our interest was to generate knowledge that would guide health promotion efforts targeting territorial mothers and be inclusive of grandmothers and the traditional knowledge that they hold about infant feeding and mothering practices. Research of this nature also empowers women through shared stories and voice.     

The main research question of this project is, what is the nature of breastfeeding in the NWT?

The aims of the study are:

  • Identify breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in the 2016 NWT birth cohort;
  • Learn about past infant feeding practices and traditional knowledge about caring for babies;
  • Learn about the determinants of breastfeeding; and
  • Informed from the findings, create a health promotion video to encourage breastfeeding and enable knowledge translation.

The study was conducted in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Tulita, Hay River and Fort Smith.

Three methods were used during this study; sharing circles with grandmothers, semi-structured individual interviews with mothers, and retrospective chart audits of the 2016 NWT birth cohort and well-baby visits in the five communities listed below. Knowledge mobilization was planned from the onset with a video being produced, a community booklet, and a presentation that was live-streamed.


The project began in May 2017 and ended in June 2018. 

External Partners:
Circle of Knowledge Keepers
Rosa Mantla, Behchokǫ̀, Tłįchǫ Nation
Florence Barnaby, Fort Good Hope
Jane Dragon, Fort Smith
Annie Kaye, Fort McPherson
Sarah Krengnektak, Tuktoyuktuk

HSS Collaborators
Nina Larsson, Senior Advisor, Early Childhood Development
Dr. Kyla Wright, Maternal Child Health Promotion Officer

Project Documents:
Learning from Mothers, Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers about Breastfeeding in the Northwest Territories
Short video

Breastfeeding, Infant Feeding, Traditional Knowledge, Breastfeeding Rates, Indigenous, Northwest Territories