For the media

Halloween baby parade: All treats and no tricks

By The Health News Team | October 28, 2022
Sotina Osborne with her baby, Kamali, at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

Sotina Osborne, surgical technician at Sharp Chula Vista, pictured with “doctor” baby Kamali at the 22nd Annual Halloween Baby Parade.

For over two decades, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center has celebrated its smallest patients at the Halloween Baby Parade, an annual event hosted by the breastfeeding support group of Sharp Chula Vista’s Women’s and Infants’ Services Department. The beloved event promotes the many benefits of breastfeeding while giving attendees a Halloween treat.

While the hospital once opened their doors and welcomed babies and their family members to roam the hospital floors and trick-or-treat at the various departments, COVID-19 meant a socially distant alternative was in order to keep Sharp’s most vulnerable patients safe. Thus, a drive-by, outdoor parade was offered, keeping the tradition alive.

This year’s parade included babies born at the hospital just two weeks prior and Sharp Chula Vista babies who have grown up and are now in elementary school. They all returned to familiar grounds to participate in a favorite fall tradition with their family members and caregivers.

“It was important for us to continue this great tradition,” says Felicia Carlucci, a perinatal educator at Sharp Chula Vista. “Not only to reunite with past and present support group babies and families, but to continue promoting the important message about the countless benefits of breastfeeding.”

A tradition — and valuable support — continues
Carlucci and her colleagues have not only seen this event evolve over the years, but also the way they provide support to new and seasoned parents who need breastfeeding support. “During the pandemic, when many moms were experiencing amplified feelings of being overwhelmed from isolation, we knew that taking this support group to a virtual platform was a key priority,” says Kika Sandoval, a bilingual perinatal educator at Sharp Chula Vista.

Sandoval emphasizes that the goal of this support group has always been to create an empowering community. One where you can share your authentic experience with breastfeeding and receive non-judgmental support — even in a virtual setting.

Benefits of breastfeeding
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding allows parents to give their infants the best start in life. Children who are breastfed have decreased risk of:

  • Inflammation or infection in the middle ear (otitis media)

  • Diarrhea

  • Respiratory tract infection

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious gastrointestinal problem

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • Atopic dermatitis, a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin

  • Asthma

  • Celiac disease

  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases

  • Late-onset sepsis, a blood infection in preterm infants

  • Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

  • Leukemia

  • Childhood obesity

There are also maternal health benefits to breastfeeding, which may include a decreased risk of certain cancers, such as breast, ovarian, endometrial and thyroid cancers. Additional benefits for breastfeeding parents may include a reduced risk of:

  • Excessive menstrual blood loss

  • Hypertension

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

“I always say that breastfeeding is a learned art for mothers and babies,” says Carlucci. “It takes time to get the hang of it, and that is where the support groups are extremely helpful. They start off as breastfeeding support — but are also mommy support.”

To learn more about Sharp’s bilingual breastfeeding support groups and classes, visit

For the news media: To talk with a specialist about Sharp Chula Vista’s breastfeeding support group for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

Learn more about breastfeeding; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.