Breastmilk is the natural food for newborns. It contains everything your baby needs. The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians agree:
Adapted with permission from the Best Start Resource Centre.
Today, most mothers decide to breastfeed their babies.
Breastfeeding matters because:
Benefits for babies:
Benefits for mothers:
Also see the section on the Risks of Not Breastfeeding below and the video on Why Breastfeed?
You have the right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. This right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. No one should ask you to leave, cover up or move to a more private space if you are breastfeeding in public.
If you feel your breastfeeding rights are not being respected, you can report what happened to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by calling 1-866-598-0322, or by filing a complaint. Information about filing complaints and application forms are available at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/hrto/. You can also talk to a Human Rights Advisor by calling 1-866-625-5179 or contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at www.hrlsc.on.ca for more information.
Groups such as La Leche League Canada or INFACT Canada may provide additional support.
A woman who is breastfeeding and returning to work has a right under the Ontario Human Rights Commission to be accommodated in the workplace so that she can continue to breastfeed her baby.
For more information, read the Ontario Human Rights Commission policy:
Policy on preventing discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding
You may have heard the term, Baby Friendly. The Baby Friendly Initiative or BFI, is an international program designed to support ALL mothers and babies by:
The BFI consists of the BFI Integrated 10 Steps Practice Outcome Indicators for Hospitals and Community Health Services and the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
There are hospitals, health units and community health centres that have received this designation or are working towards it. They apply high standards on how they support mothers and families.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit is committed to working towards becoming a Baby Friendly designated organization!
What does working towards becoming Baby Friendly mean?
At the Health Unit, we do not:
Also see our Grey Bruce Health Unit Baby Friendly Organization policy.
For more information about the Baby Friendly Initiative visit:
Baby Friendly Initiative Ontario Website
Breastfeeding Committee for Canada Website
From the minute you become pregnant and even before, you have been making decisions that affect your baby. Throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s life, you will be making many more decisions. They will not always be easy. To help you make informed decisions for you and your baby, you need good quality information. This website and the Breastfeeding Matters book will provide you with information about feeding your baby.
Most of the information regarding infant formula comes directly from formula companies. They are trying to encourage you to feed your baby formula. When women decide to formula feed, they will have to buy formula and feeding equipment until their baby is at least one year old. Many families are surprised at the cost over the long-term.
Formula companies often give mothers samples of formula “just in case” they might need it. The free formula may come at a time when you are feeling tired, still getting to know your baby and not yet confident about breastfeeding.
When mothers have samples of formula:
If you are planning to breastfeed, learn about the Breastfeeding Help and Support in Grey and Bruce so you can get the support you need to feel confident breastfeeding your baby.
There are times when a baby needs extra milk. If this happens to your baby, it is best to give your own expressed breastmilk. For more information on expressing breastmilk, see that section of our website.
Babies, especially premature and very sick babies, can sometimes receive donor milk from a human milk bank. For more information about human milk banks in Canada, visit the Human Milk Banking Association of North America or The Rogers Nixon Ontario Human Milk Bank.
There are times when it is necessary to give formula. Some reasons for giving formula are:
If you think you need to give your baby formula, get help right away. Breastfeeding Supports in Grey and Bruce provides information on resources available in your community.
For mothers, NOT breastfeeding increases their risk of:
A community that does not support breastfeeding anywhere, anytime can greatly influence a woman’s decision to start or continue breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby and has benefits for babies, mothers, families and communities, and needs to be supported.
Read or download the Grey Bruce Breastfeeding Friendly Business Toolkit, a guide on how businesses can make their establishments more welcoming to breastfeeding families and employees.
Grey Bruce Breastfeeding Friendly Business Toolkit.
Also see the section above on the Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers
All new mothers benefit from the support of their families and communities. Having this support can make breastfeeding a success!
Breastfeeding is natural and babies are born to breastfeed. During the early days after birth, some babies and mothers need time to learn breastfeeding and get it right. What other people say or believe may affect your breastfeeding experience. Your family and friends can help you give your baby the best start in life.
Here are some things you can do:
Family and friends can help in the following ways:
Watch this video for more information: Working as a Parenting Team
Mothers and expectant mothers benefit from the support of other mothers who are breastfeeding. You may have friends or relatives who are breastfeeding their babies or who have recently breastfed. You can also meet and/or receive support from pregnant or breastfeeding mothers through:
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