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Breastfeeding Support

Mother breastfeeding newborn.

Making an informed decision about how to feed your baby is an important first step in your parenting journey. Breast milk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6 months. Around 6 months, babies start to eat solid foods, focusing on iron rich foods. Breastmilk is baby’s main source of food for their first year of life and recommended up to 2 years and beyond.  

** We offer support that is inclusive, accessible and LGBTQ2+ positive. Breast milk/breastfeed/breastfeeding are also known as human milk/chestfeed/chestfeeding and can be used interchangeably. Please note the content is intended for all parents and caregivers. ** 

Prenatal Feeding Support

We provide one-on-one consultations and educational sessions to help you make an informed decision about feeding your baby.

For more information call us or fill out the self-referral.

Importance of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both mother and baby.

  • It is always fresh and ready with the nutrition and hydration that baby needs 

  • It helps lower the risk of being overweight in childhood and obesity 

  • It increases protection against illnesses such as childhood diabetes 

  • It increases protection against ear, chest and stomach infections 

  • It protects against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) 

  • It helps to prevent constipation 

  • It promotes healthy brain development 

  • It promotes proper jaw development 

  • It promotes physical closeness and bonding with baby 

  • It helps the uterus to return to its' normal size after birth 

  • It helps to control bleeding after birth 

  • It helps to protect against cancer of the breast and ovary 

  • It is free  

  • It saves timeThere is no need to prepare formula and bottles. 

  • It does not produce any garbage. There are no formula and bottle packages to throw out. 

Breastfeeding Rights

You have the right to feed your baby anywhere, anytime.

Being asked to leave or to be more discreet is considered a form of discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Breastfeeding Support

Get comfortable and relaxed with good posture and correct body alignment.  

  • Your back and arms are well supported. Use a pillow at your back if needed.
  • Choose what position you would like to latch baby in. 
  • Breastfeeding Matters 

Your baby's spine should be in a straight line, lining their nose to your nipple. When the baby has a wide open mouth, push the heel of your hand gently in between their shoulder blades while cradling their head with your fingers, so that their head is slightly tilted back as you bring them deeply onto the breast.

  • Always bring baby to breast, not breast to baby

When your baby is latch, you should feel a strong tugging sensation as they suck to stimulate your breast and swallow milk. 

  • If you have pain, you can try to bring baby in closer, to push your nipple deep inside their mouth., where it is free from harm. You can also always alternately, try to latch your baby again and break the latch by sticking your pinky finger gently towards top inside of their mouth and starting again.

For more in-depth information: Breastfeeding Matters

An in-person feeding assessment is always a good idea, even if it's just to check that baby is latching deeply and effectively.

  •  To request a feeding appointment, fill out the self-referral form or call 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5003. 

You can tell that a baby is feeding well by seeing: 

  •  Active drinking at the breast. When baby is drinking well at the breast you should see their chin drop and can often hear swallowing sounds, which sounds like a soft “kah kah.” 

  •  Plenty of wet and dirty diapers (see chart)  

  • They are growing and gaining weight. 

Signs that feeding is going well chart: 

Signs that Feeding is Going Well

Babies should feed on demand, whenever they are showing cues that they are hungry. In the beginning, they should be feeding at least 8 times in 24 hours (every 2-3 hours from the beginning of one feed to the next). 

Breastmilk is easily digested, and it is normal for a baby to want to feed frequently. Breastfeeding through the night helps to build and maintain your milk supply. 

It is optimal to continue to feed when your baby shows cues, they are hungry. This is also called feeding on demand (where did this info come from?) . 

Signs/cues your baby is hungry:  

  • Stretching, moving arms and legs 

  • Bringing hands to mouth 

  • Sticking out tongue and licking lips 

  • Sucking motions or sounds 

  • Rooting (opening the mouth, searching to suck, and sucking on contact) 

  • Turning head back and forth 

 

To build a good milk supply – feed early after birth and often. The baby controls the milk produced with the supply and demand system. The more milk the baby removes, the more milk the breast will make.

During growth spurts the baby will stimulate the breast with more frequent feeds and the breast will respond in a day or two by making more milk. Growth spurts typically happen around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. It is normal when going through a growth spurt for baby to eat very frequently for a few days.

Many young babies will cluster feed (feed very frequently over a period of time during the day), often in the evenings. This is normal for babies. Some strategies to help cope with cluster feeding are to get set up for that time with a snack and drink ready, get comfortable in a space, watch your favourite show, call a friend, or have someone visit you at the time.

Your breasts often feel larger and heavier on day 3 or 4 after a baby is born. This is temporary as you and your baby begin to build your milk supply. To prevent and handle engorgement, feed your baby on demand, whenever they show cues they are hungry and work to get the deepest and most effective latch.

Breastfeeding Matters give you more information on how to handle engorgement.

Expressing breastmilk provides milk for your baby if you will be away from them and stimulates your body to make more milk.


Hand Expression

Hand expression can be especially useful during the early days of breastfeeding to:    

·        Providing milk to feed baby on a spoon or cup in the early days and weeks

·        Interest your baby in latching

·        Soften your breast near the areola if it is very full and hard for your baby to latch.

·        Relieve fullness if your baby is not feeding.

·        Apply a few drops of milk to your nipples to prevent soreness.

For information on how to hand express:

Best Start Fact Sheet

For a video on hand expression: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axQi5PqRZ0M

 

Breast Pumps

You can also use breast pumps to express milk. They can be bought and often rented. Check out this fact sheet for more information on expressing and storing breastmilk.

Expressing with a Breast Pump - Best Start Fact Sheet

For information on storing breastmilk:

One-on-one feeding support from a Public Health Nurse is available.

We have an Infant Feeding Clinic in the Port Hope and Lindsay offices, Monday to Friday by appointment. 

To request a feeding appointment, fill out the self-referral form or call 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5003.

Breastfeeding Matters: An Important Guide to Breastfeeding Families

Breastfeeding Information for Parents:

International Breastfeeding Centre Information Sheets and Videos:

Public Health Agency of Canada:

Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI)

The HKPR District Health Unit is a Baby-Friendly Initiative designated organization.  Our Public Health Nurses can support you make an informed decision on feeding your child that is best for everyone. We also provide a comfortable space to feed your baby at each of our office locations.  

The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) protects and promotes breastfeeding around the world. We support the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) and the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes and Subsequent Resolutions. the Health Unit works to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. 

To become BFI designated, agencies must adhere to and fulfill the requirements of the 10 Steps as outlined by WHO/UNICEF (2018) and adapted by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada for all healthcare institutions. This process is evaluated by a team of BFI assessors.

For more information check out the video below!

 

What is the Code?

The WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, approved by the member states participating at the World Health Assembly (except the US), was approved in 1981 to protect breastfeeding by ensuring the ethical marketing of breastmilk substitutes by industry. 

The Code includes these ten important provisions: 

  • No advertising of products under the scope of the Code to the public.
  • No free samples to mothers.
  • No promotion of products in health care facilities, including the distribution of free or low cost supplies.
  • No company representatives to advise mothers.
  • No gifts or personal samples to health workers.
  • No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants on the labels of products.
  • Information to health workers should be scientific and factual.
  • All information on use of breastmilk substitutes, including the labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and all costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
  • Unsuitable products such as sweetened condensed milk should not be promoted for babies.
  • Products should be of a high quality and take into account the climatic and storage conditions of the country where they are used.

Need more information about our Programs?

Call the Healthy Families Information and Support Line 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5003

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