Breast milk is the natural food for newborns

It contains everything your baby needs. No question, no debate, no doubt. The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians of Canada agree:

  • Babies need only breastmilk for the first 6 months.
  • Around 6 months, babies begin to eat solid foods and continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.
  • Start solid foods that are nutritious, especially foods that are high in iron.

Breastfeeding is natural and babies are born to breastfeed. During the early days after birth, some babies and mothers need time to learn and get it right. What other people say or believe may affect the success of breastfeeding. Families, friends and partners can help new mothers give their babies the best start in life by supporting  them  in their  choice to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding matters, because breastfeeding has been shown to:

  • decrease the risk of ear, chest and stomach infections
  • prevent diarrhea
  • decreases the risk of digestive diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis
  • decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • decreases the risk of obesity
  • promotes proper jaw and tooth development
  • promotes healthy brain development

When problems arise with breastfeeding (for example, blocked milk ducts or latching issues), there are many community supports that are available such as midwives, family doctors, breastfeeding support networks, public health departments and  the La Leche League Canada.

Supporting a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere at anytime is also critical to creating an environment of acceptance of breastfeeding. Creating and enforcing policies that protect those rights as well as supporting the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Initiative are other ways that organizations and individuals can encourage women to successfully breastfeed their babies.

Health Nexus resources

The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Evidence-Informed Key Messages and Resources
This resource was developed in partnership with BFI Ontario. It provides key supports for agencies who are implementing or maintaining the standards of the Baby-Friendly initiative (BFI). It highlights the key points regarding each of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and explains them with evidence-informed language. The additional online, linked resources can be used when implementing each of the 10 Steps or requirements of the Code, make this resource practical and user-friendly. It is equally applicable in hospital and community settings.

Breastfeeding for the Health and Future of Our Nation
This booklet was created to support Aboriginal women with the art of breastfeeding. The Medicine Wheel is used to symbolize the balance needed to support breastfeeding women.

Mixing Alcohol and Breastfeeding - printer-ready handouts
The handout is a resource for mothers and their partners to help them make an informed choice when it comes to drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.

Download printer-ready handouts as PDF files in English, French, Arabic, Cree, Ojibway, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Tagalog

Free, bilingual on-line course on Breastfeeding

 Breastfeeding Online course
This free online course is designed to enable staff and volunteers who work with prenatal women or new families protect, promote and support breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding Matters: An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families

Breastfeeding Matters (PDF)
This booklet will help women and their families explore breastfeeding from prenatal decisions, learning breastfeeding basics to gaining confidence. Topics include: making an informed decision, getting started, learning to breastfeed, common concerns, frequently asked questions and where to get help. The booklet was tested by many pregnant and breastfeeding families and contains some of their quotes.

The fact sheets complement the Breastfeeding Matters booklet in special situations. They can be downloaded when needed. The following fact sheets are available.

reastfeeding and Alcohol Use: Parent Knowledge and Behaviours in Ontario

Breastfeeding and Alcohol Use (PDF)
The report shares the results of a 2011 survey about parent knowledge and behaviours in Ontario regarding breastfeeding and alcohol use.


Other resources