Breastfeeding – good for baby, good for you

Updated July 16th, 2018

Breastfeeding (also known as chestfeeding) gives your baby the best possible start and is good for you as well. Breastfeeding is recommended as the only type of food for your baby for the first six months of life.  You can continue to breastfeed your baby for two years or longer.  Breastfeeding is more than just feeding your baby. It provides closeness and warmth which helps to create a special bond between you and your baby.  This nurturing helps your baby grow and develop.

Breast milk- nature’s superfood

Breast milk provides almost everything your baby needs to grow healthy and strong.

Breast milk: 

  • is easiest for your baby to digest
  •  it is always available and ready to go – no preparation is required
  • has all the nutrients, calories and fluids your baby needs to grow and develop
  • changes over time to meet the needs of your growing baby
  • helps protect your baby from lung, ear and stomach infections
  • helps prevent allergies, diabetes, eczema, some cancers and obesity
  • can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Your breastfed baby does not need any water, juice, pop, sugar water, cereal, formula or any other foods. The only extra thing you need to give baby in the first six months is vitamin D daily. Once your baby is 6 months old you can keep breastfeeding and start introducing solid foods.

Why breastfeeding is good for you

  • It’s free and convenient- you can breast/chest feed anywhere, anytime, anyplace – it’s a human right
  • Breastfeeding helps your body recover from childbirth. You will have less bleeding and and it helps your uterus return to its normal size
  • It may help protect you from breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis later in life
  • Breastfeeding can delay the return of your period and be used as a form of birth control if:
    • your baby is less than six months old
      AND
    • your baby is only getting breast milk (no formula or other type of food)
      AND
    • your baby breastfeeds on cue (and does not go longer then 4 hours during the day and 6 hours at night without breastfeeding)
      AND
    • your period has not returned

The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits will be to you and your baby. Breastfeeding is recommended by:

  • Health Canada,
  • Canadian Paediatric Society,
  • Dietitians of Canada, and
  • Breastfeeding Committee for Canada.

Breastfeeding can go smoothly or take time to get the hang of. It is different for everyone and can take some practice. This is perfectly normal. If you need help ask your nurse, doctor or midwife while you are still in your birthing centre or hospital. Once you go home you can ask your Public Health Nurse, midwife, lactation specialist, pediatrician or attend a breastfeeding support group.

Check out all our breastfeeding information here 

Breastfeeding resources

Breastfeeding Hotline
Phone: 204-788-8667 (in Winnipeg) or toll free 1-888-315-9257 (outside Winnipeg) Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Health Links-Info Santé
Phone: 204-788-8209 (in Winnipeg) or toll free 1-888-315-9257 (outside Winnipeg) Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Winnipeg La Leche League Phone Support and Groups
Phone: 204-257-3509 (in Winnipeg)

Dial-a-Dietitian
Phone: 204-788-8248 (in Winnipeg); toll free 1-877-830-2892 
Hours: Monday to Friday – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more online breastfeeding information visit:

Healthy Child Manitoba-Breastfeeding Your Baby
Caring for Kids
La Leche League Canada
Mother Risk
Stanford Medicine: Getting Started With Breastfeeding

References:

Eight great reasons to breastfeed your baby: Healthy Child Manitoba Resource
Baby Friendly Manitoba-Why it’s important to breastfeed my baby
Informed decision making: having meaningful conversations regarding infant feeding- A Best Start Ontario Resource