Breastfeeding/chestfeeding- Good for Baby, Good for You
Updated November 15th, 2023
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/chest milk- nature’s superfood
Breast milk provides almost everything your baby needs to grow healthy and strong.
- 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.
Hot parent tip: Did you know that it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine when you are pregnant or breastfeeding? Evidence shows that antibodies are passed through the placenta, umbilical cord and breast milk which protects your baby from COVID-19. So, if you haven’t got the shot, click here for more information, including where you can get it.
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 temporarily be used as a form of birth control. This is called the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM). Lactation means your body is making breast/chest milk and amenorrhea means you aren’t having a monthly period. Breastfeeding hormones may stop your body from releasing eggs. When you don’t release eggs, you can’t get pregnant. However, LAM only works if:
- your baby is less than six months old
your baby is only getting breast milk (no formula, other type of liquid, or other type of food)
your period has not returned. (This means you have not had vaginal bleeding for 2 or more days in a row (not counting bleeding during the first 2 months after giving birth)
- your baby is less than six months old
- LAM does not work well if you don’t have all 3 things above. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if LAM is right for you. For more information about LAM see this page from MyHealth.Alberta.ca
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, or pediatrician.
Check out all our breastfeeding information here
Youville Centre has increased breastfeeding support services in response to the impact of COVID on Public Health Nursing services. For breastfeeding support or information on lactation consultation services, book a call back by phoning 204-255-4840.
- 24-hour nurse phone support:
Winnipeg La Leche League Phone Support and Groups
Phone: 204-257-3509 (in Winnipeg)
If you have a nutrition or food question, call Dial-a-Dietitian Manitoba at 204-788-8248 in Winnipeg or 1-877-830-2892. The Dial-a-Dietitian phone number is currently redirected to Health Links-Info Santé. You can leave a message with a nurse and a dietitian will return your call.
For more online breastfeeding information visit:
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