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BREASTFEEDING: Nature’s gift

Most parents decide how to feed their baby before they are even pregnant. Breast milk provides the right nutrition  for baby and has many other benefits for baby, you and your family. No matter what the formula advertisements tell you, formula cannot provide the following:

  • Immune factors to prevent infection.
  • Enzymes and hormones to help growth and development.
  • Taste and fat content that change day by day and feed by feed.

For example, formula fed babies get respiratory infections that require hospitalization more often; are over-weight more often leading to later problems. Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer.

Some people worry that they cannot breastfeed their baby if they continue to smoke, drink or take drugs. Even if you smoke, the baby will get protection from breastmilk. If you decide to have a drink of alcohol now and again that can be done while breastfeeding, too. Many over-the-counter or prescribed drugs are safe to take while you are breastfeeding.

It may help you and your partner to discuss your thoughts and questions about breastfeeding when you take a look at what kind of knowledge and experiences you both have. You don’t need to hide when you and baby are out and want to feed. Adults eat in public all the time without question; there is no reason why your baby can’t do the same thing. The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that no one can prevent a mother from breastfeeding her baby in a public place or ask her to move to a more private area such as a washroom.

Many new mothers are tired in the first few weeks after birth and may become frustrated if they experience any difficulties in breastfeeding. Sometimes, the first response is to give the baby a bottle of formula. Just one bottle could affect your breastfeeding success. There is an art and science to breastfeeding and sometimes mothers and babies need a little time to get it right. The urge to give up can be strong, but with good support and when you remind yourself of the facts about breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding, you’ll stick with it.

The High Cost of Not Breastfeeding

In a previous chapter we have talked about the cost of starting a family. When there is so much you have to buy, why spend money on formula for your future baby. Look at the chart and find out what else you could be spending your money on, when you decide to breastfeed. More importantly, breastfed babies suffer from far fewer childhood illnesses than formula fed babies. This means, having a healthier baby could save you even more money on over-the-counter and prescription medicines, lost time from work to take care of a sick child, and other indirect expenses. When you add it all up, formula feeding is costly!

If you breastfeed for this amount of time you would have saved enough money to buy:


The Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Breast milk is baby’s best food.
  • Breast milk is easier to digest than formula.
  • Formula feeding is much more expensive than breastfeeding.
  • Breast milk helps guard babies against infection.
  • Breastfeeding is convenient. No bottles or nipples to sterilize. No formula to prepare or keep cool or warm up.
  • Breast milk takes energy to make, so it burns calories and fat. It’s easier to lose weight after the baby is born.
  • Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly – no cans or packaging are needed.
  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Breastfeeding helps protect mom and baby from cancer – breast, cervix, ovaries and some childhood cancers.

Breastfeeding can be done anywhere, anytime. And it fits into even the busiest schedule. You can make it work for you and your family. Plan to breastfeed as long as possible, up to at least six months, two years or maybe more. And if you have support from your partner, family, friends and community to breastfeed, you are more likely to keep it up.

Creating circles of support

You have lots to learn about breastfeeding. Talk to family, friends and breastfeeding helpers as you think about feeding your baby.

  • Partner, family and friends
  • Health care provider
  • Breastfeeding support groups
  • La Leche League
  • Public Health Nurse


Local public health unit: 1-800-267-8097

La Leche League Canada Breastfeeding Referral Service: 1-800-665-4324

Lactation Consultant:

Health care provider:

Breastfeeding clinic:

Support groups:



Breastfeeding Matters

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