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Preparing for Breastfeeding

Planning for your baby’s arrival includes learning about feeding. Just as you trust your body to grow your baby, you can also trust your body is making the changes necessary for you to breastfeed your baby.

During pregnancy, you have probably noticed your breasts changing in size and tenderness due to all the hormonal changes you are going through. The same hormones will make sure you have enough milk to feed your baby once he or she arrives.

The importance of breastfeeding

Breast milk is the natural food for babies. Canadian health experts recommend:

  • babies need only breast milk for the first six months.
  • at six months, babies will show signs that they are ready for solid foods. It is important to watch for these cues, introduce solids when ready, and continue to breastfeed for up to two years and beyond.
  • Health Canada recommends you give your breastfed baby 400 IU of vitamin D each day from birth to two years of age.

Breastfeeding matters because:

  • everyone benefits from breastfeeding – you, your baby, your family and your community.
  • breast milk is convenient, always the right temperature and available anytime.
  • breastfeeding is free.
  • breastfeeding promotes bonding between you and your baby.
  • breastfeeding is environmentally-friendly.
  • breastfeeding reduces health care costs for your family and society.

For your baby, breastfeeding:

  • protects your baby from many infections and illnesses;
  • builds healthy eating habits;
  • promotes proper jaw development; and
  • promotes healthy brain development.

For mom, breastfeeding:

  • controls postpartum bleeding;
  • helps you lose  the weight you gained during pregnancy more quickly; and
  • slows down the return of your period.

Risks of using formula

You will see information about formula and may receive free samples in the mail. The free samples often arrive when you’re not yet feeling confident about breastfeeding.
When parents have free samples of formula they are more likely to feed it to their baby, which can lead to:
  • lower milk supply;
  • less breastfeeding;
  • difficulties with latching on; and
  • stopping breastfeeding sooner than planned.

Read more information about the risks of supplementing with formula or dial 311 to speak to a public health nurse.

What you can do to prepare:

  • read about breastfeeding and register for prenatal classes.
  • share your plan to breastfeed with your support team: your partner, family, friends and healthcare providers.
  • know who to call for support and guidance once your baby arrives. Keep in mind that support is key to breastfeeding success!
  • learn how to hand express a few drops of colostrum. Colostrum is the first nutrition that your baby needs and the few drops you get out are all your baby needs to ensure blood sugars and nutrition are stable after birth.
  • learn about how bottles and pacifiers can interfere with getting breastfeeding off to a good start.

Expressed colostrum can be fed by spoon or cup.  Many babies never use a pacifier.  If you decide to use one, wait until breastfeeding is well established.  Learn other ways to comfort your baby.

  • learn about how a caesarean section can affect breastfeeding and what you can do to get off to a good start.  Holding your baby skin-to-skin right away and getting help from family and friends so you can focus on feeding your baby and resting are two great tips. For more tips, check out these videos:

Take our prenatal classes to learn about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. Register online or by calling 311

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Register Online:

  • Online
    • You are encouraged to register at least 1 month before your due date but it's never too early or too late to register.
  • Interested in volunteering? Check out our volunteer section.

Halton Breastfeeding Connection

  • A volunteer program that provides mother to-mother telephone support for expectant or breastfeeding mothers
  • You receive breastfeeding support from trained volunteers who have breastfed a minimum of 6 months.
  • The service is free of charge and help is provided over the telephone in your home.
  • Frequency of calls is arranged between the mother and the volunteer and calls continue for as long as the mother requires support.
  • Help is provided with the normal process of nursing.
  • Volunteers share information about breastfeeding, and provide support and encouragement.

How do I contact the Halton Breastfeeding Connection?

  • You can contact the Halton Breastfeeding Connection by calling the Health Department at 311 or 905-825-6000, or by registering online
    • If you are interested in the program, you are encouraged to register at least 1 month before your due date.
    • Your volunteer will contact you before your due date to get to know you and answer any questions you have.
    • After you give birth, your volunteer will call you regularly and you can also call her as needed.
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HaltonParents public health nurses provide breastfeeding support by:
  • Phone – dial 311 or 905-825-6000, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Community help

The Halton Baby-Friendly Initiative provides a detailed and up-to-date list of phone and online supports, community groups, private lactation consultants and breastfeeding clinics.  
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