Breastfeeding and Breast Milk

Breastfeeding is the optimal way for a mother to feed her baby. Northern Health supports the following recommendations from World Health Organization, Health Canada, Dietitians of Canada, and Canadian Paediatric Society:

  • Exclusively breastfeed infants for the first six months of life (i.e., the infant only receives breast milk without any additional food or drink unless medically indicated);
  • Introduce complementary, iron rich, solid foods and other fluids around the age of six months; and
  • Continue to breastfeed for up to two years and beyond.

This webpage offers a variety of resources about breastfeeding and breast milk for mothers, families, and community partners.

Woman Breastfeeding an infantIt can be helpful to discuss information found online with health care providers.

We encourage mothers and families to bring copies of information to their appointments, to discuss, and get answers to questions.

Support for Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a learned skill, one that mothers and babies can master with time, patience, and practice. A little support goes a long way! Women can benefit from support from their families, spouses, and peers. If additional support is needed, there are also professional and community-based supports available.

Partner, Family, and Peer Support

Professional Support

Community-Based Support


Prenatal: Planning for Baby's Arrival

Are you pregnant or know someone who’s expecting? Pregnancy is an important time to learn about what to expect with breastfeeding. Talk to your health care provider about any questions or concerns you may have. The links below provide information to help you get started.

Getting Started

Maternal Diet and Nutrition

Substance Use and Breastfeeding


Baby Has Arrived: Getting Started

In the early postpartum period, skin-to-skin contact with your newborn is important. This allows your baby to have unlimited access to your breast while you begin your breastfeeding journey together. Whether this is your first child or another addition, learning the basics can help you to breastfeed your new baby.


Comfortable Positions

Co-Sleeping and Safer Infant Sleep

Effective Latching

Baby Behaviour

Milk Supply

Expressing Milk

Alternative Feeding Methods

There may be times when feeding directly at the breast is not possible. The following resources highlight alternative feeding methods as options for some families to meet their infant feeding goals. Even though a baby may not be fed directly at the breast, it’s important for a parent/guardian to hold them skin-to-skin during their feeding to promote bonding.



Donor Human Milk

The optimal way for a mother to feed her baby is with her own breast milk. Sometimes, when a mother’s milk is unavailable, babies need donated human milk. Learn more below.


Special Circumstances: Families with Unique Needs

Breastfeed Your Growing Child through Ages and Stages

While your baby may start to explore solid foods at about six months, continued breastfeeding is recommended for two years and beyond. Learn what other mothers have to say! Many mothers continue breastfeeding their toddlers even during new pregnancies and in tandem with newborns. This section includes resources for you and your growing child!

Breastfeeding During Painful Experiences

Nutrition in the First Year

Nutrition for Toddlers and Preschools

Returning to Work

  • Many mothers decide to continue breastfeeding once they return to work.
  • Breastfeeding is a human right.
    • Did you know that BC employers are required to accommodate your breastfeeding needs, such as providing adequate breaks and a comfortable space for you to pump and/or breastfeed your baby?
    • Talk to your employer about how they can support you to meet your breastfeeding goals.
  • Breastfeeding at Work
  • Learn more about Returning to Work after Baby (Best Start Resource Centre, page 7).

Toddler Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Tandem Breastfeeding



Helpful Resources for Community Partners

Are you a community partner who works closely with women, young children, and families? This is a great place to learn more about how you can support breastfeeding mothers in your community.

Create Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces

Celebrate Breastfeeding Week

Understand Baby-Friendly Initiative

Explore Breastfeeding Education

Additional Resources for Community Partners