Breastfeeding and Breast Milk
Breastfeeding is the normal, natural and optimal way for a mother to feed her baby. It is a learned skill, one that mothers and babies can master with time, patience, practice and support. This webpage provides a variety of breastfeeding resources that might be of interest to mothers, families, and community partners.
- 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 breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.
It can be helpful to discuss information you find online with health care providers. We encourage mothers and families to bring copies of information with them to their appointments, to discuss and get answers to questions.
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
- Sustaining breastfeeding together: She can do it, you can help
- How Fathers Help Breastfeeding Happen
- 24 hour Crib Side Assistance
- Support for single parents in the first year
- Northern Health Primary Care Nursing (previously known as public health nursing)
- Basic breastfeeding support
- Located at various primary care homes (previously known as health units)
- Lactation Consultant: Brittney McCullough
- Specialized breastfeeding support
- In-person, telephone, and email support for clients throughout Northern Health
- Phone: 250-565-2327
- Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
- HealthLink BC
- Basic breastfeeding support from nurses
- Call 811
Interested in learning more about breastfeeding? This is a great place to start.
- Skin-to-Skin Contact
- Baby Feeding Cues and Behaviours
- Latching your Baby
- Breastfeeding Positions
- Hand Expressing Breastmilk
- Download a copy of Baby's Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care
- Download a copy of Toddler’s First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your 6-to-36 Month-Old Child
- Breastfeeding for the Health and Future of Our Nation: A Booklet for Indigenous Families
- Celebrating the Circle of Life: Coming Back to Balance and Harmony: A Guide to Emotional Health in Pregnancy and Early Motherhood for Aboriginal Women and their Families
- Our Sacred Journey: Aboriginal Pregnancy Passport
- Our Special Journey: Pregnancy Passport
Articles and Blog Posts
- Sustaining breastfeeding together: what mothers have to say
- Why skin-to-skin care is important for your baby’s well-being
- Breastfeeding and First Nations Families in Canada
- Breastfeeding Tips
- Breastfeeding (Health File Number 70)
- Breastfeeding – Learning the Basics
- Breastfeeding My Baby
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.
Creating Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces
- Breastfeeding Welcome Poster
- Northern Health Growing for Gold Program
- Growing breastfeeding-friendly communities: you can help!
- Humans Rights in British Columbia: Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (including pregnant and breastfeeding women)
- Breastfeeding: a cultural approach can make all the difference
Understanding Baby-Friendly Initiative
- The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Strengthening Indigenous Families and Communities
- Who benefits from Baby-Friendly?
- Breastfeeding Committee for Canada
- World Health Organization – Baby-Friendly Initiative
- Pregnant women and families are vulnerable to advertising tactics that may not be in their best interests. The Baby-Friendly Initiative acknowledges that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for mothers and infants, and those families need to be supported to make informed feeding decisions without the influence of formula marketing.
Celebrating Breastfeeding Week
Additional Resources for Community Partners
Are you pregnant or know someone who’s expecting? Pregnancy is a great time to learn about what to expect with breastfeeding and to talk to your health care provider about any questions or concerns you may have. The links below provide information to help you get started.
In the early postpartum period, one of the most important things you can do is early and often skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. This allows your bay to have unlimited access to your breast while you are establishing your breastfeeding journey together.
Whether this is your first child or another addition, check out this list of topics as you learn how to breastfeed your new baby.
- Admission to postpartum – keeping your baby skin-to-skin (video)
- Bonding with your newborn
- Importance of skin-to-skin contact
- Why skin-to-skin care is important for your baby's well-being
Co-Sleeping and Safer Infant Sleep
- Breastfeeding My Baby Guide
- Baby’s feeding cues and behaviours (video)
- How often and how long to feed
- Why Does My Baby Cry?
- Fussy Baby Ideas
- Swaddling (Baby’s Best Chance, page 128)
- Breast engorgement
- Expressing Breast Milk (Baby’s Best Chance, pages 122-124)
- Getting started on expressing breastmilk
- Hand expressing milk (video)
- Hand Expression
- Pumping Breast Milk
- Storing Breast Milk
- More on Storing Breast Milk
Alternate Feeding Methods
- Cannabis (Marijuana)
- Diet and Nutrition
- Herbal Teas and other Products
- Herbal teas (Baby’s Best Chance, page 44)
- Few medications are not compatible with breastfeeding. Sometimes other medication options can be explored. Discuss with your doctor, pharmacist, lactation consultant or other health care provider.
- Substance Use
Donor Human Milk
- Donating Milk in BC (including Northern Health)
- Informal (Peer-to-Peer) Milk Sharing (Unpasteurized Donor Human Milk)
- BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank
- Breastfeeding Your Early Preterm Baby
- Kangaroo Care for Premature Infants
- Tips for Breastfeeding Preterm Babies
Twins, Triplets and More
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!
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).
- Breastfeeding Your Toddler (Toddler’s First Steps, pages 50-54)
- Juggling the joys (and challenges) of breastfeeding my toddler
- With strings attached
Breastfeeding during Pregnancy and Tandem Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding during pregnancy (Breastfeeding Basics, page 62)
- Is It Possible to Breastfeed Both an Infant and a Toddler?
- Tandem Nursing (Children of Different Ages)
- For more information, please email NHBreastFeeding@northernhealth.ca