Unique infant feeding needs

Mother laying down and holding her two babies.Some families need a little more help with breastfeeding as their circumstances require a unique approach. On this page you will find information about: 

  • Family health needs: Such as relactation, co-parenting, and feeding during emergencies
  • Baby health needs: Such as feeding with a cleft lip and palate, Down syndrome, a lip and tongue tie, or prematurity
  • Parent health needs: Such as breastfeeding after a c-section, food allergies and intolerances, and mental health and substance use

If you, your baby, or your family have unique feeding needs, explore the sections and resources below.

Family health needs

Family structures and circumstances will shape feeding options and needs. Certain situations may require unique approaches to support your family.

Adoption, surrogacy, and induced lactation


Feeding in emergencies

Human milk can be a secure food source for babies. Breastfeeding is protective during health and environmental emergencies, such as during a pandemic, flooding, and wildfires. However, in these stressful times, parents might require additional help with breastfeeding.

Lactation after the loss of a baby

Relactation (restarting breastfeeding)

Transgender and non-binary parents

Twins, triplets, and more

Baby health needs

Some families may need extra help to feed their babies at the breast, including babies born with a cleft lip or palate, Down syndrome, a lip or tongue tie, or preterm.

Cleft lip and palate

Down syndrome

Food allergy and intolerance

Lip and tongue tie

Preterm and low birth weight babies

Parent health needs

Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is rarely contraindicated. However, some conditions may require unique approaches or extra help as you meet your feeding goals.

Alcohol, cannabis, and other substance use

Speak with your primary care provider for support on how to reduce unintentional harms for you and your baby. They can support you to explore safety planning, keep your home and vehicle smoke and vapour free, and reduce your overdose risk.

Caesarean (c-section) birth

Medication use

Many mediations are compatible with breastfeeding. Speak with your primary care provider, local pharmacist, or call Pharmacist Services at HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (or 1-604-215-8110) to ask questions about medications. 

Mental health 

Learning to breastfeed may take time for you and your baby. Parenting is an adjustment and can be challenging. If you are feeling overwhelmed or have concerns about your mental well-being, please reach out to your health care provider or local health unit. Support is available.

Surgery and other procedures


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