How can I make an informed decision about breastfeeding?

We want to support families to make an informed decision about how to feed their babies. To do this, we want to provide you with some of the facts.

Breastfeeding is important because it is free, convenient, environmentally friendly, and reduces health care costs. It helps babies with brain development, building healthy eating habits and proper jaw development. For mothers it controls postpartum bleeding, slows the return of your period, and helps you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight faster.

Formula feeding is expensive, never changes, has a risk of contamination or preparation error and requires extra time to sterilize the equipment. Formula fed babies are more at risk for infections, upsets of the stomach and gut, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), some childhood cancers and later in life, obesity and chronic diseases. Mothers who do not breastfeed are at increased risk for postpartum bleeding and cancer of the breast or ovaries.

A mother’s milk supply is linked to how often she feeds her baby. When babies are given formula, even only occasionally, the mother’s milk supply can be affected and decrease. Babies who are given supplemental formula are less likely to feed from the breast as often and require more and more formula. Mothers and babies who use formula in the early weeks are less likely to breastfeed as long as they had planned.

Sometimes babies need extra milk. It would be best to give your baby your expressed breastmilk – we can help you learn how to hand express your breastmilk. If donor milk from a milk bank is available it would be the second best option. If you think your baby needs more milk please contact us.

A baby may need a special formula due to a medical condition. Sometimes mothers cannot provide breastmilk to their babies due to their own medical condition. If you are told by a health care provider to give your baby formula it is okay to ask why.

If you make an informed decision to give formula to your baby please speak with your health care provider and contact us.

If you have questions about breastfeeding or feeding your baby, call to speak with one of our public health nurses at 705.522.9200, ext. 342 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on June 12, 2015