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The Canadian Pediatric Society and Health Canada recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby until they are six months old. Start feeding your baby solid foods at six months and continue breastfeeding for up to two years and more.
Most families in Hamilton intend to breastfeed their baby. With good information and support they are able to meet their breastfeeding goals.
Making an informed decision about breastfeeding
How you feed your baby is an important decision. It is important to learn about:
- Breastfeeding basics
- The importance of breastfeeding to your health and your baby's health
- Risks and costs of formula feeding
- Where to get help and support with feeding your baby
Breastfeeding is important for both you and your baby. Your breast milk is made for your baby. The health effects of breastfeeding begin right away and increase the longer you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is good for your baby because it:
- Provides nutrients that help your baby’s mind and body grow
- Protects them from harmful germs that may cause ear infections, diarrhea, colds and pneumonia
- Is comforting and strengthens the bond with your baby
- Decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS
- Helps with jaw and tooth development
- Helps your baby develop good eating habits
Breastfeeding is good for you because it:
- Can help control your bleeding after giving birth
- Helps protect you from breast, uterine and ovarian cancer
- Can help protect you from chronic diseases like diabetes
- Is convenient and portable
- Does not cost anything
Risks of formula feeding
The decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse or change.
Babies who are not breastfed have a higher risk of:
- Gastrointestinal infections that cause diarrhea
- Ear infections
- Respiratory tract infections like colds and pneumonia
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS
- Obesity and diabetes later in life
Mothers who do not breastfeed have a higher risk of:
- Breast and ovarian cancer
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes
Reasons for giving formula
There may be times when it is necessary to give your baby formula. These times include:
- When your baby has a medical condition and needs a special formula
- When you have a medical condition that prevents you from providing breast milk to your baby
- When you have been separated from your baby and cannot get enough breast milk to your baby
For more information:
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