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Infant Feeding

Make an Informed Decision

Choosing how to feed your baby is an important decision. Your family has the right to reliable information about infant feeding. We want you to make the best choice for you and your baby when it comes to feeding and caring for your baby. Making an informed decision means that you know all of the risks and all of the benefits of ways that you can feed your baby.

Breastmilk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6 months. You have the right to breastfeed your baby anywhere, any time.

At 6 months of age, breastmilk is still the most important food for you baby; but, the time has come to introduce solid foods. As babies approach 6 months, they will start to show the signs that they are ready for solid foods.

A Public Health Nurse or Nutritionist can help you make the best choice for you and your baby. Call our Health ACTION Line at 1-800-660-5853 to discuss any questions or concerns.

For the mother, some of the many benefits of breastfeeding your baby:

  • Controls postpartum bleeding
  • Promotes bone health
  • Promotes resistance to breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers
  • Supports the natural health of mom’s body

For the baby, some of the many benefits of getting breastmilk:

  • Supports a healthy digestive system
  • Helps normal jaw and tooth development
  • Helps healthy brain development
  • Provides resistance to illness and disease, including food allergies and digestive disease

For the family and community:

  • Convenient, always the right temperature and is available anytime
  • Free
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduces health care costs for the family and society
  • Assists with natural child spacing

If an informed choice is made to start using formula, it can be hard to start to breastfeed again. There can be an increase in health risks for both mom and for baby when a baby is getting formula.

Risks for the mother:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers (breast, ovaries, and uterus)
  • Brittle bones

Risks for the baby:

  • Infections (ear, chest, gastrointestinal, diarrhea)
  • Digestive problems (inflammation of the digestive tract, Crohn’s disease, colitis, diarrhea)
  • Food allergies
  • SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Tooth decay
  • Childhood illnesses

Powdered infant formula can have bacteria that may make your baby sick. Follow the directions on the formula package carefully to make sure it is safe for your baby. When there are problems with formula, recalls can be found on the Healthy Canadians website.

The average price of basic cow’s milk formula with iron is listed below. Formula costs were collected in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Counties in May 2015.

Powdered:

  • Yearly $931.37
  • Monthly $77.61
  • Daily $2.55

Concentrated:

  • Yearly $1085.68
  • Monthly $90.47
  • Daily $2.97

Ready-to-feed:

  • Yearly $3,389.90
  • Monthly $282.49
  • Daily $9.29

If you have made an informed choice to feed your baby formula, we have a formula feeding resource titled Formula Feeding: What You Need to Know. This resource will give you reliable information on feeding formula to your baby in a safe way. You can get this resource on our website or at any of our Health Unit offices.

A Public Health Nurse or Nutritionist can help you make the best choice for you and your baby. Call our Health ACTION Line at 1-800-660-5853 to discuss any questions or concerns.

For a hard copy of this information, call the Health Unit for our Make an Informed Decision about Feeding Your Baby resource.

Breastfeeding

Breastmilk is the only food or drink your baby needs for the first 6 months. After 6 months, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding for two years and beyond, along with offering iron-rich solid foods. You have the right to breastfeed your baby anywhere, any time.

Early breastfeeding support can be very helpful. Even if you are not having problems, early support can boost your confidence to know your baby is doing well. Check out the Infant Feeding Clinic schedule to find a clinic near you. You can also call the Health ACTION Line at 1-800-660-5853 to get support right away.

Hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible after your baby is born. Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits including better breastfeeding outcomes. For more information on skin-to-skin contact, visit our Healthy Growth & Development section.

It can be hard to know where to find reliable breastfeeding information. Below you can find some links to information you can trust.

Introduction to Solid Food

When your baby is around 6 months old and showing you signs of readiness, you can start to offer iron-rich solid foods. Visit the Healthy Eating – First Year page for more information about feeding your baby in the first year.

Feeding Your Growing Child

All parents and caregivers want the best for their children when it comes to healthy eating. Understanding your child’s nutrition needs and what to expect at different stages is the first step to feeding children in a healthy and happy way. For information and tips on feeding your growing child from toddlers to youth, visit our Feeding Children – Toddlers to Youth page.