Breastfeeding your Baby and Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI)
Why should I breastfeed my baby?
Breastfeeding is the best method of feeding for infants. It provides nutrition, boosts immunity and benefits growth and development. Breastfeeding also allows you to enjoy a special bond with your baby, helps your body return to its pre-pregnancy condition and protects you against breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding is an important first step to a lifetime of healthy eating.
Breastmilk is the best food for growth and is all your baby needs for the first six months. Infants should be introduced to nutrient-rich, solid foods with particular attention to iron-rich foods after six months with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.
Health PEI endorses Health Canada’s recommendation that babies should be exclusively breastfed to six months of age and then continue to be breastfed with appropriate complementary feeding to two years of age and beyond.
What support is offered to help me feed my baby?
Learning about infant feeding before your baby is born will help you choose what is right for you and your family. Health professionals and community-based organizations can offer breastfeeding support and information to you and your family before and after the birth of your baby.
Provincial government health services include:
- Public Health Nursing offers a prenatal breastfeeding class. For information about classes, contact your local Public Health Nursing office.
- Health PEI Lactation Consultants provide one-on-one assistance in the following areas:
- Public Health Nursing – (902) 888-8160
- Prince County Hospital – (902) 438-4490 (Maternal Child Care Unit)
- Public Health Nursing – (902) 368-4530
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital – (902) 894-2267 (Nursery)
Community-based, non-government support offered in PEI:
- Family Resource Centres offer support programs and other resources for new mothers across the province.
- La Leche League Canada is a national community-based organization offering mother-to-mother breastfeeding information and support.
- PEI Breastfeeding Coalition offers online resources and peer support for breastfeeding.
What is the Baby Friendly Initiative?
The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is an international program established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding worldwide in hospitals and in the community. Health PEI implemented an infant feeding policy in 2016 using the BFI as its framework. This policy aims to:
- Create a culture that supports breastfeeding and respect a woman’s right to breastfeed in a public area without discrimination or harassment.
- Support all women, their babies, and their families regardless of how they choose to feed their baby.
- Respect the decision each mother makes about how to feed her baby.