Learning to breastfeed

Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and breastfeeding parents - learn how to get started.

Benefits of breastfeeding

Benefits of breastfeeding for baby

Breast milk is good for your baby because it:

  • Is always fresh and ready
  • Will help your baby keep a healthy body weight
  • May increase protection against illnesses such as childhood diabetes
  • Increases protection against ear, chest and stomach infections
  • May increase protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Helps to prevent constipation

Benefits of breastfeeding for breastfeeding parents

Breastfeeding is good for you because it:

  • Promotes closeness and bonding with baby
  • Helps the uterus to return to its normal size after birth
  • Helps to control bleeding after birth
  • Helps to protect you against cancer of the breast and ovary
  • Helps you return to a healthy body weight after giving birth

Other benefits of breastfeeding

  • Saves money (formula can be very expensive)
  • Saves time (no need to prepare formula and bottles)
  • Is better for the environment (no formula and bottle packages to throw out)

How to breastfeed

Breast milk is the only food your baby will need for the first six months of life, which is great because breast milk is free and offers many health benefits. But getting started can sometimes be difficult. If you don't know how to get started, or have questions, we're here to help. 

VCH supports breastfeeding through its Baby Friendly Initiative. Have a look at the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) breastfeeding services to find the right ones for you. You can also reach out to your Public Health Nurse, who will be a great resource and source of support. 

Did you know? 

  • You can breastfeed and use birth control at the same time (talk to your health care provider about safe options)
  • Your employer must accommodate you if you need to pump breast milk at work
  • Babies who are breastfed need a liquid vitamin D supplement of 400 IU every day to help them grow strong teeth and bones. Breast milk has some vitamin D but it is not enough to meet your baby's needs.  Learn more about vitamin D on Healthy Families BC.

Latch and position

Sometimes it can take time for a baby to learn how to get a good latch on your breast. A good latch is important for successful breastfeeding. It helps your baby get the milk they need and it stops you from going through discomfort or pain unnecessarily. 

It is also important to find a breastfeeding position that works for you and your baby to help enjoy a successful breastfeeding experience. 

Learning to breastfeed resources

    • VCH Infant Feeding Policy

      VCH Infant Feeding Policy to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

    • Baby's Best Chance Handbook

      Baby's Best Chance Handbook: Feeding your baby on page 90 - Also available in French

    • Breastfeeding

      HealthLink BC

    • Breastfeeding in the first three weeks

      During the first three weeks, breastfeeding patterns will help you decide if your baby is getting enough breast milk.