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Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding

Breastfeeding or chestfeeding is important for you and your baby.

Today most babies are breastfed or chestfed. And as more Canadians understand how important breastfeeding or chestfeeding is for the health of mothers/parents and babies, more people are supporting mothers/parents to breastfeed or chestfeed for longer, up to 2 years and more. 

Informal (peer-to-peer) milk sharing

Your own milk is the best way to feed your baby. When your milk is not available, for whatever reason, pasteurized donor human milk from an official milk bank is the next best choice.

Some parents feel the benefits of human milk outweigh the potential risks of formula. Informal milk sharing (sometimes called peer-to-peer milk sharing) is human milk that is:

  • obtained from family members, friends, a milk-sharing website, or purchased online;
  • usually not treated to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses

If you are thinking about giving your baby milk from an informal donor, read the Informal (Peer-to-Peer) Human Milk Sharing Family Information Sheet  and talk with your health care provider to discuss the risks and benefits of all feeding options.

BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank

The BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank screens milk donors, collects and pasteurizes donated milk, and distributes it to hospitals in BC.

Milk from a baby’s own mother/parent is always the first choice. When her milk isn’t available, donor milk is the next best thing. Donor milk has active beneficial properties and is similar to mother’s/parent's own milk. It provides babies with antibodies to fight disease and infection. Human milk is best for all babies. It is especially important for sick and very tiny babies.

The demand for milk is high and often exceeds supply. New donors are always needed.

Before attempting to drop off milk to a  milk collection depot, you must call the depot that you plan to use to confirm times and locations for drop off.

Public Health Agency of Canada Parent Resource

Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby Guide

The Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby guide, available inside the Pregnancy Passport, is a helpful tool that can be printed and posted in health-care facilities to promote breastfeeding or chestfeeding, or used with families for individual or group education: Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby

Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby

The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet was adapted with permission from the BFI Strategy for Ontario. The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet supports families who have a preterm baby and who plan to breastfeed or chestfeed and/or provide human milk to their baby. Topics include: breastfeeding or chestfeeding your preterm baby, skin-to-skin contact and Kangaroo care, tips to getting off to a good start, pumping, feeding your baby at the hospital and tips for when you take your baby home.

The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet is available in the following languages: 

Human Milk and Contrast Media

Is it safe to breastfeed or chestfeed my baby after my Medical Imaging test? Yes

Learn more about human milk and contrast media

Other Resources:

These materials promote community support of breastfeeding or chestfeeding. Click on the images below to see print-ready versions of the promotional materials.


4 x posters 

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, but it is celebrated in Canada from October 1-7. It is celebrated in October because it is the 10th month of the year and symbolizes the first week of a baby's life (after nine months of pregnancy) when a baby may begin to breastfeed or chestfeed.


The #WBW2023 slogan "Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents" will focus on breastfeeding or chestfeeding and employment/work. It will showcase the impact of paid leave, workplace support and emerging parenting norms on breastfeeding or chestfeeding through the lens of parents themselves. Target audiences including governments, policymakers, workplaces, communities and parents will be engaged to play their critical roles in empowering families and sustaining breastfeeding-friendly or chestfeeding-friendly environments in the post-pandemic work life. The theme is aligned with thematic area 4 of the WBW-SDG 2030 campaign.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) reminds us that although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding or chestfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels. In Canada, just over 91% of mothers/parents initiate breastfeeding or chestfeeding but 1 in 7 stop before newborn reaches one month of age.** The concept of 'building back better' after the COVID 19 pandemic will provide an opportunity to create a warm chain of support for breastfeeding or chestfeeding that includes health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society. A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding or chestfeeding and protect against industry influence. It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanize action to protect breastfeeding or chestfeeding at all levels.

**The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Canada's Breastfeeding Progress Report 2022

Learn more about World Breastfeeding Week

Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge

In October, the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge celebrates breastfeeding or chestfeeding and milk-banking and demonstrates promotion, protection, and support for breastfeeding or chestfeeding women/parents and their families. It’s a chance for education and peer support to be done in a fun social way.

The challenge is usually held the first Saturday in October of each year to see which geographic area (province, state, or territory) has the most breastfeeding or chestfeeding babies, as a percentage of the birth rate, “latched on” at 11 am local time.

SOURCE: Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding ( )
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