For a PDF of the Canada’s Food Guide click here:
Caffeine is found in a variety of sources, including coffee, iced and hot teas and cola, foods made from cocoa, as well as some medications for colds and/or headaches.It is important to check labels.
Caffeine does pass into breastmilk, but mothers can safely have small amounts of caffeine without it being harmful to the baby. Too much caffeine may cause a baby to be wakeful, unusually fussy, and have trouble sleeping.
Women who are breastfeeding may have caffeine in moderation which is defined as 300 mg of caffeine per day or the equivalent to 1-2 cups of coffee. If a baby becomes jittery, wakeful or irritable, the mother could try reducing or eliminating caffeine from her diet.
If this is not your first baby, you may wonder about the best way to explain breastfeeding to your older children.As well, you may wonder how you will occupy them while you are breastfeeding your baby.Many mothers find explaining what they are doing in plain language and inviting their older child to sit with them during breastfeeds helps their older child understand and be part of the breastfeeding experience. Since mothers are often sitting and relaxing during breastfeeds, older siblings may enjoy the opportunity to read, draw, or just visit with their mother at that time. Because mothers can breastfeed anywhere, anytime, they often find that breastfeeding is easy to do while also caring for their older children.
Tandem feeding refers to breastfeeding two children at the same time.Some mothers may still be breastfeeding a child when they are pregnant and at the time of delivery.Many mothers want to continue to breastfeed their older child once their new baby is born.
Things to consider if you are tandem feeding:
It can be very helpful to spend time with other mothers who are breastfeeding. You may have friends who can provide support or you may not know other breastfeeding mothers. Peer support groups can provide an opportunity to meet other breastfeeding mothers. Mothers can get together and discuss topics of interest to them. Learning from one another and sharing experiences can help new mothers meet their breastfeeding goals. There may be breastfeeding support groups in your area. One example of breastfeeding peer support groups are those run by La Leche League. This organization has been providing peer breastfeeding support to women for many years. For more information, visit: www.lllc.ca.
Go to www.ontariobreastfeeds.ca to search for breastfeeding peer support groups in your community.Watch the video below about mothers' experiences with La Leche League:
Things Mom Can Do:
For more information on Breastfeeding and Alcohol click here:
All parents of young babies will experience sleep difficulties at some point. Breastfeeding mothers will notice that their sleep depends on their babies’ sleep-wake and feeding patterns. A lack of sleep can impact parents' physical and emotional well-being.
Sleep is essential for a baby’s growth and development. Babies tend to sleep more around periods of growth. Babies grow rapidly in the first year of life. Babies awaken frequently in the night because their bellies are small and they need to feed often. Feeding through the night will maintain a woman’s breast milk supply. Nighttime waking is easily fulfilled by breastfeeding, as nighttime feedings do not require preparation or warming of bottles.
It is important that parents understand that babies will wake during the night for various reasons. For example, they may be experiencing a growth spurt, they may be ill, or they may need to feed. Understanding a baby’s sleep patterns will help parents feel less frustrated and disappointed when a baby does wake during the night.
Points to Remember:
For information on babies sleeping well and safe click here:
Being a breastfeeding mother can be very busy. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job and there are no scheduled breaks, weekends off, or holidays. Although it is a wonderful job, it is hard, and it is important to take care of yourself as well as your baby.
Here are some tips:
Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Light to moderate physical activity is safe and beneficial for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Exercise should not influence the amount, taste, or composition of breast milk.
If you had a vaginal delivery without any complications, and if you were exercising before, it is probably safe to start exercising again after 6 weeks. Speak to your health care provider before starting any new exercise routines. If you had an episiotomy or a caesarean section, you will have to wait until you have completely healed.
Before starting any postpartum exercise, check with your health care provider.
During the first few weeks after your delivery, it is important to get enough rest and build up your milk supply. When you exercise, be sure to start the activity slowly and for short periods of time, and gradually increase the intensity and duration. If you become too tired, or start to feel overwhelmed, cut back or stop exercising. You can always start again later.
If you start to have bloody vaginal discharge and/or pain or discharge from your caesarean incision, stop exercising immediately and contact your health care provider.
The benefits of exercise for breastfeeding mothers include:
It is normal for mothers to have emotional ups and downs after having a baby. Coping with the demands of a newborn and healing from the delivery can be overwhelming. Some mothers will experience “postpartum blues.” It usually begins on the third or fourth day after delivery.
Symptoms may include feelings of:
For most mothers, these symptoms will typically disappear on their own in about 1 to 2 weeks. However, some women may experience these symptoms for more than 2 weeks and they may not disappear on their own. In these situations mothers may be experiencing "postpartum mood disorder."
It is important to know that you cannot control or stop a postpartum mood disorder from occurring. It is not a weakness and there is help available.
Treatment options include:
Mothers who are breastfeeding may stay at home to care for their child or may return to work or school. In each case there may be situations where a mother is away from her breastfed baby for extended periods of time. In each case it is important for mothers to know:
Points to Remember:
Storage times for healthy babies who are at home If you have expressed some breastmilk and want to keep it for your baby, store breast milk using the following guidelines:
Click here for information on expressing and storing breast milk:
It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the breastfeeding accessories and products available. There are certainly products that may make your life easier, but they are not necessary for a successful breastfeeding experience. If it is within your budget, feel free to pick up a few items that may help your breastfeeding experience.
What Supplies Do I Need?
Teething and teeth do not have to impact breastfeeding. When teething, some babies will have sore mouths and they may find breastfeeding soothing. Many mothers worry that once their babies have teeth, he will bite or chew on the nipple. Do not assume this will be a problem. Teeth do not usually impact breastfeeding because of the way the baby suckles at the breast. When your baby gets teeth and if he bites down while breastfeeding, your natural response of being startled and removing him from the breast will tell the baby that it is not a good idea to bite. Babies usually learn quickly not to use their teeth at the breast. Speak to a lactation professional in your area for suggestions if this is an issue you are dealing with.
Most babies need only breast milk and vitamin D for the first 6 months. Solids are usually introduced when the baby is around 6 months old, while breastfeeding continues for up to 2 years or beyond. Breast milk will still remain an important part of your baby’s diet, as it provides immune protection and nutrients to your growing baby.
Click here for more information on feeding your baby solids:
Weaning is the process whereby the baby moves away from complete dependence on his mother’s milk. It may begin with the introduction of solid foods and it ends when the last breastfeed is done.
Weaning is a personal decision. The ideal time to wean is when both the mother and baby are ready. A mother may feel mixed emotions when she starts to wean her baby. She may enjoy her “freedom” from not breastfeeding, but she may also mourn the change in the intimate time she spends with her baby.
Weaning may be baby or mother-initiated and it can be gradual or abrupt. Gradual weaning is done over a period of time with minimal complications. It allows the mother’s milk supply to decrease slowly and reduces the chances of plugged ducts and mastitis. Abrupt weaning is done immediately and does not allow the milk supply to decrease slowly. It has an increased risk of complications such as severe pain, mastitis, and breast abscess. It can also be more traumatic for the mother and baby. It is easiest on the mother and baby when weaning occurs gradually, dropping one feed at a time over a number of days, weeks or months.
If you have questions or concerns about weaning, speak to your primary health care provider for more information.
Make your home and car smoke-free. This will limit the amount of times the baby is exposed to second-hand smoke.
You can contact Motherisk for more information about breastfeeding and recreational drug use at
1-877-439-2744 or 416-813-6780