There are many decisions to make during the lifetime of a child. How you feed your baby is one of the many important ones that you will make as a parent. With all of the things to be considered, the information below can help you make an informed decision that is right for you and your baby. At times, parents may feel overwhelmed and need more support in making choices that are right for you and your family. You are not alone and there is support.

If you have any questions or concerns about infant feeding and would like to talk to a Public Health Nurse, please contact us at 416-338-7600 or chat live.

Your breast milk changes to meet your baby’s growing needs. Toronto Public Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

Breast milk will help protect your baby from:

  • being overweight or obese
  • ear infection
  • bowel disease
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • coughs and colds
  • some childhood cancers
  • diabetes
  • the effects of toxins in the environment

Breastfeeding will help protect you from:

  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • ovarian cancer

Breastfeeding promotes closeness and bonding of parent and baby. Breast milk is free and convenient, it is available whether you are at home or out. By expressing breast milk feeding duties can be shared by either parent (or caregiver). Breast milk has lactose, protein and fat that are easily digested by a newborn. Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies.

Please contact us if you are interested in more information about the research on breastfeeding.

If you have made an informed decision to breastfeed your baby and need more information please visit breastfeeding your baby. Some parents may make the decision to hand express or pump breast milk for their baby. For more information please visit our site about expressing breast milk.

Some parents may experience difficulties with breastfeeding, visit a free breastfeeding clinic or contact us at 416-338-7600 or chat live with a Public Health Nurse.

Parents may consider formula feeding their baby for various personal or medical reasons. For parents who cannot breastfeed or have made an informed decision not to, properly prepared commercial infant formula is a safe alternative. If you have made an informed decision to give your baby infant formula and need more information please visit our site about infant formula.

About infant formula:

  • No natural antibodies to help protect your baby against infections and illnesses.
  • Formula-fed babies may eat fewer times in a day than breastfed babies because formula takes longer to digest, however, it is important to follow your baby’s feeding cues.
  • Powdered infant formula is not sterile and is not recommended for babies less than two months old.
  • It is manufactured and can be recalled if safety concerns occurred in the manufacturing process.
  • Can be expensive.
  • Takes caregiver time and organization to ensure infant formula and bottles are available and ready.
  • Feeding responsibilities can be shared by others.
  • Feeding baby formula can decrease breast milk supply for a breastfeeding parent.

When making infant formula

  • Feeding equipment and tools need to be sterilized.
  • Be sure to prepare formula as per instructions on the infant formula container.