Breastfeeding Information for Health Professionals
As with any breastfeeding concerns, it is important to identify the source of the problem. Supporting the mother to improve her latch and positioning is best practice, however medical assessment or further interventions may be required.
When the healthy term infant is effectively breastfeeding the initial weight loss will stabilize quickly and then reflect a steady weight gain.
If breastfeeding must be interrupted or stopped for a medical reason, always consider the risks posed by using human milk substitute (i.e., infant formula).
The Breastfeeding Protocols and E-Learning modules are intended to support health care professionals and organizations in accessing education for the provision of evidence-based breastfeeding services and the creation of a Baby-Friendly environment.
Health professionals can play a positive role in influencing the breastfeeding culture of our community by following three easy steps:
Talk to your patients early
Discuss infant feeding during prenatal visits. Educate patients and families on the value of exclusive breastfeeding to six months, as well as the risks of replacing breast milk with human milk substitute (infant formula).
A 2017 study of Toronto mothers found a significant drop in exclusive breastfeeding between four to six months and identified groups less likely to breastfeed.
Refer patients to Toronto Public Health’s services
Toronto Public Health (TPH) breastfeeding clinics offer individual consultations by health care professionals both prenatally and after the baby is born. At the clinic, families can have their baby weighed and their breastfeeding concerns addressed.
TPH also offers support groups that provide opportunities for families to discuss breastfeeding with professionals and peers. A Public Health Nurse and Lactation Consultant are available to answer questions and provide education specific to breastfeeding.
Educate yourself and/or your staff
The Breastfeeding Protocols for Health Care Providers are intended for use by Health Care Providers to promote, protect and support effective breastfeeding for the families of healthy term infants.
E-learning modules have been developed to support the education of healthcare providers and the provision of evidence-based breastfeeding support. The e-learning modules are based on the Breastfeeding Protocols for Health Care Providers (2013).
- Breastfeeding Protocols 2013 (**Updated June 17, 2019 to reflect Health Canada’s warning of potential cancer risk associated with gentian violet)
- Revised Breastfeeding Protocols
- Toronto Public Health Infant Feeding Surveillance Project Technical Report