Breastfeeding Manual Available on PHAC Website


Breastfeeding ManualA Practical Workbook to Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding in Community Based Projects, created through a partnership between CPNP and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC), assists CPNP and other community-based projects to identify strategies and specific actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in a population health context. The workbook is designed to support projects in working towards an important global goal. "’It is best to breastfeed exclusively for about six months, and then to continue breastfeeding, while adding complementary foods, until at least two years of age or beyond. Though this is not yet the reality for most CPNP participants or indeed for most Canadians, it is important to keep the ideal in mind so that eventually, the "best" choice becomes the ‘easiest’ choice for all women and their children.”

The Strategies outlined include:

  • Creating “breastfeeding friendly” sites
  • Keeping staff “up-to-date”
  • Empowering mothers to make informed decisions
  • Respecting the needs of mothers who choose not to breastfeed
  • Identifying barriers and seeking solutions
  • Sustaining support beyond initiation
  • Including families, partners and friends
  • Fostering peer breastfeeding support
  • Engaging the community as partner

For each strategy, the workbook identifies a key finding from the research and experience of about 300 CPNP projects across Canada, and provides recommendations for action steps.

Finding: “women need information and support to breastfeed successfully”. Recommendations include:

  • Provide a comfortable space for breastfeeding participants and their families
  • Consider privacy for women who want it
  • Ensure display materials comply with WHO/INIOCEF Code on the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
  • Display materials with positive breastfeeding images and messages
  • Ensure staff members are familiar with the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and “The Seven Point Plan for the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding in Community Health Services” which are included as attachments to the workbook.
  • Ensure industry samples & gifts (including free formula) are not distributed to pregnant women & new mothers by program staff
  • Encourage program staff to express positive/enthusiastic attitudes towards breastfeeding
  • Support those, including program staff, who wish to breastfeed in the workplace.

Other findings:

  • When staff members are confident in their knowledge and skills, breastfeeding mothers and babies benefit.
  • There is value in talking early and often about breastfeeding to all pregnant women.
  • Continuing prenatal milk coupons after the baby’s birth only for moms who breastfeed can send the wrong message.
  • Barriers to breastfeeding, such as poor self-image, adolescent culture and sexual abuse, can be overcome
  • The importance of one-to-one follow-up.
  • The influence of families.
  • The importance of peer outreach support.
  • The need to overcome gaps in breastfeeding support

The Appendices include:

  • The International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes
  • Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
  • The Seven Point Plan for the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding in Community Health Services. While some of these points are specific to maternal outreach programs, some have wider application for family outreach and community programming as well, such as:
    • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all staff and volunteers
    • Provide a welcoming atmosphere for breastfeeding families
    • Promote collaboration amongst health care providers, breastfeeding groups and the local community
  • Moving Towards a Breastfeeding Friendly Community
  • Resource backgrounders for CPNP projects
  • Suggested Activities and Games to Encourage Breastfeeding and Overcome Barriers
  • Resources and stories/quotes on Aboriginal Perspective on Breastfeeding, both historical and contemporary
  • CPNP Guiding Principles
    • Mothers & Babies First
    • Strengthening & Supporting Families
    • Equity and Accessibility
    • Partnerships
    • Community Based
    • Flexibility