While breast feeding is not an option for every mother, and while a quarter have stopped by 6 months, over 90% of new mothers breastfeed. For few is it easy. Most women who are able to do so find it a valuable and rewarding experience, so for those who want to breastfeed, help is valuable. Luckily, Toronto has a number of good resources for new moms learning or having trouble breastfeeding.
Most births still take place at hospitals, and all Toronto area hospitals have breastfeeding policies. The extent to which they are deemed successful or appropriate varies, but according to the standard the city monitors, the least breastfeeding-friendly hospital still scored over 50%. Most Toronto hospital have group instruction on what to do, in which questions can be answered and individual needs and challenges addressed.
The first days of life are fraught with frightening challenges, and getting your new baby enough to eat can be very stressful for new parents. While hospitals are encouraged by their mandates and budgets to send a new family home as soon as they are ready to deal with being a family, they will often schedule follow-up appointments, and make sure that mom and dad are connected with the help they need to breastfeed successfully. For those families giving birth outside of hospitals, any qualified midwife or doula can help new mom and baby get started.
Toronto also has 2 breastfeeding clinics, located in East York and Etobicoke. Toronto Public Health also has a whole web page of resources and links, some of which are famously helpful to some mothers seeking breastfeeding help. At least one of the world’s leading breastfeeding consultants happens to be based in Toronto. There’s always Telehealth and the Public Health department assigns a nurse to new families to check in by phone as well. Most mothers who breastfeed know other mothers, who have done so before them, and they can sometimes be more empathetic then the father is capable of, so make a phone call or two. Finally, some women find a pump helpful in establishing rhythm and encouraging their supply to come in, so do a little research on which one will work for you.
Many moms fear that they won’t get the latch right, or that their milk won’t come in properly. In the overwhelming majority of situations the new mother will be able to breastfeed unless there is a significant medical barrier. For some mothers breastfeeding seems to come easily, and they can skip straight to the bonding and fulfillment. For most though, some or all of the above resources will be valuable. Don’t give up before you’ve exhausted them; you can do it!