Great news for Canadian babies! More moms are breastfeeding in Canada. A recent report from Health Canada found that breastfeeding increased to 87 percent in 2010 compared to 80 percent of women breastfeeding in 2001.
Breastfeeding is important for babies because it helps strengthen their immune system, has all the nutrition their growing body needs and it increases the bond a baby has with their mother. The report found that over the years the method has gained popularity over formula feeding.
Health Canada also found that the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first four months has also increased. In 2003 this number was 37 percent which has risen to 44 percent in 2010. Similarly, more mothers exclusively breastfed for six months: 17% in 2003 to 26% in 2010.
It was also noted that mothers were increasingly giving their breastfed babies Vitamin D supplements. Experts recommend exclusively breastfed babies to take 10ug (400 IU) of vitamin D supplements daily. It was found that in 2010 74 percent mothers gave supplements to their babies compared to 61 percent in 2003.
Health Canada has formed a Joint Working Group with the Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Healthy Canada to create awareness about the nutrition requirements of an infant.
The team advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, giving Vit. D supplements and also ensuring that infant formulas are fortified with the Vitamin. Additionally, the World Health Organization states that after six months infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
If breastfeeding is not an option after six months, the experts advise mothers to give the baby formula milk until twelve months of age. For babies less than four months old, if the formula is given, the team advises boiling the water for at least two minutes before making the formula.
Advising against trendy products like nut milk or herbal tea for babies, doctors believe that exclusive breastfeeding is really the best possible care a new mom can take of her baby and although an ancient practice, it is still just the right thing to do than opt for formula or other modern alternatives.