Home - Moms in Motion - Nutrition and Pregnancy Winnipeg, Manitoba

Class Eleven

Breastfeeding, Benefits and Practices

Benefits of breastfeeding:

For Mom For Baby:
Helps uterus contract to near pre-pregnancy size Increase anti-bodies/decrease chances of infections (ear, cough and cold)
Decrease amount of post-pregnancy weight Decrease chance of SIDS
Helps prevent osteoporosis Decrease chance of obesity (formula fed infants tend to overeat)
Helps prevent breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and DM2 Decrease chance of developing other long-term chronic disease such as childhood cancers (leukemia and lymphomas), GI infections and diseases (IBD and Celiac), heart disease, constipation
Bonding between mom and baby Bonding between mom and baby


True or False Myth: Breast feeding will make may breasts sag.

Answer:  False.  It is not nursing that makes your breast sag, but the weight of the breasts (need strong muscle to support and a good bra) and the hormones developed during pregnancy.

Limitations of Formulas: (Vitamin D). 

  • Breast milk adjusts itself in composition to meet the needs of baby, whereas most formulas are designed for babies of a particular age.
  • Breastfed babies need supplemental vitamin D (400 IU) as they do not get enough through breast milk alone (40 IU/d) (we live too far north of the equator and with use of sunscreen blocking production in the skin, we are not making our own). If using formula check the label to make sure it contains the appropriate amount of vitamin D for your baby.
  • Costs of formula (powder and ready-made) are far more expensive.
  • Preparation of formula and all associated supplies (bottles, liners, replacement nipples).

Want more info:  Google Breastfeeding and supplements and go to the Canadian Pediatric Society website.

There are some instances when you may need to use formulas:

  • HIV/AIDs
  • Hepatitis and Cancer
  • Infection transmittable through breast milk
  • Certain medications used by mom
  • Poor growth in infant

Different ways to express breast milk:

Using either hand or electric pump, mom needs to be careful not to damage breast tissue.  Expressing breast milk should not hurt.

  • Hand pump– cheap, easy to use, transportable (Available for purchase or rent)
  • Electric pump – expensive, easy to use, cumbersome (big and heavy) (Available for purchase or rent)

How do I store breast milk?

  • Try to store milk in 2-4 ounce servings. Anything above this is wasted as baby can only eat so much in one serving and you should not re-use unused milk at the next feeding.  If it is not finished in the feeding in which it was intended, it should be discarded.
  • Leave a 1 inch headspace at the top of the container for milk to expand when it freezes.
  • Store thawed milk in the refrigerator for no longer than 24 hours.

How long can I store breast milk?

You may choose to refrigerate or freeze your breast milk.  How long you store the milk depends on what kind of fridge/freezer you have.  No matter the type, it is best to store breast milk at the BACK of your fridge/freezer.


  • If you have a one door fridge with freezer inside:
    • Refrigerator portion (back of fridge): 3 days (best) 8 days (acceptable)
    • In the freezer back top shelf: 2 weeks

Door Fridge/Freezer:

  • If you have a 2 door fridge with separate freezer:
    • In the back of the fridge: 3 days (best) 8 days (acceptable)
    • In the freezer back top shelf: @ -18*c 6 months

Deep Freezer:

  • Such as a chest or standup freezer:
    • @ -20*c 6-12 months

What can I safely store breast milk in (containers)?

  • Use glass or hard plastic containers that close tightly or breast milk freezer bags (not bottle liners – these are plastic bags made for bottle feeding only). Whatever option you choose be sure to put the date.
  • When cleaning containers use hot soapy water. Be sure to rinse will and air dry.

What if I don’t have enough breast milk?

  • If you genuinely don’t have enough breast milk you will see a failure to thrive in your infant and/or notice that they are not producing enough wet diapers.
  • Before you give up on breastfeeding remember: it is not instinctive – it is a learned skill for both you and baby.
  • Check with your community health nurse to make sure you have a good latch. Also, try a supportive network of people (i.e. La Leche League or lactation consultant) who will provide you with support.
  • Talk to your community health nurse about medications and certain herbals that are safe for you to use to help stimulate milk production.

What if I have a lot of breast milk?

  • Sometimes, when nursing, women will have let down from both breasts. There is a product available where you attach the bag to the other breast and it will catch any expressed milk, which you can then use at a later feeding.

Thawing Frozen Breast Milk

HANDOUT:  Thawing frozen breast milk

  • Use FIFO – first in first out. The product that has the earliest date should be used first.
  • Leave frozen milk in the fridge for 4 hours to thaw, OR
  • Run cold water over the container. Run warm water over the container once milk begins to thaw, AND place the container in very warm water until the milk is warm.
  • NEVER: thaw milk at room temperature, heat on stove or in microwave. Milk will not reheat evenly and can burn baby.
  • ALWAYS: test the temperature of the milk on your inner wrist.  It should not be too cold or hot.

Can I still nurse if I use alcohol?

ETOH breastfeeding

When to introduce cow’s milk?

Baby’s under 1 year should not be given cow’s milk as it may damage their kidneys and does not contain nutrients appropriate to their growth needs.  If you are not able to breastfeed use a formula appropriate to their age.  After 1 year babies may be given homogenized or 2% milk in place of breast milk.