Breastfeeding is recognized as a key public health priority provincially, nationally, and internationally. Current infant feeding recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Canada, Canadian Pediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee of Canada are to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and to continue to breastfeed up to two years and beyond.
Although breastfeeding initiation rates in Alberta are high—with most parents deciding to breastfeed—there is a significant drop-off following initiation. Even if parents intend to follow infant feeding recommendations, they may not always be able to meet these goals. Parents benefit from healthcare provider support that is tailored and sensitive to their context and needs. Breastfeeding support that is accessible, positive, knowledgeable and realistic will help parents feel more confident in their feeding decisions and their ability to meet their feeding goals.
To support breastfeeding recommendations within the Alberta context, Alberta Health Services has developed a provincial Breastfeeding Strategy, to guide decision-making and implementation of evidence-informed approaches related to breastfeeding. Its goal is to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in Alberta within a patient and family centred care approach.
Alberta Health Services is committed to advancing this important work, which includes policy, staff education, resources for health care providers and families, and public awareness and engagement.
The Breastfeeding Policy came into effect on February 27, 2023.
Health care providers play a vital role in supporting families in their breastfeeding journey. This policy supports health care providers across the continuum of care to implement standardized, evidence-informed practices and key messages to enhance parents’ confidence and self-efficacy to meet their breastfeeding goals.