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Food and Nutrition

Breastfeeding Practices in Canada: Overview

Health Canada promotes breastfeeding as the normal and unequalled method of feeding infants for their nutrition, immunologic protection, growth and development. Health Canada also provides guidance on both the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin D supplementation of breastfed infants.

In addition to being the recommended method of infant feeding, breastfeeding practices (breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding duration) are health indicators in Canada. Health indicators are standardized measures by which to compare health status and health system performance and characteristics among different jurisdictions in Canada.

Since the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) began in 2000, a Maternal experiences - Breastfeeding (MEX) Module has been included in each CCHS annual cycle (formerly CCHS X.1). Breastfeeding data from the series of CCHS cross-sectional surveys contribute to a better understanding of trends over time.

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