Grand River Hospital achieved Baby-friendly designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2008. Baby-friendly is a global effort to implement BEST practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. To learn more about the Baby-friendly Initiative, visit the World Health Organization website (opens in new window). Below is a video that explains what Baby-friendly means at GRH.

GRH: a baby-friendly hospital

Our pledge is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. We are committed to providing family centered care, supporting breastfeeding and providing information to our families to make informed choices.

Before your baby arrives

This is the best time to make a decision about how you would like to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby. Breast milk is custom designed for your baby.

Breastfeeding has benefits for mothers too. It may decrease a mother’s risk of:

  • Breast cancer;
  • Obesity;
  • Ovarian and endometrial cancers;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Stress and anxiety;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis; and
  • Diabetes.

The longer you breastfeed, the more benefits you receive.

The more you know…

It is important that you learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. One way to do this is to attend a breastfeeding workshop in your community (search local Public Health websites). We also encourage you to talk with your health care provider.

Why ONLY breastmilk?

The World Health Organization and Canadian Pediatric Society (opens in a new window) recommend exclusive breastfeeding (only breast milk) for the first six months, gradually introducing other nutritious foods at six months along with continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

Formula is mostly made from cow’s milk. In order for you to make an informed decision it is important that you know the risks of using formula.

Feeding your baby formula may increase their risk of developing:

  • Allergies;
  • Lung and ear infections;
  • Infection from contaminated formula;
  • Type 1 diabetes;
  • Infection from environmental contaminants;
  • Asthma;
  • Obesity;
  • Childhood cancers;
  • Gastrointestinal infections;
  • Dental malformation (from bottle use);
  • Nutrient deficiencies;
  • Heart disease;
  • Lower intelligence; and
  • Mortality.

You can also learn more about breastfeeding by attending a breastfeeding workshop in your community. To learn more about breastfeeding supports in the community, visit the Region of Waterloo public health (opens in new window) website.

While you are in hospital

Right after your baby is born, we'll encourage you to hold your baby skin-to-skin. This is done by holding the baby (diaper only) in an upright position against the naked skin (chest). To learn more, about the benefits of skin to skin, watch this video by Dr. Nils Bergman (opens in new window).

Keeping your baby close is important as your baby adjusts to his/her new environment. Skin-to-skin contact helps to establish breastfeeding. Both mom and partner can hold baby skin-to-skin. Routine procedures can be carried out with the baby on the chest. Weighing the baby does not need to be done immediately and can wait until after the first feeding.

It's not uncommon to need some support with breastfeeding. Many mothers experience early challenges and our nursing staff and international board certified lactation consultants are available to provide support and you during your hospital stay.

We recommend that all mothers attend one of the breastfeeding group sessions provided twice daily. You will recieve tips and information to help you with things you might experience after you go home as well as provide you with an opportunity to talk with and learn from other breastfeeding mothers. Sessions are led by international board certified lactation consultants and at the end of the session, you can request an appointment with the lactation consultant. 

The lactations consultants are available for individual support from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week. Your nurse can request a consult for you.

Channel 86 on the television in your room, has helpful information about breastfeeding and hand expression.

After you go home

Some mothers need breastfeeding support after going home with their baby. A follow-up appointment may be booked for you with our breastfeeding support services (BFSS) staffed with international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) when you are discharged from the hospital or you may call 519-749-4355 to book your own appointment. We offer telephone support and clinic appointments to mothers in the Waterloo Region with babies up to one week of age.

BFSS operates seven days a week for babies newborn up to seven days of age, with the exception of December 25 and January 1. We are located on the hospital’s main floor just inside the main entrance to the right of the volunteer desk in the children's outpatient clinic.

Public Health breastfeeding services

Region of Waterloo Public Health breastfeeding clinics are available for mothers looking for breastfeeding support. 

Clinics are available for families with children of any age. Remember, breastfeeding challenges are best addressed early! Families should make an appointment as soon as possible to get help with questions or concerns. 

To book an appointment with a Public Health nurse, call 519-575-4400 (TTY: 519-575-4608).

Information on breastfeeding: