The New Brunswick Department of Health
Breastfeeding Policy Statement (revised March 14, 2006)
The Department of Health recognizes that breastfeeding is a key determinant in improving the health of New
Brunswickers and acknowledges that only when breastfeeding is the norm for infant feeding will significant
changes in health outcomes be realized.
The Department of Health advocates re-establishing breastfeeding as the cultural norm because of the
nutritional, immunological, social, and psychological benefits of the breastfeeding process for the mother and
infant, and the economic benefits to the family, environment and health care system.
The provincial breastfeeding initiation rate reached 70.9% in 2004-05.1 This represents an increase of 14.9%
from 10 years ago. However, New Brunswick is still significantly behind the national breastfeeding initiation
rate of approximately 84.5%2.
The number of New Brunswick babies who are exclusively breastfed at four months is the lowest in Canada at
only 25.7% in comparison to the national rate of 48.3%3.
Infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and asthma4. New
Brunswick rates for adult obesity (29.2%), diabetes (8.8%) and asthma (5.4%) are all above their respective
Canadian average5. Eighty-seven percent of all diabetes cases in New Brunswick are preventable6.
The Department of Health believes it is essential to create an environment that protects, promotes and supports
breastfeeding, and it is the responsibility of government, families, community agencies, organizations,
businesses and the community at large to work together to achieve this. Therefore:
All New Brunswick Hospitals, Public Health Services and Community Health Centres working with
mothers, babies and their families shall undertake steps towards achieving the Baby-Friendly™
designation. This process encompasses the “best practice guidelines” associated with breastfeeding.
In keeping with the goals of the Provincial Health Plan, Healthy Futures, all health professionals
employed directly or indirectly with Health shall promote the recommendation: “exclusive
breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by the introduction of complementary foods and
continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond”7.
New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness Public Health’s 2004-05 automated database CSDS
Statistics Canada (2005). 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey
CIHI (2005). Health Indicators Report
Feldman, P. (2005, November). Evidence-based Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada: An Annotated
Statistics Canada (2005). 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey: Nutrition and, 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey
New Brunswick Government (June 2004). Healthy Futures: Goals and Strategies (Improved health for New Brunswickers: A
sustainable health care system for taxpayers)
Health Canada 2004 available at httpp://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/nutrition/excl_bf_dur-dur_am_excl_e.pdf
accessed Sept 14, 2005