Breastfeeding in Ottawa – what you should know

Establishing an effective breastfeeding relationship can be hard work. Read on to learn about the resources available to us in Ottawa, Ontario.

Nursing, and dressed for ottawa weather!

The need to know basics

In Ontario, breastfeeding is a protected right. Period. This applies to breastfeeding, chest feeding, and pumping. You can feed your baby in any way, at any time, any where. It is possible you may come across someone unaware of your rights. It’s is 100% up to you if you decide to entertain someone’s requests for you to move, or “cover up”. You can simply refer them to the facts.

From the Ontario human rights commission “In Ontario, women are legally protected from discrimination and harassment because of sex. The protection includes pregnancy and breastfeeding. Nursing mothers have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent a woman from nursing simply because they are in a public area. No one should ask a woman to “cover up”, disturb them or ask them to move to another area that is more discreet.”.

What about the workplace? Refer your employer to recommendation 7.59 of the Federal Labour Standards Review:
“Employers should provide for short breaks during working hours to afford nursing employees reasonable time off, without pay, to breastfeed a child and /or to express milk on the work site. Similar breaks should also be available to employees who need them to inject medications or for similar medical purposes. Such breaks should be subject to operational considerations, but should not be unreasonably denied.”

In hospital support – L’Hopitale Montfort

The first days after birth are arguably the most crucial to facilitating a breastfeeding relationship. Your birth care team can help get you off on the right foot. Midwives are well trained in facilitating breastfeeding, and can assist you with those first latches. If you have doula care, reach out to your doula for help. Doulas are trained and experienced in breastfeeding troubleshooting, and will be available to field your questions whenever they arise.

The Ottawa Hospital offers prenatal breastfeeding classes (Click to register) open to all parents. During your time at the hospital, you can request breastfeeding support from nurses as needed, and make a request to speak to a lactation consultant.


Breastfeeding can be a bit of an acquired skill for both parents, and babies. It’s very normal to require additional support after the first days postpartum. You can continue to gain skills from your care team at postpartum visits with your OB/Midwives/Doula. Or, you can seek out some of the other breastfeeding resources available.

The city of Ottawa holds regular breastfeeding support clinics (View schedule here). These clinics will give you the opportunity to ask a lactation consultant questions free of charge.

You can also meet with a team of international board certified lactation consultants at Milkface Westborough (View schedule here). This breastfeeding clinic charges a rate of 40$ for the initial visit, and 20$ for subsequent visits. It’s a great middle ground between public and private lactation consulting. If a private consultant suits your needs, ask you health care provider or doula for a recommendation.

Some hunger cues are more subtle than others

The rest

Peer support is incredibly valuable. Consider joining your neighborhood parenting groups as a source of advice and guidance.

La Leche League has absolutely earned it’s recognition. For information on Ottawa Center LLL meetings, click here. Follow the links to find a group near you, or contact information for distance support.

Lastly, Telehealth Ontario is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to answer all your health related questions. Including anything nursing related. Reach out to a registered nurse at 1-866797-0000. 

Do you have a need-to- know tip for breastfeeding in the capital? Comment your tips below.


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