Breastfeeding Community Projects

Populations with Lower Rates of Breastfeeding

As part of a comprehensive strategy to address childhood obesity in Ontario, Health Nexus was funded by the Government of Ontario to offer targeted breastfeeding supports to populations with lower rates of breastfeeding. This project was carried out by the Best Start Resource Centre, a key program of Health Nexus from December 2013 to March 2016.


Breastfeeding is known to have a positive influence on healthy weights in children. Each additional month that an infant is breastfed, up to eight months of age, reduces the risk of being obese later in life by four percent. Health Canada (2012), encourages breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months and sustained for up to two years or longer with appropriate complementary feeding. Longer breastfeeding increases the beneficial effect, but even short-term breastfeeding is important to mothers and babies.

The Project

The project incorporated four main strategies:

Research: To lay the groundwork for the project Best Start Resource Centre conducted research to verify priority populations and effective strategies to reach them: Populations with Lower Rates of Breastfeeding in Ontario: A Summary of Findings.

Community Grants: A key ingredient of the initiative was the provision of small start-up grants to support organizations in developing Community Projects that would result in increased breastfeeding services and supports for populations with lower rates of breastfeeding in Ontario. The first call for proposals resulted in 15 funded Community Projects and the second call for proposals resulted in an additional 46 Community Projects: Targeted Supports for Ontario Populations with Lower Rates of Breastfeeding: 2013 – 2016.  

Supports for Community Projects: Best Start Resource Centre also developed a number of strategies to support funded Community Projects and other service providers in Ontario working with populations with lower rates of breastfeeding, such as teleconferences, webinars, regional workshops, conference presentations, a showcase of funded Community Projects and a breastfeeding web watch. A recording of the following webinars is available:

The following online and print materials, developed to support project staff and other service providers, are available on the Best Start Resource Centre website.

  • Breastfeeding in Ontario: Fact Sheets
  • Learning from Stories: Breastfeeding Case Stories

Directory of Ontario Breastfeeding Services: In addition there was a key strategy to improve access to breastfeeding services by service providers and women through the development and maintenance of an online directory of breastfeeding services in Ontario at, which was promoted through flyers and postcards available online and handed out at events.

For additional information about the Breastfeeding Community Projects, please contact