Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic
This guest blog post is written by certified lactation consultant and founder of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, Robin Kaplan.
Breastfeeding during a world pandemic. This is not something I ever thought I would have to navigate. COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented change in how we as lactation consultants are able to support breastfeeding families. It seems like every day there is new information and new recommendations for breastfeeding parents on what is considered safe when breastfeeding during this pandemic. That is because we just don’t have enough information about this novel coronavirus. Research is being conducted every day to help guide these new protocols for breastfeeding families. The constant change in recommendations is based on whatever new information doctors and specialists feel creates the safest environment for families, but feels confusing both to us as lactation consultants and as parents.
In an effort to help things feel less confusing for our expectant and breastfeeding parents, SDBFC has created a web page with the most up-to-date breastfeeding during COVID-19 recommendations we could find. We will sift through the complicated language of these recommendations and summarize how this impacts you as a breastfeeding family. My plan is to update our website whenever there is a change in recommendations for breastfeeding families so that you don’t have to hunt down this information yourself.
You have enough to do. Let us help lighten the load.
Please, keep in mind….I am not an epidemiologist or physician. I am definitely not an expert on COVID-19. But, I am an IBCLC who has been collecting information through webinars and websites, like the CDC, WHO, Mother to Baby, ABM, AAP, USBC, and CBC to share the best resources for you and your family when making a decision about breastfeeding during COVID-19.
Things to keep in mind about breastfeeding during COVID-19:
- All resources on our webpage provide interim guidance (i.e. the most current recommendations they have based on the most recent information)
- So far there are no studies that have shown that COVID 19 can be passed through amniotic fluid or breastmilk from parent to baby.
- Colostrum is an infant’s "first vaccine", offering antibodies based on their needs at birth.
- Human milk provides immune support, helping baby to fight off illness
- Here is a video for how to don and doff your mask using safe hygiene.
- Hygiene is critical, whether you have COVID-19 or not. Hand washing, consider wearing a mask (because you may asymptomatic), and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces you have touched.
- With limited in-person monitoring of infants by healthcare providers, breastfeeding support from an IBCLC is critical to make sure that a parent’s milk supply is meeting baby’s needs and that baby is feeding well to promote optimal growth and development. Virtual consultations with an IBCLC will provide breastfeeding parents with the information and guidance they need to provide breastmilk to their children. The staff at SDBFC provide virtual consultations, as do many of your local IBCLCs. Reach out for support!
Wishing you and your family good health and safety! Please know we are here to support you in any way that we can!