Coronavirus Resources for Breastfeeding Families
Lactation Support During the Coronavirus Pandemic
We are continuing to offer virtual, office and in-home lactation consults during the coronavirus pandemic. Breastfeeding is essential to the health and well being of mothers and babies, and it's never more important than during times of crisis or health emergencies. Breastfeeding provides food security. It is always readily available without needing a trip to the store or worrying about a shortage of formula. Breastfeeding is also psychologically protective for both mother and baby, as it provides hormones that promote relaxation and bonding during stressful times.
If mother contracts COVID-19, breastfeeding provides the infant valuable antibodies and protection. Past studies have found that formula-fed infants have triple the risk of being hospitalized if they have a respiratory illness. Every major organization has recommended that mothers continue to breastfeed even if they contract COVID-19 (see references at bottom). All family members over the age of 2 may wish to wear a mask if someone in the household is sick to help reduce the viral load that others in the home are exposed to.
Although the new COVID-19 vaccines were not tested on breastfeeding mothers, it is not expected that the vaccine would cause any adverse effects to infant. If you would otherwise be interested in getting the the COVID-19 vaccine, you don't need to let your lactational status stop you. You can continue breastfeeding as normal after receiving the vaccine.
Here are some steps we are taking to ensure the health of all the families we support:
2. Extra Sanitization Measures
During the pandemic, we will be taking extra steps to ensure the sanitization of everything we bring into your home, including wearing masks, taking our shoes off, and wiping down our scale and other essential items with sanitizers. As always, we will wash our hands before working with you and wear gloves during infant exams. If any of our lactation consultants are symptomatic, they will contact you ahead of time and help you reschedule with another lactation consultant.
3. Virtual Consults for Families with Illness
If anyone in your household has known exposure to COVID-19 or has a cough or fever, we ask that you reach out to us ahead of time so we can change your appointment type from a home visit to a virtual consult. Breastfeeding support is essential to the well being of a family even during a health crisis, and we would love to provide you video based support. We can assist with topics such as how to maintain milk supply during sickness, safe medications for breastfeeding mothers, strategies for reducing mother-baby transmission, tips for enhancing your rest, and guidance to ensure baby is thriving nutritionally.
A Word of Encouragement
Finally, we want to reassure you that the risk of serious illness for infants exposed to COVID-19 is extremely low. Most of the above precautions are primarily out of concern for spreading the virus to vulnerable members of the community such as grandparents.
If you are experiencing any kind of infant feeding difficulty, please don't put off getting help. We are ready to support you now more than ever. Feeding your baby in a way that promotes the well being of the whole family is a worthy priority.