Right now, with widespread infection and difficulties in purchasing artificial milks, breastfeeding has never been more important for the health and wellbeing of our babies and their mothers.
Of course you can always contact your Midwife or Health Visitor for information and support, but whether you are considering beginning breastfeeding for the first time, aiming to increase breastmilk supply because of formula shortages, or having breastfeeding complications that you’d like some support with, we’ve put together some information to support you.
INFORMATION FOR BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS
The current understanding is that COVID-19 cannot be passed via breastmilk, and guidance is that breastfeeding babies should stay with their mothers and continue to be breastfed.
If mother is symptomatic then she could wear a mask when handling and feeding baby, and should remember to practise excellent hand hygiene, washing thoroughly with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds after touching face or surfaces and before handling baby.
If mum is feeling too unwell to look after baby then her milk can be expressed and given to baby by someone else: they should remember to pace feed by sitting your baby upright during a feed, and holding the bottle at an almost horizontal angle so the milk only comes out when your baby sucks. When baby looks sleepy, stops sucking or moves their head away, they are saying they have had enough.
If baby is not exclusively breastfed at present, please also see the formula feeding info sheet.
We know that breastmilk is likely to be part of baby’s best defence against the virus, if they do contract it; and we know that there are currently shortages of alternative milks for baby, so we hope that this information sheet on breastfeeding support will be useful.
If you would like to access some quality breastfeeding support – or simply have a question – there are some resources below which may be useful during this time, as face to face support groups are closing and families are living in isolation. National information is below and LOCAL SUPPORT in Lancashire & South Cumbria, via the link.
NATIONAL FACEBOOK GROUPS:
Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies – for fully evidence based information and support, administrated by a team of qualified breastfeeding peer supporters, health visitors, midwives and IBCLC – contains over 47,000 mothers
Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK– for families of multiples, administrated by IBCLC / ABM BFC
The Breastfeeding Network Drugs in Breastmilk service for information on medication or medical conditions and breastfeeding – see range of useful factsheets written by pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones MBE.
Breastfeeding with CMPA and Other Food Allergies – Support Group UK for support with allergies when breastfeeding
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain have a search engine with a map so you can find expert and experienced IBCLC support. Many of our colleagues are using videocalls, email and phone support as a priority during the present. (Note: private IBCLC support may incur a fee).
In addition to the local organisations’ numbers above, see also the national support:
National Breastfeeding Helpline is on 0300 100 0212 – 9.30am to 9.30pm, 7 days a week
La Leche League Helpline is on 0345 120 2918
NCT Helpline is on 0300 330 0700 (open everyday 8am to midnight)
There are also resources listed here for families who may need support in other languages.
INFANT FEEDING INFORMATION FOR MOTHERS TO BE IS COMING SOON