COVID-19 and Breastfeeding
These are highly anxious times, especially if you are a mom with a newborn, & the overwhelming amount of information being put out does not help matters, especially when the information is not correct! So, I summarized the latest evidence related to this damn virus & breastfeeding.
Generally, according to all the major professional organizations (LLLI, AAP, CDC, UNICEF, WHO), it is considered safe to breastfeed, although only the AAP wants the newborn to receive breast milk from a bottle, if the mother is positive for the coronavirus. To date, there is no evidence that separation of mother & baby is necessary, if the mom practices good hygiene & wears a mask (again only if she is positive). In addition, separation of mom & baby can hurt the breastfeeding relationship, as some moms do not respond to the pump the same way as they do with a baby, who is so cute & cuddly.
There is also evidence that touch plays an important role in building a milk supply. Although there is no evidence to separate mom & baby, you may be bullied into doing so out of the health care provider’s unfounded fear. To help advocate for your rights to feed your baby as you deem best, Evidenced Based Birth has put out a sample consent form/waiver, which may help you to assert your rights. Remember, you are paying the hospital & your doctors, & you can also fire them if necessary! Here is a link, https://evidencebasedbirth.com/covid19/, where you can find that consent along with other information for giving birth during this pandemic. It includes the breastfeeding guidelines put forth by the CDC & WHO.
These are trying times, but it is crucial to breastfeed now more than ever, so the baby gets antibodies to stay healthy, even if you are COVID positive, with symptoms or not. Even with doing only skin-to-skin, your amazing, awesome body will also make antibodies for any pathogen that the baby picks up (from health care providers, visitors, crowds), even if you yourself do not have that pathogen! Your breast milk is an immunity powerhouse! Furthermore, there have been some reports of formula hoarding, so it is not so easy to buy that formula these days, if you had wanted to.
Finally, If you are so inclined to add to the much needed growing body of knowledge about COVID-19 & breastfeeding, there is a study recruiting women in the active phase of illness. You must be 18 years of age or older & have tested positive in the past 48 hours. It will involve sending off 3 milk samples & breast swabs. For more information, you can visit www.uidaho.edu/brestmilk, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 208-301-3740.
Good luck & stay safe! I am here for you, in-person if necessary, for any breastfeeding issues you are having.