COVID-19 BREASTFEEDING ADVICE FOR WOMEN AND BABIES
Breastfeeding is important to human health at all times, but especially in times of emergency as breastfeeding provides immunological protections to the breastfed child. Most often babies who are breastfed remain healthy even when their parents or other family members are unwell with an infectious illness.
Women who become infected with COVID-19 shortly before giving birth and begin breastfeeding, and those who become infected while they are breastfeeding, will produce specific antibodies and other critical immune factors in their milk, to protect their breastfed infant and enhance their infant’s immune responses.
If the women become unwell while breastfeeding their baby, it is important not to interrupt direct breastfeeding as their baby will have been exposed to the virus already, and will benefit most from continued direct breastfeeding at the breast.
Confirmed or probable COVID-19
There is no evidence of transmission of the virus in breastmilk.
It is ok for women to breastfeed if they are a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case, as it is beneficial to for the baby and the mother to continue breastfeeding. To reduce spread while breastfeeding, hand washing before feeding is essential. A surgical mask should also be worn during breastfeeding, and avoid kissing and touching the baby’s face.
If the women’s well enough, they should continue to breastfeed directly, while using the necessary precautions. This includes washing hands before and after contact with the baby (including feeding), avoiding coughing or sneezing on them, and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces – as should be done in all cases where anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 interacts with others, including children.
If they are too unwell to breastfeed, they should express their milk and give it to the baby via a clean spoon, cup or bottle – all while following the same infection prevention methods.
BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT IN SOUTH CANTERBURY
Please see below for the local Breastfeeding Support available during COVID-19.
- LEAD MATERNITY CARES (LMC) MIDWIVES:
- Contact your own Midwife as they are providing an essential service during the COVID-19 response.
- BREASTFEEDING ADVISORS/ INTERNATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED LACTATION CONSULTANTS (IBCLC)
- Mother’s in Jean Todd Maternity Unit will be seen by Katie our Breastfeeding Advisor, on Monday-Friday between 8am-12.00pm for any breastfeeding issues as normal, and all women will be seen prior to discharge.
- Pauline our Breastfeeding Advisor will be working from home, and will be phoning all women who are discharged to offer breastfeeding support within 2-3 days of discharge. This phone support can continue as long, and as often as the woman needs the support. Facetime and email can also be used for any clinical issues. Pauline is also available for breastfeeding support for any other women, please phone 0274 910 865 to contact our Breastfeeding Advisor.
Phone your own Plunket Nurse who will be available through video, online, and phone.
- PLUNKET LINE
The Plunket Line is available 24 hours on 0800 933 922.
- AROWHENUA WHANAU SERVICES
Phone 03 615 5180.
- TAMARIKI ORA NURSE
Phone Jan on 027 407 6652.
- LA LECHE LEAGUE
Mother to Mother Support
Available for phone counselling
Phone Sarah on 03 684 9851 or Amy on 022 013 4329 or 03 684 6475.
- BREASTFEEDING PEER COUNSELLORS
Phone Alyse on 027 298 5271. Alyse will be able to refer you to a Peer Counsellor in your area.
South Canterbury District Health Board
P: 03 687 2395 | M: 021 139 7442