The infant feeding team at NHS Lanarkshire is sharing a clear message with new mothers: breastfeeding is still a safe option, and the team is here to support them.
Recent guidance from UNICEF UK states there are numerous live constituents in breastmilk that help to destroy harmful pathogens and boost the baby’s immune system, and there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be passed through breastmilk. Instead, guidance advises mothers should continue to breastfeed if possible.
NHS Lanarkshire if offering the following practical information for parents:
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after contact with the baby
- Routinely clean and disinfect any surfaces touched
- Clean any infant feeding equipment, including breast pumps, bottles and teats thoroughly before and after use
- Practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding e.g. avoid coughing or sneezing on the baby, or wear a face mask or suitable alternative if available
- If bottle feeding, continue to do so responsively and limit the number of people who feed the baby
AnneMarie Bruce, Infant Feeding Development Midwife at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The NHS Lanarkshire team is continuing to offer support to mothers seven days a week, both in maternity wards and after they get home. Social distancing guidelines are being followed whenever possible and telephone and video calling support is available to all who need it. We are also running a daily breastfeeding support group online through our NHS Lanarkshire Mums & Babies Facebook page.
“We aim to ensure that mothers and babies have all the support they require from the NHS, even during the extenuating circumstances we currently find ourselves in. We encourage parents to speak to their midwife or health professional or get in touch with the infant feeding team if they have any questions or concerns.”
More information on the breastfeeding and the NHS Lanarkshire infant feeding team can be found at https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/services/infantfeeding/, and information from the Scottish Government’s Parent Club is available at https://www.parentclub.scot/articles/breastfeeding-and-coronavirus.