THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON BREASTFEEDING

COVID-19 has a significant impact on maternal and neonatal clinical practices, namely on breastfeeding support services for pregnant women and mothers, resulting in disrupted breastfeeding behaviours and an unprecedented decrease in breastfeeding rates.

More than half of the health care professionals in the maternity ward and NICU report indicative changes in clinical practice. Similarly, the health care system is under considerable pressure and supporting staff is being reduced. As a result, new mothers lack the support they need in the first critical days to build up an adequate long-term milk supply, leading to potential breastfeeding problems at home and early weaning.

As a global advocate for breastfeeding and breast milk nutrition, we have compiled evidence from an extensive literature review and testimonies from clinicians around the world, echoed in surveys taken by mothers, about the hidden but immense impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding. We want to join together with healthcare professionals to take further action to continue and improve advocating for mother and child, supporting them in making informed decisions, and enabling mothers to establish adequate milk supplies from the moment their baby is born throughout the critical time window. Like this, we can all make a positive impact to prevent the long-term clinical and economic impacts of COVID-19 on breastfeeding.


Click here to download the White Paper on the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding

Riccardo Davanzo, Neonatologist at Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Trieste, Italy Due to marked changes in breastfeeding care, there is a risk of “long-run inertia” and it will be difficult to restore hospital practices promoting breastfeeding. This would be detrimental not only to the health of the infant but also to the overall public health situation.

Evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding

  • White Paper on the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding
  • Human Milk, COVID-19 and breastfeeding – A comprehensive and updated literature review of the scientific evidence
  • Findings and publications from global and regional roundtables with leading researchers and clinicians
  • Webinar series with lactation experts
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Initiation of milk production with focus on mothers with lactation risk factors

  • Stages to support mothers reaching an adequate milk supply
  • Clinical guidance on breastfeeding and pumping during COVID-19
  • Identifying mothers with lactation risk factors and tools for support 
  • White Paper on improving delayed lactogenesis and suppressed lactation in at-risk mothers
  • Webinar by Prof. Spatz on key clinical strategies to address lactation issues in response to those mothers with lactation risk factors
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Resources for hospital-to-home transition

  • Choosing the right technology if breastfeeding support is needed
  • Video series providing lactation support
  • Resources for mothers on breastfeeding during COVID-19

 

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Rebecca Powell, Assistant Professor Division of Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of supporting and providing mothers with evidence-based information and guidance on breastfeeding and whom to turn to, before, during and after childbirth.

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