Scientific paper ‘Promoting and Protecting Human Milk & Breastfeeding in a COVID-19 World’ published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on healthcare systems and hospital staff. Yet families will continue to become pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed. Unfortunately, care of the childbearing family has been de-prioritised during the pandemic. Additionally, many healthcare practices during the pandemic have not been positive for the childbearing family or breastfeeding. Despite recommendations from the World Health Organization to promote early, direct breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, these and other recommendations are not being followed in the clinical setting. Furthermore, hospitals are discharging mothers and their newborns early, limiting the amount of time that families receive expert lactation care, education, and technical assistance, just to name a few. In short, COVID-19 has a significant impact on maternal and neonatal clinical practices, resulting in disrupted breastfeeding behaviors.

Nine leading experts in breastfeeding, lactation, immunology and virology, including Diane Spatz, Lars Bode, Riccardo Davanzo, Donna Geddes, Janis Müller, Hans van Goudoever, Rebecca Powell, Virginie Rigourd and Ann Yates have participated in a roundtable hosted by Medela and shared their expert observations, research and recommendations for supporting breastfeeding mums and clinicians during the pandemic. “We are concerned that these massive changes in the care of childbearing families will be permanently adopted. Instead, we must use the pandemic to underscore the importance of human milk and breastfeeding as lifesaving medical interventions”, according to Spatz et al.

Consolidating their viewpoint in a scientific paper ‘Promoting and Protecting Human Milk & Breastfeeding in a COVID-19 World’ published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, the experts have reviewed our common understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and Human Milk, the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on breastfeeding mothers and how we can all work together to protect and promote human milk and breastfeeding in a COVID-19 world.

Spatz et al. continues: “We challenge healthcare professionals to change the current prenatal and post birth practice paradigms to protect lactation physiology and to ensure that all families in need receive equal access to evidence-based lactation education, care and technical assistance.” More information on the global impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding can be found here.