In these times of ever-changing information and in-the-moment decisions, we are turning to the recommendations from WHO and UNICEF for guidance with COVID-19 and breastfeeding. All data here is updated 4.30.2020.
According to WHO:
“Mothers and infants should be enabled to remain together and practise skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo mother care and to remain together and to practise rooming-in throughout the day and night, especially immediately after birth during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19.
Remarks: Minimizing disruption to breastfeeding during the stay in the facilities providing maternity and newborn services will require health care practices that enable a mother to breastfeed for as much, as frequently, and as long as she wishes.”
See WHO Guideline and decision tree above for additional detailed information.
Other brief guidelines:
- Infants born to mothers with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 infection, should be fed according to standard infant feeding guidelines, while applying necessary precautions for infection prevention and control.
- As with all confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, symptomatic mothers who are breastfeeding or practicing skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo mother care should practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding (for example, use of a medical mask when near a child if with respiratory symptoms), perform hand hygiene before and after contact with the child, and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces which the symptomatic mother has been in contact with.
- Breastfeeding counseling, basic psychosocial support and practical feeding support should be provided to all pregnant women and mothers with infants and young children, whether they or their infants and young children have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- In situations when severe illness in a mother due to COVID-19 or other complications prevent her from caring for her infant or prevent her from continuing direct breastfeeding, mothers should be encouraged and supported to express milk, and safely provide breastmilk to the infant, while applying appropriate IPC measures.
- Mothers and infants should be enabled to remain together and practise skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo mother care and to remain together and to practise rooming-in throughout the day and night, especially immediately after birth during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 virus infection.
- Parents and caregivers who may need to be separated from their children, and children who may need to be separated from their primary caregivers, should have access to appropriately trained health or non-health workers for mental health and psychosocial support.
See COVID-19: Separating Infected Mothers from Newborns: Weighing the Risks and Benefits for more detailed information!
Credit and source: IBFAN UK