Information for breastfeeding Families
Amid the current pandemic of widespread infection and difficulties in purchasing formula milks, breastfeeding has never been more important for the health and wellbeing of our babies and their mothers.
Current understanding is that COVID-19 cannot be passed via breastmilk. Infection could be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. However, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or by being in close contact with your child. Therefore guidance is that breastfeeding babies should stay with their mothers and continue to be breastfed.
If mother is symptomatic then she could wear a mask when handling and feeding baby, and should remember to practise excellent hand hygiene, washing thoroughly with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds after touching face or surfaces and before handling baby.
If mum is feeling too unwell to look after baby, then her milk can be expressed and given to baby by someone else: mirroring the responsive nature of breastfeeding, they should remember to pace-feed by sitting baby upright during the feed, and holding the bottle at an almost horizontal angle so the milk only comes out when your baby sucks. When baby looks sleepy, stops sucking or moves their head away, they are saying they have had enough.
We know that breastmilk is likely to be part of baby’s best defence against the virus if they do contract it; and we know that there are currently shortages of alternative milks for baby, so we hope that this information sheet on breastfeeding support will be useful.
Lancashire and South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support during Covid-19
If you are considering beginning breastfeeding for the first time, aiming to increase breastmilk supply because of formula shortages, or having breastfeeding complications that you’d like some support with, then we’ve put together some information about how to access support.
Face to face breastfeeding peer support groups have been suspended to protect all. Visits from your midwifery and health visiting service will continue to some degree, but may be not be undertaken face to face or be reduced going forward.
However, there are many ways to access support and information from a trained peer supporter or lactation consultants within our area and nationwide, during classic ‘working hours’ and also round the clock, which may be of use. These services are available by telephone, via social media groups and in some cases via WhatsApp video call or similar. NB.
These arrangements could change daily according to staff availability/staffing. We have agreed care pathways across Lancashire and South Cumbria so that if you require more specialist support, those delivering the below services can refer you onto it.
Families and Babies Lancashire (covering North, Central, East and West Lancashire)
Staffed by Peer Supporters
01254 722929 (9.30am – 2.30pm 7 days per week)
Blackpool and Fylde Coast Breastfeeding Support
Staffed by Peer Supporters and Lactation Consultants
South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support
Staffed by Peer Supporter / Lactation Consultant
email@example.com or Message
Barnoldswick, Burnley and Colne BFFs
Staffed by peer supporters
Blackburn with Darwen’s Breast Intentions
Staffed by volunteer Peer Supporters
East Lancs NCT Feeding Support
Staffed by Volunteer Peer Supporters and NCT Breastfeeding Counsellors
National Breastfeeding Helpline – 9.30am to 9.30pm, 7 days a week
0300 100 0212
The Breastfeeding Network Drugs in Breastmilk service for information on medication or medical conditions and breastfeeding – factsheets written by pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones (MBE)
La Leche League Helpline
0345 120 2918
NCT Helpline – open every day 8am to midnight
0300 330 0700
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain have an interactive map so you can find expert and experienced IBCLC support. Many of our colleagues are using videocalls, email and phone support as a priority during the present. (Note: private IBCLC support may incur a fee).
Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK – for families of multiples
Breastfeeding with CMPA and Other Food Allergies – UK Support Group for parents of babies with allergies when breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies evidence based information and support, administrated by a team of qualified breastfeeding peer supporters, health visitors, midwives and IBCLC
Support in Other Languages:
There are also resources listed here for families who may need support in other languages:
Information Sources for Health Professionals:
UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service (UKDILAS) – for queries around medications whilst breastfeeding