COVID-19 Breastfeeding Update
March 13, 2020
COVID-19 Breastfeeding Update from Lauren Macaluso, MD Breastfeeding Medicine:
The choice to breastfeed is the mothers and families. In their March 10, 2020 Statement on Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states this choice continues during COVID-19. Breast milk protects infants from illness. It is rare when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. https://www.bfmed.org/abm-statement-coronavirus
In limited studies on women with COVID-19 the virus has not been detected in breast milk. The World Health Organization states that mothers with COVID-19 can breastfeed.
At home, a mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who has symptoms and is being tested should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. This includes hand hygiene (soap and water 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible when feeding at the breast.
If expressing breast milk, mom should perform hand hygiene before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow CDC recommendations for cleaning: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/healthychildcare/infantfeeding/breastpump.html
If possible, have someone who is well care for the baby and feed the expressed breast milk to the baby.
Mothers with confirmed COVID-19 infection should be separated except for breastfeeding. The goal is to have another uninfected adult care for the baby. The mother should continue handwashing and mask-wearing for at least 5-7 days until cough and respiratory secretions are improved.
In the hospital after delivery, there are similar recommendations for the confirmed COVID-19 or symptomatic mother who is being tested. Separation is recommended with the infant in a bassinet 6 feet from the mother’s bed with mom performing hand hygiene before touching and face mask-wearing to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. The goal again is to have another uninfected adult caring for the baby.
If the mother with COVID-19 needs medical care for herself in the hospital, temporary separation from the baby may be necessary. Mothers who choose to breastfeed should be encouraged and helped to express their breast milk and establish their milk supply. The same recommendations again apply at home or in the hospital; hand hygiene beforehand expression and pumping, CDC pump part cleaning, and having an uninfected adult care for the baby and give expressed milk are recommended.
Information is being updated by the CDC and WHO as it becomes available. You can check here for the most recent recommendations:
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Welcome to my blog
March 8, 2019
Hello, my name is Dr. Lauren Macaluso, welcome to my blog!
As my daughter is now a junior in college and my son is a senior in high school, I’ve noticed I have a little more time in my daily life. As all mothers know, it’s challenging to raise our children, thrive in our relationships with our partners, family members, and friends, work outside the home, and take care of our own mind, body, and soul. I strive with some of the extra minutes I now have, to write and share via posts, experiences, and information that can be educational and helpful. I am fortunate to work with breastfeeding mothers and their babies and families every day. This is a unique time in their lives filled with physical, emotional and social changes. It is an honor to provide support and care. While I learn from reading studies and attending conferences, the most important part of my education comes from the mothers, babies, and families I care for every day.
I hope to utilize this platform as a way to continue to provide knowledge and support. Sharing information can help to continue to empower women on their breastfeeding and parenting journey. As a pediatrician with a breastfeeding medicine practice, I don’t get to see families as frequently after their breastfeeding goals are reached. I miss that. Strong bonds are made during this precious time. I feel these entries will continue that relationship.
At least until I see you with your next baby 🙂
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Dads and Breastfeeding Medicine
March 12, 2019
As a pediatrician with a breastfeeding focused practice, moms with their babies find out about me in different ways. Commonly it’s via their primary pediatrician, obstetrician/midwife or lactation consultant. Sometimes they learn about me through a family member, a friend who breastfed or group on social media. Recently, I discovered a referral source that hasn’t been mentioned much before – dads.
A few weeks ago, a wonderful couple travelled from Brooklyn to my office in New Hyde Park with their newborn baby girl. Mom and I were working through her engorgement and getting her more comfortable with latch. As things progressed, I noted that dad, who was sitting on the loveseat in my office next to his wife, was tearful. He looked up, emotional, yet smiling. He explained how happy he was that his wife and daughter were successfully breastfeeding! He also expressed immense relief that not only was his wife feeling better and that the baby was feeding well, but also that they were able to get all of their concerns addressed and questions answered. He said he was thankful to have found a breastfeeding medicine home in my office, as well as feeling grateful knowing that they both could come back if things didn’t continue to improve or if anything new came up.
He went on to say that he found out about me from another father who had come with his wife and baby for breastfeeding care. They had talked about breastfeeding when his wife was pregnant. Recognizing the importance of breastfeeding, he kept the referral information, recognizing that when the time came, they may need some help.
These fathers are representative of the growing involvement of dads in breastfeeding. A recent study in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found father-focused breastfeeding classes to be beneficial. The study took place in Australia aiming to prolong exclusive breastfeeding by educating expectant fathers. Six Australian hospitals held peer-facilitated, father focused breastfeeding antenatal classes. The fathers reported not always being aware of the importance of breastfeeding or potential difficulties. They valued the anticipatory guidance around what to expect in the early weeks of parenting and appreciated learning practical support strategies.
Quality breastfeeding care is essential to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. Their partners are also interested in learning and helping to make this happen. As mothers and fathers/partners become breastfeeding advocates, we can make powerful strides toward optimizing the health of all involved.