The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we function in many ways and it’s interesting to think how we may not go back to the old normal in the years to come.
While we definitely do “keep distance” from each other now, there’s also a lot of uncertainty around where and how to do it. Just to clear things up – maintaining distance from other people in a crowded place is great.
However, the same rule does not apply to breastfeeding mums and newborns.
As you know, for the six months after birth, the only source of nutrition that an infant requires is breast milk. It has various antimicrobial substances, anti-inflammatory components, and factors that promote the development of the immune system and reduce the occurrence of respiratory tract infections in newborns.
The European Paediatric Association recommends the same. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says it’s okay for mums with Covid-19 to breastfeed their babies, as long as they take precautions.
To really drive home this point, theAsianparent spoke to Jamielene Fernandez, certified birth doula and founder of Just Do-Lah LLP., about the top three breastfeeding tips for first time mums.
The Top 3 ‘B’s Of Breastfeeding
As you know, a certified doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It would be safe to say they know a thing or two about taking care of you and your little one.
So, new mums, make sure to read this carefully!
Image Source: Pexels
1. Be Stubborn!
Jamielene says, there could not be a better time to keep breastfeeding! “The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the importance of separating any mother from their baby due to the COVID-19 measures and protocols,” she tells theAsianparent.
“The antibodies in breastmilk keep viruses, bacteria and various infections at bay which keep the baby strong. This reason alone should be more than sufficient to stay on your breastfeeding journey despite receiving unsolicited advice and of course, the challenges you may face,” she adds.
Jamielene recommends to get help if necessary. “Either from an IBCLC or a supportive group of counsellors or a community of breastfeeding women. Stick to your plans of feeding your baby with determination and effort as well as consistent practice,” she advises.
Remember it is a journey and as with every journey, there are ups and downs. She says, “There isn’t a perfect breastfeeding journey, there is only the unique one on which you and your baby are working and walking together.”
2. Be Gentle With Yourself
Jamielene also points to the ways in which this pandemic has triggered many changes in our day to day lifestyle.
Breastfeeding mothers may find that they have to do so in between Zoom calls. Some may not have the support of family as they may be oceans away. There are also mothers who may have been separated from their babies due to COVID-19 measures.
“Whatever the situation, these aren’t easy times and mothers should commend themselves for trying to give their babies the best start in life through providing breastmilk for their babies. Count the small wins and take each day as it comes,” she advises.
“Also, especially for new mamas, while there are restrictions on going out, do remember that taking some time to take a short walk downstairs to get some fresh air makes a huge difference,” Jamielene tells the theAsianparent.
She adds that being in the same environment, day in and day out can cause those feelings of ‘meh’ to spiral into negativity. “Throw in the postnatal baby blues and this will almost definitely lead to postnatal depression,” she adds.
So her advice is simple: “Make the effort to schedule a short walk outside twice a day and maybe take the baby with you if you’d like. While I understand there may be the issue of confinement rules, I would like to suggest trying to negotiate given the fact that we’re in a different situation at present and this may call for a few tweaks in tradition.”
3. Be Pillars Of Support For One Another
And finally, Jamielene emphasises there is no better time than the present to show your support – as a spouse, as a fellow breastfeeding mother or even from one woman to another.
“Partners and husbands can help by ensuring mama’s water bottle is constantly kept filled and that she’s in a relaxed state when breastfeeding. Family support can help ensure that she has adequate ‘ME’ time and that she is encouraged while trying to do right by her baby,” she notes.
Adding, “Breastfeeding is by no means, an easy journey and comments such as, “Maybe you don’t have enough milk” or “Baby’s hungry again” or “just feed formula then you can sleep” sometimes, while backed by good intentions may not help.”
“It can instead cause low self-esteem in the mama and cause guilt. Instead, be her listening ear, and respect her choices. The support for a breastfeeding mother can definitely come in more ways than one,” she advises.
Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Mums During Covid-19
Image Source: Unsplash
The WHO says there is no evidence that suggests Covid-19 infection can transmit from the mother to the baby through breast milk. You do need to take other precautions though.
Here are five tips to make this journey simpler and safe for you and the baby.
- Wear a face mask when you are handling or breastfeeding your baby, especially outside. This is particularly true when you may be suspected of being infected or have Covid-19 infection.
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the little one. Keep your surroundings clean and sanitised at all times.
- Skin-to-skin is good for babies whether they are breastfeeding or on formula milk. When the baby makes contact with the mum, it boosts their immune system and protects them against illness and diseases.
So mamas, leave your apprehensions behind and embrace the beautiful journey of breastfeeding for the healthy growth of your baby.
Worried About Breastfeeding? Don’t Be, We Are Here For You
Breastfeeding Guidelines For Nursing Mothers In The Post COVID-19 Era